Monday, November 9, 2009


KUALA LUMPUR 8 Nov 2009: The mother of all hunts is back with a new prize sponsor - and it is bigger and better than before.

With RM200,000 worth of Samsung and other products up for grabs, entries filled up very quickly. Hence it did not surprise many to hear Joehari Abdul Jabbar from theSun announcing (during the Lexis Nexis-KL Bar hunt) that due to an overwhelming response the registration had to close ahead of schedule. In the end, I read that theSun graciously decided to accept all entries including those originally placed on the waiting list. With that (decision), a massive 286 cars lined up at the Sime Darby Convention Centre on the hunt morning, including 21 elite teams that competed for the title of Masters Champion.

There was a positive change to the Master's Category format from previous years. Gone was the stage playoff for the top three finishers. That same night my daughter was involved in a concert cum dinner and since she will only ever be 10 once, I had already decided not to give it a miss. So God must have overheard my prayers and instructed the powers that be to strike it (the playoff) off the agenda, helping me avoid facing the wrath of my team mates (phew!).

Noted too was a huge improvement in the selection of the hunting sectors. Most of the sectors barring a couple were devoid of traffic and thus fairly easy to manoeuvre around. A pleasant surprise indeed for hunters as this meant one less 'challenge' to worry about.

On the level of difficulty, overall the questions and treasures were much easier than those of yesteryears. The treasures especially, lacked its customary sting! This year a handful of teams including ours, successfully conquered all 4 treasures - a rare feat indeed for theSun hunt.

Nevertheless we did have our struggles during the journey. But I felt we could have done better had we not lost quite a bit of time right at the very first hunting sector. A rather interesting misfortune befell our team. A good topic for discussion, it makes perhaps.

There were 4 questions to be answered in the first sector. We breezed through questions Q1, Q2 and Q4 (or so we thought) but got stuck with Q3 although we had a fairly good idea what to look for. Since we were told that the answers were in sequence, the answer to Q3 had to be sandwiched between the answer to Q2 (Sothys Paris) and our answer to Q4 (Rainbow Hi-Fi). However, after spending a good 45 minutes strolling up and down between these two signs (a very short distance, probably 5 three-storey shoplots apart), we left the sector without further success.

But what we had not known was that there was a second Rainbow sign (the intended answer) located at the end of the same sector.

Before I dwell deeper into the discussion, let me first present Q4.

Q4: Colourful object for singer taking a kowtow.
Ans: Rainbow Fashion.

Q4 is a typical cryptic crossword influenced riddle with both a definition and a cryptic clue decently assembled in the end result. The answer is straightforward - Rain (Korean singer) and bow (synonym for kowtow) combines to yield Rainbow, a colourful object.

My burning question to the hunting community is this:

In this situation and context, does Rainbow Hi-Fi deserve the points? The old school of thought says, no, Rainbow Hi-Fi is not acceptable since it is out of sequence with the answer to Q3 (Kaca Mata Metro) appearing after it. However, in my opinion, that thought needs to be re-evaluated.

Point#1: Fundamentally, we need to ask ourselves, is Rainbow Hi-Fi in-sector and does it fit as an answer to the riddle. The answer is yes to both questions. Since the setter had neglected to configure secondary words on the signage (eg. Fashion) into the riddle, both answers are equally fitting.

Point#2: Hunters have no inkling that their answer is out of sequence barring that they could read the mind of the setter (or should they first find the answer to Q3 before stumbling onto Rainbow Hi-Fi). And since we are not in the business of reading minds, in my opinion, hunters should not be punished for providing a nearly identical answer that is located within the same sector.

Point#3: Sequencing the questions is really a logistic designed to help hunters narrow down the search in a very long sector, and is definitely not intended for penalizing hunters.

Point#4: Through no fault of theirs, hunters have already been punished once - by cutting off their search to Q3 they would have diminished any chance of finding a solution to that riddle. Penalizing them again for Q4 would surely be a double whammy!

(It would be nice to hear what the rest of you think!)

On a separate note, my opinion of a top-class riddle is one that is simple to grasp and witty yet sufficiently deceptive. Crafts like this will have a magnetic effect - inviting one to spend a dangerous amount of time in a sector (thinking you know what to look for), not knowing that you have been blown totally off-course. There was one such riddle in the hunt that had all these ingredients. Eventually all teams were blown away by its deception!

Q9: Had to perish first to see a prosperous specialist.
Ans: Titian.

Many of us I am sure paid too much attention to the word specialist and paid the price, focusing exclusively on signages carrying the words Master, Expert, Professional and the likes (and foolishly ignoring the rest) and attempted to form synonyms of prosperous. How misled we were! Here the setter cheekily associated obesity with prosperous (as the Chinese saying goes). And one such specialist (related to obesity) is a Dietitian. Inserting Die (to perish) ahead of the sign will form this specialist. Quite well done!

8 Nov - theSun Motor Hunt (Masters)
(Maximum possible score: 125 pts)

1st: Chin Kar Peng, Liong Chian Min, Jayaram Menon, Sam Rahman (113)
2nd: Chai Koh Khai, Chong Voon Kiat, Margaret Sha, Florence Teng (104)
3rd: Wong Chiang Chuen, Julie Tan, Claire Chin, Goh Teck Koon (102)
4th: Gary Guna Segar, Muhammad Razif, Darmataksiah Abai, Raja Zaen (101)
5th: Alexander Hoh, Andre Teh, Rosemawarni, Mohd Shahrin (101)
6th: Ramesh Rajaratnam, Liew Kok Seng, Lim Kong Yew, Chong Foo Seong (99)
7th: Rajj Melambaran, Loh Chee Kwan, Lim Say Chye, Tommy Ng (98)
8th: Suresh Vasudevan, Justin Chow, Yee Choon Heng, Chiam Tat Hong (90)
9th: Angie Teh, Teh Boon Kai, Yow Hui Hui (86)
10th: Christopher Foo, Adrian Wong, Michael Pang, Toh Weng Ngai (85)
11th: Ruben Chelliah, Angeline Chelliah, Mohan Campos, Adrian Chivapathy (84)
12th: Selina Yong, Toh Wei Ming, Toh Su Mei, Ho King Mun (84)
13th: Tan Eng Siang, Ong Kheng Heng, Wong Sze Lynn, Diana Foong (83)
14th: Simon Mathew, Venkateswaran Nagappan, Eeswaran Kanesalingam, Jamie Lim (78)
15th: Lau Kuan Cheng, Tan Chee Chiew, Tan Tsiau Way, Kok Pooi Hoe (78)
16th: Haji Suhaimi, Lily Loh, Teoh Cheow Teong (75)
17th: Jasvinder Singh, Kamarudzaman Sanusi, Peh Kok Hun, Wong Poh Wen (68)
18th: Tan Kok Cheeng, Chan Kah Sing, Anwar Jeffry, Kumaran Nagapa (67)
19th: Yeap Heng Boon, Pavananthan, Shandra Dass, Ho Mun Yee (67)
20th: Lim King Meng, Jeffrey Wong, Viki Lim, Richard Tan (58)
21st: Steven Arockiaraj, Sanjay Abdullah, Rahmah Othman, Sumita Devadas (48)


Cornelius said...

Oh well, if no one is going to respond, perhaps let me put my head on the chopping board once again!

I will admit that you have strong points for the acceptability of Rainbow Hi-Fi. Referring to your question on whether Rainbow Hi-Fi answers the question, I think we can all agree that it does. For, as you have correctly pointed out, the setter did not provide any other limitation words in the clue which would restrict the answer to only Rainbow Fashion. And yes, since both Rainbows are found within this sector, then both should be acceptable.

I can also agree that “hunters have no inkling that their answer is out of sequence,” that “we are not in the business of reading minds.”

However, I am not sure I can agree with Point #3. I’d like to claim that I always try to be fair to the hunters whenever I set hunts, but in this particular case, I think I would not have accepted Rainbow Hi-Fi precisely because of the breach of “answers-in-sequence” rule.

When looking at the matter from your point of view, I can understand what went wrong. You solved Q2, and thought you solved Q4 too. But because your answer to Q4 was not the intended answer (in fact, if I get the correct picture, you fell for a decoy), you couldn’t find the answer (A3) for Q3.

Which begs the obvious question: Why couldn’t you find A3?

And the answer to that question is: Because you obeyed the “answers-in-sequence” rule.

You did not broaden your scope of search beyond Rainbow Hi-Fi specifically because you were obeying that rule - that A3 must be found between A2 and A4, as simple as that. This has nothing to do with mind reading.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t take advantage of the “answers-in-sequence” rule to help you find your answers; but go against that rule when you can’t find the answers. That rule, once adopted for the hunt, should prevail throughout the hunt. And that, I think, is the only way to go.

By taking advantage of the “answers-in-sequence” rule, hunters can, most of the time, determine the sub-sector boundaries. I say, most of the time, not all the time. But if you wrongly identified those boundaries, then that is your responsibility. The setter sets his questions according to the rule of the hunt, and I think as long as he has satisfied that requirement, we can’t fault him when the hunters mistakenly positioned the sub-sector boundaries at the wrong places.

I will post this first and continue shortly...

Cornelius said...

Another way of seeing the matter is like this. Imagine that you found the correct answers for Q2 and Q3 respectively, and only left with the task of looking for the answer for Q4. What happens then? Would you have gone back within that sector from A3 to settle for Rainbow Hi-Fi in spite of the answer not being in sequence? I think not. I think the likelier scenario is that you would go beyond A3 within the remaining sector to find A4. The setter does not owe you the duty to ensure that you will solve A3. That is totally up to you.

The mere fact that you couldn’t find A3 for such a short distance (or so you thought) after 45 minutes should have triggered something in the order of:

“Something is not right here; maybe we are in the wrong sector; maybe my A4 is not correct; maybe there is something further down the road since the sector is up to that point.”

Such might have been a promising line of enquiry. In fact, I suspect that this was what really happened to some teams which eventually found the correct A4!

Had I been there that day, I might have fallen into the trap of the setter, I don’t know. The point is, when we are too sure of our answers, it is extremely hard to explore the possibilities of other fitting and indeed intended answers within that sector.

For this reason, I think the setter did a brilliant job.

OK, all you big guns, you can start shooting me now... HAHAHA!

2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

Perhaps the setter in question had known about Rainbow Hi-Fi, and used that technicality (answers in sequence) purposefully to trick the hunters, I don't know and I cannot comment.

But I personally don't consider this type of 'trap' as being very elegant ... especially not when employed in long sectors where common signs (eg. Motorola, Nokia) do exist kilometers apart.

From my understanding, the original intention of sequencing the questions is really a logistic designed to help hunters narrow down the search in a very long sector.

Hunters depend very much on first discovering the solutions in order to realise the boundaries. And should a hunter discover a perfectly fitting answer beyond the previous boundary, my original question was whether he should be faulted (since from his viewpoint, it is still perfectly in the correct sequence).

Cornelius said...

My view is that Rainbow Hi-Fi is "perfect" in terms of answering the clue, but it's imperfect because it's out of sequence. Rainbow Fashion is perfect in every sense. It's in that sense that I see Rainbow Hi-Fi as a red herring. It's a new way of looking at the idea of red herring.

Imagine that the setter made a mistake; you found A2, Rainbow Hi-Fi and A4. And imagine that Rainbow Fashion wasn't there at all. Which means that all correct answers, but for the out of sequence Rainbow Hi-Fi. Should we accept Rainbow Hi-Fi? I think in that case that question should be cancelled. It should be cancelled whether or not teams actually found A4. In fact, the setter might even have to cancel both A3 and A4!

In fact, the above scenario actually happened in my own hunt, but without me realising it until after the hunt when your team brought it to my attention. But if I had known it earlier, I would have cancelled that question!

Cornelius said...


I have since had an interesting discussion via email with another strong hunter.

He said he, too, would mark RAINBOW HI-FI wrong. He can accept the idea of "dependent" questions/answers, i.e. answers which depend on other answers. But he is not a big fan of this style "unless there's something 'special' about them".

In a past hunt by Mike, he fashioned out his treasures where the first 3 of them were dependent on each other. It meant that if one were unable to solve T1, he would be unable to sovle T2 and T3, because T2 and T3 depended on the correct answer for T1. It did not appear to me that the hunters were complaining against such "style".

Which led me to the conclusion that if the hunters are unaware that some answers are dependent on other answers, that is inelegant. But if they're aware that one answer depends on another, then it may be "elegant".

This may have a bearing on my future hunts, so I am keen to know your views on this.

Would you be happier if you're aware that you're dealing with connected questions?... i.e. that the answers depend on each other, much the same way that it was obvious in Mike's treasures that they're connected to each other?

Or are you saying that you are against connected questions/answers in any forms?

2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

It would take some effort to do so (make the connection) and I will be the first in line to give the setter a pat on the back.