Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Just like fine wine to connoisseurs, I find new tricks (or seldom-used old tricks) in treasure hunting circles to be very enticing, and am very appreciative whenever I get the opportunity to experience such tricks used during a hunt. Having said that, one man's meat could be another man's poison, and there will be differing opinions on what one considers as fine wine.

The standard tricks, I consider as no longer tricks per-say. They are being used so often that they instead become part of a treasure hunter's vocabulary.

Below is a treasure clue from my archives that I had used in a past hunt. I thought it would be refreshing to stray from the convention of using glaring in-my-face keywords to represent the play (eg. break to represent the need to anagram some fodder). However, I did not want to make a sudden transition (for fear of rotten tomatoes). To soften the approach and aid the transition, I decided to continue using keywords, but subtly, in the final result ..... a storyline type treasure.

In the end, all teams brought in the right treasure, but only one explained it the way I had intended.

A woman received from two undercover agents a secret note containing the following 3 lines. After decoding the note, she quickly destroyed it. Minutes later, when she recalled what she had read, she realized that there was something more to it.


I may just be tempted to unleash more of these type of treasures. And perhaps one fine day, I might just completely remove the use of these glaring keywords, but still design it to be very much solvable.

Now back to those elusive treasures from theSun Motor Hunt 2008.

Bring me a drink that's easy to find,
Turn it to shine a treasure of the fruitful kind.

Ans: Tropicana Twister Fruit Drink (Any flavour)

As I had mentioned in a friend's blog, I felt that this treasure clue was both refreshing and brilliant. The setter refreshingly employed the use of Double Duty cluing by using Turn both as an anagram keyword as well as a synonym. Supplemented with other facts ie. a drink, fruitful kind, I felt that the setter did enough to narrow down the list of possibilities to ensure that the end result would be solvable.

Role #1: Turn as an anagram keyword
Anagramming the phrase it to shine a will yield hesitation, or as they say in crossword dictionaries er.

Role #2: Turn serving as a synonym
Twist is a synonym of Turn.

Finally, putting the two components together, we will get Twister.

If I am not wrong, only three teams successfully brought in the right treasure, but none for the intended reasons. Most were led to this treasure by chance, from the first line in the clue that stated that it is easy to find and what can be easier than the goodie bag that was already in our possession!

Figure out these picture clues carefully,
And an edible item will appear surely.

Ans: Giant Ground Nuts

The idea behind the solution was simple enough. First look at each picture, then identify a word or words that would best represent each picture and finally piece together all these words to form an edible treasure.

The intended solution:
Picture A: Soldier ant, which cryptically can be represented by Giant
Picture B: Tun
Picture C: S

And through the use of Ground (ie. smash) in the product as the anagram keyword, the intended solution was Giant Ground Nuts.

While I felt T2 was outstanding, in total contrast I considered T4 to be downright awful. I felt that the setter did not do enough here to narrow down the possibilities, and in essence did not protect himself from a barrage of possibilities.

Obviously when setting this treasure clue, the setter had underestimated the power of the human mind. For the human imagination has the ability to come out with not one, not two but tens or hundreds of words that can be associated to each picture.

As an example, the following is a small list of words (and there are more) that can be associated to each picture:

Picture A: ant, semut, insect, serangga, etc.
Picture B: man, ex-PM, Dr, Mahatir, Chedet, retiree, lelaki, l, face, Tun, IV (4th PM), etc.
Picture C: e, w, n, s, se, u, b, t, tenggara, vane, cock, rooster, ayam, points, etc.

When the permutation of possibilities becomes substantial (as in this case), there is a high chance that the setter will eventually lose control over the likelihood that his intended answer remains THE exclusive fit!

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