Monday, September 22, 2008


This was one of the six questions we had dropped during the Kairali II hunt. An English 101 question, which was placed smack right in the 1st question sector.

Q3) Get up and go after the worst launch.
Ans: BestDrive

My only grouse about this otherwise very good question would be the redundancy of the word launch. In my opinion the main reason the CoC selected this word was obviously to disguise worst as an adjective although he had intended it to be a verb or a transitive verb. The secondary reason was to use launch as a keyword to indicate place at the start. But since he had after in the sentence, I thought the use of launch was redundant.

The way the question was phrased, if you're experienced enough can probably tell that it is pointing to a charade type of answer or a dwi-word definition type of answer (because of the lack of keywords). Scanning around the sector, there were probably less than 10 signs (because the sector was cut off by Q1 and Q3 which we had solved). Yet the answer eluded us in the end.

Why you ask? Simple, looking at Best from BestDrive, one is quick to rule this sign out as a possible answer although Drive does seem to be an action word that relates well to Get up and go. For best, to most, is an antonym rather than a synonym to worst. However, if one were to take the time to check the reference books, one would learn that best too can be a synonym for worst, in the context of "to get the better of" or "to defeat".

Lesson learnt here - never take any words for granted, especially the ones (well disguised antonyms) that appear glaringly in the sector! But I am not sure that there exist many pairs like these ones.


Cornelius Koh said...

What was Jay's explanation for the presence of "launch" in the clue?

2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

That was it, in the words of our Master.

jaymen said...

Hello VK. Thank you for your kind words.

Coming to the redundancy of "launch" in the question, maybe you can look at it this way:

The surface reading was intended to give the impression of a person who is invited to a launch ( of something) which turns out badly - so he ups and leaves.
Based on that I intended "launch" as a noun and "worst" as an adjective.That would , I think, satisfy the grammatical rules of the construct. So, definitely, I "did not not mean what I said".

However, in my explanation , I only talk of how the question was to be cracked -in order to reach the answer.

"best" and "worst" as VTs are perfect equivalents.They are so defined in dictionaries. (My particular one is the Websters New World College Dictionary 4th Edition.)In 2 thesauri, at least, I have found both of them cross-referenced. I bring it up here - because there was a comment after that explanation where someone said "What thesaurus does HE have?"

I knew most teams would crack the "get-up-and-go" portion.But how many would actually check up Best & Worst ? Which brings us to your question of how many more word-sets are out there that belong to this category? I know of 1 more --but I'm not telling! Let's wait for a future hunt to find that one out!



2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

Jay, thank you for your explanation.

I hope you don't mind me sharing a few of your more interesting questions with readers of my blog.

I included some tips for the up and coming ones, to hopefully bridge the gap between the fresh and the seasoned ones.

Cornelius Koh said...

Master Jay,

I don't think that anyone is disputing the purpose of the word "launch" in the literal meaning of the sentence. In fact that word is required for a more complete construction of the sentence. If the sentence had ended with the word "worst", then it would have somehow appeared "hanging"; incomplete. Therefore, in the literal sense, and for the purpose of good surface reading, we can accept that word "launch" in the clue.

Having said that, however, in my humble opinion, "launch" must also be accounted for in the cryptic sense.

Consider this example from my recent hunt:

Q) Go to the capital of England to combine the engine.


When reading the clue in the literal sense, it gives the impression that we are going to London to combine (assemble?) the engine. The construction of the sentence is complete in that it gives a valid storyline. The words contained therein are all required to deliver the "story".

The point of the clue is that, in the cryptic sense, the "Go to the capital of England to combine" is meant to cover the word UNIT (where "combine" is the definition); whereas "the engine" is meant to cover the word MOTOR.

Now imagine that the required answer is just a signboard containing UNIT, but without the word MOTOR. Can we still accept the clue as perfect? Wouldn't we then say that "the engine" are redundant words? They are required for the perfect construction of the sentence in the literal sense, but they are redundant in the cryptic sense. And it so happens that the answer is derived from the cryptic sense.

I think it's in that sense that the issue of word redundancy was raised in connection with this clue.

jaymen said...

Thanks for your feedback, Cornelius.
Cryptically, “launch” reinforces the positional keyword already indicated by “after”.

VK, I definitely don’t mind your sharing with your readers. Here’s my tip to all your upcoming, serious readers. Just going to Hunts is NOT enough to improve.What you need to do is to practice everyday.

Do “The Star” crossword everyday.At the start , it will be hard-going .You might not get a single clue.If so, just look at the answer and try to reverse-engineer.After 2 years of practicing , your capability in cracking cryptic questions will be dramatically improved.At that time you should be able to do the Star Crossword in an hour or so.

Of course, take part in Actual hunts so as to improve other aspects which are essential.These are : Working under a time deadline, Effective Communication and Cooperation, Delegation & Strategy.

Regards, Jay.

Cornelius Koh said...

Ah! I can see the purpose of "launch" from your point of view, Jay. I read VK's post again and realised that he had explained it there too, but I somehow didn't quite get it then.

I think if that's the explanation, then I can understand VK's objection (if indeed he objects) to the word "launch".

If I understand you correctly, Jay, the solution is something like this:

Get up and go = DRIVE;

worst = BEST

And then,

DRIVE after BEST placed at the start

I think if that's the explanation, then I would question the necessity for the "reinforcement" of "after".


DRIVE, BEST placed at the start




DRIVE after BEST placed at the start

looks a bit odd to me.

There was one hunt when I set this clue:

Q) In a way, cube of ten found here

A) Amway

After the hunt, a number of regular hunters gave thumbs up for this clue. They thought it's unique and entertaining. But actually I took some time to debate this clue with myself before finally satisfying myself.

You see, that word "here" at the end of the sentence is meant to reinforce the word "In" at the beginning of the sentence. I did not like the clue at first because there was no necessity for "here", but without that "here" the sentence would look odd.

Another way to construct the sentence is like this:

Q) Cube of then found in a way

But that would throw away an otherwise good idea. But in the end I saw a way out, and that was by adding the little comma in the sentence. With the addition of that comma, we have a different scenario. We have a short pause and then followed by the "reinforcement" idea you speak of. In other words, the solution is something like this:

cube of ten = M


In a way, M found here.

Maybe some people like

In a way, M is found.

which is somewhat poetic in nature.

These things can become quite technical and confusing, but still interesting to discuss.

By the way, Jay, I am itching to know the other "worst-best" pair you have in your arsenal (smile).