Left Coast Sherlockian Symposium Ticket Give-Away

The Society is proud to be a sponsor of the upcoming Left Coast Sherlockian Symposium this October. It’s going to be a fun and educational weekend, full of interesting talks and social events. And we have admission tickets to give to two lucky Society members!

The drawing will close to entries on March 15th, and it is limited to current Society members. (If you are unsure if you are up to date, please hop on over to our Member Roster to check your membership dates.) Just fill out the Entry Form with your name, email address, and Society Moniker for your chance to win free admission to this fabulous event!

TH7: First Warm Up Quiz

“Well, it begins to define itself.” (3GAR)

So, fellow Watsonians, here we are. In about six months we’ll have our seventh Annual Treasure Hunt. I’m proud and happy to announce that I’ll be returning this year as Treasure Hunt Master.

The task, as usual, won’t be easy. Trying to make up a satisfactory set of questions means being caught between “the Scylla and Charybdis” (RESI) of making the quiz difficult enough to challenge the resources and the brains of the participants, but not too complex or convoluted, lest people lose interest and throw the towel in, wishing the quiz maker to the bottom of the Reichenbach.
Some informations: the quiz will consist of 60 questions (a Canonical number!) and part of them will probably be chain questions like those devised by our “Mopsy” for last year’s Hunt. As always, the use of a good Sherlockian Encyclopadia is recommended (Jack Tracy’s Encyclopaedia Sherlockiana, Orlando Park’s Sherlock Holmes, Esq. and John H. Watson, M.D.: An Encyclopedia of Their Affairs, Martin Dakin’s A Sherlock Holmes Commentary), as well as a good annotated version of the Canon (Les Klinger’s, Baring-Gould’s, and/ or the Oxford Annotated).

In order to raise your interest, and to test and balance the level of the challenge, here’s the first of the “Appetizers” that will be published before the Hunt. Warning: this is a difficult question. It requires not only knowledge of the Canon, but also a certain amount of Internet research and/or the use of a good encyclopedia. If I am judging correctly, this is about the highest difficulty level that you will find in the questions of the Hunt. (But then again I may be wrong and you’ll all breeze through it…) The subject here is geography.

“Three members of the family lived in the upper, and one lived in the lower. What place are we talking about?”

(N.B. The answer must be the exact name of the place, not a generic one. E.G. if the answer was “Florence”, “Italy” or “Tuscany” would not be acceptable answers.)
Please submit your answers to: treasurehunt@johnhwatsonsociety.com within February 22nd, Friday. Happy Hunting!
Michele Lopez
2019 Treasure Hunt Master
JHWS “Reggie”, BSI “Attenta, Pericolo”

Seeking Associate Editor for the Watsonian

Greetings Watson-ian friends! The next issue of the Watsonian is in production, and the team of editors is seeking another pair of eyes. We would like to extend an invitation to members of the society to submit their name for potential associate editorship. Below are the expectations for an associate editor:

  • Familiar with using Google Docs to make suggestions/edits to submissions, or willing to learn;
  • Available twice a year (February and August) to participate in the editing process;
  • Able to edit for style, clarity, spelling, and grammar (American and British English are both accepted, MLA citation style preferred);
  • Willing to help make judgment calls on accepting some or all submissions, as necessary;
  • Excited about a variety of forms of scholarship: essays, fiction, puzzles, poetry, etc.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, or if you have further questions, send an email to publisher@johnhwatsonsociety.com with your qualifications as they pertain to the list above. As with all roles in the society, this position is strictly voluntary. Looking forward to hearing from you!

What’s Wrong with a Deerstalker Bike Helmet?

“Chips” writes to share a tidbit from an article written by Russ Bengtson for Complex (in 2013, but it was shared on the Hounds of the Internet recently).

In 11 Bike Helmets You Should Never, Ever Wear, Bengtson includes:

The Sherlock Holmes

You know why Sherlock Holmes could get away with wearing a deerstalker cap? Because it was the 1800s, he did cocaine, and he was A FICTIONAL CHARACTER.

“Chips” says:
 I disagree with this selection. Strongly. I have worn a Sherlock Holmes cap while riding my bike and now while riding in my wheelchair and my mobility scooter every day. And I have no ill effects. Folks tell me how dashing I look. 

“Selena” adds: I would quite like a deerstalker bike helmet. I might have to get one if I ever ride a bike again. To you cyclists out there, please do wear a helmet, no matter what style! Though if you happen to wear a deerstalker helmet, we’d love to see photos.

BSI Honours 2019

A hearty congratulations to the newest investitured members of the Bakers Street Irregulars, including two of our current members:

  • Michele Lopez (JHWS “Reggie”) – “Attenta, Pericolo”
  • Monica Schmidt (JHWS “Margaux”) – “Julia Stoner”

Goals

Cover of 1930 edition of The Complete Sherlock Holmes

At the end of 2017, I decided that I would read my copy of the 1930 Doubleday edition of The Complete Sherlock Holmes, cover to cover, during 2018. I started on January 1st with the preface by Christopher Morley, and I finished “The Retired Colourman” in the evening of December 31st.

I wrote out a schedule for the year that broke the reading down more or less evenly over 52 weeks, though I ended up reading it in bigger chunks less regularly. It was an interesting experience, immersing myself in the Canon in approximate publication order, having read some stories many times before, and others only once or twice.

This year, I’m going to explore the Canon from a different angle, and read through my Baring-Gould annotated edition.

Do you have any Sherlockian goals for 2019?

Renewals for 2019

The digital version of the Fall 2018 Watsonian was released to Paperless and Paper+PDF Members over the last week. (The digital version of our journal has been bundled with the print edition memberships/subscriptions since January 2016.)

If your membership is scheduled to expire on 31st December, this was the final Watsonian issue in your subscription. We hope that you will renew your membership and join us for 2019 at this link: 2019 Membership. (If you are unsure of your membership dates, please check our Member Roster.) Prospective members are welcome to join at the same link.

We apologize for the confusion resulting from the notes that appeared with some of the digital edition notifications. Formal renewal emails will be sent after the New Year to those whose subscriptions have lapsed.

In the meantime, we hope you are having a lovely end of year, keeping warm (or cool, for our friends down under!) and happy.

Compliments of the Season!

On behalf of the John H Watson Society, I wish the very warmest compliments of the season to you and yours.

Last year, “Chips” posted a photo of his copy of the BSI-published edition of “The Blue Carbuncle” with preface by Christopher Morley. In July, I ran across a copy in my local used bookshop, and found this lovely inscription inside:

To Ernie Baumgarth, at Christmastime, as a sort of keystone for a Sherlockian library. With all affection,
Russ McLauchlin
“Let me recommend this book, one of the most remarkable ever penned.”

Dec. 25, 1948

(My thanks to Chris Redmond (JHWS “Buster”) and Chris Music for deciphering the names.)

Knowing that this book was once given as a token of friendship from one Sherlockian to another makes it even more special to me.

Gregsonian Quiz Results

Inspector Gregson
(Olivier Maguire) in “The Greek Interpreter” (Granada, 1985)

The third Gregsonian Quiz received four responses, and it proved really difficult to stump this crowd.

Congratulations to Michael M. Ellis (JHWS “Lobo”), Shiela Holtgrieve (JHWS “Daisy”), Margie Deck, (JHWS “Mopsy”), Paul Hartnett (JHWS “Scout”), and Beth Gallego (JHWS “Selena Buttons”)!

  1. In the popular 2013 series Шерлок Холмс many of the classic Canonical stories are remixed.  For instance, whom does Watson marry in this show?  Mrs. Hudson.
  2. A Study in Scarlet first appeared in November of 1887 in what periodical?  Beeton’s Christmas Annual.
  3. What is the alternate title of William Gillette’s famous 1899 play Sherlock Holmes?  The Strange Case of Miss Faulkner
  4. What was Shinwell Johnson’s nickname?  Porky Shinwell.
  5. What was the occupation of Watson’s friend Lomax?  Lomax, was the sublibrarian.
  6. If we were never to leave the Canon, we would know very little about Mrs. Hudson, not even her first name.  In fact, the Mrs. Hudson we now know was largely created not by Conan Doyle but by this popular Sherlockian author in the 1933 essay “The Singular Adventures of Martha Hudson.”  Vincent Starrett.
  7. Sesame Street has its own “great” detective in the style of Sherlock Holmes.  What is his name?  Sherlock Hemlock.
  8. Robert Downey, Jr, disguised as a chair In the final scene of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows we see Holmes in a very unusual disguise (One that is echoed in BBC Sherlock).  What is the disguise? A chair (near where Watson types)– Holmes’s “urban camouflage” blends with the fabric, design, and color of the chair.
  9. What is the most remarkable component in Professor Presbury’s rejuvenation serum?  Serum of Black-faced langur.
  10. What real life criminal organization are the Scowrers of The Valley of Fear based upon?  The Molly Maguires.

May all of your carbuncles be blue this holiday season!  If you would like to see more Gregsonian quizzes in the future, please let us know at quizmaster@johnhwatsonsociety.com.

Gregsonian Quiz Reminder

Inspector Gregson
(Olivier Maguire) in “The Greek Interpreter” (Granada, 1985)

There are just a few more days to send in your answers to the third Gregsonian Quiz. Give your brain attic a rummage and see what you can come up with!

Answers will be posted Monday, 3rd December.

The Gregsonian Quiz #3

Robert Perret (JHWS “Sampson”) returns with another…

Inspector Gregson
(Olivier Maguire) in “The Greek Interpreter” (Granada, 1985)

Gregsonian Quiz

For those who, while brave, are usually out of their depths

Please note that this is a different sort of challenge from the Annual Treasure Hunt – you won’t be searching wide range of reference materials to add up to a mysterious treasure. For this challenge, try to be like Holmes: sitting in your chair working out the answers from the information in your lumber-room. Give Google a rest and see what you can answer from your own specialized knowledge!

Send your answers by email to the JHWS Quizmaster by 2nd December. Answers will be posted in three weeks, on the 3rd of December.

  1. In the popular 2013 series Шерлок Холмс many of the classic Canonical stories are remixed.  For instance, whom does Watson marry in this show?
  2. A Study in Scarlet first appeared in November of 1887 in what periodical?
  3. What is the alternate title of William Gillette’s famous 1899 play Sherlock Holmes?
  4. What was Shinwell Johnson’s nickname?
  5. What was the occupation of Watson’s friend Lomax?
  6. If we were never to leave the Canon, we would know very little about Mrs Hudson, not even her first name.  In fact, the Mrs Hudson we now know was largely created not by Conan Doyle but by this popular Sherlockian author in the 1933 essay “The Singular Adventures of Martha Hudson.”
  7. Sesame Street has its own “great” detective in the style of Sherlock Holmes.  What is his name?
  8. In the final scene of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows we see Holmes in a very unusual disguise (One that is echoed in BBC Sherlock).  What is the disguise?
  9. What is the most remarkable component in Professor Presbury’s rejuvenation serum?
  10. What real life criminal organization are the Scowrers of The Valley of Fear based upon?

Shop Correction

Thank you to those eagle-eyed members who let me know that the 2019 Membership options available in the Shop were showing up as memberships for 2018 instead. That has been corrected.

I’ve also learned that PayPal may not be showing the option to pay by credit card without a PayPal account in some locations. If you encounter this, please let me know.

2019 Memberships Now Available

Society memberships for the 2019 calendar year are now available in the Shop: 2019 Society Membership.

New and renewing members may choose the Paperless Membership, which includes the Spring and Fall 2019 issues of the Watsonian, or the Print+PDF option with domestic or international postage.

Please note, if you are a renewing member, your membership may already include 2019! See our Members Page to check on your membership dates.

Gregsonian Quiz Results

Congratulations to those who grappled with the sophomore Gregsonian Quiz!

Inspector Gregson
(Olivier Maguire) in “The Greek Interpreter” (Granada, 1985)

In all three responses were received, from Michael Ellis (JHWS “Lobo”), Paul Hartnett (JHWS “Scout”), and Sheila Holtgrieve (JHWS “Daisy”).

There were two perfect scores and one 9 out of 10.

The players somehow knew that the name of the third Holmes brother in the Asylum film was Thorpe. I was just looking for the much pithier “Spring-Heeled Jack.”  Everyone also went above and beyond in naming all three types of Canonical pipes.

  1. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly aren’t the only comedians to take on the roles of Holmes and Watson. What is the name of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, played by Gene Wilder?  Sigerson Holmes
  2. 221B Baker Street was NOT Sherlock Holmes’ actual address. How can we be sure of this?  “At the time the Holmes stories were published, addresses in Baker Street did not go as high as 221.”
  3. Holmes is a master of baritsu, likely the real-world bartitsu, an eccentric martial art form invented by Londoner E.W. Barton-Wright. In what story do we first hear of baritsu? The Adventure of the Empty House
  4. The shortest Sherlock Holmes story written by Arthur Conan Doyle is a mere 503 words long. What is the title? How Watson Learned the Trick
  5. One of the inspectors Holmes worked with had a rather eccentric appearance, with a peaked cap, “frogged” (braided) coat and a large bushy beard. Who was that inspector?  Bradstreet
  6. Black Peter’s cabin had one of these devices named after a figure from Greek mythology. Contrary to popular belief, this is never specifically mentioned as existing at Baker Street. Tantalus
  7. Marshall Stoddart, editor of Lippencott’s magazine, commissioned two famous novels at the same dinner. Sign of Four was one. What was the other? The Picture of Dorian Gray
  8. Watson’s eyes sparkle when he thinks of this American war, and Holmes waxes poetic about the gallantry shown on both sides. Which American war holds a romantic fascination for them? The (American) Civil War
  9. The 2010 Asylum film Sherlock Holmes is notorious for its dinosaurs. However, the true villain is just as improbable. What is his moniker and relationship to Sherlock Holmes? Spring-Heeled Jack aka Sherlock Holmes’ brother, Thorpe
  10. Sherlock Holmes is associated with the Meerschaum pipe (or perhaps vice versa) but that style of pipe is never mentioned in the original stories. Three other pipes are. Name at least one of them. Black clay pipe, a long cherrywood pipe, and an old brier pipe.

-Robert Perret (JHWS “Sampson”)

A Legend

“Chips” sends in this tidbit that originally appeared in the Baker Street Journal vol. 16 no. 2 (June 1966) by Chris Redmond (JHWS “Buster”).

A LEGEND

by Chris Redmond

“The Naval Treaty” illustration by Sidney Paget for The Strand Magazine, October & November 1893.

Observe the famous profile. See the pipe—

Traditionally curved, though really straight—

On which he puffs, as men of every type

Narrate their strange experience or fate.

That famous phrase of “Elementary,

My dear Watson,” was one he never spoke;

But he is known for it in every

Discussion of him, each pastiche, each joke.

Popularly, he crawled across the rug,

In deerstalker and cape, viewing with care

Through magnifying glass each thread or bug,

Each ash or bit of mud, which he found there.

It’s fiction, or else legend—but forsooth~

Since we believe it, isn’t it the truth?

The Gregsonian Quiz

Robert Perret (JHWS “Sampson”) returns with another…

Inspector Gregson
(Olivier Maguire) in “The Greek Interpreter” (Granada, 1985)

Gregsonian Quiz

For those who, while brave, are usually out of their depths

Please note that this is a different sort of challenge from the Annual Treasure Hunt – you won’t be searching wide range of reference materials to add up to a mysterious treasure. For this challenge, try to be like Holmes: sitting in your chair working out the answers from the information in your lumber-room. Give Google a rest and see what you can answer from your own specialized knowledge!

Send your answers by email to the JHWS Quizmaster by 31st October. Answers will be posted in two weeks, on the 1st of November.

  1. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly aren’t the only comedians to take on the roles of Holmes and Watson. What is the name of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, played by Gene Wilder?
  2. 221B Baker Street was NOT Sherlock Holmes’ actual address. How can we be sure of this?
  3. Holmes is a master of baritsu, likely the real-world bartitsu, an eccentric martial art form invented by Londoner E.W. Barton-Wright. In what story do we first hear of baritsu?
  4. The shortest Sherlock Holmes story written by Arthur Conan Doyle is a mere 503 words long. What is the title?
  5. One of the inspectors Holmes worked with had a rather eccentric appearance, with a peaked cap, “frogged” (braided) coat and a large bushy beard. Who was that inspector?
  6. Black Peter’s cabin had one of these devices named after a figure from Greek mythology. Contrary to popular belief, this is never specifically mentioned as existing at Baker Street.
  7. Marshall Stoddart, editor of Lippencott’s magazine, commissioned two famous novels at the same dinner. Sign of Four was one. What was the other?
  8. Watson’s eyes sparkle when he thinks of this American war, and Holmes waxes poetic about the gallantry shown on both sides. Which American war holds a romantic fascination for them?
  9. The 2010 Asylum film Sherlock Holmes is notorious for its dinosaurs. However, the true villain is just as improbable. What is his moniker and relationship to Sherlock Holmes?
  10. Sherlock Holmes is associated with the Meerschaum pipe (or perhaps vice versa) but that style of pipe is never mentioned in the original stories. Three other pipes are. Name at least one of them.

The Soldier Named Murray

Royal Horse Artillery and the 66th Foot before the Battle of Maiwand – ‎Richard Caton Woodville, Jr (1856-1927)

“Chips” sends in this poetic toast by Jody Baker (AKA Insp. Baynes, and who in turn gives thanks to Paul Hartnett (JHWS “Scout”)) to he without whom our dear Dr Watson would have perished before ever meeting Holmes.

On the Afghan side of a mountain pass
In the land that’s ruled from Kabul,
Our assistant regimental surgeon
Was a kid just fresh out of school.

He had spent some time at Netley, though;
And they’d taught him mighty well
How to patch up battered infantry troops
Who had fought their way through hell.

Now the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers
Were safe back in Candahar,
And he could’ve stayed back there with them,
If he’d wanted to sit out the war.

But he cast his lot with the Berkshires,
And he joined us in the fight
As we neared the village of Maiwand,
Troops deployed both left and right.

Then those murd’rous stinkin’ Ghazis
Soon filled the air with lead.
And when a slug hit the doctor’s leg,
My Gawd, — how that man bled.

Since I was the doctor’s orderly
I was fightin’ by his side;
And when he fell, I picked him up.
Lor’ — I thought the man had died.

So I slung him over my shoulder
And was headed toward the rear,
When another slug from a Ghazi gun
Brought an end to his career.

It split the spine of his scapula,
And it pierced his body too.
I knew he was hit, and I knew it was bad,
And I thought that he might be through.

So, I held him even closer
And kept on running to the back,
Where I grabbed the Company work-horse
And strapped the doctor to its pack.

We dressed the wounds. We stopped the blood.
And we did what we could do;
But the man was hurt – he was hurt real bad;
And he needed surgery, too.

So we sent him east to Candahar,
Where he joined with several more
To form a train, and then move
North to our base in Pesh’war.

In the base hospital in Pesh’war
Where they nursed him back to health,
They said that our treatment in the field
Saved the man from certain death.

Watson has praised me for my courage,
And for my devotion to the deed,
And for risks I took in saving the life
Of the man whose tales we read.

So pull your chairs up close to the hearth fire,
When it’s cold and the snows are a-flurry.
As you talk about Watson and marvel at Holmes,
Drink a toast to the soldier named Murray.