Annual Treasure Hunt

The Annual John H Watson Canonical Treasure Hunt

The Ultimate Sherlockian Quiz

The 7th Annual Treasure Hunt will begin August 1, 2019. Watch this page for notices and updates.

In keeping with the long-standing tradition of canonical quizzing among Sherlock Holmes society members around the world, The John H Watson Society invites all Sherlockians, Holmesians, and Watsonians to participate in the Annual John H Watson Society Canonical Treasure Hunt.

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.  The JHWS hopes participants will find the Treasure Hunt to be the definitive — and the most enjoyable — canonical quiz.   The competition runs from August 1 through September 1 each year.

The Treasure Hunt involves encryption, obscure references, geographic and biologic inferences, people, objects, dates, unique terminology, and all manner of canonical knowledge.  While most answers will be no more than two to ten words, the questions are not simple.  See the Resources and Rules pages for guidelines on completing the Treasure Hunt. The Treasure Hunt is a difficult 100 question quiz designed to challenge participants’ knowledge of Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson, and their world. The competition is open to individual participants and to teams of two to five.  The JHWS welcomes and encourages participation from all over the world.

And there are awards! The first individual and first team to submit the most correct answers will each receive a unique and distinctive award from the JHWS. The JHWS hopes that over the years these singular awards will become Watsonian/Sherlockian treasures.

Questions about the annual treasure hunt, or the JHWS as a whole, are welcomed by the Treasure Hunt Master. The JHWS asks its members to tell other clubs, organizations, and individuals about the Annual John H Watson Society World Canonical Treasure Hunt — and to participate if at all possible.  The game is afoot — come along for the adventure!

The Agra Treasure Chest: “There’s a Pony in Here Somewhere!”

Treasure Hunt News:

  • 2018 Treasure Hunt Six Results

    ‘The ideal reasoner,’ he remarked, ‘would, when he has once been shown a single fact in all its bearings, deduce from it not only all the chain of events which led up to it, but also all the results which would follow from it.’

    Hello Watsonians—

    The month of August is, as always, Treasure Hunt month for the John H Watson Society. Knowing the many hours required to finish the Treasure Hunt, we are always gratified to see the number of entries submitted. After many hours of scoring today with the help of Sheila Holtgrieve (JHWS ‘Daisy’), I am happy to announce the results of TH6: Every Link Rings True.

    Individual Competition 

    For the third consecutive year, High Honors in the difficult Individual Category goes to Michael Ellis with 70 points of the 74 available. Denny Dobry earns Honors in this category with 66 points.

    Two competitors new to the individual category earned our O.V.E. (Order of the Valiant Effort) Award: Brad Keefauver with 52 points, and Carmen Savino with 50 points.  Honorable Mention to first time participant Paul Thomas Miller and returning competitor Gerry Turnbull who each earned 35 points before their time ran short.

    Team Competition

    Returning team ‘Experience of Canon’ earns High Honors in the team category with 66 points; team members are Beth Gallego, Paul Hartnett, and Ron Lies.  Honors go to the ‘Uno Studio in Holmes’ team with 65 points; team members include Stefano Guerra, Michele Lopez, Vera Mazzotta, Gianluca Salvatori, and Enrico Solito.

    O.V.E. awards in this category go to ‘The Retired Beekeepers of Sussex’ with 60 points, and the ‘Sound of the Baskervilles’ with 58 points.  The Beekeepers team members are Elinor Gray, Rowan MacBean, and Cheryl LeBlanc-Weldon.  Cameron Brandon, Lauren Messenger, Sunny Even, and Francis Bond represented the SOBs.

    We send a Shout-Out to our Treasure Hunt friend Anne Nelson who managed 16 points while traveling across South Korea; she said she plans to finish it just for the fun of it after she returns home.  “Just for the fun of it” is music to the Treasure Hunt master’s ears.

    Thank you all for joining in the fun.  I send many thanks to Sheila Holtgrieve for her proof-reading and scoring research assistance; as always, her good humor and phenomenal Canon knowledge made the work enjoyable. I will be contacting all the participants concerning addresses for the delivery of the small mementos.  You will find the answers attached.

    I have enjoyed serving as Treasure Hunt Master this year. I appreciate your participation, patience and good humor.

    Margie Deck

    JHWS/ ‘Mopsy’

    2018 TH6 Answers

  • 48 Hours and those unfinished Treasure Hunts

    Things have taken a turn which I could not have anticipated. In some ways they have within the last forty-eight hours become much clearer and in some ways they have become more complicated. But I will tell you all and you shall judge for yourself.

    Hello Treasure Hunters–

    We are now just shy of 48 hours (Hawaii Standard Time) from the end of the 2018 Treasure Hunt.  If you find yourself a few answers short near the deadline, I hope you will submit the work you have.  Many participants do not finish, and that is okay.  We want to acknowledge your effort, finished or unfinished.

    If you can not bring yourself to submit an incomplete document, please do send me a brief email telling me about your experience.  It is always helpful and encouraging to hear from anyone who gave it a try.

    Results will be posted as quickly as possible.  Like our good doctor wrote to Holmes concerning the  mission at Baskerville Hall: ‘I will tell you all.’

    Margie/ JHWS ‘Mopsy’



  • Ten day countdown to the end of Treasure Hunt 6

    ‘It was a prosaic way of forming a friendship, but it was effective. I was laid by the heels for ten days, and Trevor used to come in to inquire after me.’

    Hello Treasure Hunters–

    We are now ten days out from the end of TH6:EveryLinkRingsTrue.  The forum has been strangely quiet; I am unsure if that silence is good news or a bad omen.  Hopefully it means hunters are having success and do not need any clarifications from me.

    Finished hunts are accepted at until it is no longer August in any (earthly) time zone.  If you haven’t started yet, there is still time to play.  [The first submissions for this year were received in the first ten days or so of the month!]

    In the meanwhile, I shall be here, laid by the heels, awaiting your responses.

    Margie/ JHWS ‘Mopsy’


  • The 2018 Treasure Hunt is on!

    Hello Treasure Hunters!

    It is now August 1, 2018, in India; in honor of our returning competitors from The Sherlock Holmes Society of India, I am posting the 2018 Treasure Hunt now although it is not quite August 1 for many of us.

    As always, a forum has been opened on the Quiz page for questions, clarifications, complaints, etc.  I will respond to any postings as quickly as possible. It is possible you will find an error despite many hours of proofing/checking.  If you do not, thank Sheila Holtgrieve (JHWS Daisy) for her excellent proof-reading. If you do find errors, I am at fault as I continued to make small changes to the document after she finished proofing.  Any needed corrections will be posted to the forum.  Please check it from time to time.

    Please don’t forget the hunt is scored on a point system.  Therefore, if you know part of a question (Who?), but not the other part (What?), 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. Point values are clearly marked on the document.

    I have uploaded the Treasure Hunt in Microsoft Word (.docx) and in .pdf. Please see the rules page for instructions for submitting your finished hunt.  Answers will be accepted until it is no longer August 31 anywhere in the world.

    Ok, on you go…Happy Hunting!

    Margie/ JHWS ‘Mopsy’

    2018 TH6 Questions

    2018 TH6 Questions


  • “If the cycle of nine days holds good” [CREE]

    Prepare your thinking cap and get out your favorite Sherlockian reference books. Nine days from today, we will begin the Sixth Annual John H Watson Society Treasure Hunt.

    Our “Mopsy” has designed this year’s Hunt as a special edition of 50 questions, the answers to all of which form a chain from one to the next.

    Several teams have already let our Treasure Hunt Master know they’ll be competing, but individuals and teams around the world are welcome to jump in any time during the month of August!

    ‘It is so long a chain, and yet every link rings true.’

  • TH6: Every Link Rings True warm up game results

    Hello Watsonians–

    As Friday the 13th is upon us, the time for submitting responses to the TH6: Every Link Rings True warm-up game has passed.  Correct answers for this quiz — brilliantly re-named by Paul Hartnett as ‘The Singular Warm Up of the Three Canonical Percys’– were submitted by two individuals, and one team practicing for the real thing.

    Congratulations to:

    Paul Hartnett/ JHWS ‘Scout’

    Michele Lopez/ JHWS ‘Reggie’

    Sound of the Baskervilles 2018 Treasure Hunt Team– Lauren Messenger, David Haugen, Sondra Even

    The answers are found below.

    Many thanks for your time and attention,

    Margie/ JHWS ‘Mopsy’

    1–Find the exciting professional expert who generated considerable interest in his work. Who?

    Answer: Percy Trevelyan

    After I had graduated I continued to devote myself to research, occupying a minor position in King’s College Hospital, and I was fortunate enough to excite considerable interest by my research into the pathology of catalepsy, and finally to win the Bruce Pinkerton prize and medal by the monograph on nervous lesions to which your friend has just alluded… ‘You are the same Percy Trevelyan who has had so distinguished a career and won a great prize lately?’ said he.  (RESI)

    2–With Holmes’s questioning description of [ the answer to number one] in mind, find the ahead-of-Watson smart boy who went to college. Who?

    Answer: Percy Phelps

    During my school-days I had been intimately associated with a lad named Percy Phelps, who was of much the same age as myself, though he was two classes ahead of me. He was a very brilliant boy, and carried away every prize which the school had to offer, finishing his exploits by winning a scholarship, which sent him on to continue his triumphant career at Cambridge.  He was, I remember, extremely well connected and even when we were all little boys together, we knew that his mother’s brother was Lord Holdhurst, the great Conservative politician.  This gaudy relationship did him little good at school; on the contrary, it seemed rather a piquant thing to us to chevy him about the playground and hit him over the shins with a wicket.  (NAVA)

    3–Consider [the answers to numbers one and two], and then find the friend who fails to make eye contact, and, therefore, fails his fiancee. Who?

    Answer: Percy Armitage

    The very horror of my situation lies in the fact that my fears are so vague, and my suspicions depend so entirely upon small points, which might seem trivial to another, that even he to whom of all others I have a right to look for help and advice looks upon all that I tell him about it as the fancies of a nervous woman.  He does not say so, but I can read it from his soothing answers and averted eyes… A month ago, however, a dear friend, whom I have known for many years, has done me the honour to ask my hand in marriage. His name is Armitage – Percy Armitage – the second son of Mr. Armitage, of Crane Water, near Reading.  My stepfather has offered no opposition to the match, and we are to be married in the course of the spring. (SPEC)

  • A little extra help for the TH6 warmup game

    Hi Watsonians–

    I’ve received a couple of good responses to the warmup game.  Our players are getting a little tripped up with question three–which makes perfect sense as question three is a bit tricky, and this quiz style is different than our norm.

    When working on the actual hunt, you would have a question number 4 that would link back to number 3–giving you more information to help you with number 3 should you need it.  Here is a sample of a possible ‘Question 4’ for this game:

    4. The fiancee of [the answer to number three] lives with a man who is crushed by a huge debt. Who is the man?

    The game is open through the 13th.

    Good luck!

    Margie/ JHWS ‘Mopsy’


  • Kindly whisper “Norbury” in my ear…and the first TH6 warm up game

    Hi Watsonians–

    I recently posted the first warm up game for the upcoming Treasure Hunt; however, today I realized I posted my first draft rather than the finished one.  Egad!

    If you are interested in playing the first game, please find the finished questions below.  Please send answers to by July 13–I am extending the date due to my error.

    Your blushing Treasure Hunt Less-than-Master,

    Margie/ JHWS ‘Mopsy’

    1. Find the exciting professional expert who generated considerable interest in his work. Who?

    2. With Holmes’s questioning description of [ the answer to number one] in mind, find the ahead-of-Watson smart boy who went to college. Who?

    3. Consider [the answers to numbers one and two], and then find the friend who fails to make eye contact, and, therefore, fails his fiancee. Who?


  • TH6: Every Link Rings True countdown, warm up one

    Hi Watsonians,

    We are now exactly four weeks away from the beginning of the 2018 Treasure Hunt.  After four months of work, the document is finished.  Many thanks to our ‘Daisy’, Sheila Holtgrieve, for serving as reader this year, spending considerable time reading and solving the finished hunt; her feedback was very helpful to me.  Her response is favorable, so I think we might be set.

    To better acquaint you with the style/structure of this year’s 50-question hunt, I will post a few sample links for you to practice with.  You will find the first warm-up link below.

    Drop me a note to if you wish to play along; answers will be posted next Tuesday, July 10.


    Margie/ JHWS ‘Mopsy’

    “It is so long a chain, and yet every link rings true.”

    1.  Find the exciting worker who generated considerable interest in his work. Who?

    2.  With Holmes’s questioning description of [ the answer to number one] in mind, find the smart boy who went to college.  Who?

    3.  Consider [the answers to numbers one and two], and then find the friend who fails to make eye contact, and, therefore, fails the lady. Who?



  • TH6: Every Link Rings True 1-Question Pop Quiz Results & Answers

    Hi Watsonians,

    The 17th deadline for submissions for the 1-question pop quiz has passed, and the result feels a bit like the scene from “Casablanca”: Time to round up the usual suspects.  As before, Ron ‘Chips’ Lies and Sheila ‘Daisy’ Holtgrieve submitted perfect answers.

    I hope a few more of you had some fun thinking about the possibilities.  Work continues on TH6: Every Link Rings True, and the final draft will be finished in a few weeks.  Having taken to heart the good response to the second TH warm up game, I am writing the hunt to closely match the style of the second game.

    Time to get your teams ready!

    Margie/ JHWS ‘Mopsy’

    ‘It is so long a chain, and yet every link rings true.’

    TH6: Every Link Rings True 4th Warm Up Quiz: 1 Big Question

    Holmes and Watson once had very similar solo experiences—many years apart. Their descriptions of their individual experiences were marked by eerily similar loneliness, mystery, shadows, sundown, and fauna.  Where was Watson? What year was Watson there? Where was Holmes? What year was Holmes there? What fauna?


    Holmes: Bathing Pool, beach at Sussex Downs/1907/Sea-birds

    Watson: Moor/1889/Gull or Curlew


    Date: ‘ It occurred after my withdrawal to my little Sussex home …Towards the end of July 1907, there was a severe gale, the wind blowing up-Channel, heaping the seas to the base of the cliffs, and leaving a lagoon at the turn of the tide.’

    Event: ‘From The Gables I walked down to the bathing pool. The sun had sunk and the shadow of the great cliff lay black across the water, which glimmered dully like a sheet of lead. The place was deserted and there was no sign of life save for two Sea-birds circling and screaming overhead. In the fading light I could dimly make out the little dog’s spoor upon the sand round the very rock on which his master’s towel had been laid. For a long time I stood in deep meditation while the shadows grew darker around me.’ (LION)


    Date: ‘To James Mortimer, MRCS, from his friends of the CCH’, was engraved upon it, with the date ‘1884’…. What was he, then? If he was in the hospital and yet not on the staff, he could only have been a house-surgeon or a house-physician – little more than a senior student. And he left five years ago – the date is on the stick’  (1884 + 5 = 1889)*

    (*We realize there is some disagreement among the chronologists with this dating but we are electing to believe Sherlock Holmes.)

    Event: ‘The sun was already sinking when I reached the summit of the hill, and the long slopes beneath me were all golden-green on one side and gray shadow on the other. A haze lay low upon the farthest sky-line, out of which jutted the fantastic shapes of Belliver and Vixen Tor. Over the wide expanse there was no sound and no movement. One great grey bird, a gull or curlew, soared aloft in the blue heaven. He and I seemed to be the only living things between the huge arch of the sky and the desert beneath it. The barren scene, the sense of loneliness, and the mystery and urgency of my task all struck a chill into my heart.’ (HOUN)