fun and games

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 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’

A Quiz from the Archives

This week, we’re dipping into the archives for one of our dear Buttons’s quizzes. It originally ran in October, 2013. It’s a little bit different from the traditional Sherlockian trivia challenge.

Submit your answers by 11:59 PDT Sunday, June 5 to Include your answers to the all of the questions as well as the final result. (Please do not post answers in the comments to this post.)

This week’s quiz is on Canonical Numbers. Determine the number or numbers that are indicated by the textual clues. Each question is answered with a number. When you have answered all of the questions with their respective numeric answers, total all of the numbers and proceed to the final division and Solution.


The enumeration in his mind for Anatomy.
Number of years of the unit.
The final three numerals.
St Luke’s scout’s tenure in rooms.
Number of inclusive years Holmes was a very busy man.
White sea’s distance away.
Number of lads who had supper in the kitchen.
Number of free citizens.
Numeric address of machinery assessors.
English governess’s age thereabouts.
Convert to numbers the time Holmes will be pleased to dine.
The object of the idiot’s love had been at boarding school ‘x’ years.
Amount of the maiden aunt’s capital.
At what hour on Monday was the office closed?
Page number of account in the big ledger.
Number of figures in only child’s marriage inter-vivos.
Shade of the elm.
Whistle ‘x’ minutes before the descent.
Number of the day of the month of the intrusive vicar.

Total of all Numbers: _____

Divide the Total by 28.66: _____

Final Number Answer: _____

Note: The Final Answer Number is your “Check” answer. If it is Canonically logical, you have correctly provided accurate numbers for all 20 questions. If it is not logical, you have one or more answers incorrect.

(Those of you who completed this back in 2013, shhhhh! Don’t spoil the ending! 🙂 )

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 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

Weekly Quiz: 2015 #4

RESULTS:  Michele Lopez, Denny Dobry, Margie Deck and Sheila Holtgrieve all got the usual answer of Paganini, who played on a single E string.  However, Michele Lopez “Reggie” also added the oft-overlooked Canonical reference to Charlie Peace in ILLU. Charlie was a real criminal who appeared on stage with a one-string violin act. He can be found in Tracy’s Encyclodpedia Sherlockiana and in Wikipedia. Congratulations all!

Here is a single question quiz for this week. Please submit answer by Noon Wednesday, January 21, 2015 to

Who was a skilled player of the single-stringed violin?

Weekly Quiz 2015:2 Denny Dobry’s “Kirby” Quiz

RESULTS: Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy” and Margie Deck “Gwen” took honors this week, as they usually do. THanks to Denny Dobry “Kirby” for creating the quiz. Anyone else feel up to writing a quiz? Send them to Buttons.

This week’s quiz is written by Quiz Master Denny Dobry “Kirby” of Reading PA. Denny is the two-time Honors holder in the Individual category of The John H Watson International Invitational Canonical Treasure Hunt.

Please submit answers to Buttons by Wednesday noon, January 14, 2015.



Download File: weekl_quiz_15-2_by_kirby_with_answers

Weekly Quiz:  51  The Pawky Puzzler’s Christmas Quiz

This week’s quiz is the Pawky Puzzler’s Christmas Quiz for your Yuletide enjoyment and delectation.  We thank Margie Deck “Gwen,” our intrepid Quiz Maven from the SOBs in Seattle for her fine work in creating this unique and fun quiz. Submit your answers by Christmas Eve, 24 December.

Good Luck to All!  And to All, “The Compliments of the Season!”


Download File

Weekly Quiz 49

RESULTS:  No takers this week!  We will reserve the quiz for another attempt at a later date.

This week’s quiz is all about crime.  Please send solutions to Buttons by noon, Wednesday, December 10, 2014.  Good luck!


Download File

Weekly Quiz 47

RESULTS:  Paul Hartnett “Scout” was first in with all correct solutions.  Ariana Maher “Carla” was also “all correct” and second in.  Congratulations on a tough quiz.  Answers below.

Here is a little quiz that asks you to get inside Doctor Watson’s head and hear his inner thoughts.  The clues are paraphrased, but the actual thoughts of Watson can be deduced from the paraphrasing. Please identify the written text, the book or story and the page number in Doubleday, 1930, The Complete Sherlock Holmes.

Solutions to by noon Wednesday, November 26.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American colleagues in the Colonies.


Download File

Weekly Quiz 46: A Stumper

Weekly Quiz 46

RESULTS:  First in with the correct answer is Patricia Villicrusis “Helena” with a correct answer for the Honours.  Second in was Team SOB, Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy” also with a correct solution.  Denny Dobry “Kirby” was third in with another corrrect solution.

The solution was found in VALL, Jean Babtiste Greuze, the French painter, one of whose paintings was owned by Moriarty according to Holmes.  He was buried with immortelles (daisies) on his coffin.  The alternative answer, also correct, was Napoleon who also was buried with immortelles on his coffin and who was referenced when Holmes called Moriarty “The Napoleon of Crime.”

Congratulations on a particularly obscure quiz question.

This week, we give you a stumper:

On this person’s coffin were laid immortelles. Culturally, references to this individual appear in the works of numerous mystery writers and, specifically, in the Canon, where Holmes makes this person’s connection to Moriarty.

Please submit solutions by noon, Wednesday, November 19, 2014 to

Weekly Quiz 45: Random Questions

RESULTS: Denny Dobry “Kirby,” and Sheils Holtgrieve “Daisy” and Margie Deck “Gwen” were 9/10 this week. Latin in the Canon is pesky, although all came up with plausible, if slightly wide of the mark, alternatives. Answers below.

This week’s quiz returns to those pesky random questions. Please submit solutions by noon, November 14, 2014 to

rtf.pngDownload file:

Weekly Quiz 44

RESULTS:  Denny Dobry “Kirby” was first in for Individual Honors and Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy” took Team Honors.  They were the only three with the correct solution to “Lord George” Sanger of Sanger’s Circus. He was given the name His Lordship by his father because of his love of fine clothing. His brother, John Sanger, was known as Gentleman John and not Lord John as erroneously reported in Tracy’s Encyclopaedia. Sanger’s was the largest circus in England, and George Sanger greatly admired P.T. Barnum.  Referenced in VEIL.  Well Done to our three Invincibles!

Buttons is feeling a bit otherworldly given that it is Samhain. So, a single question quiz:

This gentleman, his Lordship George, was prominent in this circle. Please name who, what and the book or story in which he is referenced.

Please submit solutions to by noon Wednesday, November 5, 2014.

Weekly Quiz 42

RESULTS:  Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy” give us 11/10 with the most creative answer as an extra.  Denny Dobry “Kirby” was a close second.

The Team SOB answer to question #1 was a rich pun:

1. A toast of the British Navy.

Answer: Phelp’s missing Naval Treaty.  Holmes states that Mrs. Hudson has  “…a good idea of breakfast as a Scotchwoman.”; toast is part of a full Scottish Breakfast. The Naval Treaty was placed under the dome of the breakfast plate. NAVA, W., p. 465-466.


The original answer is in the answers below.

NOTE: A correction has been made to Question #9.

This week’s quiz is random. Please submit solutions by noon, October 22, 2014 to



Download File:

Weekly Quiz 41

Last week was Interiors; this week is Exteriors.  Please identify the exterior described and cite the book or story and page number in Doubleday’s one-volume edition of 1930.  Solutions by 12 noon, Wednesday, October 15th please.

This quiz reveals how much Doctor Watson tended to use the same details over again; sort of an exterior recycling.

file_download.pngDownload Week 41 Questions

Weekly Quiz: 40

RESULTS:  Denny Dobry “Kirby” was first in with 10/10 and alternative answers. Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy” took the Team honors with 10/10 and also alternative answers.  Great Job, All!

Answers below:

This week’s quiz is all about interiors.  Where are the interiors described found?  Story, book and page number, please.  Solutions to Buttons by noon Wednesday, 8 October 2014.

file_download.pngDownload file:
Week 40 Questions and Answers