The seventh Annual Treasure Hunt is due to begin in less than two weeks, so I think this is a good moment to give all participants some pointers about what to expect and how to get ready to face the challenge.
This year’s hunt will be composed of 60 questions divided in ten sections. One of these sections is composed of chain questions, like those of last year’s hunt. For some questions in this section, you will be occasionally required to skip back and/or forth a certain number of pages; therefore, a 1930 Doubleday edition facsimile (or the equivalent Penguin edition with the same page numbering) is a necessary resource. You can alternatively use one of the free online versions of the Canon where the Doubleday page number is indicated in brackets (such as http://ignisart.com/camdenhouse/canon/).
Some questions (not many) will require the use of sources of extra-Canonical informations, such as a good annotated edition, a Canonical index, or a “mainstream” encyclopedia. Your favorite Internet search engine and Wikipedia will also be very useful.
The hunt is scored on a very simple point system: 1 correct answer = 1 point, for a maximum of 60 points available. However, many questions are composed of multiple parts, so if you know part of a question (e.g. Who?), but not the other part (e.g. When? Where?), please add the part you do know to your document. You will receive credit for each individual part of the question that is answered correctly, so 0.5 points will be awarded for partly answered questions.
Coming to a point that caused some discussions and misunderstandings in the past, there is usually a specific word or a group of words in each question that can be electronically searched, and that will lead you to the answer. This is what our other great Treasure Hunt Master, “Mopsy”, called a “hook”. However, if the “hook” was always explicit, it would take away from the fun of the game; the solution could always be found by simply putting words in a search engine and scanning the results. Therefore, the use of a synonym or a different turn of phrase will be often (not always!) used to mask the “hook”.
Let me give you a couple of example taken from last years’ Hunts:
(TH6, #40) «Many of the neighbors to [one of the houses in number 39] may have lived icily distant from it, but once Watson protested to Holmes that, as a matter of fact, it was there, and should not be tampered with. What it? [1pt] Where did Watson insist it was? [1pt]»
The answer is “Romance”, and the reference is to the passage in WIST, 882: «The other mansions belonged to prosaic and respectable people who live far aloof from romance.» In this case, “icily distant” is used as a hint to “far aloof”. Had the question included the words “far aloof”, a 10-second electronic search would have given the answer. No fun in that!
(TH5, #40) «The minister and the squire were equally able to control their rage. Name the men and the stories.»
The answer is “Lord Bellinger and Von Bork”, with reference to the passages in SECO, 652 «“I am not accustomed, sir,” he began, but mastered his anger and resumed his seat» and LAST, 976 «Von Bork had mastered his anger» where “to control one’s rage” is used as a synonym of “to master one’s anger”.
Finally, I have tried to make a mix of easy and hard questions. On the whole, this should be an easier hunt than the one I did in 2017. So, if you find a question to which an answer seems too easy to be the correct one, the odds are that it probably is! At least five or six questions should be very transparent and straighforward to the experienced student of the Canon.
As usual, a forum shall be opened for the duration of the Hunt where you can submit requests for clarification of any doubtful point. I will also be available at the e-mail address email@example.com.
2019 Treasure Hunt Master