ATH 2002:

Armchair Treasure Hunt 2002

Title: Wasted
Setter: Mark Abbott
Themes: Christopher and Philip Marlowe

Hunters' Tales

"We were on holiday when the Treasure Hunt was issued (16th Dec), but had arranged in advance for it to be faxed to us at our hotel."

The Space Invaders

"Starter for ten" - we do not know if CM was an early member of the Corpus Christi University Challenge team!

The Chiltern Fellowship

"Take me to the Bridge!" What is James Brown doing in here?

NoManagementPotential

"This gives the rather boring answer that i=j."

The Chiltern Fellowship

20th December: Find a lot of Shepherd Neame pubs. A proposal to visit them all in search of clues is thrown out by our captain, who chains us to our encyclopaedias.

Lord Strange's Diary

"Recognising that with the name change to incorporate CMG this could be the very last Logica Armchair Treasure Hunt, we have still not done anything special. No treasure, no instructions, no idea! Please put us out of our misery."

The ThreeSeaters

"Charles Norton translated Dante's book The Diving Comedy into English."

Quest4Treasure

"Picture within text - label on bottle is Old Possums Bourbon. TS Eliot wrote Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats on which the musical CATS was based. Christopher Marlowe's nick-name was 'Possum'."

The Hartwell Group

"Marlowe wrote The Maltese Falcon."

Team Clue-doh

"The Notes on the back page defeated us. We managed to show to our satisfaction a number of things that they were not..."

The Lost Eggs

"The clues in the story indicate that the KNIGHT (Tom) was not at the murder scene neither was the WIDOW (she was on reception) nor the PRIEST/Bishop. I think we can eliminate the WIDOW as the story refers to a male murderer. In attendance were Tom's BUTLER who had some form of DAGGER or SWORD, Bob (the SPY) and Nick (the MONEY LENDER or banker). From the end of the story it appears that the weapon drew blood (not POISON, CANDLESTICK, LEAD PIPING) and went off with a flash (hence the REVOLVER). Taking a wild guess, the MONEY LENDER committed the murder with the REVOLVER! Case solved...???? ......although would not fancy chances of prosecution in any trial!!!!"

The Straightjackets

"The matchsticks - Wright and Richards were jockeys c.1940. Top Row and Rosemont were horses ridden by them."

The Shepherds Team

"Marlowe & Co. were the first to smoke tobacco in London."

The Hartwell Group

"Sir Horace Gentleman played the bass for the Special A.K.A. Another Specials hit is Message to You Rudy which was probably a ref to Rudolph Valentino, star of The Sheik, which is an anagram of 'hikes', the US word for 'raises', the opposite of which is "falls". So the whole thing is a clear ref to the line 'By shallow rivers to whose falls/Melodious birds sing madrigals' from The Passionate Shepherd."

The Reuters Lags

"Oh, something else I found out - only the Spanish and Swiss editions of Cluedo have a bathroom (apparently)."

Yeomans

"I believe it was at this point that our team began to despair of finding links between questions and theme!"

The Lost Eggs

"We noticed a number of cases where two questions have answers with the same principal word, viz: Watson (2 & 21); White (3 & 33); Marlowe (5, 28 & 71); Lane (8 & 15); Nicholas (32 & 46). Of these numbers, 2, 3, 5, 8 & 21 are all part of the Fibonacci series. This makes us wonder whether the answer to question 13 (Eliot) might also be an answer to one of the questions that we haven't yet got. This is the reason why we guessed T.S. Eliot as the answer to number 60."

Skelcher's Schemers

"Solved by taking each page as line number/word number in Marlowe's Hero and Leander. It even rhymes (although the metre could do with some attention)."

The Reuters Lags

25th December: Took the day off. Given "Aberystwyth mon amour" by Rosalind, who'd recognized the picture.

Lord Strange's Diary

When we returned to work after the New Year, we managed to persuade each other to try again and revisited the treasure hunt. A couple of lucky web searches yielded some more answers and we set about the task at hand again. We started reading about the life of Marlowe, we started reading his works and we ordered the 'I-spy' book. We had a couple of leads but nobody to check them out. We all live and work in Wales and have no family in London and the surrounding area. We were all armchair and no treasure hunt.

A quick ring around revealed that we knew the sum total of one person in London and that they were busy. Begging got them to check out Norton Folgate after work and Deptford the following day. The Deptford trip turned into a rather surreal experience. We had neglected to mention the grinning skulls that awaited him at the Church yard, which surprised him slightly. Undeterred, I sent our man in to look for graves. "I've found Marlowe" came the voice at the end of the line. "Have a rummage about then" came my advice.

A pause.

"This is weird"

"What?"

"There's a fiver shoved under his plaque"

"Pull it out then"

"?^%$ off, it's a graveyard"

"Just have a look for a Logica L or a number or something"

"There has to be a hidden camera or something"

"Get the money"

And so on. Nothing remarkable about the note other than it's presence and it has been put back in situ, but our man in the capital is a bit freaked out.

Other adventures followed for him as we traced his progress by phone and followed him around a multimap printout in a cheap reproduction of Anneka Rice's treasure hunts of years gone by. Treasureless and jealous of every house in Chislehurst, we have to admit defeat, though we suspect that the answer may well have us kicking ourselves.

Too Many Armchairs, Not Enough Treasure

"The day we had the snow (10th I think) I travelled from Maidstone where I live towards the tunnel but could not get on the M25 because I think it was closed. I found myself heading towards SE London and decided fate had decided to send me towards the treasure. At this point it was really only a guess and I took a short cut through Chislehurst to avoid the centre of the village, thus missing the village sign and the Bulls Head to reassure me. Once I got into the park, I had started at the wrong place, but I soon saw a London loop sign and this convinced me I was on the trail. I was very lost and in, by now, some serious snow. I asked dog walkers if they knew where a rope swing was. I was sent to the wrong swing but in the right direction - when they said it was near the moat I was off! Remember, all this time I was wearing my suit and work shoes!!! I wasn't cold though, from all the walking! In the end I turned a corner and saw the apple store on the manor island- BINGO! I looked all around there, at that point I was convinced the treasure was on the Island. I thought about walking across the ice on the moat but a wet foot during testing showed it was too thin."

Team FocalPt

"We are on a side path that is rather dark and under a heavy tree canopy and we and the other team start looking around. "We were first here on 21st December they say". We head off in different directions looking for a Logica L since we have not made any sense of "will be revealed if the mayd & lawnes tale you have read". Jeanne however is concerned that we find it first and starts rooting around in the tree roots of the most likely tree. Almost immediately she strikes gold."

The Kee Team

3rd January: Take the afternoon off and the train to Chislehurst. Find the village sign and the Bull Inn. March happily up the drive towards the ruined manor. But ... the further we go, the less sense we can make of the directions. Give up on the directions and head for the manor instead. Nothing happens there. Wander around some more and Jonathan points out a rope hanging from a tree. We are sceptical that that's a rare sight. Wander around some more. It is getting dark and we give up. On our way out, Jonathan points out that we've walked through a gate that could perhaps be closed. There's a sign on it prohibiting many things, the last of them fishing. We get the directions out again ... a few minutes later, we are back at the tree with the rope. It is dark. We feel around for treasure without success.

4th January: It is light. We find the treasure easily. Ticket number 003, let's hope the first two didn't get up earlier than us this morning (on a Saturday this is rarely a tough assignment). Go to St Nicholas' Church to thank the angel.

Lord Strange's Diary

It was cold. The wind came from Russia, with love. Our noses were running, which was more than we could say for our feet. We had turned out for answers, but the questions piled up thicker than our woolly hats. Had we come in by the right entrance? Was the bit of rope the "dangling strings"? When could we go back to the car and have our sandwiches? Why the hell were we in Scadbury Park at all, on a freezing day in early January?.......

It was the mad abbot's fault. He was confused. Confused about heroes and meanders. Shepherds in mean pubs and ale really had confused the Marlowes in his mind. But we had figured out he was ghost-writer for Christopher Marlowe, sixteenth century poet and spy. A guy with a lot to hide - but where?

Slowly, during the festivities, nibbling Quality Streets, CADBURY and other chocs, the hints began to emerge from the fog of Santas. Then the numbered pairs had suddenly spun into focus: they were skating on thin ice at first, but hero-ics from the abbot saved them, and we thought we had enough pieces of the jigsaw. It was time to get out of the armchair.

Our target was Scadbury Park. At one time we had thought clues pointed to Hever, but that's an impenetrable castle at this time of year. Then the pointers swung towards Scadbury. After all, Marlowe had been staying there just before his death, and it's there that the abbot tells us, "But I had a burial to attend to. I made my excuses....It had taken me a while, but back at the knight's castle my tobacco pouch was considerably lighter". In other words, the little grey cells were telling us, chummy has buried his treasure somewhere in Scadbury!

... so there we shivered in Scadbury Park. The pub and village signs, the London Loop and path marker - all had shouted louder than Marlowe's jacket that we were in the right place. We reckoned we had found the step and the string, but all in vain.

Good job the abbot didn't show up at that moment, or we'd have found a use for the "dangling strings".

The Slow Learners

"I admit now they are Yews. I have got a degree in Forestry..."

Team FocalPt

"The instructions didn't quite seem to fit, but we decided this was poetic licence and headed west along the London Loop path."

The Famous Five

The following was supplied by our ace box-digger-upper Matt, who as luck would have it, lives in Chislehurst and jogs past the spot in question regularly. Pity he didn't keep his wits more about him while doing so - say, to notice some furtive box-hiding - it would have saved a lot of trouble.

"Snow was falling (an ATH first for me) as my 3-year-old scrabbled around in the leaves between the tree-roots and pulled out a sturdy blue bag containing a small red casket. Inside were the usual instructions (on unusually neat laminated card), congratulating us on not having 'wasted' our time and effort. We took ticket number two and replaced the box, despite the protests of said 3-year-old who wanted to take it home. (Fortunately Miles' experiences at Ashridge Park had prepared me for this eventuality and I was able to produce a handful of chocolate coins.) Finally we scouted around for the Logica 'L' without success, so instead drew one in the snow on seat two in case the finders of ticket three should come along that morning, and retraced our steps now in bright sunshine."

I might also add that Deptford is a pretty grim place on a wet Boxing Day. A short stroll along the strand revealed that if a box was hidden there it would need a pneumatic drill to find it, as there isn't an unconcreted space to be seen. The church is nice though.

The Reuters Lags

8th January: Find Ellay Mort on imdb.com. Evidently we are better informed about Christopher M than Philip M - isn't education wonderful? Look up some books on amazon.co.uk and recognize the cover pictures. But what's this strange Italian menu about? We find an Argentinian polo player called Dante Spinacci...

Lord Strange's Diary

Martin Doublesin - Houston, Texas, USA

Team Amey

Although we failed completely on the Cluedo murder mystery (unless one of us has a brainwave in the next 12 hours), it was a most enjoyable and educational few weeks.

"The typewriter was stilled. I lit a pipe and sat down to wait."

Team PDGS

A propos of nothing: I'm giving a seminar today on various mathematical problems, including arterial blood flow and the pulsar magnetosphere, which surprisingly involve similar equations. So I sought a quote to link blood and the skies, and all I could find was:

"See, see where [Christ's] blood streams through the firmament" - Dr Faustus, Act V Scene ii 130-144

I just can't get away from it all....

An Obsessive