Monday, November 10, 2008


PENANG 8 Nov 08: Yes, we've got TIME and lots of it too!

Thanks to the generosity of Victorinox Swiss Army, one of the sponsors of the Top Gear Treasure Hunt, we each returned with a spanking Night Vision II TIMEpiece.

We've had a poor run with treasure clues for a quite few hunts now, either failing to break the treasure or more painfully, failing to find the treasure. In fact, I can't remember the last TIME we had successfully solved and returned with the stipulated number of treasures in a hunt.

And again, during the Top Gear hunt, one of the treasures had been a pain for us (and 47 other teams too we found out later) right up till the three quarter mark. Around that TIME, with some good fortune, our poor run ended with a pleasant din (a shriek and a squeal) coming from inside our vehicle, and rather TIMEly too for it could have made a difference to the positions in the end.

Since we've got time for one more treasure,
From its name get nine torn out to show for sure,
This beverage I want in a ready to drink pack,
And your points for certain are in the bag.

T4 was one of those treasure clues that would make one slam one's face against the dining table after the solution had been revealed (had one not solved it). It was simple, very simple, yet difficult.

At first glance the treasure clue seemed simple enough. One was required to anagram some words to form a product that was clearly some kind of drink. So out came the anagram tool to jumble the following combination of words from line 2 to form a familiar drink:

nine-torn (or ix-torn)
get-nine-torn (or get-ix-torn)
name-get-nine-torn (or name-get-ix-torn)
its-name-get-nine-torn (or its-name-get-ix-torn)

When those attempts led to nothing, we scurried to look for other angles. The word "we" in Line 1 then started to raise a few eyebrows. Who are "we"? Perhaps "we" do not mean the hunters, but the Organizers or the Clerk of Course themselves. Ha! We were then convinced that we were on to something. Just maybe the setter had wanted us to remove the above words (as opposed to anagramming) from Top Gear Malaysia or TIME Out Solutions. Bump! Another wall. There was no "nine" or "ix" to be found in either of these "we". After bumping into a few more walls, a lesson learnt from another recent hunt convinced us that perhaps the treasure was literally in the goodie bag. So off we went, scavanging into the goodie bag. Out came two cans of 7Up Revive and a few packets of Pre-mixed Nescafe 3+1 sachets. We spent some TIME to reverse engineer the solution using the items we salvaged from the goodie bag. Again nothing!

This went on until about the three quarter mark of the hunt, when one of us finally cracked the treasure by referring to the list of sponsors through pure intuition. So now, maybe "we" could be a particular sponsor. But the rest of us were still not convinced as we felt that there was no inkling (in the clue) that the treasure was related to any of the sponsors.

Oh! How wrong or blind we were!

It was refreshing that the setter, with a cunning choice of words, had chosen to subtly rather than directly lead the solver to one of the sponsors of the event. Hunters are clearly more familiar with words like, sponsor or supporter, or more directly, a drink sponsor. Here, the setter had mentioned nothing about any sponsor, but instead subtly pointed to a particular sponsor through its business. Familiarity breeds contempt, as they say and hunters tend to drop their guard when they do not find such familiar words in the clue.

The well hidden word "TIME" was meant to point the solver to the one and only watch sponsor in this hunt, Victorinox. And once you can discover this relationship, the rest of the solution is rather straightforward.

Removing (using out as a deletion key) the words ix-torn from Victorinox will yield Vico, a fortified chocolate milk drink that is readily available in stores.

Loved this treasure clue. So refreshing and cute!


Cornelius Koh said...

Well, it's about TIME... that we agree on something, 2R1I! HAHAHA!

A well-crafted clue indeed. TIME was not directly linked to the word VICTORINOX; yet adequately fair to guide the solver to the only watch sponsor in my opinion. The subtlety of the hint in the first line and how the word TIME blends in with the other words in the sentence, thus deceiving many master hunters.

My compliments to the setter for a job well done in this T4; in my opinion, certainly a contrast against the T4 of theSun Hunt.

And my compliments, too, to Hunters "R" Us for rising to the occasion with such a brilliant performance!

2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

Ha ha, I am sure we do agree on lots. Just that we choose not to dwell on those!