ATH 1991:

Armchair Treasure Hunt 1991

Title: Armchair Treasure Hunt 1991
Setter: Steve Hames
Themes: Sherlock Holmes

Some Notes on the Hunt

Steve Hames writes...

I had been an avid ATH'r for some years, having first attempted the Connections quiz. I quickly got hooked - but found that I wasn't very good at solving them! The idea of devising one seemed much better to me, so I had a chat with Paul and we agreed that I should have a go.

It basically took me a year to do the quiz from start to finish - and I was amazed at how much time it took up. I probably spent an average of 5 hours a week on the project throughout that year. I had started with the theme of Sherlock Holmes as at the time I was heavily involved in designing the lighting for the premiere of a play about Sherlock Holmes' real death at the Reichenbach Falls ... don't ask any more about that play, but it had the basic premise of Holmes fancying Dr Watson... I knew that it would take a fair amount of organising and so I kept the format fairly simple and traditional so that I could avoid pitfalls.

The rest of it came together in stages: the first was collecting all the questions (with answers starting with particular letters of the alphabet). Some 250 were amassed over the year, from lots of different sources. The second was the location of the treasure box in Cookham (fairly near home at the time), the third was the codes and the final one was the pictures and layout. It's fair to say that I have no artistic ability, and I did not know Brian Jackson well enough to impose upon him, so I traced some of the Arthur Rackham line drawings from the original Strand magazines. These served their purpose, but I'm not proud of them.

It was the first time that I had not been doing an ATH over Christmas for some time, but I could not relax - had I made it too difficult? Or too easy? Would anybody find it? When somebody did, I was so relieved, but marking everything, writing up the answers and putting everything to bed still took up a lot of time in January.

In summary, I learnt a lot from doing the quiz, but there were no really good, radical ideas to come out of it. A learning experience for me, but one that I hope people enjoyed.

Brian Jackson writes...

It's a shame Steve didn't get in touch as I always loved the Rackham illustrations and would have happily ripped them off for him (however, still being in Rotterdam might have compounded the previous year's logistics problems and I was probably uncontactable).