Friday, December 12, 2008

Where you can have intercourse and not feel bad

Q. Where you can have intercourse and not feel bad.

You maybe excited to find out the answer. Mmmmm........intercourse, not feel bad. Where? Well, you have to wait awhile.

First consider this question from the recent theSun Motor hunt, in the open category.

Q31. What a dog and cow have in common?

A31. Centre Circle @ Centre Circle Galeri Audio & Visual


I shot this photo when I was near the sector with my camera phone.

For the explanation, if you read the question literally you will think of answers like "animal", "four-legged" etc. I showed this question to a non-hunter, and the answers are the ones stated earlier. But experienced treasure hunters are trained to think laterally first, then literal. In fact, this way of thinking has been a norm for many regulars.

Thinking laterally, the common thing about the word "dog" and "cow" is the letter "o" in the middle. So scanning the sector, you will find the signboard above, Centre Circle Galeri Audio & Visual. Note that an "o" is a "circle" also (although for most handwritten "o" are not exactly like a circle shape).

So, if we remember this (unwritten) rule, most treasure hunt questions are designed to trap hunters who tend to read it literally or take its surface/obvious/common meaning. When CoC (Clerk-of-Course) set the questions, they did not indicate what their intended meaning was. Therefore you cannot tell which is the right line of thinking. Actually, I should not say right, but the intended line of thinking of the CoC.

But if the surface meaning is too common and general such as this Q31, the danger is that, there could be alternative answers out there, besides the intended one. If there is an alternate answer to the literal meaning of the question, can it be accepted?

I was near the sector of Q31 a few hours ago, and I captured this photo here.

This signboard was found within the same sector for Q31 & before Q32.

Now, consider this literal answer:

A31. Haiwan @ Kedai Haiwan Peliharaan Puppy Cottage Sdn Bhd

The words "Kedai Haiwan Peliharaan" are found on the top left side of the sign. The keyword here is "haiwan", the Malay word for animal. It fits perfectly for the literal meaning of the question.

So the question now is, what is there to say the alternate answer above is wrong, or not accepted? Is it because there is an unwritten rule for the hunters to laterally first? Or is it the lateral answer is more sophisticated than the literal answer? Or simply put it, it is not the intended answer of the CoC, period.

Now, back to the original question I have posted at the top.

Q. Where you can have intercourse and not feel bad.

The question above is a classic question for a hunt that I joined many years ago.

Now, let's apply the lateral thinking first. Wordplay, umm.... the keyword or indicator here is "bad", definitely an indicator for anagram. So "not feel" bad, go look for anagram of "not feel" and in that sector, you may find this common sign below.

A. Telefon

An "intercourse" can mean a conversation, communication. So the answer is definitely fitting.

Now, consider these alternative answers:

Hotel Gembira

Rumah Tumpangan Ceria

Of course, the intercourse that normally takes place in hotels and rumah tumpangan can be of a different kind, e.g. between a couple. I remember we have a good laugh for one or two minutes when the "interesting" answers were shared to all by the CoC.

Back to the lateral versus literal issue again, what is stopping the alternative answers above as a valid and correct answer to the question?

While the lateral side of the question forms a good anagram clue, the literal side of the question was vulnerable. Overall, this question/clue was not tight enough. In this case, perhaps the CoC should cross-check thoroughly and make sure there is no literal and valid alternate answers available within the sector.

Similar (I say, similar) issue came to light during the recent virtual hunt organised by a well-known critic. I followed that posting and I applauded the way that the master handled the issue. The master acknowledged the blunder for leaving room for alternative answers, then listened to the alternative answers and explanation, seek advice from peers (masters), followed the rule of cryptic clueing, his principle and being fair when he made his decision in the end.

5 comments:

Cornelius Koh said...

Q31) What a dog and cow have in common?

A31) Centre Circle @ Centre Circle Galeri Audio & Visual


I think for this particular example you have quoted here, I'm inclined to accept the intended answer as the better fit when compared to your "HAIWAN".

We are looking for what a DOG and COW have in common. They both have the "circle" in the centres of their respective names. A small little detail that would probably escape the attention of the average solver.

Maybe "HAIWAN" would have been acceptable if the question was like this:

Q31) Common classification of dog and cow?

Regarding the other question, I think it was just a poorly-constructed question for an otherwise good idea:

Q) Where you can have intercourse and not feel bad.

That part about the "not feel" getting reconfigured into "telefon" is OK because of the anagram indicator, "bad". But we must ask ourselves what is that the question is asking for? Essentially, the question is asking for "Where you can have...". It means that we are looking for a location. That should also be a part of the required answer. So it would have been better if the answer was, say, "PONDOK TELEFON", where the "PONDOK" covers the "Where" part of the question. But in this case, the word "PONDOK" was not found on the signage.

I also disagree with your RUMAH TUMPANGAN CERIA, because there is nothing in that answer that would confirm the "not feel bad" of the question. "CERIA" probably means cheerful. But "intercourse" is very specific and would be redundant in the context of the question. If that's the intention of the setter, then he could have equally achieved his objective with simply:

Q) Where one can rest and be cheerful.

You see, the setter can easily use "rest" or "sleep", and there's no necessity to be vulgar with "intercourse". But since the setter used "intercourse", then it must be a significant word - it has to be in the question because there is a special meaning to it! Therefore, even in the literal sense, "intercourse" is out of place if the intended answer was RUMAH TUMPANGAN CERIA. At least that's how I see it.

blaze said...

Thanks Cornelius for the comment.

When I read about your post on Q5 of virtual, immediately came into mind were these two questions posted here.

For the Q31, it was interesting as I didn't remember seeing other signboards that were more fitting than "Centre Circle" at the time of the hunt. I went near there last night to meet up with some friends for dinner. And I have the idea of combing the sector again to see if there were any other possible answers. To my surprise, I saw the "Haiwan" signboard and I captured the photo.

I was looking for the literal meaning and there was one such possible answer. May not fit 100% as you commented and maybe a change of question like you have suggested would fit the alternate answer better.

Given the question has a general literal meaning that could be debatable, I feel it is the responsibility of the question setter to make sure there could be one and only one answer that is far more fitting than the rest in that sector concerned.

On the "intercourse" question, I remember the official answer given by the CoC that time was "Telefon". If the question stays as it is, perhaps a more fitting way to write the answer should be:

Telefon @ pondok telefon

To be honest, I cannot remember if the alternate answer "Rumah Tumpangan Ceria" had ever existed in the sector mentioned. It was a "funny answer" provided by one of teams.

I can see where you are coming from for the "intercourse" question. Perhaps this question didn't bring out the point as well as it should.

The intention was to see if there is an alternate answer to the literal meaning of the question (that can be taken literally and laterally), can it be accepted?

Cornelius Koh said...

I think the possibility of other answers will always be there whether the CoC likes it or not. That is something which he can't control, because people think differently and analyse things differently. Therefore the most important thing for the CoC to do is to be sure that his intended answer is the best among all the other possible answers. For example, in my opinion, the CENTRE CIRCLE is more superior than the HAIWAN answer based on the way the question was constructed. That is why we have such a thing as the "red herring", i.e. 2 possible answers within the same sector, but only one is acceptable.

TELEFON @ PONDOK TELEFON will also fail in my opinion. The point is that the word "PONDOK" must also appear on the signboard; not something which the solver is supposed to come up with on his own!

Having said that, I must say that IF one possible answer fits perfectly from the lateral point of view; whereas another possible answer fits perfectly from the literal sense, then both should be accepted.

I'd like to share a treasure clue from a past hunt:

Fruit in gift-wrap, please.

And the intended answer was APPLE, because when analysed from the cryptic point of view, "in" is a container or hidden-word indicator; and the word APPLE is hidden in "... gift-wrAP PLEase".

However, from the literal sense, there is nothing to stop the solver to submit any kind of fruit in any kind of gift-wrap! The CoC can't insist on the APPLE when there is absolutely nothing wrong with the literal interpretation! Both are perfect fits and should therefore be accepted!

blaze said...

Thank you Master Cornelius for the good example of a question here to illustrate the point.

Fruit in gift-wrap, please.

While the lateral meaning is a very good cryptic question, but it is too easy if taken literally. It really spoiled the intention of the CoC (and the beauty of the cryptic clue) when he/she has to accept whatever fruit with gift wrap. I am curious what was the final decision by the CoC on the alternate answer.

As for the point on whether CENTRE CIRCLE is better fit than HAIWAN, after careful consideration, I have to agree.

The CENTRE CIRCLE signboard was in the beginning of the sector. I think we saw that sign early and didn't bother to scan through the rest of the sector due to time constraint. I think that explains why I could not recall I saw the HAIWAN board before. Now that I've seen it and after going through the point that you've made, I cannot run away and say that I will put HAIWAN instead of CENTRE CIRCLE as my first choice of answer. HAD there were no CENTRE CIRCLE in that sector, I will choose HAIWAN, being the best of the rest out there.

As for the TELEFON @ PONDOK TELEFON, my thinking is it could be accepted and it is not a matter of invention of the word "PONDOK". The question asks for "where", the pondok telefon is a place, although the word PONDOK is not found, but we know it is a PONDOK TELEFON or a phone booth.

Consider this question:

Q. Red Red Wine people missing the ring here. What and where?

A. UB4 @ TNB lamp pole


In this case, the words "TNB lamp pole" were not written on the lamp pole. But it is a TNB lamp pole to answer the part of where. This was accepted. Without stating where, hunters could still figure out and got the part "what" right without spotting the answer.

I remember another answer to another question (can't recall the full question), ARMOUR @ ALARM. I think the word ALARM was not there also.

This is my half-cent worth of thought.

Cornelius Koh said...

We need to be careful not to get mixed up with the "What and where?" format. When dealing with the "What and where?", I can agree with the acceptability of a non-existence word as those examples you've quoted.

But in the case of the question "Where you can have intercourse and not feel bad?", it is not exactly the same. "Where you can have intercourse" itself is supposed to be a "definition" for a specific location. And that specific location must be found on the signage. For example, "hotel room" etc. Otherwise, the solution does not answer "Where you can have intercourse".

Consider the following question from the Kiwanis Hunt which was held in May this year:

Q10) Can you find a nightmare opposite put together for a restful place?

A10) Sweetdream

Not a very tough question, really. The "nightmare opposite" refers to "sweet dream". Then "put together" means the solver is to join those two words together to become a single word, hence "Sweetdream". At first glance, the answer seems to be perfect, isn't it?

However, I was, and indeed still am, unhappy with that solution. Those words "for a restful place" are unaccounted for in the answer, "Sweetdream". Of course I was aware that "Sweetdream" is the brandname of a mattress. And indeed the mattress does answer "for a restful place". BUT! that word "mattress" wasn't found on the board! "Sweetdream" standing on its own does not in any way answer "for a restful place"!

But imagine if the question's like this:

Q) Can you find a nightmare opposite put together? What and where?

Then I can accept the following answers:

Sweetdream @ Shop Unit No. 8

Sweetdream @ Below Bangunan ABC logo.

Sweetdream @ First Emporium

Because that word "Sweetdream" is found at Shop Unit No. 8, which is occupied by First Emporium; and it's located just under the Bangunan ABC logo.