Tuesday, July 27, 2010

1Malaysia Hunt—Is It Them?

When setting hunt Qs, I usually spend a major portion of my time to carefully choose the words I use. This has a lot to do with the grammatical requirements, of course, but also in terms of ensuring that the intended solutions are sound.

Q17) A fun card game needs them to build our party sponsor.

Not a very tough Q, in my opinion, especially since the intended answer is a huge signboard which is easily visible from a distance. The solution, according to the CoC, is like this:

A fun card game = UNO

our party sponsor = UMNO

So actually, the Q is asking, "What is needed by the UNO (fun card game) to make UMNO? The answer, "M", leaps to the eye almost immediately, because that is the only letter which is missing from UNO.

A17) Club M Pub & Lounge

At this juncture, I'd like to mention that there are two other possible signboards which may fit. Firstly, a signboard across the road in Lintas Plaza with "M-Plan" on it. Secondly, another signboard in the same row as the Club M, with something which appeared very much like the McDonald's golden arch, M on it.

I ruled out M-Plan on the spot, because if that were the intended answer, then I would object because the word PLAN therein becomes redundant.

But now a trickier situation arises when choosing between the "golden arch" (which was clearly intended to be an M) or Club M Pub & Lounge. Which one would fit better?

Well, I would say that the M of the "golden arch" is a better fit, simply because we're looking for the single letter, M, to fit into the UNO to make UMNO. It follows, then, that since the M of the "golden arch" stands on its own, it fits perfectly. Yet after a brief moment considering the matter, I chose the Club M Pub & Lounge, which, in my opinion, is an inferior choice!

Let us now analyse my decision on these possible choices.

The amusing thing about this Q is that the CoC used the word "them" in it. And immediately I asked my myself, "Why—THEM?", when it was obvious that we're looking for a single letter. "THEM" would fail on grammatical grounds. And of course in this case, the solution is wrong, because no matter how the CoC had wanted to twist the riddle, he couldn't run away from the fact that we still need the single letter M for the solution!

I think the CoC used "THEM" because of the word "CLUB" in his intended solution. It is of course acceptable that a club usually consists of a group of people, hence "THEM" is justified. But my argument is that CLUB shouldn't be a part of the required answer, because all that is needed to make UMNO is that single letter M, not CLUB. In other words, if the CoC had wanted that CLUB to be an integral part of the answer, then UNO + CLUB + M does not only give UMNO.

A possible defense, however, by the CoC is to argue that the word "PARTY" in the Q can be equated to "CLUB". I thought this is rather weak, but upon looking at the entire clue as a whole, and considering from all angles, I suppose I could live with Club M Pub & Lounge. So I chose this answer and eventually earned the 3 points for it.


2 Romans 1 Impostor said...
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2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

"Club", being an acceptable synonym of "Party", should satisfy the below equation:

Party Sponsor = Club UMNO
(ie. the result of the anagram of Club M with UNO)

... which would then justify the "THEM" in the craft.

Nothing wrong here, I felt.

Cornelius said...

Yes, 2R1I, as I said in the last paragraph, the CoC could possibly argue on CLUB = PARTY. And that's why I chose this answer in the end.

Only that the CoC clearly did not mean that to be the solution based on how he explained the answer during the presentation.

The other point I forgot to raise is that UMNO is the organiser of this hunt, not the sponsor. Unless of course if we can all agree to equate ORGANISER to SPONSOR as well.

Anonymous said...

Can we interpret "them" as The-"M",which would satisfy the single-letter requirement

Cornelius said...

Anonymous friend,

I think that would have been a very good attempt by the CoC to salvage the situation, but in my opinion, it can't hold water.

I have seen the so-called "hidden" cryptic indicator in a single word. For example, midnight, in which case we're looking for the letter "G" in the middle of the word niGht on account of the indicator mid.

But I don't think it is fair to expand the idea to use a single word that has a meaning of its own to mean it as several meanings such as per your suggestion.

If I see the word THERAPIST in a cryptic clue, I would see that word as the one meaning "a specialist who treats a particular type of illness or problem" (and its synonyms, if any), and most certainly not as THE RAPIST (THE one who rapes). At least I have not seen a cryptic clue using that kind of cheap - and unfair - "trick".

The other reason why I think it defeats the clue is that the use of THEM as you have suggested it here, i.e. THE "M" would make the rest of the clue redundant. That is to say the rest of the clue has no purpose. The setter might as well just say something like:

Q) Look for them.

(Look for the M, as per your suggestion). There is no meaning in talking about "fun card game etc".

Cornelius said...

And by the way, Anonymous friend, even if we can all agree to accept THEM as THE "M" (which I can't), then the intended answer no longer fits the question.

Let us now analyse the clue once again to understand the riddle in light of your idea:

Q) A fun card game needs the M to build our party sponsor.

That's essentially what the clue would become based on your idea. Do you see now why "CLUB M" can no longer fit as the answer?

In this case, we are no longer looking for the "M", but instead we are looking for something on the signboard which can fit "fun card game", because that answer then "needs the M" to be anagrammed together to become "UMNO". In other words, we are looking for UNO (because that is the fun card game which requires the letter M to be anagrammed into UMNO).