The 5th Annual John H Watson Canonical Treasure Hunt

Dear fellow members,

as your Treasure Hunt Master for this year, it is my duty and pleasure to announce that the game is almost afoot. 100 Canonical questions are ready to be submitted to your (hopefully) eager brains. I hope that the challenge will be stimulating and fun.

The Hunt will open on midnight, July 31st, PST, corresponding to 9 a.m., August 1st, (CET) here in Italy. I have chosen the hour as an homage to our previous Hunt Master, Margie Deck a.k.a. “Gwen”, who lives on the Pacific coast. You can submit your answers until midnight, August 31st, PST.

As this is my first experience and, furthermore, I am not a native English speaker, I must admit that I’m a little uncertain regarding the form of the questions. I will be of course ready to help and clarify anything that might result in a misunderstanding on the meaning of certain expressions in the quiz.

To test this, I have a question to submit as an appetizer. You have one week to submit an answer.
“The two friends sat over this while talking about a man who had a turbulent relationship with an homonymous of one of them. Name the friends, the man, and what they sat over.”

This is one question that I would rate “medium hard” among those included in the Hunt.

Please submit your answers to

I hope to see many participants in this Hunt and that everybody will have fun!

Your Hunt Master

Michele, JHWS “Reggie”

17 Replies to “The 5th Annual John H Watson Canonical Treasure Hunt”

  1. Michele,
    You are using homonymous as a noun. It is an adverb or adjective. You should rethink the wording.
    Denny Dobry

  2. That’s exactly what I meant! these are the kinds of mistakes I’ll probably make. Thanks, Denny.
    let me put it this way:

    “The two friends sat over this while talking about a man who had a turbulent relationship with a person homonymous of one of them. Name the friends, the man, and what they sat over.”

  3. Hey Michele:

    Bravo! for such a great question to get us going. I’m feeling energized and ready to take this on. Of course Sheila ‘Daisy’ found a great answer right away. I, on the other hand, stumbled a bit as a I read it too quickly and missed one of the elements. Gah…I love it, even when I fail. 🙂

    I thank you for the nice nod to me and PST.

    We are going to have a lot of fun…


  4. I recieved a request for clarification, so I specify: by “homonymous person” I mean a person with the same first name and surname.

  5. By “one of them” do you mean one of the friends or what they sat over? Also, not to belabor it but I don’t think you can use homonymous that way. The term you would be looking for is either reduplicant or tautonym, or at least those are the closest terms. Sorry to nit pick but I’m also a couple hours into trying to solve this on, apparently, a false premise. Looking forward to the rest of the hunt!

  6. Ah…but nit picking is what Sherlockians and Watsonians do best.????

    I’ve been looking at it a different way, and actually drew out a diagram to help me think about it.

    Brilliant question, btw.

  7. Nitpicking… I have checked:

    Tautonym noun taut·o·nym \ˈtȯ-tə-ˌnim\ : a taxonomic binomial in which the generic name and specific epithet are alike and which is common in zoology especially to designate a typical form but is forbidden to botany under the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature

    Reduplicant Noun The reduplicated segment in a word resulting from a reduplication process.
    The second bar in the Ancient Greek word barbaros is a reduplicant.

    So of course I meant neither of these two.

    homonymous adjective hom·on·y·mous \hō-ˈmä-nə-məs\
    Definition of homonymous
    1 : ambiguous
    2 : having the same designation
    3 : of, relating to, or being homonyms

    So, to sum it up:
    Two friends sat over somthing, talking about a man. The man the two friends were talking about had a turbulent relationship with a person. This person had the same name (first name and surname) of one of the two friends.

    Can’t make it cleaer than this. 😀

    1. I do believe I’ve got the answer.

      And, again, brilliant question.


    2. Thanks! I misunderstood your previous clarification to mean the person had the same first and last name. Like Thomas Thomas. I had originally understood the question to mean that the person had difficulty with something that was a homonym of the name of one of the friends. I had come up with a short list of characters that had names that could also mean something another character had difficulty with, but you newest clarification helps quite a bit.

  8. Three answers received so far: from Enrico Solito, Margie Deck and the team Ron Lies/Brad Keefauver.
    Sorry, but all three are wrong. Although Margie’s could technically qualify as an alternate answer, I’ll have to think about it.
    Since this is a “dry run” for thr Hunt I’ll give a couple of clues:
    1) as Margie did last year, there is usually one word, or group of words, or a synonymous of some word or words, used in the question that can serve as a key for a computer search engine.
    2) I will specify in the list of sources recommended that for some questions a common encyclopaedia can be useful (nothing too elaborate, Wikipedia will do admirably if you know what to search for) in particular with reference to history and geography of the Victorian times.
    In this case it is fair to clarify that the man the two friends were talking about is mentioned in the Canon, but his association with the homonymous person is not. You can find this association through a quick Internet search.
    I repeat, this is a medium hard question, that should push your research field slightly outside the Canon. There won’t be many of these questions.

      1. Thank you for finding it difficult too; misery loves company. Argh! I was feeling very incapable with my best efforts not being good enough for a ‘medium’ question.

  9. “Where lies the difficulty?”
    “In my imagination, perhaps. Well, leave it there, Watson.”

    Except I can’t leave it—back to the books…. 🙂

  10. Medium HARD. 😀 I won’t repeat it.
    I’d say it would be in the top 15% of the Hunt questions by difficulty.

  11. BINGO.

    But I didn’t find it on Wikipedia, but nonetheless….Sheila & I have it. 🙂

  12. I must apologize: the connection is actually not mentioned in the Wikipedia article on the man referred to. It can be found with a Google search, but not so quickly. So the question is actually harder that I originally rated it. I will check again thorougly all the questions to ensure that the level is “challenging” and not “insanely difficult”.
    This shows the importance of a pre-hunt trial and extensive briefing… 😀

  13. You’re doing just fine. That was good exercise!

    As long as we’re all working under the motto of the firm, we are good to go.

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