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?

A Puzzling Quiz

A quiz from “Chips”, inspired by this picture:

The picture above is a small segment of a jigsaw puzzle. What is the name of the puzzle, and where could one find it?

In the picture, there are 4 items. A rather well-known Canonical quote involves some of the items pictured above.

What is the quote, who says it to whom, and in which case?

And why are there four when there are not that many mentioned in the quotation in question?

Please feel free to respond or not. But those who choose not to respond may be dogged for the rest of their lives by the Hound of the Baskervilles.

…Is that a dog I see over your shoulder?

 

What Are Your Favourite Pastiches?

No review today… sometimes you just don’t have time to read!

Instead of a review, though, I thought I might pose a question to our wonderful Watsonian community!

What are your favourite pastiches?  Do you have ones that you just love?  Ones that you read when you first discovered Holmes and Watson that have stuck with you through the years?  Ones that strike you as particularly ‘true’ or any that ring false but you love them anyway?  Let us know!

We’d also LOVE to see some SH shelfies!  What does your Sherlock Holmes bookshelf look like?  Is it neat?  Do you embrace a minimalist aesthetic?  Is it cluttered and overflowing?  Do you despair because you need MORE shelves still to fit it all?  Post shelfies (pictures of your shelves!) either in the comments, or tweet them at us @JHWatsonSoc!  Use the hashtag #SHshelfie, if possible, so we can be sure to browse and admire accordingly!

I’ll have a new review soon (I have an ARC of Sherry Thomas’ “A Conspiracy in Belgravia” that I’m working my through; copies of Rohase Piercy’s “My Dearest Holmes” and the companion novel “A Case of Domestic Pilfering”; the middle grade book “Lock and Key” by the author of “Peter and the Starcatcher”, Ridley Pearson; and at least three other books that I need to get to!).  Thanks for your patience, and I look forward to seeing those shelfies!

Quiz Results: Tuscan Luxury

Enrico Solito (“Devon”) sent us a very tricky quiz question indeed, with the only correct answer coming from the team of Sheila Holtgrieve (“Daisy”) and Margie Deck (“Mopsy”), who wrote:

Engraved portrait of Giovanni Boccaccio by Raffaello Sanzio Morghen (1822)

The Tuscan is Giovanni Boccaccio.  He famous book, the Decameron, was found amongst Enoch J. Drebber’s pocket contents in the house at Lauriston Gardens (STUD, p. 30).  It was found with the luxury items of a gold watch by Barraud of London, a heavy gold chain, a gold ring, a gold pin with rubies in the bull dog’s head, and a Russian leather card case.  Wow—this man had some bucks!

Also, the history of the Decameron plus some story threads in the individual stories may have some relation to/similarity with A Thousand and One Nights. mentioned in NOBL, p. 296 in connection with the luxuries of the “epicurean little cold supper” that Holmes ordered.

Honourable Mention goes to Robert Perret (“Sampson”), who suggested:

Do you perhaps refer to Goldini, the proprietor of a garish restaurant in BRUC? I understand his cigars, likely the famous Toscanos, are less poisonous than one might expect.

Well done, all three of you, and thank you again, “Devon”!

If you’ve been bitten by the bug to create your own Canonical Quiz, send questions (and answers, please!) to Selena.

A Quiz – and a New Book! – from Italy

This week’s quiz question comes from Enrico Solito (JHWS “Devon”), who asks:

Who is the Tuscan connected with luxury in the Canon?

For full marks, name the Tuscan and explain the Canonical connection. Send your answers by email to the JHWS Quizmaster by March 26.

We’re also pleased to announce that our “Devon” is among the contributors to His Everlasting Bow: Italian Studies in Sherlock Holmes, edited by Alessandra Calanchi (JHWS “Bianca”) and Stephen Knight, published by Aras Edizioni.

The description from the publisher sounds most intriguing:

Are Sherlock Holmes studies outdone? Has everything already been said and written about Baker Street, the Baskervilles, and the like? This volume answers these questions and dispels any doubts on the matter by presenting some of the most recent and original Italian scholarship focussing on the Sacred Canon and its long-lasting legacy in the international arena. From coding strategies to collecting Sherlockiana, from war(s) in Afghanistan to literary tourism, from the TV series of the 1960s to today’s tweets, His Everlasting Bow marks the state-of-art studies in the field and opens new fascinating trajectories of interpretation and research. The contribution of eminent scholars is matched by some outstanding pastiches and the experimental work of a group of young researchers.
Professor Stephen Knight’s foreword is simply the icing on the cake. And a treat is in store for the Sherlock Holmes Society of Italy Uno Studio in Holmes, as this volume is intended as a gift on the occasion of its 30th birthday (Florence 1987). His Everlasting Bow is also dedicated to the memory of Nando Gazzolo (1928-2015), the only Italian actor who has ever interpreted the Great Detective.

Contributors (in order of appearance): Valerio Viviani, Gabriele Mazzoni, Caterina Marrone, Enrico Solito, Stella Mattioli, Enrico and Fabio Petrella, Alessandra Calanchi and Nando Gazzolo, Marco Grassi, Luca Sartori, Gian Italo Bischi, Raniero Bastianelli, Matteo Bischi, Ruben Costa, Luisa Fanucci, Elena Garbugli, Adele Guerra, Francesca Secci, Stefano Serafini.

Test Your Canonical Knowledge

Sherlockian author Tim Symonds let us know about a Canonical quiz he composed over at Education Quizzes: Fictional Characters – Sherlock Holmes. (Wait a second…. What’s this fictional business?!) I scored 100%, but the best part is the additional information revealed once you submit your answer to each question.

Tim Symonds is author of five novels about Holmes and Watson. The most recent is Sherlock Holmes and the Nine-Dragon Sigil. (A review will be posted later this week, so watch this space!)

It’s the year 1906. Rumours abound that a deadly plot is hatching – not in the fog-ridden back-alleys of London’s Limehouse district or the sinister Devon moors of the Hound of the Baskervilles but in faraway Peking. Holmes’s task – discover whether such a plot exists and if so, foil it.

China’s fate and the interests of Britain’s Empire in the Orient could be at stake.

Holmes and Watson take up the mission with their customary confidence – until they find they are no longer in the familiar landscapes of Edwardian England. Instead, they tumble into the Alice In Wonderland world of the Forbidden City in Peking.

Quiz Results: Like an Animal

RESULTS: In order of submission, 5/5 to:

  • Margie Deck, “Gwen”, and Sheila Holtgrieve, “Daisy”
  • Michael Ellis, “Lobo”

Well done, everyone!

And, of course, the ANSWERS:

  1. Who is it?
    • Baron Adelbert Gruner
  2. What are the animals?
    • A Cat: “A purring cat who thinks he sees prospective mice” and “He’s a precise, tidy cat of a man in many of his ways.”
    • A Cobra: “He is an excellent antagonist, cool as ice, silky voiced and soothing as one of your fashionable consultants, and poisonous as a cobra.”
    • An Insect: “The Baron has little waxed tips of hair under his nose, like the short antennae of an insect.”
  3. In which story does the person appear?
    • “The Adventure of the Illustrious Client”

Quiz: Like an Animal

This week’s Quiz is a single question, submitted by Enrico Solito, JHWS “Devon”

Animals are important in the Canon. In four different sentences, one person is described with similarities to three different animals. Who is it, what are the animals, and in which story does the person appear?

Submit your answers for a total of 5 possible points (1 person, 3 animals, 1 story) by email to Selena by Sunday, October 23.

If you’ve been bitten by the bug to create your own Canonical Quiz, don’t forget you can send your questions to Selena, too!

Quiz Results: The Solitary Cyclist

RESULTS: In order of submission, 10/10 to:

  • Paul Hartnett, “Scout”
  • Ron Lies, “Chips”
  • Enrico Solito, “Devon”
  • Michael Ellis, “Lobo”
  • Margie Deck, “Gwen”, and Sheila Holtgrieve, “Daisy”
  • Elinor Gray, “Misty”
  • Alessandro Melillo
  • Stephanie Thomas, “Hyacinth”

Well done, everyone!

And, of course, the ANSWERS:

  1. Watson is very specific about the day and date that Miss Violet Smith visits 221B. He is also incorrect. When does he say she came, and why is it wrong?
    1. Saturday, April 23, 1895
    2. April 23, 1895, was a Tuesday
  2. Holmes says engaging in this sport is “always a treat”. What sport, and where did he engage in it?
    1. Boxing
    2. The “country pub” near Charlington
  3. This city was the target of a devastating attack 45 years later, but at the time of this story, it is home to a person most significant to Miss Violet Smith. What city, and whom does she say is there?
    1. Coventry
      Note: Ron Lies, “Chips”, and the team of Margie Deck, “Gwen”, and Sheila Holtgrieve, “Daisy”, sent in an alternate answer of “Westminster” – Cyril Morton lived there at the end of the story, and Westminster was also bombed in 1940.
    2. Her fiance, Cyril Morton
  4. This was an unconventional way to choose a groom, especially as neither candidate had yet met the bride. How was the decision made, and between what two parties?
    1. A game of cards
    2. Bob Carruthers and Jack Woodley
  5. It may have felt like 90 days, but it was really nowhere near that long. What, and how long was it?
    1. Mr Woodley’s visit to Chiltern Grange
    2. One week

The (Board) Game is Afoot: Introducing Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty’s Web

(Note from Selena Buttons: Recently, I had the great pleasure of meeting Lucy Keifer, JHWS “Talia”, and getting a peek at the prototype of this excellent board game. The crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter runs through the end of this month. I’m already a backer, and I hope you’ll join me so we can all get a chance to play, so I’ve asked her to write up this post telling you all about it!)

The (Board) Game is Afoot: Introducing Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty’s Web

image1-22
(because Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective and 221B Baker Street are not very good)
by Lucy Keifer, JHWS “Talia”

 

I listened the Sherlock Holmes radio plays from the 50s before I could read. Holmes has been in my life since always.

Then in high school I got my hands on a Leslie Klinger Annotated, and the second I knew Higher Criticism was a thing I wrote a paper about how “The Greek Interpreter” makes a lot more sense if the whole thing is just a training exercise staged by Mycroft to see if Melas should be promoted to more important spy-work. (Come on. He’s “sent for at strange hours by foreigners who get into difficulties” and speaks “nearly all” languages. He’s a spy.)

And that might have been it, if my mom and sister hadn’t been stuck in traffic, and my sister hadn’t noticed that the car next to her had a license plate that read SHOLMZ. Obviously, when traffic was completely stopped and they were parallel with the SHOLMZ car, Mom calls over to the guy driving it.

“I like your license plate! Are you a detective?”

“No. I’m the foremost Sherlock Holmes annotator.”

“Then you must be Leslie Klinger!”

“I am Leslie Klinger.”

“My daughter has all your books! She just wrote an article! Will you read it!”

(People have trouble saying no to Mom.)

So Les Klinger read my article, liked my article, asked if I wanted my article in the Baker Street Journal. Then, once that happened, I was invited to the BSJ Contributors dinner, which happened to be part of the New York BSI Weekend. I went, realized that Sherlockians are actually the best people in the world. And then just kept coming back.

The other constant in my life is board games. We are a board game industry family (and I swear, that’s really a thing). Dad’s been a board game exec since ever, and I grew up playtesting board games, critiquing board games, thinking about why board games work, being able to explain why this one is good and this one isn’t. I do a lot of board game design work now, especially since Dad became a freelance consultant/inventor, and our family basically became a very small game company. I’m just legacied in at this point.

And it always bothered me that the Sherlock Holmes board games were so, well, bad. I mean, Holmes solves crimes! He calls his crime solving a game! When he’s played by Johnny Lee Miller he makes these really cool crime-solving collages that look like a game!

So of course the first game I properly invented (with Dad) had to be about Sherlock Holmes.

image2-24This is a crime solving game. It’s played a board of moving tiles – Professor Moriarty is a tile at the center, and all the unsolved crimes in London are tiles around him. Obviously, he’s behind everything – you just have to prove how. So you make chains of tiles (witnesses, informants, clues) and build a case against him. You play as Holmes, Watson, Irene, Lestrade, Mycroft, or Mrs. Hudson… and Moriarty, he plays himself. He steals clues, kidnaps witnesses, kidnaps you, and everyone either wins or loses together. I love cooperative games, and there aren’t nearly enough.

And I make little canonical in-jokes, and came up with special abilities for the characters that reflect their personalities. (Like Mycroft gets to know what Moriarty is going to do slightly before he actually does it.) There are references to Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper that snuck in there too. Not sure how that happened.

image4-30
Me & my family at the Kickstarter launch party

And now Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty’s Web is on Kickstarter, and people from Hong Kong and Denmark want to buy my game, and I’m getting in touch with all these interesting websites and podcasts and cons and game cafés.  And my family is so completely behind me, helping me invent the game, doing the art, making the Kickstarter video, doing social media and marketing, and I’m just so overwhelmed by how lovely it’s all been.

So that’s my story. I’d love it if you wanted to check out my game. Please do if you enjoy casual light strategy, co-operative games, mystery solving, story generation, Sherlock Holmes, Victorian England, and/or pretty watercolors.

 

image3-27
My sister Emily and me, debuting the game at Comic-Con.

More information about Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty’s Web:

Quiz: The Solitary Cyclist

As you recover from the mental exertions of the Treasure Hunt, try out this short quiz on “The Solitary Cyclist”. There are five questions, each of which has a two part answer, for a total of 10 points. Submit your answers by email to Selena by Sunday, September 18.

  1. Watson is very specific about the day and date that Miss Violet Smith visits 221B. He is also incorrect. When does he say she came, and why is it wrong?
  2. Holmes says engaging in this sport is “always a treat”. What sport, and where did he engage in it?
  3. This city was the target of a devastating attack 45 years later, but at the time of this story, it is home to a person most significant to Miss Violet Smith. What city, and whom does she say is there?
  4. This was an unconventional way to choose a groom, especially as neither candidate had yet met the bride. How was the decision made, and between what two parties?
  5. It may have felt like 90 days, but it was really nowhere near that long. What, and how long was it?

Help Wanted: Quizmaster

It’s the end of August, and there are only a few days remaining before the close of the Fourth Annual JHWS Treasure Hunt. I would like to thank and congratulate everyone who participated, including my teammates in “An Experience of Canon Extending Over Four Teammates and Three Separate States”. I think we did pretty well, but we will see what “Gwen”, our Treasure Hunt Master has to say about our answers!

Margie Deck, JHWS “Gwen”, is the mastermind behind this year’s test, and some of those questions certainly showed how she earned the name of “Pawky Puzzler”! She will be stepping down from the role of Treasure Hunt Master so that she can play along with the rest of us next year. Before she hands off the baton, I want to thank her for all her hard work!

Now that the Treasure Hunt is ending, I’d like to remind everyone that we are currently looking for a Quizmaster to preside over our regular quizzes. This person would create and post short quizzes every two weeks (except during August, the month of the Treasure Hunt). Some of our past quizzes can be found on the Quiz Page. We are also looking for submissions of individual quizzes, if you would like to just try it out. Have you been bitten by the bug to create your own Canonical Quiz? Send it to selena @ johnhwatsonsociety.com!

Eleven days and counting, with an answer to #3 chaser

Hi Watsonians:

We are a mere 11 days from the 4th Annual John H Watson Society Treasure Hunt.  Participation in the warm-up questions has been slight but it appears the competition for the actual hunt will be brisk.  I’ve heard from seven teams that plan to participate, and two individuals.   [Hats off to those brave individuals!]   As pre-registration is not necessary, we will not know how many participants compete until the whole thing is over September 1.  If you want to compete in the team competition but do not have a team, please contact me [treasurehunt@johnhwatsonsociety.com] and I will get you in touch with some of the teams that I know are participating.

Speaking of the warm-up questions, I have posted the question, multi-part answer, and possible alternative answer below.  Although no one posted a possible answer here, I do have a friend playing along off-line, and he did arrive at the answer; it is not a totally impossible question.  This question would have been worth four points on the actual Treasure Hunt–possibly enough to put you in the High Honors position.

Happy hunting to all,

Margie

JHWS/Gwen

2016 Treasure Hunt Master

———————————————————————————

  1. If one were to imagine all the ages aligning, these two might have benefited from the unexpected charity of this professional criminal. Which two? Which criminal? What charity?

Answer: Victor Hatherley, Godfrey Staunton, John Clay, Orphanage

–W., p. 276, ENGR: “You must know,” said he, “that I am an orphan and a bachelor, residing alone in lodgings in London. By profession I am a hydraulic engineer, and have had considerable experience of my work during the seven years that I was apprenticed to Venner and Matheson, the well-known firm of Greenwich.”

–W., p. 624, MISS: “Godfrey is an orphan, and Lord Mount-James is his nearest relative – his uncle, I believe.”

–W., p. 186, REDH: “John Clay, the murderer, thief, smasher, and forger. He’s a young man, Mr. Merryweather, but he is at the head of his profession, and I would rather have my bracelets on him than on any criminal in London. He’s a remarkable man, is young John Clay. His grandfather was a Royal Duke, and he himself has been to Eton and Oxford. His brain is as cunning as his fingers, and though we meet signs of him at every turn, we never know where to find the man himself. He’ll crack a crib in Scotland one week, and be raising money to build an orphanage in Cornwall the next. I’ve been on his track for years, and have never set eyes on him yet.”

Alternative Answer:  Had this question actually been on the Treasure Hunt, an alternative acceptable answer would have been Mary Morstan, as she is clearly referred to as ‘Morstan’s orphan’.  However, she did say she lived in a comfortable boarding establishment until she was 17, so I did not include her in the primary answer.    [A trifle, yes. But what is more important?]

 

 

“One possible loose end lies in the question…”

Hello Watsonians!

Our loose end at the moment is the final warm-up question for the 4th JHWS Treasure Hunt that will begin in just a few weeks on August 1.  As I’ve mentioned before, we are looking at the mixture of imagination and reality for this year’s hunt.  Warm up question one concerned a real date, warm up question two concerned a mixture of Canonical facts, and now we are at warm up question three.  It is time to use your imagination to solve a question.  And here we go:

If one were to imagine all the ages aligning, these two might have benefited from the unexpected charity of the professional criminal. Which two? Which criminal? What charity?

It this question appeared on the actual hunt, it would be worth four points–maybe just enough for you to pass the other competitors in the totals.  This one is good practice and hopefully fun.   I look forward to your answers.

Margie

JHWS/Gwen

2016 Treasure Hunt Master