Monday, March 5, 2012

Novice Hunt 3

It seemed like it's been ages ago since I last clerked a treasure hunt, and I have almost forgotten how much fun it could be—until yesterday, when I clerked the Novice Hunt 3. When it was confirmed that the KK City Tourism Treasure Hunt was postponed to June, some friends requested me to organise a hunt as a replacement. Despite my initial reluctance, I eventually decided to do it anyway.

I'm known to be cryptic in my hunt clues, but for the Novice Hunt, I decided to be friendlier in my approach. I said friendlier—not necessarily easier! Of course there would be cryptic clues, but I made sure that there're many trivia type questions which required mainly googling exercise. That, hopefully, would give the new hunters fighting chances, though perhaps still not winning chances. The first thing I did was to come up with a plan on how best to set a hunt that's not impossibly tough for the new hunters, but at the same time not gonna be a stroll in the park for the regular teams. The answer came to me like lightning. The only way was to employ the power of psychology into the hunt.

The hunt should start with elementary hunt questions, i.e. those which the regular teams would most likely solve in a heartbeat. And when it's tougher, it shouldn't be very tough. Even in the Lintas Sq sector, I posed this question:

Q9) A 100, when done to a chair?

Which made some of the regular teams pause just for a while, but soon figured out the solution.

So most of the regular teams had a fairly pleasant ride during the earlier part of the hunt. But the dangerous thing about achieving a perfect score in the course of the hunt is that it will lead to greed. And greed is a terrible thing as we all know. I decided to throw in some tough questions in the Damai Ph 4 sector, which was about the midway point of the hunt. Many of the strong teams would want to try very hard to find the answers for the tough questions, even if at the cost of losing precious time. Having been able to score well up to that point had the effect on the stronger teams—they would want to keep the "clean" record going, and I thought they'd risk everything!

Of the 5 questions in Damai, I'd say 2 were tough; and 1 was tricky:

Q18) When I'm gone, Agent Harry remains.

Perhaps many of the teams spent a lot of time searching through the internet, trying to find out who Agent Harry might be, and then hope to solve the question from there.

Q20) Gotta make a move to its beginning.

And of course one of the tricky little questions which was somewhat mind-boggling until when suddenly some hunters saw the trick for what it's worth.

Q21) The main answer. What and where?

I'm not sure if it's because of lack of word power, or because of the fact that this answer was found in an unexpected location, though clearly visible from the car, but in the end, this turned out to be the question of the day!

As I said, I had deliberately set the trap, but I did not expect that it'd work to such an extent. I myself was there in Damai Ph 4, watching the hunters in action. And in the heat of the moment, driven by greed, pride, and perhaps stubbornness, most of them spent well over an hour for these 3 questions! The hunting strategy that defied logic and common sense! It was then that I knew they'd get into time trouble in the Donggongon sector, as I had set what I considered 1 more tough question there.

It is almost expected that after a succession of several tough questions, usually sooner or later, the easier ones would come. Immediately after the teams left Damai Ph4—and most of them still trying to recover from the unpleasant time-wasting experience—they moved to the nearby sector in Damai Ph1 where they had expected an easier question. And in fact, it was indeed an easy question:

Q23) Lancelot or Hang Tuah, for example, beats the king.

And the answer, or rather the decoy, was glaringly seen on a huge signboard.

Except that many of them failed to realise the significance of those words "beats the king", and therefore missed this intended answer, which was located almost next to the decoy!

The rest of the questions between Damai and Donggongon ranged from easy to average mind teasers and the strong teams covered the sectors fairly comfortably, with perhaps some stops here and there, but generally did quite well throughout.

But by the time they reached Donggongon, most of them were already in time trouble. Coupled with the fact that the Donggongon sector contained many, many signboards and the tricky nature of the questions, most of the teams crumbled like nobody's business:

Q31) Expelled from occupation, when done to EV.

It was also around then that I noticed teams were also rushing into the supermarket to secure their treasures. I was also there in the supermarket and was fairly amused to see many, many disappointed faces.

Beyond that Donggongon sector, most of the teams were not really hunting; they were merely passing through the remaining sectors, thus dropping most of the questions along the route—a sad but common outcome of an overzealous attitude of wanting too hard to find all the answers during the earlier part of the hunt, thus resulting in leaving no more time for the tail end of the hunt! It is quite funny that many of the questions dropped by the strong teams within the last few sectors were easy ones, which the new teams managed to solve!

As I had expected, some teams incurred the time penalty; one of them almost got disqualified. It's quite an instructive hunt to say the least, but I doubt that these teams will ever learn. I myself, when hunting, quite often still commit the crime of refusing to move on when the situation calls for it!

Some surprises of the day—Team Mung Cha Cha, which is almost always stuck at the fourth position, won the hunt convincingly, beating the favourite team, Cuba Tembak, with a 10-point margin. An even bigger surprise was that a new team, Winged Beaver, sneaked up the leader board to finish third, thus denying several regular teams which became victims of their dubious gameplan.

Champion of Novice Hunt 3: Team Mung Cha Cha

The top 5 teams of the day:

1) Ellen Yee, Shirley Lim, Mary Lokupi, Dr Liaw Yun Haw (84/100)
2) Alvin Wong, Audrey Chin, Susanna Sim, Julia Chan (74/100)
3) Gregory George, Dominic Lansing, Claire Fabian, Dinah Molijoh (73/100)
4) Jude R Ripin, Roland R Ripin, Maria D Micabalo, Loise A Prudente (66/100)
5) Johan Amilin, Siti Nurhanaa Abdullah, Johari Jan 65/100)


CK said...

Congrats MCC!
Oh, how I miss the hunts!!!!

Cornelius said...


Unfortunately, I have allocated prizes only for the top 5 teams, and De StoneS Limited (Teo kept reminding me to emphasize on the "Limited", so that other teams are aware that it's not a complete team} got sixth. They, too, fell victims to the Damai Ph4 Qs and had to drop several Qs at the tail end of the hunt. In the end, Jolly Roger beat them on questions countback tie-break!

Cornelius said...

By the way, to the friend who asked me the question, my answer is "YES", the LEGEND ACE SDN BHD, though substantially smaller than its decoy, can be clearly seen from the car.

Christine said...

Well done Master COC. Very interesting & clever plotted Questions. Solvable with a bit of research and careful thinking ( minus the stress factor & time constrain of course). Love the ADDICTED & LEGEND ACE. SEA is a "jahat" one. Congratulations all winners. MCC proud that you guys took the trophy (ada ka?). Wish I was there.


peter said...

Hi, Corny. It's been a long time for a post like this.

Q31 - Expelled from occupation, when done to EV.

My Explanation:

Expelled from occupation = [answer] + EV

Expelled from occupation = [Add-icted] + EV

Expelled from occupation = ictedEV

(ictedEV) not equal Evicted ???


[when done to EV] means [EV + answer]

Cornelius said...


So sayang lah you're unable to make this hunt. I set the Qs based on the presence of Main Tembak as a full team, but it wasn't until the last minute when Alvin informed me that you and hubby won't be able to make it. By then I was so lazy to adjust the difficulty level!

Hopefully you can hunt as a full team when I organise my KK Challenge 8 later this year.

Cornelius said...

Hi Peter,

It's been a while indeed! It's nice to know that you are still following my blog!

Q31)Expelled from occupation, when done to EV.

You're partially correct in your analysis, Peter, but the final tweaking is a bit out.

"Expelled from occupation" is what we can refer to as the "definition" part of the clue. And we need to deal with the "riddle" part of that clue to fit that "definition".

"...when done to EV." means we are basically looking for a process or an operation that needs to be carried out on those letters EV to achieve that definition.

So what should be done to EV (to get EVICTED)? Well, what needs to be done is we need to ADD those letters "ICTED", so that we can complete the spelling of EVICTED.


Am I confusing you, Peter?... haha!

Dominic said...

We certainly had fun during that day!!! We the "Memerang Bersayap" were certainly very suprised to accidently "overtake" some of the regular & more experience team :D

Cornelius said...

Good job, Dominic, and congratulations! But you should know that you have inevitably made yourselves a target in the next hunt! These regular teams are all up for REVENGE. I know at least Teo Chen Lung of Team De StoneS Ltd wants to claim back what belongs to him!

So are you ready to fight, Dominic? Seems like there's something brewing over the horizon. I have a feeling Teo needs not wait till the KK City Hunt for revenge!

Cornelius said...

Oh! Peter, someone pointed out to me what seems to be the problem with your approach. That word "ADD" is rather open in this case. Yes, I can agree that you can "add" the "ICTED" in front of EV (since there is nothing in the clue that says you can't add in front), but then again, there is also nothing in the clue that says you can't add after the EV.

So, here we have something different from the usual jigsaw-puzzle type of question. The more common clue is one that gives the solver the process or procedure to work with.

For example, another question from this hunt was like this:

Q26) Search in front of the street.

In the above example, "SEARCH" is the definition, and the rest of the clue gives the process to be followed by the solver to complete the word QUEST (SEARCH). In other words, the solver needs to find something to be "in front of the street" to make QUEST.

Here, "street" is "ST", so the solver will have to look for "QUE" on the signboard. Hence,

A26) Que'Beauty Saloon

In the case of Q31, the clue gives the solver the result of the process, and the solver will have to find that process.

If I ask you, for example,

What should be done to 10 to get 15? Your answer would probably be: ADD 5.


What should be done to EV to get EVICTED? Your answer should be: ADD "ICTED"

peter said...

I understand question. The intention is to add 'icted' to 'EV' to get EVICTED which is expelled from occupation.

What I don't quite get is this:

Add [A] to [B].

Should it not be [AB]? But in your question, it is [BA]!!!

And could you explain Q18 and 20. Couldn't get both!!

Cornelius said...

OK, let's put it like this:

Imagine that I'm asking you to write a word, say, HOUSE. And you start to write down that word. But now suddenly you realise that you don't know how to spell that word in full; you only know how the first 3 letters, i.e. HOU, and then you don't know what other letters should follow!

You then ask me how to spell that word in full, and I say to you:

Oh! Peter, that's easy, you just add SE to your HOU!

Now how would you write that word in full based on my instruction?

Would you write:



Answer that question first, and I'll see if I can help you to elaborate further on possible options.

I'll post this first and continue shortly...

Cornelius said...

Oh on second thought, Peter, I'll explain later... kinda busy now. Need to clear my desk of some files first!... Later!

peter said...

I would say sehou, based on my understanding.

But I may ask you now if it could be at the back, based on what you written in the first reply:

"but then again, there is also nothing in the clue that says you can't add after the EV."

And based on your same reply, I may also ask you if 'SE' to be inserted between H-O-U, since you did not mention in your instruction.

But isn't the clue supposed to tell you exactly what to do - in front or center or end???

My thought is this: Add [A] to [B] means AB. If it supposed to BA, then the instruction should be different.

Let me explain why I am so fixated over this. I have been doing the cryptic crossword in for some time. And it is using this rule. It kind of etched into my brain.

Dominic said...

Bring it on!! Ehem.. I mean can bah if you hehe... Revenge ah, no la I think we the strange creature will always be the underdog hehe ;)

Cornelius said...


Sorry for the delay of this reply... just got back from running.

What you learnt from, I'm afraid I'm unable to comment because, truth be told, I have no idea where to start! It would help, however, if you could cite examples therefrom, of which I might then be in a position to analyse and comment.

In the mean time, let me now state my case. In the English language, we write from left to right. The flow and the sequence of the letters are from left to right. When we "add" additional letters, and hence words, it is only natural to add on the right. And we keep adding to the right in absence of instructions to the contrary. It is very, very rare and unnatural to suddenly jump back to add the "SE" on the left of "HOU" in my earlier example. And if you say that they are authorities claiming that to be correct, then I would like to see examples.

Let me post this first and then continue again shortly...

Cornelius said...

I suspect, Peter, that there is here some sort of confusion and maybe mixed up with the charade operation, which is usually according to the sequence of the order in which the components appear in the clue.

For example, in this hunt, I gave:

Q33)It takes one to be clever

A33) PANDA Security

because PANDA "takes" i = CLEVER. In this case, "It" comes first in the clue, and "It" takes the "i", and in that order to make CLEVER. At any rate, notice that the process of "taking" the "i" follows the natural flow of writing, i.e. from left to right.

Another example from this hunt, of a charade clue is a little out of the ordinary:

Q30)A required answer is likely

That "required answer" is the thing that we are looking for in this case. But it's location in the "equation" is fixed. As a charade puzzle, it follows that the equation that results is:


In which case that required answer is PT, thus

A30) PT Management Services Company

Cornelius said...

I would be pleased to see examples of what you picked up from Maybe there are new things to learn therefrom.

Now let me go for a quick shower!

Cornelius said...

Oh yes, I will explain Q18 in a bit; it takes quite a bit of explanation that one. But as for Q20, there is nothing magical about it. Some of the teams finally found the answer after over half an hour walking under the hot sun, staring at the signboard the whole time.

Q20) Gotta make a move to its beginning.

In this case, "its beginning" is the definition part of the clue. And hunters will have to figure out the riddle part "Gotta make a move to..."

Let me now give you this link, and you should be able to figure out the rest.

2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

Peter, unless the COC specifically requests to add the fodder to the back or to the front of the signage (which is spoon-feeding in my opinion), the onus should be on the hunter to figure it out.

Cornelius said...

Damn!... your explanation is much more efficient than mine, 2R1I!... haha!

Cornelius said...

OK, now the explanation for Q18.

Q18) When I'm gone, Agent Harry remains.

This question, in my opinion, is not so elegant, though of course the solution is tight. It's not the kind of clue the crosswords experts would admire. I'd imagine that the best crosswords expert can solve the trickiest clues in the confines of his home, filling up the empty grids in the most efficient fashion.

But he can't do that with Q18 without being in the hunt sector and sifting through all the possible candidates. Q18 is no more no less the challenge of solving the answer to fit the question; and not solving the question to find the answer! Let me explain.

The clue signals some sort of deletion operation from the words "When ??? gone", then something will happen.

In this case, the first thing to do is to find any signboard containing the letters I and M, because we will have to delete those letters from the board on account of "gone". That's the first part.

The the second part of the clue tells the thing that remains after I and M are gone. And what is that thing that remains? AGENT HARRY.

Harry, as I learnt from Master Jayaram Menon a while ago, is a verb, and as a verb, it qualifies as an anagram indicator.

Looking at the signboard, after removing the letters I and M, what remains are T, A, E, N & G. And on account of the anagram indicator "HARRY", those are actually the jumbled up letters found in the word AGENT.

A18) Kedai Kopi TAI MENG

peter said...

Thanks for the explanation for Agent Harry. I understood the modus operandi of the question, but what I don't know is 'Harry being a verb'.

From, the synonyms for harry are: pester, annoy, attack, badger etc. That would have qualify it as an anagram indicator.

What really surprised me was you knew that on 6 March 2012!! 3 days after the hunt!! What were you thinking when you set the question???

Thanks again for taking time off to answer. While I noted that you may have a new 'love', consider doing one of those virtual hunt for us. I think those in the 'West' would love it, although I suspect many here would 'love to hate' your guts (your I AM A PERFECTIONIST character) :-))

Cornelius said...


Perhaps when I said "I learnt from Master Jayaram Menon a while ago", I gave the wrong impression that I just asked him for the explanation a few minutes ago. What I meant to say was "a while ago" as in quite a long while ago. It was during one of those hunts when I was lucky enough to secure a seat in Hunters "R" Us, riding along with Marsha, KK Chai and the late Master Vincent Woo. I have since checked on that word and stored it in my memory, and after a lapse of few years, only now was able to use that word in my clue! Of course when I set that "Agent Harry" question, I knew about HARRY!

I will post this first and continue shortly...

Cornelius said...

Regarding your suggestion for a virtual hunt, I have realised for a while now - quite a long while - that my style may not be very appealing after all. I doubt that many in the West would agree with you... that "they would love it".

My clues are in many ways perhaps what one might describe as "text book approach"; maybe even old-fashioned and not so exciting. From what I can see, this style is no longer appealing in the West. Nowadays, the trend seems to be leaning towards something extraordinary, maybe the solutions found several levels at unfathomable depth, and even dramatic in its explanation, of which accuracy is not really the priority. The point is, there is a solution! After all the game is still evolving, and I'm the one at fault because I'm not evolving according to the tide.

Anonymous said...

Hello Cornelius.
Your questions are not old-fashioned. They are timeless.They have wit and variety.And they have economy and accuracy.
Keep up the good work.
Yes, a virtual hunt would be nice.


Cornelius said...

Thank you, Jay, for such a generous compliment!

Honestly, I haven't been following the latest in the hunting scene for quite a long time now, except for glimpses of questions shared by the few hunters who, oddly enough, still had faith in my opinion!

I can see that the standard of hunt questions in the West had progressed quite far since the last time I hunted there, and I'm having trouble keeping track of the current styles in clueing techniques.

It seems to me hunt questions these days are more sophisticated, and they are becoming increasingly about mind-reading and knowing the setter(s); perhaps less about conventional cryptic clueing principles. A year of hiatus from the hunting scene, and I'm already having a hard time trying to fathom the depth of hunt clues of the West! I can only conclude that if I were to set a virtual hunt now, it will be no longer a challenge to the hunters from the West. Besides, I'm not sure I can find the time to organise one anyway!