“Creep forward quietly and see what they are doing–“

Said Sherlock Holmes to Watson, as they, with Lestrade in tow, waited for the hound to be released upon the soon-to-be-on-the-path Henry Baskverville.  I’m assuming the quietness from JHWS members to the previous 4th Treasure Hunt warm-up question is because you are busy enjoying your summer before the dog days of August set in.  (Bad pun very much intended.)  Our faithful Chips is the only one who posted an attempt to the second warm-up question.  Many thanks to Chips for giving the question a go.

The question was:

Mixture: Kitty + Porky + Birdy= Common 4-letter address.  Where?

The answer is: HELL [See the applicable quotes from the Canon below]

We will have one more warm-up question before the 4th Treasure Hunt begins on August 1.  In our mixture of reality and imagination theme, the last warm-up question will require some imagination on your part to find the answer.  My counselor and question-tester for this edition of the hunt, Sheila Holtgrieve [JHWS Daisy] rated the second and third warm-up questions as ‘medium difficulty’, but then she is a master quizzer and a three year veteran of the Treasure Hunt so her idea of medium might not be the same as most folks. 🙂

I will post it in a day or two after our American members are past their 4th of July celebrations.  I hope you will come out and play along.


JHWS/ Gwen

2016 Treasure Hunt Master


–W., p.989, ILLU: “I’m easy to find,” said the young woman. “Hell, London, gets me every time. Same address for Porky Shinwell. We’re old mates, Porky, you and I. But, by Cripes! there is another who ought to be down in a lower hell than we if there was any justice in the world! That is the man you are after, Mr. Holmes.” Holmes smiled. “I gather we have your good wishes, Miss Winter.”

–W., p 864, VALL: [Birdy Edwards speaking]”Aye, John McGinty, you may call me that if it eases your smart. You and your like have been the enemy of God and man in these parts. It took a man to get between you and the poor devils of men and women that you held under your grip. There was just one way of doing it, and I did it. You call me a `traitor’, but I guess there’s many a thousand will call me a `deliverer’ that went down into hell to save them. I’ve had three months of it. I wouldn’t have three such months again if they let me loose in the Treasury at Washington for it.”

Mixing it up for the 4th JHWS Treasure Hunt warm up

Hi Watsonians–

Here we are a mere six weeks until the treasure hunt begins on August 1.  Since the posting of the first warm up question, I’ve heard from The Sherlock Holmes Society of India. The society will have a team in the competition. I’m so glad SHSI is joining in the fun.

As to the first warm up question, we had a few comments about it.  I’m guessing most of you solved it rather quickly; the answer is January 7th (VALL).  If you have your 1930 Doubleday Single Volume with the Christopher Morley introduction (Buttons’ beloved ‘W’), the quote is found on page 773.

As noted before, the theme this year is ”that mixture of imagination and reality which is the basis of my art” (Holmes,THOR).  With the first question, we talked about reality. For the second warm up question, we have a mixture:

Kitty+Porky+Birdy=common 4 letter location–where?

I look forward to your answers,


JHWS ‘Gwen’

2016 Treasure Hunt Master

June 1: Buster has the goods and things are warming up

Hello Watsonians!

It is now June 1, warm weather is upon us, and it is only some sixty days until the 4th Annual John H Watson Society Treasure Hunt begins.  I’ve been hearing inklings of previous competitors returning, and I’m hoping some new teams might be in the works.  Over the next two weeks I will be writing to many Sherlockian groups to invite new competitors.  Thanks to the hard work of Chris Redmond (JHWS ‘Buster’), a treasure trove of contact information is readily available at sherlockian.net. I can’t thank him enough for this amazing resource.

Speaking of warming up and returning competitors, I encourage you to head over to Brad Keefauver’s always entertaining Sherlock Peoria to read the April 30, 2016 blog post titled ‘Team Building’ to see how one of our Down in Illinois team members is warming up for the competition.  You will laugh, and perhaps be inspired to compete.

The 2016 edition of the Treasure Hunt will celebrate  “that mixture of imagination and reality” which is the basis of our shared fun where it is always1895.   To help get you into the spirit of things, you will find below our first warm up question for this year: Give it a go and let us know how you fare.

The recent BBC Sherlock Special The Abominable Bride explored the possibility of Holmes and Watson being men ahead of their time.  In reality, Holmes noted once to his dismay that he and Watson were before their time. On what day of the year were they too up to date?


2016 Treasure Hunt Master

JHWS ‘Gwen’

It is almost that time again – 4th Annual Treasure Hunt is coming up!

Hello Watsonians:

With less than 90 days until the August 1 kick-off, teams are gearing up for the 4th Annual John H. Watson Society Canonical Treasure Hunt. We invite you to join in the fun!

As you know, last year teams from the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy and France earned honors in the competition, along with three amazing individual competitors who braved the difficulty alone. These quiz masters have set a high-bar for this year’s competition.  Are you up to the challenge?

In keeping with JHWS tradition, this 4th Treasure Hunt will be a difficult 100-question quiz designed to challenge your knowledge of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John Watson, and their greater world.  Individual competitors and teams (up to five members) are invited to compete. The competition is open from August 1 through September 1, 2016. As always, the first participant(s) in each category to submit the most correct answers will receive a small, unique and distinctive award from the JHWS. Enjoyment of international bragging rights is a plus and encouraged. 

A list of the rules for the competition, along with a list of recommended resources for competitors, can be found on the treasure hunt page. Please send any questions about the treasure hunt to me at treasurehunt@johnhwatsonsociety.com. I will respond to your questions as quickly as possible. As our Buttons, Don Libey, said: “The goal of the Treasure Hunt is to bring together Watsonians, Sherlockians, and Holmesians on a global, collegial basis to further the scholarship and enjoyment of our mutual interest in all things 1895.”

Please share the word about the 2016 Treasure Hunt. Participation grows each year—we look forward to 2016 being our biggest year yet.

Margie Deck

3rd Annual Treasure Hunt Awards, Kind Words from the Bootmakers

Hi All:  I’m hesitant to jump in here with all the excitement going on about the BBC trailer, but JHWS received some very kind words today, and I wanted to share them with you.  Our amazing Andrea “Asta” Stewart has been busy getting the keepsake treasure hunt awards out to our participants; she is now a customs expert!  I have received thanks to Asta and the JHWS team for the keepsakes from Sheila with the SOBs, and from Cliff and Peter with The Bootmakers of Toronto.  In his email, Peter provided a copy of an article about the 3rd Annual Treasure Hunt appearing in the fall issue of Canadian Holmes.  He gave me permission to print it here as well.  Please see below.



Sherlockian Treasure…Hunt

By Peter Calamai

Peter Calamai is a frequent contributor to Canadian Holmes and a riddle wrapped in an enigma. He is also a recipient of the Order of Canada.

Diabolical. An overused word but nonetheless an accurate description for many of the 100 questions in the third annual Treasure Hunt, an online Sherlockian quiz conceived by the late Donald R. Libey for the John H. Watson Society. Consider this example:

Of the six, one was missing something the other five had—perhaps for the same reason the owner no longer had a picture. Name the one, what the one did not have, and the owner. (Answer on page 12.)

Contestants had a month to answer such questions using any printed and electronic Sherlockian resources. They could work alone or in teams of up to five. The Bootmakers team consisted of Cliff Goldfarb, Peggy Perdue, Chris Redmond and me. Conferring by email starting August 1, we quickly knocked off about a quarter of the questions in the first week (and those answers proved largely correct). Another quarter fell in the second week. Then we laboriously ground our way along until only seven remained without a definite answer. An hour-and-a-half brainstorming teleconference produced much speculation and slowly more questions got answers . . . of a sort. The last question was answered on deadline day, September 1. Hunt quizmaster Margie Deck – she of a definitely diabolical bent – quickly totted up the entries and posted results on September 3. An excited Goldfarb emailed fellow team members that “we managed a podium finish for Canada against world-class competition.”

With 143 points out of a possible 156, we had tied for Honours with a two-person team from the Sound of the Baskervilles. However, in what Cliff called a Norbury moment, the High Honours, with 153 points, went to a five-person team from Uno Studio in Holmes of Italy competing in their second (or maybe third) language. Three other teams sent in answers, although more began the quiz. Full results, including the Order of Valiant Effort award, are at https://www.johnhwatsonsociety.com/ Now, if only we’d managed the correct answer to that question above, we’d have garnered three more points. Oh well, there’s always next year, and there’s room for another Bootmakers team member.

3rd Annual Treasure Hunt Answers

Hello!  As noted yesterday on the news page, the treasure hunt answers are attached here today on the Quiz page.  As you read through the document, you will realize that some alternative answers you submitted were accepted for the point count or your total points would not have been as high.   I had hoped to add the alternative answers to this document but due to the number of entries received, time just does not permit.  As always, questions/comments are welcome at treasurehunt@johnhwatsonsociety.com.



2015 JHWS TH with Answers

3rd Annual JHWS Treasure Hunt Results Are In!

Hello!  As you all know, the 3rd Annual JHWS Treasure Hunt ended on September 1.  This third year saw a great increase in the number of submitted entries resulting in good competition in both the Team and Individual Categories.  We hope you enjoyed the competition; every effort was made to continue the proud tradition started by our Buttons. Thank you to everyone who participated.

This year is the first time the Treasure Hunt submissions were scored on a point system with a total of 156 points available.  Results are——-


High Honors:  High Honors for this year goes to Uno Studio in Holmes, our returning team from Italy. The outstanding work by this team captured 153 of the 156 points.  Congratulations to team members Michele Lopez, Stefano Guerra, Enrico Solito, Vera Mazzotta, and Roberto Vianello.

Honors: Honors for this year are shared between The Sound of the Baskervilles, returning champions from Seattle, and The Bootmakers of Toronto, with each team earning 143 points. Sheila Holtgrieve and Lauren Messenger represented The SOBs (as they are affectionately known); The Bootmakers are represented by Peter Calamai, Cliff Goldfarb, Peggy Perdue, and Chris Redmond.

O.V.E. Awards: Our Order of Valiant Effort awards go to second-year competitor  La Fayette of La Societe Sherlock Holmes de France with 129 points, and Two Guys Down in Illinois with 124 points. SSHF Lafayette team members are Alexis Barquin, Benoit Guilielmo, and Thierry Saint-Joanis.  The Two Guys are Rob Nunn and Brad Keefauver.

Honorable Mention:  Honorable Mention this year goes to first time competitors, The Retired Beekeepers of Sussex with 70 points; team members are Elinor Gray, Basil Chap, Crystal Noll, and Rowan MacBean.


High Honors:  First time competitor Greg Darak earns the High Honors in this category this year with his excellent work nabbing  145 of the available points.

Honors:  Honors this year go to our returning champion from 2013 and 2014 Denny Dobry with 130 points.  Denny was the first-in this year, submitting more than a week before any others.

O.V.E. Award:  Our Valiant Effort Award winner for this category is Gerry Turnbull with 89 points.

In keeping with the general fellowship of the JHWS, there is another tie in one category this year:

The Best Pull-The-Treasure-Hunt-Master’s-Leg Award

–Two Guys in Illinois for their answer to #47: “He let out a yell, and away he went as hard as he could lick it in the darkness”—SHOS; A year later, Holmes discovers how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop;

–Greg Darak for his answer to #89 (about the Fog): Mel Torme and Professor Moriarty.

Thank you for the comic relief!  🙂

The  JHWS will be sending the keepsake awards out soon, and may need to contact some of you for mailing information.  The answers to this year’s competition will be posted tomorrow on the Quiz page.  We will then return our quiz page to our wonderful Quiz Master Denny.  Please direct any questions about the 3rd Annual Treasure Hunt to treasurehunt@johnhwatsonsociety.com.

  Thanks for playing the game with us this year,


JHWS Treasure Hunt Master for 2015

3rd Annual JHWS Treasure Hunt: Strategies for the final stretch

Hello– I’m jumping in here on the news page to send some info (and encouragement) to our 3rd Annual Treasure Hunt participants.  As a participant in TH1 and TH2, I know that the third week can feel a bit discouraging and frustrating.  More than likely at this point, those working on the hunt are now down to their final 1/3 of the questions–the 1/3 that seem too ambiguous or mostly hopeless.  I know time is short, and frustration leads to thoughts of abandoning the thing entirely.  I hope you will not!  I also know at this point it is easy to forget that you’ve had some fun working on thing– the joy of getting lost in Holmes’s and Watson’s world, and from playing the game with your team members.  I offer a reminder of a few strategies–we saw some of this in the warm-up questions– for working the questions this year:

1) Almost every question has a searchable phrase or word to help you find the answer.  Some are really evident (‘alive and well’); others require a bit more thought, ie: another word for ‘single man’ is ‘bachelor’; ‘three’ could be third or thrice, etc.;

2) Punctuation matters: a lower-case ‘j’ in the word jack; an upper-case ‘Y’ in the word yellow;

3) Be sure to consider the section headings–“The problem has always been not to find but to choose” will mean you are looking for answers concerning the untold tales, as Watson is referencing some of them when he made that statement.

A full 15 days remain to work on the hunt.  Should you find yourself a few answers short on September 1, please submit your answers anyway.  The hunt will be scored on a point system; each question has a point value (i.e.: ‘who’ = 1 pt; ‘who’ and ‘where’ = 2 pts., etc.).  With the exclusion of question #27, there are 156 available points. [ If your answer gets ‘who’ correct but misses ‘where’, you still earn 1 of 2 points.]  Even if you are a few answers short, your total points could still equal High Honors!

Ok, I will stop going on and on.  Thanks for your time and interest.

Your 2015 Treasure Hunt master who fully expects to be cursed profoundly over the next 15 days…




3rd Annual Treasure Hunt Change & Reminder

Hi All:  Taking up a bit of space here on the news page today to remind our Treasure Hunters about the forum that is open on the Quiz page.  Since we have some new teams competing this year, I’m worried not everyone knows to check the comments on the Quiz page forum from time to time for changes/clarifications to the Treasure Hunt.  Today, for example, Question #27 was removed from the hunt tally due to a question construction issue.  I hope everyone working on the Treasure Hunt receives the message–I would hate for anyone to spend time searching for an answer that is not going to be included in the scoring.  Thanks for your time and interest.

Now…back to your regular programming…

3rd Annual Treasure Hunt Is Posted

Hello 2015 Treasure Hunters!  You will find this year’s hunt attached below.  It is attached as a Word document (.docx) and, again, as a PDF for those without software to open a Word document.  As noted earlier today, a forum for discussing the treasure hunt is now open on the Quiz page.  Any questions / requests for clarification can also be sent to treasurehunt@johnhwatsonsociety.com.   The competition will be open through September 1, 2015; no submissions will be accepted after that date.

Good luck!

2015 JHWS TH WordDoc


3rd Annual JHWS Treasure Hunt Forum Is Open

Hi Treasure Hunters!  This post is now open for clarifications/questions/discussion concerning the 3rd Annual JHWS Treasure Hunt.  It will remain open through September 1.  Please feel free to discuss anything related to the hunt with the exception of posting specific answers to any of the questions.  Any questions to /clarifications needed from the Treasure Hunt Master will be answered as quickly as possible.   Good luck!

3rd Annual JHWS Treasure Hunt Final Warm Up Question

Hello Watsonians!  This time next week, the 3rd Annual JHWS Treasure Hunt will be posted and hopefully our hunters will be busy seeking answers.  We’ve had two previous warm up questions:  an easier question with just a bit of pawky-ness, and  a harder question requiring some associative thinking and rereading of several stories. The final warm up question is a medium-level straight forward one.  On we go:

Two men died in July: one in 1944, and the other in 1967. Their visionary work greatly influenced the world’s perception of Sherlock Holmes in their respective generations—in deed, their influence continues to resonate today. Who and who?

3rd Annual JHWS Treasure Hunt Warm Up Question 2

Hello! It is now a mere ten days until the 3rd Annual John H Watson Treasure Hunt posts, and I’m thinking it is time for another warm up question.   And here we go:

Without becoming too terribly preoccupied, determine the missing name to complete the series:



Percy:: ___________





3rd Annual Treasure Hunt Warm Up Question

Hello!  It is now only 17 days until the 3rd Annual JHWS Treasure Hunt posts.  I thought a warm up question might be in order:  In the course of their adventures together, when and where did Holmes introduce the good Dr Watson by the doctor’s full first and last name?