Annual Treasure Hunt: a Sequel

“A lie, Watson – a great, big, thumping, obtrusive, uncompromising lie”
(VALL, 800)

Dear fellow Watsonians, I must confess to a heinous crime.

In giving the answers to the Annual Treasure Hunt, I lied. Shamelessly. But I did it for a good cause.

Let me explain. Among the questions for the Hunt, I devised one that, in my mind, had to be the most difficult of the lot. Unfortunately, I had totally overlooked the fact that there was a simple, straightforward and perfectly Canonical answer to that question. When the answers arrived, I found out that all participants had given that correct alternative answer. So much for the so-called ingenuity and deviousness of the Quiz Master.
And so I lied. I changed the list of the answers that I had already prepared and put the alternative answer in the place of that which I had originally conceived. The purpose was to avoid spoiling the original answer and to provide the contestants with a new challenge.

Here it is. Question # 4 in the Hunt, you will recall, was the following: The subject of this question won a blue award twice. Who or what?

You all answered “Gilchrist”, who had won the Blue for the hurdles and the long jump. But there is another answer to that question, a most difficult and complex one.

So the sequel to the Annual Treasure Hunt is: find another answer to question #4, the answer that I had originally in mind.
Hints: this question requires a little digging in external sources, such as an encyclopaedia and/or Internet search engines. The subject of the question can be a person, an animal, a company, a government or any other entity. The subject is mentioned in the Canon, but the award is not (so it is useless to search for, say, all occurrences of the word “blue”).

Since this is a hard question, you have one month to submit the answer (by e-mail to treasurehunt (AT) The answer will be posted on October 21.

I hope you will enjoy this quiz. Happy Hunting!

Treasure Hunt 2017: Results

My dear Watsonians,

it’s been very difficult to calculate the results of the Hunt. Not being “endowed by Nature with a phenomenal mathematical faculty” I had to check and re-check my calculations before I could be sure of the verdict. The results are:

Individual competition

The High Honors go to Michael M. Ellis, with an excellent 79.5 points out of 100. Honors go to Mark Doyle, who was able, for lack of time, to complete only part of the quiz (scoring an excellent % of correct answers on those which he actually submitted), with 46 points.

Team competition

This is what compelled me to exert all my attention and to rack my brain. We had three teams incredibly close, all three with a very high score.

The High Honors go to The Sound of the Baskervilles (Margie Deck, Sheila Holtgrieve, Lauren Messenger, Francis Bond) who scored 89 points out of 100 and won by a very close shave: the Honors go to An Experience of Canon (Beth Gallego, Paul Hartnett, Ron Lies, Rob Nunn) with 88.5 points out of 100. Third place and Honors for Uno Studio in Holmes (Vera Mazzotta, Marco Grassi, Stefano Guerra, Enrico Solito and Gianluca Salvatori) who scored 84.5 points out of 100.

There were many ingenious alternate answers and I had to consider them all carefully: most of them, I am happy to say, have been accepted as perfectly legitimate answers. The participants in many cases know more about the Canon than the Quiz Master!

Let me thank you again for participating and give you my apologies for the delay in announcing the results. Let me also thank those fellow Watsonians who, due to various reasons, were unable to compete in the Hunt but wrote giving me their support and their appreciation.

It’s been a great experience and an honor to act as Quiz Master. I hope you had fun and spent some pleasant hours of Watsonian/Holmesian fun. If I’ve been able to accomplish this, that’s the best reward one could hope for.

With my best Canonical regards,

Michele, JHWS “Reggie”

Treasure Hunt 2017: Answers

Dear All,

the 2017 Hunt ends today. Here are the answers.
I have received very few submissions. I’m afraid that maybe I’ve made the questions too hard and this has perhaps dampened the participants’ enthusiasm? I don’t know. I’ll be glad of everyone’s feedback on this.
I must also say that I have received many creative alternative answers and some of them have been accepted. I will post soon a list, so you all can take a look at the imaginative approach that your fellow participants have used.
The Honors list will be posted within the next week, I hope.
I want to thank all of you and to apologize for every mistake, misunderstanding, or simply not entertaining enough question, that I’ve made. It was a first experience and a challenging one. I must say that I’ll be glad to revert to the role of contestant for the next edition!

JHWS Treasure Hunt 2017 questions and answers
JHWS Treasure Hunt 2017 questions and answers

I hereby declare the 2017 Treasure Hunt… open!

Gooooood morning, Hunters!

It is now 9 a.m., August 1st, (CET) here in Italy, corresponding to midnight, July 31st, PST. I have chosen the hour as an homage to our previous Hunt Master, Margie Deck a.k.a. “Mopsy”, who lives on the Pacific coast. You can submit your answers until midnight, August 31st, PST. For further details, please check the Rules page.

A forum has been opened on the Quiz page for questions, clarifications, complaints, etc.  I will try to respond to any postings as quickly as possible, but please remember that I’m living in a Central Europe time zone.
You will certainly find some error in the document, especially considering my sometimes poor English. Any needed clarifications will be posted to the forum.  Please check it for updates every now and then.

The hunt is scored on a very simple point system. I’ve tried to avoid complications since I’m not as good as our previous Hunt Master. Therefore, 1 correct answer = 1 point, for a maximum of 100 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?), 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.

I have uploaded the Treasure Hunt both in Microsoft Word (.doc) and in .pdf.
Please see the rules page for instructions for submitting your finished hunt.

The game, ladies and gentlemen, is now officially afoot.


JHWS Treasure Hunt 2017 questions

JHWS Treasure Hunt 2017 questions

Treasure Hunt 2017 discussion forum

“We are hunting together, Mr. Holmes.” (WIST)

This post is now open for clarifications/questions/discussions concerning the 5th Annual JHWS Treasure Hunt.
The Treasure Hunt will start on July 31st at midnight (PST) and will close on August 31st at midnight (PST).

This forum will remain open for the duration of the Hunt to discuss anything related to the questions.
Please do not post specific answers to any of the questions, not even as working hypotheses.
Any questions posted here for the Treasure Hunt Master will be answered as quickly as possible.
You can also get in touch directly with the THM by e-mail:

Happy Hunting!


The Treasure Hunt, Second Appetizer: Answer

Dear All,

I have received many ingenious replies, but only one team gave the correct one.
The SOB Team (Margie and Sheila) hit the mark perfectly and the best I can do is to quote their answer literally:
–Place & Name of the ‘Ghost’: British Museum /  British Museum Underground Station, no longer in use
–Stories, where it is noted Holmes went to the British Museum: HOUN, WIST
“I learned at the British Museum that he was a recognized authority upon the subject, and that the name of Vandeleur has been permanently attached to a certain moth which he had, in his Yorkshire days, been the first to describe.”
“One morning he spent in town, and I learned from a casual reference that he had visited the British Museum. Save for this one excursion, he spent his days in long, and often solitary, walks, or in chatting with a number of village gossips whose acquaintance he had cultivated.”
“I spent a morning in the British Museum reading up that and other points. Here is a quotation from Eckermann’s `Voodooism and the Negroid Religions’: – ”  
–British Museum was a station on the London Underground, located in Holborn, central London. It was latterly served by the Central line and took its name from the nearby British Museum in Great Russell Street.
The station was opened by the Central London Railway in 1900. In 1933, with the expansion of Holborn station, less than 100 yards away, British Museum station was permanently closed. It was subsequently utilised as a military office and command post, but in 1989 the surface building was demolished and the remainder of the station is wholly disused.
–Ghost stations is the usual English translation for the German word Geisterbahnhöfe. This term was used to describe certain stations on Berlin’s U-Bahn and S-Bahn metro networks that were closed during the period of Berlin’s division during the Cold War. Since then, the term has come to be used to describe any disused underground station actively passed through by passenger trains, especially those on an underground railway line.

So, just a little clarification: I decided to cut this question out of the Hunt because the use of the term “ghost station” is not as familiar in English as is Geisterbahnhöfe to the Germans or “stazione fantasma” to the Italians. If you search the internet for a list of former London Underground stations you will probably find them described as “abandoned stations” or “disused stations”, not as “ghost stations”. This made the question very difficult indeed.
I must congratulate my fellow members of Uno Studio in Holmes who sent incredibly elaborate answers, digging deeply in the lore and tradition of English and German ghosts, in literature and otherwise. I kept telling them that it was easier than that… 🙂
Other valiant efforts were made by Robert Perret and Richard Olken. Thanks everybody for your answers.
We’re just about one week from the start of the Hunt. Keep your wits sharpened!

Michele, JHWS “Reggie”

The Treasure Hunt: Second Appetizer

Dear All,

as the deadline for the Hunt approaches, I have been busy in a revision process of the 100 questions. Using the feedback from the first test question, I had to come to a painful decision. One question was cut out because a certain turn of phrase would have been somewhat unfair to English-speaking people (ironically, Germans would have had significant advantages).

Since it was one of my favourite questions (and, I guess, the most difficult of the batch) I don’t want to let it die. So I submit it here for your consideration.
Hint: the solution is also the name of a London Underground station.

“No ghosts need apply”, said once Holmes. Nevertheless, he occasionally spent some time in a place that has the same name of a “ghost”. Which place? In which story or stories does he visit it?

I think that if you can guess this one, you will do very well indeed in the Hunt.

The solution will be posted at the end of next week. Have fun!

The Treasure Hunt Test Question

Dear all,

running a test question has been a useful and instructive experience. I hope I have learned something about how to put my questions correctly in order that they may be challenging but not impossible.
The test question proved itself harder that I judged at first. I promise that feedback will be incorporated in the final revision of the questions for the Hunt.

Only one team gave the correct answer: Margie Deck, “Mopsy” and Sheila Holtgrieve, “Daisy”.
The revised text of the question:
“The two friends sat over this while talking about a man who had a turbulent relationship with a person homonymous (same first and last name) of one of them. Name the friends, the man, and what they sat over.”

Answer: The two friends: Sherlock Holmes and John H Watson; the man: Paganini; what they sat over: a bottle of claret.
“This led him to Paganini, and we sat for an hour over a bottle of claret while he told me anecdote after anecdote of that extraordinary man.” (CARD, 894)
The tricky part was the connection between Paganini and a man named John Watson. Watson was an impresario and pianist who played with Paganini on a tour. Later Paganini fell in love with Watson’s daughter, Charlotte, and asked her to marry him, but Watson prevented the marriage and a bitter feud ensued between the two former colleagues.
I honestly remembered that this was an easier information to find, but I noticed too late that it’s not mentioned on Wikipedia or the Encyclopedia Britannica online articles on Paganini and it requires some more extended internet search.
I promise that other references of this kind will not be so hard to discover. The use of a common encyclopaedia or a good reference book (such as Jack Tracy’s Encyclopaedia Sherlockiana) should be enough.
Congratulations to the winners and don’t despair, this should actually be the highest level of difficulty that you will find in the Hunt (about 10% of questions shall be of this type).

The 5th Annual John H Watson Canonical Treasure Hunt

Dear fellow members,

as your Treasure Hunt Master for this year, it is my duty and pleasure to announce that the game is almost afoot. 100 Canonical questions are ready to be submitted to your (hopefully) eager brains. I hope that the challenge will be stimulating and fun.

The Hunt will open on midnight, July 31st, PST, corresponding to 9 a.m., August 1st, (CET) here in Italy. I have chosen the hour as an homage to our previous Hunt Master, Margie Deck a.k.a. “Gwen”, who lives on the Pacific coast. You can submit your answers until midnight, August 31st, PST.

As this is my first experience and, furthermore, I am not a native English speaker, I must admit that I’m a little uncertain regarding the form of the questions. I will be of course ready to help and clarify anything that might result in a misunderstanding on the meaning of certain expressions in the quiz.

To test this, I have a question to submit as an appetizer. You have one week to submit an answer.
“The two friends sat over this while talking about a man who had a turbulent relationship with an homonymous of one of them. Name the friends, the man, and what they sat over.”

This is one question that I would rate “medium hard” among those included in the Hunt.

Please submit your answers to

I hope to see many participants in this Hunt and that everybody will have fun!

Your Hunt Master

Michele, JHWS “Reggie”

Quiz Results: Tuscan Luxury

Enrico Solito (“Devon”) sent us a very tricky quiz question indeed, with the only correct answer coming from the team of Sheila Holtgrieve (“Daisy”) and Margie Deck (“Mopsy”), who wrote:

Engraved portrait of Giovanni Boccaccio by Raffaello Sanzio Morghen (1822)

The Tuscan is Giovanni Boccaccio.  He famous book, the Decameron, was found amongst Enoch J. Drebber’s pocket contents in the house at Lauriston Gardens (STUD, p. 30).  It was found with the luxury items of a gold watch by Barraud of London, a heavy gold chain, a gold ring, a gold pin with rubies in the bull dog’s head, and a Russian leather card case.  Wow—this man had some bucks!

Also, the history of the Decameron plus some story threads in the individual stories may have some relation to/similarity with A Thousand and One Nights. mentioned in NOBL, p. 296 in connection with the luxuries of the “epicurean little cold supper” that Holmes ordered.

Honourable Mention goes to Robert Perret (“Sampson”), who suggested:

Do you perhaps refer to Goldini, the proprietor of a garish restaurant in BRUC? I understand his cigars, likely the famous Toscanos, are less poisonous than one might expect.

Well done, all three of you, and thank you again, “Devon”!

If you’ve been bitten by the bug to create your own Canonical Quiz, send questions (and answers, please!) to Selena.