Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rotary Hunt 2012—The Apple That Caused The Excitement

The Apple has a strange habit of causing a lot of excitement to the human race. Eons ago, it got Adam and Eve into big trouble which resulted in them getting banished from the Garden of Eden. 

Then many, many generations later, on one fine day, Isaac Newton was inspired when he saw an apple fall to the ground. He then propounded the law of motion in the Principia. His discovery changed the human race forever.

And then many, many generations after Newton, the world was once again excited when Steve Jobs started a company named Apple. He went on to invent and reinvent so many computer gadgets and became a millionaire because of his inventions.

All those people above have long died, and I thought that was the last time we would get excited because of the apple. But I was wrong. Last Sunday, during the answer presentation of the Rotary Club of Kinabalu Sutera Treasure Hunt 2012, the apple once again caused something of a stir.



An interesting idea which involves a magnificent leap through several translations between English and Malay. First, the need to identify the cryptic keys—TEMPATAN and ASING. These are cryptic indicators that signal the translation from English to Malay (TEMPATAN); and from Malay to English (ASING). The idea is to translate "BANYAK KERJA ASING" to JOBS; in which case, the clue can then be simplified to:


That's the first part. JOBS in this case refers to Steve Jobs who created the company named APPLE. And that APPLE is then translated into Malay on account of TEMPATAN to derive EPAL—voila!

This thing about involving translations and adopting synonyms in hunt clues is not new. The idea has been used countless of times in the past, and it has been developed into several styles, especially in West Malaysia where we have so many hunt setters. And all too often, we see the same tendency of translating words in the clue into their synonyms, but eventually arriving at different branches of meanings which are far from the original "instruction" of the clue.

Now it has been said that the setter may not mean what he says; but he must say what he means.

The first part of the rule is quite clear—it is the whole idea of the cryptic clue; the surface reading of the clue is intended to deceive the solver. So the setter can say something and may appear like he means it in a particular way, but actually he means it in another way.

For example:

I love to have dinner after 1 (6)

A typical cryptic clue in which that first letter "I" is the definition part. The rest of the sentence is the cryptic part. Here, LOVE = O; HAVE DINNER = DINE; 1 = I (as a Roman numeral). 

So O + DINE after I = IODINE, which agrees with that definition "I" (chemical symbol of Iodine).

The setter appears to tell a story about having dinner, but his true intention is hidden; he has a different meaning in mind. So he may not mean what he says. He did say what he means, however, as a charade operation, by connecting all the synonyms of the original words in his clue. He did say LOVE = O; he did say HAVE DINNER = DINE; he did say to put those after 1 = I. So he has obeyed both parts of the rule.

In Q8 above, the setter also adopted the same approach, i.e. trying to deceive the solver by saying something that has in fact a different meaning from his true intention. So he has obeyed the first part of the cryptic clueing rule. 

But has he obeyed the second part of the rule? At first glance, it seems like he did. But did he, really? Let us analyse.

BANYAK KERJA ASING = JOBS (one of several other possible synonyms)


JOBS created APPLE (the company)



Therefore, the setter did not say what he means. What actually happened here was that when "BANYAK KERJA ASING" is translated into "JOBS", that intended purpose of "JOBS" has changed from the original meaning of the clue—that is to say the meaning has changed from a common noun to a proper noun, thus rendering the failure to satisfy the second part of the cryptic clueing rule.


Jiki said...

I shouldn't have read this when I'm hungover and sitting in a ferry in the middle of the sea

Cornelius said...

My heart goes out to you, Jiki dear. You should join us one of these days... and when you do, don't drink the night before the hunt, ya hear!?