Monday, March 2, 2009


The 30 route questions

Q1. Our 'flower' symbol printed here do not allow admittance.
Ans: Line X Spray-on Truck Bedliners.
Explanation: No Entry sign printed on Line 10 of Tulips

KK's comment : This is one of the oldest tricks in treasure hunting where the answer is in your hands. Only two teams (of which one is a newbie) got this right. Popular answer for the day "Percetakan Okid" which unfortunately did not answer the "no admittance" part. Difficulty level : Easy

Q2. Hit the bull's eye if you hit this on the head.
Ans: Nail.
Explanation: Hit the nail on the head = Hit the bull's eye = spot on

KK's comment : A direct definition question and yet caught many by surprise; only one elite team got this right. We agree this is a hard to spot answer but not impossible. Difficulty level : Medium

Q3. Wrapped up inquiry as inconclusive.
Ans: Iryas Inc (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.
Explanation: 'Wrapped up in' is the keyword pointing to a container hidden within the rest of the sentence.

KK's comment : A simple "container" question which was well answered. Difficulty level : Easy

Q4. Bill empowered by anarchic leader?
Ans. Gates Authorised Dealer.
Explanation: Gates = Bill, authorised = empowered, dealer = anagram of leader (anagram pointer = anarchic)

KK's comment : Yet another simple question that was well answered. Difficulty level : Easy

Q5. Midpoint entry for E18?
Ans: SLK.
Explanation: Midpoint = i (container pointer = mid), i + SLK (insertion pointer = entry) = SILK = E18 (SILK Highway)

KK's comment : This was crafted to create awareness in Malaysian highways where you might be interested to know that there are many other interesting names in them eg. E1&2 PLUS, E6 ELITE, E23 SPRINT and latest E33 DUKE. For this needed knowledge, we ranked this question : Medium

Q6. Outfit sporting an unlucky number? What and where.
Ans: 13 on shorts of boy @ Kompleks 3C.
Explanation: Outfit = shorts, 13 = a number commonly referred to as unlucky

KK's comment : A simple spotting question, but only 16 teams got this right. For those who did not, be sure to look left too the next time you hunt. Difficulty level : Easy

Q7. The wind may keep them working round the clock.
Ans: H & S Car Audio Acc.
Explanation: Them = hands of the clock, some clocks need to be wound to make them work, Hands = H & S (where & = AND)

KK's comment : Slightly trickier question, but shouldn't be a problem if you read the "wind" correctly as in "an act of winding (a clock)". Also do take note of the "&" in future hunts as this has been used numerous of times to denote "AND". In a recent hunt, two ";;" (semicolons)were used to denote "COL". Difficulty level : Medium

Q8. Spread content around here to make it uniform.
Ans: SIS.
Explanation: ConSIStent = Uniform (insertion pointer = spread around)

KK's comment : A straightforward question. Just look up the synonyms for "uniform" and "consistent" will be your very good target since you are asked to spread "content" around here (SIS). Difficulty level : Easy

Q9. Tube that comes in two sizes?
Ans: Metro Driving Academy (in between M and L).
Explanation: Tube = Metro, two sizes = M and L (container pointer = in)

KK's comment : A simple question where a simple knowledge is tested, more than half answered this, therefore in my opinion the difficulty level : Easy

Q10. Shades for protection?
Ans: Shell.
Explanation: Hell = Hades, S+hell = S+hades, shell is used for protection

KK's comment : This is intended to be a tricky question, with "Colour Solutions" to pose as a "red herring". The question requires pattern recognition and word substitution i.e S + HADES = S + HELL. Hats off to the 2 teams (regular & newbie) who successfully answered this. Difficulty level : Tough

Q11. A related occurrence between twilight and breaking dawn?
Ans: New Moon
Explanation: New Moon is a story narrated by Stephenie Meyer as part of the Twilight Series with Twlight and Breaking Dawn as the first and last books of the series. New Moon is also a monthly lunar phase when the moon lies in between the Earth and the Sun.

KK's comment : Another general knowledge question well answered especially by regulars and newbies. The books referred are currently on the best-seller list with the first (Twilight) now a box office hit movie and was recently shown in local cinemas. The second movie (New Moon) is now in the pipeline. Difficulty level : Medium

Q12. Tore?
Ans: Efficient Edge (M) Sdn Bhd.
Explanation: The edge of the word Efficient = the letters T or E. This type of question is commonly referred to as Double Jeopardy. (acrostic pointer = edge)

KK's comment : A double jeopardy (DJ) question that posed a bit more difficult compared to other DJs that commonly used anagrams or simple acrostics as clues. Because the question is just a single word of only 4 letters, this could easily be seen as a DJ. The easiest way for solvers to tackle this would be to study the signboard and find an answer that fits this DJ. The trick here is also the ability to break up the word to read as "T or E". Difficulty level : Tough

Q13. Opening of Shakespeare's English classic here will witness the comeback of a star.
Ans: SIP.
Explanation: Opening of Shakespeare's English classic = SEC (acrostic pointer = opening), SEC+SIP (insertion pointer = here, reversal pointer = comeback) = PISCES = zodiac star.

KK's comment : This supposedly a toughie was broken by many elite and regular hunters. I ranked it tough for its being a stand-alone question in a sector where there are many signs. Kudos to all who solved it. Difficulty level : Tough

Q14. Fake toothpaste available here?
Ans: Photostate.
Explanation: Photostate = anagram of toothpaste (anagram pointer = fake)

KK's comment : This is my favourite easy question. A straightforward anagram of a wrongly spelled small sign that requires a bit of spotting. Difficulty level : Easy

Q15. Popular container belonging to a hopper.
Ans: Hot Pouch.
Explanation: Popular = hot, container belonging to a kangaroo = pouch

KK's comment : Words substitution question that requires spotting again; only this time the the signboard is big. A short sector with 2 easy questions (14 & 15) and a short stroll is all that is needed if failing to spot from the car at first. Difficulty level : Easy

Q16. Malaysian general residence?
Ans: Ammansion.
Explanation: Mansion = residence, am = general (local pointer = Malaysian)

KK's comment : This huge answer is posed on a column erected from the floor to the ceiling and vertically worded upwards. I suspect it's time trouble for many because only 2 regular teams spotted the correct answer. Difficulty level : Easy

Q17. Point, yell or to look back might give away part of the answer, hereafter.
Ans: No Trolley Beyond This Point.
Explanation: Point = N (compass point), reverse of 'yell or to' (reversal pointer = look back) = otrolley, here = this point, hereafter = beyond this point

KK's comment : This is a charaded question using a combination of "definition" and "reversal" clues. This question was phrased in a fun and light-hearted manner of "poking fun at hunters". 8 teams managed to solve this. Difficulty level : Medium

Q18. Energy generated from running water?
Ans: Mc2Master Learning & Development Centre.
Explanation: Energy = MC2 (Einstein's theory), running water = stream, stream = anagram of master (anagram pointer = generated from)

KK's comment : This question is part general knowledge (E=MC2) and part cryptic (anagram of running water = STREAM) Difficulty level : Medium

Q19. On Boxing Day a few years back, this caused massive destruction to our continent.
Ans: AsiaBigWave Sdn Bhd.
Explanation: Tsunami = Big Wave, Our continent = Asia

KK's comment : Tsunami - the catastrophe that will be embedded in everybody's mine for a long time! In spite of its very long sector, but with only one row of shops to scan, many have no problem getting it. Difficulty level : Easy

Q20. Sounds like what one may experience after receiving a blow on the head by a crazy person.
Ans: Sea Star Saloon.
Explanation: See stars = condition described (homonym pointer = sounds like), a loon = a crazy person

KK's comment : The only homophone-clued question in this hunt and was very well attempted. Difficulty level : Easy

Q21. Perhaps these are what writers get as periodic payments?
Ans: Pembekal Alat-alat Komputer dan Sistem Keselamatan Ions.
Explanation: Writers = pens, pens + ions = pensions = periodic payments (insertion pointer = get)

KK's comment : This answer (big sign) lies just a stone's throw away from Q20, but due to the unique manner in which the question was phrased, most hunters probably attempted this question literally instead of cryptically. It ended being the first of the five that were unsolved in this hunt. Difficulty level : Medium

Q22. Beckham in confusion left a child all by himself.
Ans: Total One Shop.
Explanation: Posh = Mrs Beckham, Shop = anagram of Posh (anagram pointer = in confusion), Total One Shop - Shop = Total One (deletion pointer = left), Total One can be read as tot alone or a child all by himself

KK's comment : A tricky question - Beckham was meant to deceive solvers to think of David instead of Posh. But the other part of the question "child by himself" should help to clue in to the sign "Total One". Difficulty level : Tough

Q23. To find the solution, perhaps their opinions could be of help to you.
Ans: Edmyer Concepts.
Explanation: Solution = remedy, edmyer = anagram of remedy (anagram pointer = perhaps), opinions = concepts

KK's comment : A combination of anagram + definition here. In my opinion, "Opinions" = "Concepts" was a giveaway to the answer. One regular and a newbie managed to answer this. Difficulty level : Medium

Q24. Head teachers are proficient in offering counselling advice in Bahasa Malaysia?
Ans: Restoran Ubi Kayu.
Explanation: Tapioca = ubi kayu (acrostic pointer = Head, local pointer = Bahasa Malaysia)

KK's comment : An acrostic question which leads to the answer on a second level. Time trouble or not by then, this was very well answered. Difficulty level : Easy

Q25. The outcome after administering first aid.
Ans: ASS.
Explanation: ASS + ist = Assist = aid (insertion pointer = administering)

KK's comment : The first of the 2-in-a-row questions that were unanswered. To solve this question, the solver has to be able to break the question into the correct parts i.e (The outcome after administering first) ... (aid). A unique style in crafting of this question, but the intended word (aid = assist) is simple and hence solvable. Difficulty level : Medium

Q26. When more than one of this is consumed in the wrong order, likelihood end result will be death.
Ans: ASS.
Explanation: Assassinated = result will be death, To build the word assassinated need ASS + ASS (more than one), IN + ATE (consumed in the wrong order), D (last letter of likelihood).
(order swap pointer = the wrong order, acrostic pointer = end)

KK's comment : This question is more challenging. "more than one of this" required the hunter to work the answer from the signboard. If you have spotted ASS, this will promptly clue you to ASS+ASS+??? = death. Difficulty level : Tough

Q27. Our neighbour's most wanted had dropped by for a meal here?
Ans: Selamat Datang @ Restoran Victory.
Explanation: Mas Selamat = Singapore's most wanted, dropped by = datang

KK's comment : A current general knowledge question - apparently news that this terrorist is still at large was in the papers the day before the hunt, with his name in big bold letters. With hints of "dropped by for a meal", hunters only needed to narrow down their search to restaurants or eating shops. Given enough time, I believe this will better attempted; answer spotted only by two teams. Difficulty level : Medium

Q28. A 'never odd or even' entity that commonly accompanies an introduction. Tell me where. Ans: 101 @ Carpark lot.
Explanation: 'Never odd or even' is a palindromic phrase (palindrome pointer = 'never odd or even'). The palindromic entity I am looking for is 101. eg. English 101 = An introduction to English.

KK's comment : It's a shame that the remaining 3 questions were not attempted by many due to time trouble. This question was intended to be tough. An elite hunter actually said this is a good question and is solvable with a bit of time given. Difficulty level : Tough

Q29. Making it without a head covering.
Ans: M.I.T. Coating (M) Sdn Bhd.
Explanation: A head = a king, making it - a king = mit (removal pointer = without), covering = coating

KK's comment : This question makes use of "deletion of hidden words" to derive the answer. By just taking out "a head = a king" from "Making it" gives the answer. From what I hear, some hunters also found the answer by relating "COVERING" to "COATING". Yep, that's an ingenious way to do it! Difficulty level : Medium

Q30. A place to entertain the Spanish snobs?
Ans: Hostel High & Mighty
Explanation: Host = entertain, el = the in Spanish, the High & Mighty = snobs

KK's comment : A straightforward charade question that would have been solved by many if they have more time in their hands. Difficulty level : Easy

KK's Comment : The above comments are strictly my own views. In my opinion, there are a fair share of easy questions (13), moderate number of medium questions (11) and some tough ones (7). Some dubbed this hunt "super tough", but I don't quite agree. Tough hunt, yes. Super tough hunt? hmmmm... can we really take credit for that ?

For those who said that this is the "worst hunt ever", I hope you are only referring to your own performance and not the quality of the hunt questions. The CoCs of this hunt were not trying to do outdo each other by creating something outrageous. We tried our best to make the questions "tight" and "factual" and hopefully leave no room for criticisms. We hope our questions have been challenging as well as educational and the tricks we have come up with were refreshing. We consider ourselves still amateurs in organising hunts, therefore we welcome all feedback and opinions. We will take note of all shortcomings in this hunt especially the concerns on time allocation and will strive to do better in our next edition.

The 3 Blind MICE Challenge questions

The Category = Fruits (50 of them in the grid).

BMC1: A method gone bad?
Ans: Soursop.
Explanation: method = SOP (standard operating procedure), gone bad = sour (eg. sour milk = milk gone bad)

BMC2: Half time in a sport?
Ans: Pomelo.
Explanation: Half time = me (half of the word 'time'), sport = polo, pomelo = me in polo (container pointer = in)

BMC3: Colour in green at random
Ans: Tangerine.
Explanation: in green at = anagram of tangerine (anagram pointer = random), tangerine = redish orange colour

The Treasures

T1. Decipher the following clue and bring back the required treasure:


Ans: 2 Large Onions.

A rebus-type treasure represented by 3 lines of words / letters, which can be alternatively read as:

T2. Many drinks somehow can help quench my thirst,
The leguminous type with the infant's staple is what I favour,
A popular drink found in most homes, O yes!
Bring me a pack and 5 points I'll gladly honour.
Ans: A pack of Drinho Homesoy Soya Milk (any type).

Line 1: many drinks + somehow = Drinho (container pointer = many, some)
Line 2: leguminous type = soya, infant's staple = milk
Line 3: found in most homes O yes = Homesoy (container pointer = found in most)

T3. A cleaner when both gone missing will create,
What one tends to do when running late,
An American workforce forms this brand,
Get me one in an XL size if you can.

Ans: An Oral-B toothbrush size 40 (any type).

Line 1: A cleaner = toothbrush
Line 2: toothbrush - both = to rush = what one tends to do when running late (confirming the right cleaner, deletion pointer = gone missing)
Line 3: workforce = labor (American spelling)
Oral-B = anagram of labor (anagram pointer = forms)
Line 4: XL size = size 40 (Roman to Decimal conversion)

T4: Collectively the below products hold the key,
To identify which one from the five you need to get me,
Sort out the clue and bring back what is due.

Ans: A bar of Cadbury TimeOut.

Together the products contain a message that need to be deciphered by first identifying a keyword from each product.

Sort out the clues provided.

Combine the keywords to form the message.


Cornelius Koh said...

Ah! I see the CoC is of the opinion that out of the first 6 questions, not even one of them was a tough! I am not surprised by that assessment.

In my opinion - and this does not necessarily represent the opinion of the majority - as far as grading the difficulty levels of the questions, the hunters should be the judge; not the CoC. And there are very good reasons for this too.

1) The CoC has the tendency to look at the riddles only from his own point of view. He is unable to appreciate the nature of the other factors which could affect the ability of the hunters to find the answers.

2) Difficulty levels must be judged from the overall point of view. It is not merely reading the question, crack it and then spot on the board. Far from it! What usually happens in the hunt is to encounter the riddle for the very first time, looks at it from several possible angles, then try to choose the most promising lines of thoughts, decides on the word NAIL as the most probable one, scans the sector for a good 27 minutes, finds no NAIL within that sector, then forced to look for alternative possible angles, still fails to find anything meaningful, and eventually grudgingly decides to move on with nothing to show. That NAIL in itself is no big deal - it's easy like ABC. But the CoC does not take into account the location and size of the answer, as well as the amount of time required to find it. I think it is there that the CoC has failed to judge the difficulty level.

3) When the CoC judges the difficulty level of his own riddles, he has the tendency to treat them in isolation. He looks at them one at a time and says, "Oh! this is easy, and ah! that is easy too! etc."

But when the hunters deal with those same riddles, they have to look at them from the overall point of view. They don't see those riddles in isolation. They try, if they can, to solve several riddles before even reaching the respective sectors. At the same time, they also try to spot the answers when the morning sun glares punishingly into their eyes. And because of the nature of the questions, they have no recovery time in between questions. Still, they try to endure. Time ticking away... and above all of these, they also need to crack the treasure clues and the eye-straining 3 Blind MICE challenge.

Easy - medium - tough - super tough.

These are all relative terms and can mean different things coming from different people and viewed from different perspectives. It makes a good topic for after-dinner discussion or debate. But I doubt that we can all agree on precise meanings for those adjectives.

However, we can't run away from the fact that a bunch of grandmaster hunters, in fact most of them have been, and still actively hunting for years, found this hunt very tough for numerous reasons. Surely they can't all be wrong in their assessments?

Cornelius Koh said...

Regarding Q1, "Percetakan Okid" doesn't even answer "flower". I suspect (but of course I may be wrong) that hunters were unable to find anything better. So after spending too much time there, they were forced to take OKID although they knew that it's supposed to be ORKID. Desperation is a funny thing - it makes you choose something which you know is wrong, yet you still choose it rather than leaving the blank empty!

Regarding Q2, I don't believe very many, if any at all, of the elite teams were "caught by surprise" by this direct definition question. I happened to sit by a member of the team which found this answer during the presentation. They too took almost half an hour before they finally found NAIL. They most certainly did not take half an hour to realise that they were looking for NAIL. I don't know about the new hunters, but I bet most of the elite teams spent a lot of time searching for NAIL, having solved that question very quickly. Nobody's saying it's impossible to find. But imagine if one requires half an hour for one answer, how many answers would they be able to find in 4.5 - 5.5 hours? Therefore, on account of the time required to find the answer to Q2, this makes this question a tough one.

Thankfully however, not all the questions required half an hour to find the answers. Some required shorter periods. There were some other 30-minute questions too, but the overall requirement was still more than 4.5 - 5.5 hours.

So, the net result is, it was impossible to complete the hunt within the allocated time. We could of course drop some questions and rush back to the finish station within the allocated time, but in that case, we can't really say that we have "completed" the hunt, can we?

BlogCe5nT said...

Difficult or not is relative. We are probably caught up in this theory of relativity once too often.

There will be hunts that appear very tough - JeyaRam's, Kiwanis's, Alex Ho's, HRU's (as popularly perceived) -, and there will be hunts that seem very easy (countless of them). And there will be those that are in between (CKoh will probably label his as amongst them).

I think, it all depends on the objectives or purposes that the organisers have set out to achieve.

HRU's intention is to nudge true treasure hunters to continually improve their skills and more importantly, their mastery of the sport.

And the way we set about doing this is to maintain a standard that forces competitors to be at their best in all aspects of treasure hunting - including strategic thinking and management of their time and resources.

If you study all our questions - they do not use any new "jigsaw" pieces - they are all the usual stuff - some overused ones too.

What we have done is applied a level of intentionally refined "smooth reading" to disguise the "key words" - thus imposing a greater demand for skills to:

1. Crack the clues
2. Narrow the field
3. Find the answers using whatever
resources available

If you compare the 3 steps above with crossword puzzle solving - they are almost similar :

1. Solve the clues
2. No.of words and characters given
and adjoining letters in the puzzle, to narrow down the possibilities
3. Find the answers using whatever
resources available.

The extra "difficulty" is No.2 - that, to me, is the key "area of mastery" in Treasure Hunting - the better (and faster) a team is at collectively "narrowing" the possibilities, the greater is a team's mastery of Treasure Hunting.

Once solved and narrowed down, it is up to the team to "SPOT" the answer - a skill that, by itself, does require mastery.

What we have done with the Hunters Challenge was to keep a standard that would coerce Treasure Hunters to improve their mastery - to raise their abilities a level higher - to be better than what you already are.

Look at our "easy ones" - they were refined so that even beginners will be challenged to use their new skills first learned at briefings. I am sure they would not like to be "spoon fed" into solving any of them?

While many hunts out there are "commercially" motivated - made easy so that the organisers can remain popular and get repeated business or support, HRU's Hunters Challenge is only "mastery improvement motivated".

If you could view the Hunters Challenge as a kind of benchmark for "How Good Are We, Really?" - then maybe, you will have the right frame of mind to look forward to it again.

As you can see from the results, the really good ones were really good. All 15 teams were from regulars - reflecting that you did NEED skills and experience.

It was unfortunate that a couple of the best teams of recent past years did not take part - they would have completed the "barometer" scale.

So, we hope the next edition (to be clerked by this year's winner) will continue in this vein, to draw out the Best of the Best amongst us again!

Cornelius Koh said...

Thank you, BlogCe5nt, for sharing your views with us.

Comparison of Difficulty:

I think HRU has lost its right to compare The Hunters Challenge to Jayaram’s, Kiwanis’ or Alex Hoh’s hunts. Those quoted hunts are generally known to be tough ones. Jaya’s Mensa Hunts, for example, have always been known as one of the toughest; Alex’s recent Bull Hunt was expected to be of “no holds barred” kind. In fact, he probably would’ve been criticized severely if he made it any easier than what it was!

But although HRU did not exactly declare that The Hunters Challenge was to be a stroll in the park, the hunting fraternity somehow had the impression that it was not comparable to those hunts you have quoted. Amongst others, HRU has declared that the hunt was designed for 4 hours only, but the elite hunters were given 4 hours 30 minutes to allow for unfavourable traffic condition. Further, the new hunters were given 5 hours 30 minutes. Does that sound like a tough hunt to you?

All along HRU - whether directly or indirectly - also gave the impression that the hunt was designed to accommodate the entire range of hunters – from grandmasters to the newbies. Yet the results of the hunt clearly indicate that the hunt was super tough even for the grandmasters, let alone the newbies. The winning team achieved 65% only. If it’s not tough, then how did they drop the remaining 35%?

“What we have done with the Hunters Challenge was to keep a standard that would coerce Treasure Hunters to improve their mastery”

You have done more – you have totally forgotten about the new hunters magnificently. What kind of mastery did you think those new hunters – especially the first timers - have at all? Let me tell you; they had none whatsoever! In all this, you have lost sight of your original goal. The “virgin” hunters came into this hunt wanting to learn a thing or two while at the same time hoping to enjoy the outing. They started with zero mastery, and you were all out to challenge that non-existent mastery. For example, HRU has rated Q1 as “easy”. Easy for who, exactly?

“… to raise their abilities a level higher…”

You obviously did not realize that you’ve raised the level many, many levels higher – not just “a level higher”. If we’re all high-jumpers known to be able to clear 1.5 metres, I’d consider raising the bar to 1.6 – 1.7 metre as “raising a level higher”. But you’ve raised the bar to 2.5 metres in The Hunters Challenge. That’s why only 4 teams managed to clear the bar. Viewed from that angle, I think HRU has taken the so-called “mastery improvement motivated” a bit too far. The whole design of The Hunters Challenge was teetering into the realm of impossibility. How many teams did not drop any question within the allocated time?

“How Good Are We, Really?”

More evidence that you have forgotten all about the newbies whom you sought to attract into this sport. How good do you think they are, really? They probably can’t even see a direct anagram consisting of 3 – 5 letters. Look at the question posed by “Pira” in Mike’s blog. What kind of mastery do you think he/she has? Well, OK, some of them can do better than that.

“As you can see from the results, the really good ones were really good. All 15 teams were from regulars - reflecting that you did NEED skills and experience.”

The mere fact that the top 15 places were dominated by the regular hunters did not change the reality of this hunt. There is nothing special in the results of this hunt except that we can all draw the conclusion that it’s super tough because an overwhelming majority of the hunters failed the passing marks. As for the top teams being regular hunters, that has always been the case in all the other hunts; so there is nothing to compare there. I’m sure everyone has always known that skills and experience are important ingredients for a successful outing. So, yes, if some of the (absent) stronger teams were there that day, they, too, would find themselves amongst the top winners.

This whole debate is not about following rules or a set formula for CoCs. You have done well in organizing a very tough hunt. You have done fairly well in some interesting innovations. But I think you have failed badly to attract the new hunters.

CK Loh said...

I don't believe it, I have to agree with ckoh again.

As a regular hunter, I found that this hunt is a good hunt, a hunt that should be in the hunt calendar every year. I found that this hunt is very ideal to learn, where I only need to pay the price of 1 hunt, and learn many tricks that I will not even normally get in 4-5 hunts. So, it is worth for the money, as far as learning is the concern. And also it serves quite a good barometer to gauge whether the learning process goes right or wrong with a strong field of regular/master competitors you usually don't get in normal 'commercialised' hunt. It is exactly what the regular hunters or even the master hunters need.

If the COCs can do some trial run, and allocate a more reasonable timing, I think this is a perfect hunt for regular team like us. We need quality hunt, but we need time also to tackle every questions. Our team easily drop 8 questions with 5.5 hours given without attempting it, and even the clues are well crafted with good objective in mind, we just don't have the time to attempt it and failed to see the objective of the setters. Not every teams have good spotter/observer members, where there can spot it immediately, once the clue is broken, thus they have more time to tackle other questions.

To be fair to HRU, there are some easy questions in this hunt like 13, AmMansion, Selamat Datang that are considered easy in normal hunt standard. However, due to the timing given, and if you refer to the chart, these questions are among the questions that are not broken by many teams.

And many newbies team and some regular teams will regards these questions as another difficult questions in the hunt, look direct, but not really so, just like the other questions they attempted so far. Thus, in reality, there are really no questions for the newbies to solve, unless the question is bold, with information like "for newbies, please attempt it". The newbies team, probably will just skip the questions thinking the question is not their level and not realising that, they can actually solve it, if they spot it.

Saying all this, I stress that this is a quality hunt, but if the objective is to encourage newbies hunter to pick up this sport, I afraid I have to agree with ckoh the objective is failed.

I always believe, just like other sports like boxing, weightlifting for example, you need to have competition for various categories. Only with competition with different category, it encourage new participations. If in boxing for example, there is only one standard category competition, I afraid those in the lightweight and featherweight category will opt not to participate to fight with the super heavyweight opponents. There might be 1 or 2 exceptions. but that is the best we can hope for. But with more categories, then every boxers will take part for the love of the game and also to gauge their level again competitors at their weight category.

In treasure hunt, we don't need so many category, just one for regular/master and the other one for newer teams will do.

I will take this opportunity to HRU to suggest that my ideal Hunters Challenge for the coming years divided to two categories

A) Hunters Challenge - participated by top 15 of the previous Hunters Challenge competitions, of course master teams also will auto qualify for this category too.

B) Hunters Cub Challenge - everyone can enter, and top 5 in this competition will be promoted to participate in Hunters Challenge the following years.

Thus, it creates something like Sun Hunt Master Category and Sun Hunt Open Category, and I did see Sun Hunt Open Category is a good competition to encourage new hunters to take part. Just see the partipation numbers every years and the numbers that in the waiting list.

In my opinion, Hunter Challenge is an ideal hunt for regular/master, but I see it harms the newbies to hunt rather than to encourage them. And I see having a different competition where their competitors are not Top 15 from the previous Hunter Challenge, will encourage more participation, because they also have the right to use the hunt as the barometer to gauge their level against teams that in their level. Those that really good, will be promoted next year.

By doing this, regular/masters need not to handicap them and have a tough and fair competition among themselves, and the newbies can have milder questions and more time to solve it, thus, they can attempt most of the questions set by the COC, not skipping most of it as happen to this hunt.

And this conforms with the objective of HRU, to allow all participants attempt their questions and see the objective behind it. The objective will not be met, if most teams, even the winner teams skip the questions without attempting it at the first place.

Cornelius Koh said...

Yes, CK Loh, the elite hunters probably did not mind the torture, although they probably prefered to be given the opportunity to attempt all the questions. But for the ridiculously insufficient hunting time, this was an admirable effort by HRU.

As for the new hunters, this was obviously not a hunt for them. If they did learn anything at all, it must be the experience of hopelessness and walking aimlessly in the dark for 5.5 hours. Some are brave enough to say that they enjoyed it though!

Regarding the questions, they're interesting and challenging. Not without fault, of course. A couple of the riddles were set without sufficient reflection of the hunters' point of view. I have discussed, for example, Treasure 4 in my blog.

To give another example, take Q1 which has been rated "easy" by the CoC.

Q1) Our 'flower' symbol printed here do not allow admittance.


Notice that the 'flower' is in quotes. It suggests that the word is to be treated in an indirect way. So here it's referring to current as in electricity, i.e. something that flows. And "Our" means belonging to us, i.e. our national electricity supplier. The "symbol" here refers to, well, the symbol of TENAGA NASIONAL (3 lightning bolts). And the "DILARANG MASUK" answers the "do not allow admittance" part of the question. Thus the solution fits.

Nah... just kidding.

Actually, HRU set this question and intended LINE X as the answer. See the explanation in the post above. Only trouble was that they did not look at the riddle from the solver's point of view. The TENAGA NASIONAL answer looks amusingly fitting, huh?

Apart from that, the clue is also grammatically wrong. But that should not be surprising, because it's quite common in treasure hunt questions to find at least one with grammatical error.

Many of you know that I love the challenge of tough riddles, so I'm sure you also know that I enjoyed the challenge of those questions which I was able to attempt. Of the ones that I was forced to abandon due to insufficient time, it was disappointing and regrettable waste.

But who knows, if there is another Hunters Challenge, perhaps the CoC would consider giving us more time to attempt his riddles?

kkchai said...

You and your team have 5.5 hrs to hunt, another extra 30 mins if you opt to use them, but with penalty points of course. Theoretically, you would have 6 questions to solve in 1 hour so giving you 10 mins per question and you only have 7 km to travel in an hour assuming you have stayed staionary for 30 mins to solve treasures/challenges collectively with your team mates. Now, if you have chosen to spent 30 mins to answer one question, then you will have only yourself to blame for not knowing when to drop it. We have been told time and again that time management is very important, so in some sectors, the questions are tough, there are also plenty ahead that maybe answerable for you to score points. So, instead of harping on not given enough time, perhaps you should also reflect if you have managed your time well. As for the elite teams, that would be another story.

As for Q1, it's an old trick we are trying to revive. It's is easy if you have spotted it, I know the an elite team and a newbie, yes a newbie, have no problem spotting it so how can that be a tough question ? Tricky, yes, tough, NO.

Cornelius Koh said...


There is hardly any difference in the 1 hour extra. This has been proven because the elite team went out (after submission) to experiment. They found an additional answer. I don't know if The Machines would have fared much better. They are obviously a very strong team, but I doubt that it would have been much better. Therefore even for the elite teams, the story won't be very much different.

Now, the one million dollar question: When do we start dropping questions? After 10mins? 15mins? 20mins? For this hunt, if we started dropping questions after 15mins, we wouldn't have had enough to show at the finish line. Ask the other masters who had 5.5 hours. I'm not a qualified "master", so I am not very clever in managing time. Ask the seasoned masters who really deserve the title if they thought they had enough time for this hunt. Time management can help, but only if you have a fair amount of it in the first place.

You should conduct a poll on your sidebar so that everyone can vote anonymously on whether the time you allocated for this hunt was sufficient. In fact, we can use a neutral ground; perhaps we can request Mike to conduct it in his blog. Let the hunters decide if all of us mismanaged our time that day. If the result of the poll says "sufficient time", I will admit defeat. Is that fair enough to you? Would you dare to take up that challenge?

Regarding the questions, I have said that they shouldn't be rated in isolation. They may be easy to crack but hard to find. Easy to solve, tricky to solve, hard to solve - it doesn't really matter. If a question requires more than 15 minutes before the answer can find its way to the answer column, than that question is tough, for whatever reason. At least that's how I see it. If I can come up with a question which will force the hunters to spend a long time on it, I consider that a victory, even if they're able to eventually find the answer. I will still consider that question a tough one because of the amount of time spent on it.

It is also possible to conduct a poll if you like. As I said, let the hunters decide on the difficulty level. After all, it's them who went through the ordeal of trying to find the answer. It's them who should say whether that was a tough or easy question. I think that is logical enough? The CoC who knows the answers will always find all the questions easy.

It makes very little sense if you're judging your own performance. What is the meaning of rating your own questions? That approach has never been adopted before. Imagine the Malaysian Idol contestants judging their own performances. They will all be the Malaysian Idols in the end!

That's how I look at this matter. But I accept that not everyone may agree with me.

Cornelius Koh said...

Hahaha!... I didn't even notice that you have commented up to the last question!

"Some dubbed this hunt "super tough", but I don't quite agree. Tough hunt, yes. Super tough hunt? hmmmm... can we really take credit for that?"

Yeah, I guess you have a point there. "Tough" and "Super Tough" are after all relative terms.

My personal view is that this hunt was "Super Tough". I'm not saying that all the questions were impossibly unsolvable. But when taken as a whole, with time element, with Blind MICE, with treasures etc, it was "Super Tough".

This is how I analyse it:

30 teams hunting, but only 4 passed. That works out to be only 13% passing rate in a field comprising not only new comers, but also a fair number of masters and grandmasters.

Of those teams which passed the hunt, their performances were like this:

Champion: 65%
2nd: 55%
3rd: 50.8%
4th: 50%

As you can see, the 3rd and 4th places were marginal passes. And the rest all failed the hunt. I consider the 13% passing rate out of 30 teams as "Super Tough".

But you rate it as only "Tough". How much lower the passing rate need be before you can consider the hunt as "Super Tough"?

kkchai said...


From the way you lashed out on the organisers of this hunt here and in your blog, I can sense that you are one very angry man. What's the matter? Angry with HRU for giving you such a tough time in the hunt and not getting back your money's worth? Or you simply needed a venue to vent your frustrations for not doing well? Or perhaps you can only find joy being mean? Is our hunt really that bad that you have trouble finding a single good thing to say? What about our cause, our bag of goodies, 3 sets of questions, our "flowers" and the food we have selected for you? Say something nice for a change.

Now, I would like to state that i am not the "real McCoy" as far as the questions are concerned so the issue of "blowing my own trumpet" does not arise here. I am by far not a very good hunter, but I have been hunting since 1988 and I have witnessed all kinds of questions - good, bad, fantastic, memorable, easy and tough. With all these years of experience, I think I am capable of differentiating a tough and an easy question. Besides, I think we are all entitled to our own opinions so let's not question its validity.

I also have a million dollar question too : How much time do you think is required in a normal hunt for 35 km with 30 questions, 4treasures and 3 challenge questions? We thought 5.5 hrs was sufficient as in any local hunts that we have taken part in. If we have made our questions too tough for a 4.5 ~ 5.5 hr hunt, our sincere apology. Being a first timer in organising a hunt, I think it is excusable that we make some mistakes along the way, but let me assure you that we will learn from them.

I have no intention in conducting a poll here to debate whether or not we have done injustice to hunters in our time allocation for the hunt. I trust and believe all hunters can speak for themselves without you nudging them on or taking the words out of their mouths or you putting them in for them. We are not in a state of denial, we know we have not lived up to everybody's expectation.

Knowing you from all the previous postings, I suspect I'll be getting another long comment in your reply. You are someone who will always have to have the last say. Still, I could be wrong.....again.

2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

Cornelius, in your excitement to criticise (repeatedly), I feel that you have neglected the fact that for a team to be successful, they not only need to be good in breaking the clues, they too need to manage their time and resources well against the rules provided for by the organizers.

And watching the drama unfold from the other side, I must say that most teams failed in the latter aspect, spending more time than they should in the first sector - with a few elite teams staying on until 9am. And that effectively killed off what chance these teams had to savour all 30 questions prepared for this hunt.

And things got from bad to worse when these teams started to drop more questions in the later sectors under time pressure. Fatigue then started to set-in and the mind started to lose focus, affecting their performance on the rest of the hunt. Easy questions like Q14 - Q16 ended up being dropped even by the best of teams.

So the end result, did not really surprise me any. And to be fair to the elite team that went hunting for an hour after the hunt ended, I don't think they were in the right frame of mind then to search for answers. Had they been fresh, I am certain that they would have picked up more than one answer.

I am rather surprised that you said that the one hour did not make a difference when you have been one of our strongest critics against the extra hour we decided to give to novice and up-and-coming teams. One elite team even warned us that he can double round the entire 40km twice in that time to double check answers, in condemning the extra hour.

Yes, like any other novice CoCs, no matter how hard we try, we too can make mistakes and end up with shortcomings in our very first event. But we are willing to listen to our critics and improve on future editions. There is no need for you to go from blog to blog continuously harping on the same few points.

Cornelius Koh said...

There is of course no reason to be angry for doing badly in any hunt. I am defeated, period! Disappointed, yes - angry, never! It's just not worth the heartache to be angry for a game. But I did say some good things about this hunt. I said you have done well in organizing a very tough hunt, did I not? And also some innovations?

"We consider ourselves still amateurs in organising hunts, therefore we welcome all feedback and opinions."

That line looks a lot like inviting feedbacks from your audience.

My sincere apology for my comments. If it makes any difference at all, please delete them. Let's call a truce and start looking forward to a new day in the treasure hunting calendar. I'm sure the next time we meet, we will all laugh about this debate.

1001000 said...

It's interesting to read all these comments going to & fro. But let's not lose sight that the main objective of the comments should be constructive and well-intended to improve treasure hunt standard.

As a fellow participant of the hunt itself, let me share on the positives, as well as rooms for improvement.

As a whole, this hunt has many positives; eg I have no problem with goodies, food quality, tulip accuracy, choice of hunt locations, briefing venue, flag-off etc. All these are well taken care.

I would like on comment a bit more on the following areas:-
1. Question Quality
2. Hunt Innovation
3. Time Allocation

1. On the whole judging from the Q breakdown, I sincerely believe that this is a quality hunt. It has almost everything you can name; anagram, acrostic, sound like, insertion, double definition, back, DJ, hidden, container, visual etc. What makes the Q slightly more unique is the effort to make the Q surface reading smooth. This forces the hunters to consistently re-examine their perceptions & shift its paradigm.

However of course there are a couple of questions which may stretch the imagination (eg T4 & Q26) & require much more time to be solved. Perhaps what may be neglected here is the psychology of hunters during a hunt.

Typically on avg, when a team can solve every 3 Q, but drop 1Q, then the team can remain positively motivated to try their best. But imagine if you can solve 1Q only, but drop 3Q consistently, you will feel very demotivated after (say) 15-20Q & may want to give up. Thus as COC (which I'm one myself), it is crucial to alternate tough Q with some easy ones.

Having said that, how do you define easy Q vs hard Q? It is a matter of relativity. Easy to Masters may not be easy to novices. Perhaps HRU may have defined Easy in their eyes as Masters. Since they are all Masters, the level of Q moderation among themselves may not be so much. Hence the novices may end up finding out that most Q are tough.

If you check out some of the Easy Q (eg Q8 SIS, Q14 Photostate, Q16 Ammansion, Q19 BigWave), you'll be realise that this may be easy to solve, but not so easy to see, among the huge number of boards around. As Cornelius rightly pointed out, when the Q requires some time to search, due to its invisibility, it becomes not Easy & take some time.

In short, I love the Q variety here, but perhaps the spread of Q toughness needs to be moderated to sustain hunters' motivation.

2. As to Hunt Innovation, I feel that it introduces new kind of clueing (at least for me) & my team learns tremendously from this hunt. Eg Q1 LineX Q10 Shell Q25 First aid Q28 101. This is certainly a good value for money & has educational value. Pls carry on the good work of breaking the traditional boundary of clue setting.

3. Time allocation has been an issue of contention; before, during and even after the hunt. Given the Q difficulty level, the number of questions, challenges etc, I trust that this hunt deserves to be set at least 5.5 - 6 hours (even for Masters). Believe me for this hunt, even with 6 hours, I doubt that any masters in their right mind, will come in as early as 4.5 - 5 hours to submit their answers totally happy. To set anything shorter than that, will end up with some Q dropped & some possibly not well attempted, due to time constraint.

A simple analogy is that HRU has gone through so much trouble to brew us a great cup of quality 'tea', but we are not given adequate time to smell & savour it. The time rush has caused us to spill most of the tea on to the floor, totally untasted. This doesn't do justice to HRU effort & time.

In conclusion, I still believe that this is a top notch hunt; just some fine-tuning efforts will make this event even better. I will look forward & join HRU future hunt, sincerely believing that the next one will be even much greater!!!!

Claire said...

Very well said indeed, 1001000! I couldn't have said it any better. As you have pointed out, the questions do have such smooth surface reading that made them tricky for hunters to crack. As for new ideas, new tricks, new innovations....what can I say... they thrill me to the bones!
I, too, look forward to the next one...and hope that we'll get more time to savour the premium quality 'tea'. ;)

renroc said...

Agree that it was quality tea, 1001000 (took quite a while to figure out who you are - shows that I'm a slow tea taster).
We were luckier that we did not spill any tea but we didn't end up as very successful tea tasters as we only managed to identify half the tea served - the rest we either couldn't discern the taste or swallowed them so quickly that we didn't even know whether it was tea or coffee !
We hope the 'tea plantation' will continue to give us their blends of quality tea which we enjoy and keep in mind that even the best tea cannot be appreciated if it's spilled or just swallowed. Premium tea too, should be marketed and branded as such and not as 'Tea 101' :)

BlogCe5nT said...

Some comments from other hunters that were sent to me:

“Thank you to you and your team for the really challenging Treasure Hunt yesterday. Although I felt lost and was floundering around most of the time but it has been an eye (and mind) opening experience. My biggest problem is getting committed team mates, I can’t seem to find others to join more hunts. Don’t worry, I won’t give up and I do hope to meet you in person too in one of the hunts!”
YKS (March 3, 2009)

“Today's hunt was fantastic even though we got bullied by all the question but me and my team definitely enjoy it and learn more things from this hunt.”
LLF (March 1, 2009)

Best regards,
CP Tan (March 1, 2009)

I believe these comments were from not-so-regulars, maybe even newbies. It goes to show that individual performance in a hunt does not necessarily translate to "non-attractiveness".

Often, the quality of it attracts them to come back for more - to try again and again. Contrast that with hunts that make one feel silly, "unintelligent" and worst of all - "cheated"?

If all hunts could draw the crowd with mesmerising "attractive" quality, the standard will rise naturally and then we will achieve both objectives - quality and quantity.

Cornelius Koh said...


I don't think anyone is complaining on the quality of your questions. I have said it before, and I am saying it again now - you have done a good job for a tough hunt. I welcome this kind of questions, and I am sure most, if not all, of the elite hunters would say the same. However, it would have been better if we had the time to actually attempt them all. It's a shame to let them go to waste on account of insufficient time.

Perhaps some newbies truly enjoyed this hunt. But of the two that you've quoted, at least the second one is not exactly a newbie. We will see his name on the Time Out Hall of Fame list by the next Sun Hunt. His team was the champion in the Open Category last year. They beat some giants in the likes of "Space Pirates" and "2 Sneakies & 2 Innocents".

= Slasher™ ® = said...

LoL Corny...i think is the third quotation instead of second....

He is the winner of TheSun Hunt last year.....i perhaps that is CP Tan?

Cornelius Koh said...

Hehehe... sorry about that, Slasher, my mistake! Yeah... I meant CP Tan was the winner of last year's theSun Hunt.

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