The MEDAN trip goes to …

August 1, 2007



And we have the winner. The MEDAN trip goes to …

The13th Second

Below is the full result.

1. The13th Second (2 killer riddles + 1 hint)
2. geraldcai (2 killer riddles + 1 hint)
3. cmliong (1 killer riddles + 1 hint)
4. ce5nt (1 killer riddle + 1 hint)
5. renroc (1 killer riddle + 1 hint)

And The13th Second also is the July Riddlist Column Champion. We have a new monthly champion. Congrats!

Hope that The13th Second will utilise the voucher. If this is not possible or feeling charitable, please inform us, so that we can pass it on to the next winner. Thanks.

We will contact the winner shortly.

Below is the explanation for each questions and the hint:

1. A tune of an address with a gal’s reference. (8 letters)


A tune = air
An address = sir (an address for a knight, a formal address to a man)
A gal’s reference = ap (a/p, anak perempuan, a reference used in an Indian girl’s name)

2. Spread the joy in the mirror and in between. (9 letters)


Spread = apply, rub, gosok (e.g. spread the lotion to the whole body)
Joy = ria
In the mirror = back indicator

= air kosog

And = n (e.g. Fish ‘N Chips)
In between = inclusion indicator, include n to air kosog

3. Be mean without asking first. (8 letters)


Be mean = be average
Without = deletion indicator
Asking first = a

RR fully appreciates all the participants for their attempts for the past two months. As mentioned, we will move to the new format, and hopefully with that, even more will participate and we can learn even more  from each others. Hope this place will be the place for newcomers to harness and sharpen their skills in solving cryptic questions, and for the regulars, you might find this an interesting place to test your products and perfect your COC skills.



  1. Thanks so much!! Tnx also to Claire for sponsoring the prize. Will make full use of the package, not so much for myself but for my partner who’s already making his plans for Lake Toba. Lucky him!

    I must remember to get a mirror that will actually show GNOSOK RIA as AIR KOSONG! Mine shows some non-sensical characters. (Ha, Ha!)

  3. the13th Second,

    I am really glad that this voucher will be fully utilised. At first, I thought that even someone won it, due to the short practice time frame, it might be wasted. Glad that the worry do not hold any base.

    And please ask you partner share the adventure of Lake Toba in this blog. We will create a special page for him to share the story. Haha!

  4. May I know what’s the authority for SPREAD = GOSOK.

  5. gosok (BM) = rub (EN)


    Main Entry: rub
    Part of Speech: verb
    Definition: stroke
    Synonyms: spread
    Source: Roget’s New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.3.1)
    Copyright © 2007 by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

    rub = spread
    gosok = spread

  6. I don’t accept SPREAD = GOSOK.

    SPREAD, as a verb, is the act of arranging or distributing objects over a large area; opening up, eg arms to cover longer distance etc.; apply a layer of substance onto a surface…

    GOSOK on the other hand is the act of rubbing, scrubbing etc. You may be applying a sun tan lotion onto your body, but not necessarily rubbing it in!

    I suppose some people may say ‘spread the oil onto my body’ when they actually mean to ‘massage or rub the oil onto my body’.

    Nonetheless, if that is indeed contained in the dictionary/thesaurus — that SPREAD = GOSOK, I admit defeat. Thanks for the reference, ckloh.

  7. Ckoh, truly agree on your point. Stroke may be a synonyms to spread. A direct translation to spread for “gosok” in malay would be slightly off the rail. Just my thoughts!

    That’s how limited my BM is! … can’t remember spreading my teeth! As 2R1I will agree : you cannot spread the meaning of a word into another branch of the word. You must stay on the same branch, same thread or same idea/concept. For e.g.


    You cannot just RUB IT IN as in:

    RUB > ERASE > CORRECT has a totally different meaning to the series above.

    In that sense, ERASE therefore cannot be SPREAD.

    That’s where the fine-tuning needs to be done …

    Having said all that, many COCs still fall into this trap – just because the word is found in the same paragraph of “words” in a thesaurus – they will take it as they are of the “same meaning”. Learn to avoid it – then we will all become the NEXT-GEN COCs!

    English is just not like that. There are streams of meanings for each group of words – and one just has to learn which ones flow with which ones. Context is the key differentiator.

  9. Noted. Thanks for all comments.

    So, the discussion here is the usage of SPREAD=GOSOK which as highlighted by ce5nt, although it is found in thesaurus, but it is in different branch.

    In this case, I have to admit defeat. Well, will do better next time.

    Just to side track a bit.

    Actually we do expect this might be a problem, and actually we have a less controversial clue initially which is

    A hit to put one to sleep between two tunes. (9)
    A hit to put one to sleep = KO
    Two tunes = air, song
    So, answer = Air Kosong

    But why, we didn’t put that is if we put that in, then base on the talents here, it will be answered. And most probably we will come into a scenario where at least 6-8 grandmasters answer all correctly, and need to use the time factor to determine the winner.

    In any hunt competition, it is the COC job to ensure the winner will not be determined by time factor. But in actual hunt the COC have various tools to help them like

    (1) a smaller sign, to test observation
    (2) red herrings in the same sector
    (3) some general knowledge to slow the team down
    (4) some interesting signboard like MINX
    (5) some interesting question like 2140
    (6) some subjective challenge
    (7) time pressure can make one make different decision/perception
    (8) the hot sun

    And the list go on. But even that, in most of the competition, they are still tied and determine by time factor. However, it doesn’t look too bad, as after so many obtacle throw in, and the fastest team to complete all tasks win is fair and square.

    And what happen here is we would like to explore whether we can organise similar competition not hunt but themes riddle via internet. We found out during the 2 months attempt that it is not so practical, at least not to our COC skills. We don’t have the luxury of the COC of treasure hunts, where to separate the winner, they can use small signs, red herrings, interesting signboard like MINX, and other subjective factor, what we have is just AIR SIRAP and AIR KOSONG with the length of the letters is given as well.

    Even if we found one interesting answer, and we set up the questions like 2140, it is still very much a debate here. We did try once in MIXED RICE, it will be a good hunt answer, but maybe not so in riddle where no signboard is in front of you. And the same question SPREAD=GOSOK, the same question will be fair if the answer stretch have only nasi lemak, mee goreng and air kosong, so solver know which to choose.

    So, base on my personal opinion, there is no way the competition can be fair. Either we set less controversial question, Level 1 and Level 2, which will surely answered 100% and determined by time factor. The last thing we want is a voucher of overseas trip to be determined by time factor.

    So, we decided to set this possible controversial question SPREAD=GOSOK, even though thesaurus mention SPREAD=RUB. The reason is although there are so many grandmasters around, if you see the top 5 winner list, you know what I mean, we want to find a genuine winner for this competition, and not take the credit of the13th second and gerardcai who broke this question.

    So, although SPREAD=GOSOK is not absolutely fair, anyway, no matter how we do it, it is not fair, we try to includes a few hints to guide the solver
    1) beverage
    2) joy in the mirror = air
    3) and in between = n
    4) 9 letters

    So, the winner is determined by those who really want the prize and solve the clues from there. I have been told by 13th second, the winner, she get the answer by listing all the 9 letters beverage possible in the food court and work back from there. She is very sure that the answer is AIRXXXXNX. And this is how she got the answer.

    Another good try from renroc. He knew the answer will be AIRXXXXNX, but maybe he is not as detailed as 13th second, he tembak AIR CINCAU, which the answer have an N inside starting with AIR.

    So, although I am not happy that the competition winner is not determined by having very good/deceiving riddles, but overall we are satisfied with the overall result where we can find a genuine winner, the13th second, which really work her way for the overseas trip. At least it is much better, this is not determined by time factor, if we set level 1 and level 2 riddle, bear in mind, the grandmasters here are at least level 5 and level 6.

    So, need to end a long story, and glad that we do not need to do competition riddle format at the time being, as our ‘kungfu’ still not good enough to set a very very fair competition. The nature of the riddle is only 1 dimension, not hunt which is at least 6 to 7 dimension, we can’t really set a fair competition as mentioned above.

    Thank you for those who take part and sorry for all the inconvenience caused, if any. Bye.

  10. Hi The13th second…CONGRATULATIONS to you!!!

    I will get your email address from ckloh to contact you soon. However, it’ll be great if you could contact me directly at slchin@jerneh.com.my as soon as possible to make necessary arrangements.

    I’d like to post the voucher to you. Thus please provide me with your name and mailing address. Of course if you are working anywhere near Bkt Bintang, I wouldn’t mind handing it to you personally. 🙂 I will include any extra info I obtained from the tour agency.

    My mobile no: 012 – 5585 781.

  11. Oh yes…to all the rest who gave a shot at the questions…thank you very much for your participation!

  12. claire, I think there is high chances you might meet the13th second in the Zahrol’s Menara Optometry Hunt this Sunday.

  13. ckloh,

    I’m sure we are all benefitting a lot from this blog, one way or another — masters and newbies alike. By sharing experiences, discussing and debating about treasure hunt matters, this blog has become very attractive to many hunters.

    As far as the riddles are concerned, I think the real challenge is in creating puzzles which are reasonably tough, but still capable of logical deciphering. You can twist, turn and mould as much as you like, but in the end, I think we want to maintain that one essential element — that the clue is capable of logical deciphering.

    For some time now, I’ve realised an interesting tendency amongst hunters who’ve visited this blog. Some of us are cryptic crosswords experts; some are treasure hunt masters; some are both. I mentioned in one of those threads here that the clues for cryptic crosswords and treasure hunts, although similar, are not the same for several reasons.

    The clue almost always contains a definition (usually at the start or at the end of the sentence). That definition then becomes the ‘reference point’ to the solver. Then the rest of the sentence is where the solver has to deal with anagrams, containers, deletion etc. Dr Clue was kind enough to provide a good cryptic clue:

    Q) Make love to the Godfather (6 letters).
    A) Brando.

    In this example, Godfather is the definition clue which leads the solver to, say, Pacino or Brando. The solver will then have to figure out MAKE = BRAND and LOVE = 0, joining them to make BRANDO which agrees to the definition, GODFATHER. You notice that there is no need for the solver to see any board to solve the clue. The ‘6 letters’ helps a bit, but not entirely necessary.

    In treasure hunts, a lot of the time the questions are those you just can’t solve without seeing the board first. And again to quote Dr Clue’s example:

    Q) ELIAM.
    A) YONEX.

    It’s almost impossible to figure out what’s ELIAM without being in the sector. ELIAM can be anything!

    From the above examples, we can draw one important conclusion. That a cryptic crosswords clue almost always must be self-contained — that it is almost always capable of getting solved WITHOUT seeing the answer first. Whereas a treasure hunt clue can be both, i.e. you may be able to solve WITH OR WITHOUT seeing the board first.

    Unfortunately, in this blog, I suspect some of us have forgotten that sometimes, we need to solve the clues based on the treasure hunt approach and not based on the cryptic crosswords approach. Sometimes, the ONLY way to solve the question is by working your way backwards! That is the case in ‘ELIAM’ above.

    The cryptic crosswords purists may dislike ‘ELIAM’, because they feel cheated for being denied their expertise in solving the clues ‘from within’. They feel uncomfortable being subject to the mercy of having to see the many choices in a given sector.

    But alas, we are dealing with some treasure hunt questions here. We are therefore compelled to answer some of the questions based on the treasure hunt approach!

    Oops!… rotary meeting! Will continue later this afternoon…

  14. ckloh, i’ve already sorted out with Claire. Any yes, we’ll be meeting in Zahrol’s Hunt on the 12th, so see you all there.

  15. Now where was I?… ah yes, the crosswords/treasure hunt questions…

    What I was getting at, ckloh, was that the 13th second actually realised that she needed to solve the riddles by means of the treasure hunt approach. By listing down all those 9-letter words, she’s actually ‘seeing’ the sector in her mind! The only difference is that she must have had some experience of the food court to make some guesses. Perhaps it’s not exactly the same as in a real sector where no guessing of signboard is required — you only need to connect to the available signboards within that sector.

    These are all interesting topics for discussion/debate here. I’m sure we’re all pleased to see claire’s ‘CHICKEN CHOP’ clue. The trick and deception were welcomed. But that is not the case with many of RR riddles here. Although you’ve said that I’m unfair in my comments here, ckloh, let me try to explain point of view anyway…

    There is a difference between what’s TRICKY and what’s WRONG. We are all eager to see something new as far as tricks and deceptions are concerned. If you want to try something new with a clever twist with some tricks, well and fine. No complaints, I’m sure. But if you ventured too far out, to the extent that your product is wrong, then that is something that we grumble about. For no amount of clever analytical skills will bring the solve home. Well, unless you are master ce5nt and master 2R1I who both have the enviable skills to solve even wrong clues!

    If you think your clue isn’t tricky enough for the masters, well then try harder to think of something to trick the masters anyway. If after fine-tuning your clue 10 times and it’s still not good enough, then try again. That is the challenge you must shoulder if you aspire to be a good CoC. It leads to no good if, in your desperation to outsmart the masters, throw in SPREAD = GOSOK, even if some masters can see through you to get the answer anyway.

    Perhaps if the ‘MIXED RICE’ signage was in front of us, it was possible to get the answer. I doubt it; at least I am not clever enough to figure it out. But maybe some of the masters would have been able to figure it out. Maybe then it would have qualified as a ‘bolded’ question.

  16. When RR posted the riddle:

    Q) Love the cocktail regularly served in Bush residence.

    I thought it was a good attempt. And I said that not because it was easy to solve, but rather because the question was set obeying fairplay. The point is, the ‘Love the cocktail…’ tells the solver to jumble up O + THE. Then later, at the end of the sentence, the solver ends up with ‘… in whiTE HOuse’. And therefore, we arrive at the answer: TEH O. No complaints there. However, I would have complained if you said the answer’s BLACK TEA instead, even if you gave us (8 letters) after the clue.

    To the rest of the RR team members, I am sorry for scaring you all with my comments. I really meant my comments to be helpful for all of us here to learn. I know that I myself have learned a lot. I will try to lessen my ‘contributions’ here from now on — especially the negative ones. I hope you will now be encouraged to contribute your clues.

  17. Dear ckoh…Good morning to you! I don’t think you need to worry about posting your opinions here. So please don’t try to lessen your ‘contributions’, be it positive or the other way round. I must say that your quirky and original ‘excerpts’ make this blog even more interesting…

    So please don’t go…I’ll miss you terribly. I’m sure others would too.

  18. Ok, ckoh. Only comment is you don’t know what is RIGHT or WRONG until you really try it. So, thanks for highlighting it.

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