Thursday, July 14, 2011

ISM Hunt 2011

The ISM Hunt 2011 was organised last Sunday, 10th July, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of The Institution of Surveyors Malaysia. The Clerk-of-Course (CoC) was Kena Tembak aka Main Tembak.

The format of the hunt was like this:

45 route questions (2 points each) separated into 2 legs of 25 questions and 20 questions respectively. Challenges comprising trivia questions (10 points) and finding one's way to the Old Post Office Building (5 points) to collect the questions and tulips for Leg 1 (Part A). Time control was 6 hours plus 30 minutes penalty time (2 points deducted per 5 minutes' block). 4 treasure questions (5 points each).

Compared to the questions set in the Palliative Care Association Treasure Hunt 2009, Team Kena Tembak did extremely well in this hunt. I think they have come a long way in balancing the varying difficulty levels in the questions for this hunt. And the tougher ones were also well spread. I would prefer at least one of the four treasures to be cryptic. But we were unlucky anyway because even though we stopped by several places, we failed to find the required items, thus losing 10 points just like that! I have had a long history of losing points for solved treasures, I don't know why!

Perhaps a bit of complaint in the tulips which I thought was somewhat confusing, although once you get the hang of it, it should be smooth-going. My brother, Dennis, took the role of driver and navigator, and he went the wrong way a few times, thus losing some precious minutes.

A few weeks before this hunt, I was at risk of not joining it since my team members were unable to hunt. Edward had something on that day, so he opted out. He has been the driver for a while now. He doesn't really contribute much as far as solving clues. Dennis is also very weak in cryptic clueing, and he doesn't seem to have much more scope of improving. Vivian decided to join her colleagues in her original team. So for a while I was contemplating not joining, until I found out that Claire and Christy could come onboard. We rarely have hunts here in KK, so if I can join, I would certainly do so, even if I don't have my own team! I renamed my team Megapawns Reboot.

I don't have much to comment on the questions—I think I can safely say that about half of them were very straightforward ones, with almost no cryptic element in them. For example, a picture of Michelle Obama led to the answer: First Lady (Men's) Hairdressing Centre; "LEMBU-LEMBU SIBUK DI SINI" required "Cow Cow Busy" as the answer.

A bit of defects in grammar, but no major impact on the solution:



I suppose I can live with the missing "TO" after the word "REFERRED", but I'd like to do things exactly right if I can help it.

In terms of style, I'm OK with the clues, but I prefer the surface reading to be slightly more elegant in that the storyline should be meaningful or even amusing.



It's hard to imagine what's the "story" behind the clue, but I guess it fits the answer very well. However, I'm glad to note that almost all of the questions were sound. The only one question that I feel worth discussing:



Elsewhere I have commented against the violation of basic cryptic clueing rules. For the benefit of the new hunters, there are two basic rules in cryptic clueing:

1) The setter may not mean what he says;

2) But he must say what he means

The first rule is quite straightforward—it means exactly that. He fashions out the clue in such a way so that the surface reading appears to mean something other than his true intention. By means of wordplay he tries to deceive the solver by bringing him as far away as possible from the scent of the solution!

The second rule is a bit more complicated. No matter how the setter twists the sentences, he must say what he means. There are exceptions, of course, such as "built-in" indicators. For example "EARTHQUAKE" may yield HEART, because that word "QUAKE" is an anagram indicator, thus resulting in the rearrangement of the letters in EARTH to form HEART. If the setter says "LIGHT" in his clue, he may mean it as a noun (something produced by an electric bulb); or he may mean it as an adjective (not heavy). Or perhaps some other synonyms. But he is bound by what he says!

When the setter says THERAPIST, he cannot then claim that he means that as two separate words, i.e. THE and RAPIST. To do so will violate the second rule above!

However, I must hasten to say that in KL apparently it has become fashionable for CoCs to use words which they don't mean such as in this example. So I guess it is all a matter of taste and style, but not adhering to cryptic clueing rule.

In one of my own hunts, I set the following question:

Q1) This business runs a partial translation?


Notice that I used the word "RUNS" in the question, but I meant it as two separate elements, i.e. "RUN" and "S". Only the "RUN" portion is required to be translated into Malay, whereas the "S" remains undisturbed. Have I violated my own policy? My defence is that I did say what I meant, because I supported the "RUNS" by saying the clue involved a "partial translation" only.

My contention is that if the setter says the answer is UNIT, then he is bound by that word and its synonyms, and only within those parameters. I disagree that he is then allowed to claim that he meant UNIT as two separate elements, i.e. "U" and "NIT", so that the "NIT" can be equated to "TICK" to derive the answer. At the very least, my view is that the setter should have included a "?" at the end of the clue to signal some sort of indirect use of the word UNIT.

I think Claire and Christy have the capacity to go a long way in treasure hunting, and if opportunity arises again in the future, I would not hesitate to welcome them back into my team.

When we failed to find 2 treasures, I knew that we were in big trouble. Many of the weaker teams found at least 3 treasures. So even before the results were announced, I told my team mates that we would be out of the top 5! And true enough, we ended up 7th! It was a good hunt nonetheless, and I would congratulate the CoC for a job well done!

Results of the hunt (full score 125):

1) 110pt—Richard Tsen, Jeffrey Fong, Liaw Lam Thye, Florence Lajangang

2) 109pt—Teo Chen Lung, Leslie Yew, Tan Cher Kian, Frederick Samson

3) 109pt—Ernie Jason Ripin, Roland Ripin, Jude Ripin

4) 107pt—Insan Muslimin, Felix Joikon, Stella Moluntang, Daisy Mak

5) 104pt—Malcolm Abidin, Talissa Kiandee, Andrea Abidin, Callum Abidin

6) 104pt—Harry Koh, Buddy Jiliun, Sophia Lai, Raymond Woo

7) 98pt—Cornelius Koh, Dennis Koh, Claire Andrew, Christy Kong

8) 97pt—Ellen Yee, Mary Lokupi, Shirley Lim, Tsen Mei Fong

9) 92pt—Edwin Sabinus, Denny Lajitan, Mervyn Tham, Jeffrey Ismail

10) 90.5pt—Grace Chong, Vivian Cham, Joanna Stidi, Chan Mon Hueg

11) 90pt—Eileen Yeoh, Lee Tse Jim, Serene Liew, Moina Liew

12) 89pt—Gregory George, Dominic George, Clare Fabian, Dinah Mojiloh

13) 85.5pt—Ag Sarpudin, Zurinah, Jaffry, Agku Abd Rahim

14) 83pt—Victoria Jingulam, Irene Lee, Jennifer Julius

15) 80.5pt—Thomas Wong, Millie Teng, Terence Wong, Melvin Wong

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