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,



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?]