Wednesday, May 18, 2011

KK Challenge 7

Yesterday I clerked the KK Challenge 7, a treasure hunt which attracted 16 teams, each comprising 3 to 4 members. Actually, I entertained the idea of postponing the hunt because I haven't been able to spend the time to prepare. But in all the KK Challenges before this, I have never postponed any of them, and I decided to live up to my reputation.

Because of my marathon training, and then recently, cycling; and more recently still, swimming, I could hardly find the time to prepare for the hunt. But last Saturday, I was finally able to put my fingers to the keyboard and started to work on my KK Challenge 7. After the morning cycling, I embarked on the questions. Another break in the afternoon for the swimming lesson before continuing my work at night. Then on Sunday morning, after the 19km long run, I spent practically the whole day going round taking photos, preparing the tulips etc. I had anticipated that I'd need more time, so I had taken leave on Monday to work on the powerpoint answer presentation. Oh! so much to do!

But I somehow managed to get everything done by yesterday morning at the expense of having just 5 hours sleep.

The KK Challenge 7 saw several new teams, an element which I had taken into account when setting the questions. Incidentally, during the KK City Hunt in February, I had an opportunity to chat with Master Hunter Jayaram Menon who had come all the way from Penang. He said for an open hunt, it is better to give more easier to average questions, and perhaps only 5 tough ones. I took his advice and set my KK Challenge 7 with a generous amount of easy questions.

From what I could see, the teams liked it. I thought the blend was just the right mix. Most of the questions were solvable by even the new teams. Assuming a passing rate of 50%, 10 of the teams passed the hunt. But even those which failed only did so marginally. However, 2 very new teams score in the teens.

Just to share some of the questions which entertained most of the teams. At the Millennium Plaza, off the Penampang Bypass, I gave this:


I was there to watch some of the teams walking up and down that stretch several times in the hot sun. It wasn't a small signboard at all, and a few teams eventually found the intended answer. But I was amused to see some others which spent quite a while, baffled by the strange clue, and then eventually had to leave the sector with the wrong guess. Upon seeing me smiling, one of the hunters reacted.

"Aiyah, what kind of question is this oh?", he said, before answering the question himself, unknowingly, "no-head-no-tail bah!"

I merely continued smiling. If only he had listened to himself!

This following one was at my all-time favourite sector, the Lintas Square:

Q29) Although not courageous people, they aspire to become knights.

Quite honestly, I didn't mean this to be a very tough question. I think I have been fair to at least give something for the hunters to zoom in to, i.e. the word "YELLOW" that can fit "not courageous". If the teams had only investigated further on the remaining word, they probably had a good chance to be successful. In the end only 3 teams found the answer.

The following question is found at the very last sector. The sector is quite a long one, but there were relatively very few signboards. Well, at least few to be promising answers.

Q40) Mostly becomes expensive if...

A highly visible sign and literally standing on its own at the roof of a bus stop, away from the clusters of signboards within that sector. According to a member of the team that found this answer—they won this hunt, by the way—if this question was located in the earlier part of the hunt, he reckoned that perhaps more teams would have been able to solve it too.

Well, it was a very exhausting few days for me leading up to the hunt. By the time it was all over, it was such a relief! But it was all worth it, as I could tell that everyone had a good time.

The Champion team: Tembak Angin (combination of Main Tembak & Makan Angin)

The top 8 teams were:

1) Bernard Liew, Alvin Wong, Audrey Chin, Allister Kong (88/100)
2) Francis Omamalin, Eileen Yeoh, Lee Tze Jim, Moina Liew (83/100)
3) Jude Ripin, Norazimah Shazana Abdullah, Victoria Jingulam, Lee Hui Yeing (74/100)
4) Dr Liaw Yun Haw, Ellen Yee, Mary Lokupi, Felix Joikon (73/100)
5) Joanna Stidi, Suzanne Stidi, Adoree Malinjang, Josy Majalap (72/100)
6) Ryner R R Ripin, Roland Ripin, Ernie J R Ripin, Jenifer Julius Topin (72/100)
7) Harry Koh, Buddy Jiliun, Sophia Lai, Raymond Woo (71/100)
8) Talissa R Kiandee, Andrea Abidin, Callum Abidin, Robinson Ken (68/100)

* I will sort out the photos, but will only post the champions' here. The rest I will post at the Treasure Hunt FB later. Please bear with me.


2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

A teaser through the appetizers. Delicious. I especially like Q40.

But I have to ask you this niggly question. Ain't Q21 breaking the "branching rule" that has received so much publicity, since ANDA is not exactly ORCUPIN? That said, I expect that it didn't trouble the regulars any?

Cornelius said...


I'm happy to know that you like Q40.

Regarding Q21, in my opinion, the issue of breaking of "branching rule" does not arise at all. I have spoken against the violation of the "branching rule" myself on several occasions in the past, and I am still against it now.

I see Q21 as an average cryptic clue, but with a slight twist; that is to say an indirect fodder. To illustrate my point, let me give an example of an indirect fodder clue from the same hunt.

Q) Maybe one mark for this establishment.

A) AMRIK Clinic & Surgery


MAYBE = anagram indicator

ONE MARK = fodder

However, that fodder is an indirect fodder which needs to be modified first before the anagram operation. Meaning we transform the "ONE" into "i" first, so that we end up anagramming only "I" together with "MARK" to get "AMRIK".

Q21 is adopting a similar idea, except that the deletion indicator is "silent". It is something like saying:

Q21) No-head-no-tail PORCUPINE

And the solver has to replace PORCUPINE to LANDAK first before removing the first and last letters.

The more pressing question, I think, is whether it's fair to use a "silent" indicator for a cryptic clue?

While in the process of tweaking this clue, I debated with myself whether it is fair. I kept an open mind and imagined what I would do when confronted with "OCUPIN", no other indicators or hints provided.

I think I would have said to myself, "OK, that is a meaningless word, maybe it is some sort of DJ question. But the one thing I would automatically do is to google up that word, just in case it has a special significance."

But google search would yield, first and foremost:


I decided that was enough to kickstart the solver in the right direction.

Cornelius said...

Oh yes, I forgot to say that some regular teams failed to solve this question, thus indicating that our "regular" teams in KK are probably not of the same strength, generally, as those in the west.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you can share the explaination on Q40. Perhaps the rest of the Qs too... Mahu belajar la..

Cornelius said...

Hello Anonymous friend, welcome to my blog!

I don't mind explaining the answer to Q40, but I'm not sure I have the stamina to explain all the other Qs too!

Generally speaking, treasure hunt clues are cryptic in nature, ie based on the rules adopted in the cryptic crosswords. So I would suggest that you google up "cryptic crosswords" and glance through to get some idea on how to solve clues. However, the best way to learn about treasure hunting is to participate in one.

Although most of the treasure hunt clues are cryptic, Q40 is more mathematical rather than cryptic in nature.

Q40) Mostly becomes expensive if...

Notice that the sentence is hanging; unfinished. The 3 dots after "if" indicate that the solver is supposed to complete the sentence. In this case, we are looking for a condition.

That word, MOSTLY does not mean EXPENSIVE at all. But in this sentence, MOSTLY becomes EXPENSIVE if...?

You see, if the first letter of MOSTLY, i.e. the M, is a C, you will get COSTLY, which means EXPENSIVE. So we say, if M IS C, MOSTLY becomes EXPENSIVE (COSTLY).

Anonymous said...

Thank you my friend for the explanation.

Like that aaa wow..I'm impress. I like your blog too...keep it up

Cornelius said...

Anonymous friend,

I'm glad to know that you're impressed with the question and its solution. If you haven't joined any of my KK Challenge series in the past; or any of the hunts by Team Kena Tembak, I'd suggest that you make it a point to join one to try it out first hand. I'm sure you will be even more impressed to experience the riddles yourself!

Generally, I would try to come up with a few - but only a few - of these unusual Qs in each of my hunts. Most regular teams are looking at those few Qs for their kicks!

Incidentally, we're having the ISM Hunt on 10 July, which will be clerked by Kena Tembak. Why not assemble a team, and I will see you there in the hunt!

Anonymous said...

The Anda/Orcupin Q has probably been seen once also in the Kiwanis Hunt -
Ragioconda - being Mona Risa as the answer

Cornelius said...

Thank you, Anonymous friend, for your comment.

Strictly speaking the ORCUPIN Q is not the same as the RAGIOCONDA Q of the Kiwanis Hunt. And the RAGIOCONDA was also not the first such Q I've seen.

I don't know if there's a specific name for this type of clue by KL CoCs, but I have come to describe it as the "pattern recognition" riddle. The first time I experimented with it was in the first KK Challenge Hunt some years ago when I came up with:


A) TOTO @ Sports TOTO

It's a very primitive version of the silent indicator; in this case the reversal key. Notice that no reversal indicator is provided in the Q. But the solver had to figure out the pattern of the riddle to solve it.

Later on, I came across:



in the RiddleRaiders forum. Again, the solver had to figure out that a reversal of MALE is involved (apart from converting "I" to "ONE").

Also within the RiddleRaiders blog, renroc came up with:

Q) Laroma split


And more recently, when I clerked the Novice Hunt 2, I gave:

Q)Lima tahil?

A) V-Kool

Where "V" was designed to help hunters to narrow down the search; whereas no reversal indicator was given for "tahil".

In all cases, no indicators were given. Hunters were challenged to see the pattern by figuring out the indicators. Such was the case in ORCUPIN where hunters had to figure out the deletion indicator, ie first and last letters have been removed.

The RAGIOCONDA was also a form of "pattern recognition" clue where hunters had to figure out the connection.

But as far as I am concerned, in terms of beauty, the RAGIOCONDA stands out from the rest, because it involves a "deliberate spelling error". When Wei Ming explained the answer to his audience, my first reaction was that the Q wasn't fair. But upon further reflection, I thought it was brilliant, and I would have been proud to have set such a Q myself! As my fans would tell you, I admire hunt Qs of simple tricks. There is no need to set multiple levels of cryptic impossibility, and breaking all cryptic clueing rules.

Cornelius said...

I have to reluctantly admit the crime of procrastination! I meant to post the Champion's photo a day or two after this event, but I kept delaying it until Chian Min asked for it! Shortly after sending it off to him, I quickly posted it here (smile).

Unfortunately, Audrey was unable to stay for the presentation, so she's not in the photo. Perhaps next time we will get to see her pretty face in the winners' photo again!

Anonymous said...

Last time u were against reading of a single word as 2 or more words. U commented against it in the xmas hunt & last time the q on M Club. But now u also break "MISC" into 3 words, "M" "IS" "C". So actually u break ur own rule, right? Or maybe now u can accept already?

Cornelius said...

Thank you, anonymous friend, for your comment (and questions). And my apology for the delay of this reply.

Please be assured that I have not changed my views as far as "reading of a single word as multiple words". Perhaps you did not quite understand my objection in the first place. So let me now clarify it here.

I object to the reading of a single word in a cryptic clue into multiple words. But I do not have the same objection for the answers which are found on the signboard. You will notice that in the case of the cryptic crosswords, the same is true. Even if the answer consists of 2 or 3 words, they will still be written without gaps in the grids.

The Xmas hunt you've quoted was an interesting case because apparently the word "WITHIN" in the clue was intended to be read as two words, i.e. "WITH" and "IN". I did not agree with that, and I still don't agree up to now. However, the CoC claimed that other reputable CoCs said there's nothing wrong with that explanation. So I had to reluctantly accept that that is an invention adopted in the treasure hunt clue in West Malaysia. But in terms of cryptic clue, of course it is still wrong.

As a matter of fact, I discussed that solution with the setter, Master Jayaram, via email. And as I had expected, he, too, didn't quite agree with that approach. Although I did not ask Jay to elaborate, it's clear to me why he disagreed.

Basically, there are two important rules in cryptic clueing:

1) That the setter may not mean what he says;

2) But he must say what he means.

The first rule is quite clear. It means that the setter gives a kind of storyline in his clue which is actually very different from his true meaning. So in that case, he may not mean what he says.

The second clue is the one which does not agree with the reading of a single word as multiple words. If the setter says "WITHIN", he cannot then claim that he means that as WITH + IN, or WI + THIN. Because for the simple reason, he did not say WITH and IN as separate independent words.

However if he had said, say, "LIGHT" he can claim that he means that as an adjective (not heavy); or possibly as a noun (the thing that is produce by an electric bulb). It is in that sense that he may say "LIGHT" and it looks like he means it as a noun, but actually, based on the first rule above, he means it as an adjective instead. Hence he may not mean what he says. BUT! he must say what he means! He cannot say THERAPIST, and then claim that he means that as THE and RAPIST.

I hope that helps to explain my objection.