3rd Annual JHWS Treasure Hunt Forum Is Open

Hi Treasure Hunters!  This post is now open for clarifications/questions/discussion concerning the 3rd Annual JHWS Treasure Hunt.  It will remain open through September 1.  Please feel free to discuss anything related to the hunt with the exception of posting specific answers to any of the questions.  Any questions to /clarifications needed from the Treasure Hunt Master will be answered as quickly as possible.   Good luck!

Weekly Quiz: 2015 #10 A True Mystery

RESULTS:  No one successfully plumbed the depths of the quiz question this week.

ANSWER: Peregrine Phillips was from Bristol.  He invented the process to distill H2SO4 (sulfuric acid) commercially at low cost.  He was, therefore, considered the 19th century “Father of H2SO4” which was called commonly “vitriol.”  From there, you can quickly get to Kitty Winter, the pain of Baron Gruner, and ILLUS.  Vitriol is also mentioned in BLUE.  The real Baron Gruner died in 1860, well before the story, but he apparently was borrowed by Watson for authenticity.

Okay. You don’t care for genealogy.  Here is a deductive mystery for this week:

This Bristol Peregrine was indirectly the cause of pain to a European nobleman who died in 1860.  Identify the nobleman, the Peregrine, the link, and the story or book in which the reference occurs.

Please submit solutions to this very difficult quiz question to Buttons by noon Wednesday, March 4.

Good luck!

Wow! You ARE Good!


Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy” also solved the question with this complete, fascinating and accurate submission:

Question: This dilettante was known by two names: Blackwood and Dufferin. How does this person figure in the Canon? Please name the person, how the connection comes and the story or book in which it appears.

Definition of dilettante:

a person who cultivates an area of interest, such as the arts, without real commitment

  • archaic: a person with an amateur interest in the arts

Answer #1:

Helen Selina Blackwood, Baroness Dufferin and Claneboye, later Helen Selina Hay, Countess of Gifford, born Helen Selina Sheridan, (1807 – 13 June 1867), was a British songwriter, composer, poet, and author. Admired for her wit and literary talents, she was a well-known figure in London society of the mid-19th century. From childhood Helen had written poems, songs and prologues for private theatrical productions. After she and [sister] Caroline jointly brought out a Set of ten Songs and two Duets, she started to publish her verse, sometimes set to her own music. Her name was not usually printed at first, but she did not stay entirely anonymous. In 1863 a play of hers was staged, and in the same year she published an account of her travels up the Nile with her son. This poked fun at writing by lady travellers; the title Lispings from Low Latitudes, or, Extracts from the Journal of the Hon. Impulsia Gushington echoed [son] Frederick’s book Letters From High Latitudes. The purpose of the play was to satire travel literature, specifically that of women, during the time period. Her play, Finesse, or, A Busy Day in Messina, produced at the Haymarket Theatre with John Baldwin Buckstone as one of the actors, was a success, but the writer did not go to any of the performances, nor acknowledge her authorship.

RETI, W., p. 1115 : “On that particular evening old Amberley, wishing to give his wife a treat, had taken two upper circle seats at the Haymarket Theatre.”

And———speaking of Frederick, her son:

Answer #2:

Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Duffein and Ava, could be considered a person with an amateur interest in the arts as he became president of the Oxford Union Society for debate, but left Oxford after only two years without obtaining a degree; he commissioned schooners and a steamer to journey around the north Atlantic, eventually publishing a book about this travels.  Although the book was a success, he did not pursue a career as an author, instead became a public servant, with diplomatic postings in Syria, Canada (Governor General), Imperial Russia, India (Viceroyalty), Egypt (British Commissioner), Italy and French, and facilitated British diplomatic work in Afghanistan and Burma. He initiated sporting prizes; he initiated heritage preservation of historic sites; he initiated the building of the Dufferin Terrace.  He later served, rather badly, as chairman of the London and Globe Finance Corporation.  Hi biographer Davenport-Hines says he was imaginative, sympathetic, warm-hearted, and gloriously versatile; he was an effective leader in Lebanon, Canada and India, averted war with Russia, and annexed Burma; he was careless of money but charming in high society in three continents.

–The careless of money and charming in three continents sounds very familiar concerning our good Dr. Watson, but, perhaps, this diplomat would be more closely associated with Mycroft:

BRUC, W., p. 914: “We will suppose that a minister needs information as to a point which involves the Navy, India, Canada and the bimetallic question.”


Michele Lopez “Reggie” sends along his correct solution below:

“The person is Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava. His connection with the Canon derives from the fact that he was Governor General of Canada from 1872 to 1878. While there, he visited Manitoba and inaugurated a part of the Canadian Pacific Railway. BLAC.”

Now, for a bit of coincidence: Enrico “Devon” sends along his correct solution below:

“Helen Selina Blackwood, Lady Dufferin, who wrote the words of a popular ballade. The first line “I’m sitting on the tile, Mary” is quoted in VALL, as sang by Mc Murdo.”

This solution is also correct and, interestingly, Helen Selina Sheridan Blackwood, the lyric writer, was Lady Dufferin and the mother of Frederick Hamilton Temple Blackwood, Marquis of Dufferin.

Two excellent scholars from Italy have solved an obscure question set in Pennsylvania, USA in VALL, involving an Irish marquis, born in Florence, Italy, who became the Governor of Canada and whose mother wrote the lyrics to a popular song also known as “The Lament of the Irish Immigrant.” both “Reggie” and “Devon” have different answers and are both correct. Amazing!

So, the answer can be:  Helen Selina Blackwood, Lady Dufferin, or her son, Frederick Hamilton Temple Blackwood, and both have Canonical connections.

Within an hour, we had four correct submissions on this week’s quiz involving “ermine”!  You are all so good that Buttons has to defend his honour and offer one more really obscure quiz question for your week-end:

This dilettante was known by two names: Blackwood and Dufferin. How does this person figure in the Canon? Please name the person, how the connection comes and the story or book in which it appears.

That ought to occupy all of you Quiz Masters for more than an hour!

Weekly Quiz: 2015 # 8

RESULTS: Michele Lopez “Reggie,” Margie Deck “Gwen,” Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy,” and Denny Dobry “Kirby” all solved the quiz question:  ermine = stoat = Sherman kept a stoat or ermine in SIGN (Pg. 117) and although Teddy the mongoose is not an ermine, he had the legs of a stoat.  (CROO Pg. 421).

You seem to like these single-quest quizzes, so here is another one for this week:

Ermine is found twice in the Canon.  Quote each instance and provide the book or story.

Weekly Quiz 2015: #7

RESULTS:  We have several interesting results.  The “first-in” was Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy” with completely alternative and correct answers to those Buttons has proposed; we print them in full:

  1. This Canonical character purchased a stationers & office supply business.

Answer:  Johann Faber– the German pencil maker moved to the United States in 1848, and in 1849, operated a stationary store at #133 William Street, New York City. (Wikipedia, www.nyc.gov)

3STU, W., p. 599:  “You are aware than Johann Faber is the most common maker’s name.”

  1. Associate a promontory of eastern Greece, a maid, two royals, and explain how they come together in what book or story.

Answer: Mt. Athos, Rachel Howells, Charles I and Charles II, MUSG

The Mount Athos promontory is the easternmost part of the larger Chalkidiki peninsula. (www.greecethisway.com/regions)

In some Greek mythology, the name Athos belongs to a Thracian giant; Poseidon threw a huge rock against Athos and buried him underneath–the rock was then called Mount Athos.(www.inathos.gr)

Rachel Howells allowed Brunton to die (be buried) under the heavy, large stone, while carrying away the coins of Charles the First, and the crown saved for Charles the Second.

MUSG, W., Text, pp. 396-397

THEN . . .Michele Lopez “Reggie” sent along an alternative to question #1 that is also correct, as well as a correction to question #2; printed here:

1. This Canonical character purchased a stationers & office supply business.

Jabez Wilson. “I bought a penny bottle of ink, and with a quill-pen, and seven sheets of foolscap paper, I started off for Pope’s Court.” [REDH, 181]

2. Associate a promontory of eastern Greece, a maid, two royals, and explain how they come together in what book or story.

The promontory is Cape Colonna (the reference is made, I believe, by Tracy, Dakin and others, but it’s wrong. The Colonnas are a very ancient and important noble family from Rome and they take their name from the small town of Colonna, on the Roman Hills).

A maid: Lucretia Venucci; two royals; Napoleon and the Borgias; the story is, of course, SIXN.

AND, Enrico Solito “Devon” sent along his comments on question #2 and–we discover–he has written on the subject!  His answer, here:

“I suspect there is a mistake in the question on the site. If the solution is SIXN and the Greek promontory is Colonna, I am afraid this is the only mistake in the excellent Tracy’s book. It is true that Cape do exists (we in Italy have another, and a couple of Mountain Colonna too) but any Italian knows that the Princes of Colonna (or simply Princes Colonna) are one of the most famous noble family in Roma, that expressed a lot of Popes and connected to the Church, including the (in)famous Alexander VI Borgia. I attach here a little article I wrote about the Princes and the Prince at the time of SIXN, what probably was the Pearl and how it arrived in Borgia’s hands.”

NOW . . . the answers Buttons had are a bit tongue in cheek and question #1 would be nearly impossible for International Members as it involves a large, “Big-Box” chain sale last week. Question #2 was taken from the erroneous Tracy entry (Encyclodaedia Sherlockiana); however, it is–in fact–also correct in that there truly is a Cape Colonna in Greece, as well as in Italy.  Here are the intended answers:

  1. Staples, the butler of Culverton Smith (DYIN).  Staples just bought Office Depot last week.
  1. The promontory is Colonna in Greece; the two royals, the Prince and Princess (Lucretia Venucci) of Colonna in Italy; the maid of the Princess stole the Black Pearl of the Borgias in SIXN.

Here are two questions for our Quiz Masters and Mavens:

1. This Canonical character purchased a stationers & office supply business.

2. Associate a promontory of eastern Greece, a maid, two royals, and explain how they come together in what book or story.

Please submit answers to Buttons by 12 Noon, Wednesday, February 11, 2014.

Weekly Quiz: 2015-6

RESULTS:  Good Quiz!  The mother is Bathsheba; her wise child is Solomon; and the reference is from “The Adventure of the Crooked Man”:  Holmes: “You remember the small affair of Uriah and Bathsheba? My Biblical knowledge is a trifle rusty, I fear, but you will find the story in the first or second of Samuel.”

Those who successfully solved the quiz (in order) are: Patricia Villicrusis “Helena,” Milissa Anderson “Faith,” Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy,” and Denny Dobry “Kirby.” Well Done All!

You seem to like the slightly esoteric one question quizzes . . . So here is an obscure one for you to solve:

A mom, referred to by Holmes, had a wise child. Provide her name, the name of her child and the story or book where the reference is made. Extra credit for the textual quote.

Please submit answers by noon, Wednesday, February 4th.  Send solution to: buttons@johnhwatsonsociety.com

Weekly Quiz 2015: 5 Quiz by Michele Lopez “Reggie”

RESULTS:  Michele Lopez “Reggie” has created a winner!  Lots of positive comments on this week’s quiz. Taking honours were: Denny Dobry “Kirby,” Elinor Gray “Misty” and our Team, Margie Deck “Gwen” and Sheila Holtgrieve “Daisy.”  Well done, all!  And “Thank You” Michele for a Canonical Taste of Italy.  Answers here:  2015-5 Weekly Quiz Italy Answers

Sorry, Buttons is a day late . . . Download here:  2015-5 Weekly Quiz Italy

This week’s quiz was created by our Member from Italy and President of Uno Studio in Holmes, Michele Lopez “Reggie.”  Please submit your solutions by noon Wednesday, January 28 to: buttons@johnhwatsonsociety.com