Could you start at once?



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The John H Watson Society 2017 Treasure Hunt


SECTION I – “Could you start at once?”

A round of generic questions to begin the quiz challenge.


  1. In Holmes and Watson’s times, there were three notices. What kind of notices? In which stories do they appear?

  2. Our, perfect, granite, dark. What are all these adjectives referred to?

  3. He wasn’t sure of the exact date, because some of his memoranda upon the subject had been mislaid. Who? What subject?

  4. The subject of this question won a blue award twice. Who or what?

  5. A device that was used in three separate stories as a repository for messages.

  6. Holmes described a difficult undertaking with a word that literally means “flagrantly wicked or impious”. Which undertaking? What is the word?

  7. In this county you can find a real estate which has the same name as an engineer and a town wich has the same name as a colonel. Which county?

  8. John Richard Lund and John Alexander Lund were two of the three business partners in a firm that manufactured an item found on the scene of a crime. What item? What firm?

  9. A mysterious affair or business happened both in the upper and the lower. Where? Which affair or business?

  10. Watson once spiced up his vocabulary with a little peau d’orange ou de citron. Holmes, too, used it at least twice. Which word are we referring to?

SECTION II – “I suppose, Watson, we must look upon you as a man of letters.”

Literary citations, quotations, allusions, famous authors, etc.
  1. We don’t know if her nose was as sharp as a pen, but we can hope that the babbling did not lead to the same unpleasant consequences. Who is she, which passage and story in the Canon are we talking about and what is the source of the literary allusion?


  2. A character in the Canon has a connection with a London Merchant. Which character? What is the connection?

  3. Dr Watson once enjoyed reading a work by an author who had died twenty years before. Name the author, the work in question, and the story.

  4. A member of a famous club of literature is mentioned in connection with a character from the Canon. What club and what character?

  5. This author and satyrist wrote several famous books, among which one that was made into a 1975 movie directed by Stanley Kubrick. Who is the author and who mentions him in the Canon?

SECTION III – “An active member of the medical profession.”

Medicine, drugs, and doctors in the Canon.

  1. One of Watson’s favourite restoratives was found in connection with a creeper. What and where?

  2. A pale yellow, crystalline, volatile substance, first synthesized in 1822 by a French pharmacist, is mentioned in the Canon on which occasion?

  3. The last man to be publicly executed in Glasgow was, regrettably, a doctor. Who is he and where is he mentioned in the Canon?

  4. This drug was first prepared in the 18th century by a professor of chemistry at Leiden University, and was widely used, until the early 20th century, as a remedy against cough, asthma and diarrhea. Its name comes from a Greek word that means “to console, to soothe”. What drug is it, where is it mentioned and by whom?
  5. A Colonel, whose name is associated with a prize of £ 10, was also a member of a distinguished Society. Name the Colonel, the prize, and its recipient.


SECTION IV – “It is a simple calculation enough.”

This section deals with numbers in the Canon and some mathematical relationships between them.

  1. An address connected with a great British Prime Minister – the approximate distance of a hansom and a cab, in two separate moments, from the same house = a doctor’s number.

  2. A crucial year in the life of a pseudo clergyman – a number that is there – the number of unofficial consulting detectives in the world = the number of minutes before an arrival at Waterloo Station.

  3. (The number of “our man” – the age of a well known bachelor) / a number set in a coronet = the address of a well-remembered door.

  4. The year of the first meeting between a cousin and a gentleman who had been among the Indians – An age connected with a European notoriety – The number of triangular structures = The stories published under the doctor’s name.

  5. The date of a famous Phyrric victory inscribed on a lintel + the cost of a controversial verdict – the fills of shag = the date of an abstruse problem.

SECTION V – “It is so long a chain, and yet every link rings true.”

A series of questions connected in a determinate order.

  1. Starting point: it would not have been easy to hide this object or to obliterate it. Who or what?

  2. The owner of a small business, which was connected with the answer to question 26), worked somewhere in the Midlands. Where?

  3. A police officer connected with the answer to question 27) gave Holmes a thing that was instrumental in the solution of a mystery. What?
  4. The answer to question 28) involves a number connected with someone or something that got loose. Who or what?


  5. Finally, the answer to question 29) is connected with a seal and a case that involved a promise made by Watson. What seal and what case?

SECTION VI – “There is a strong family resemblance.”

All questions in this section ask you to find something in common and/or similarities, resemblances, etc. between two or more Canonical references.

  1. A doctor and a place in Hampshire differ by just an “ing”.

  2. The doctor and the constable did the same in a stressful situation. Who? What did they do?

  3. Two sharp objects have a common feature. What feature? (hint: there are two acceptable answers to this question)

  4. The butler + the merchant = same clothing accessory. Who, and what accessory?

  5. The cripple + the porter + the crook = same invocation to the Divinity. Who, and what invocation?

  6. The landlady should not have mistaken one thing for another, considering that despite a resemblance on one side, the two items were markedly different on another. What landlady? What items?

  7. Two gentlemen from the American continent both talk about what an Englishman would have called a Penny Dreadful. What gentlemen? What do they talk about?

  8. The faces of both these men looked like they were sculpted in stone, albeit of a different kind. Name the men and the stories.

  9. The dandy and the detective use the same word, that literally means “a complex and sometimes ritualistic procedure”. Who, and which word?

  10. The minister and the squire were equally able to control their rage. Name the men and the stories.

SECTION VII – “You are the historian of this bunch.”


Historical events, persons, and places in the Canon.


  1. Watson makes a description of this place, known at different times as Silva Anderida, Coed-Andred, and Andredsley. What place? In which story is it mentioned?

  2. The combined efforts of a Scottish diplomat and an Irish doctor were responsible for the introduction of this article in the British Isles in 1856. What article? In which stories is it mentioned?

  3. An historical auction, held for more than 300 years, had its seat in this place, from 1834 until 1998. A former rugby player was also connected with it. What place?

  4. This German scientist, who was also the discoverer of two elements, invented the device for which he is mostly known in the same year accepted by most chronologists as Holmes’s birth date. Who is the scientist and in which story or stories is he cited?

  5. It was in the year 1800 that a combination of events, into which I need not enter, led to a surprise ending to an historical event near a small town in Italy. What event and which town?

SECTION VIII – “an experience… which extends over many nations and three separate continents...”

Geography in the Canon: travel the world with Holmes and Watson.

  1. The shipwrecked crew of this barque were actually much nearer to shore than they thought: approximately 35 miles. What barque, what portion of land and which story are we talking about?
  2. Located 75 miles east of a town where a smart man was sent, this city is known, among other things, for its 23,000 temples. Name the city and the story in which it is mentioned.


  3. The inhabitants of this great city may be puzzled, but never at fault, though they badly need some good air. What city?

  4. Holmes once sent a telegram to this town, from which a letter was posted a couple of years later, to get informations. What town?

  5. A British diplomat’s baggage passed through this town, which was also a fictional lady’s destination. Also, a great fire occurred here a century after Watson published his memoir of a mystery never until then dealt with in any public print. What town are we talking about?

  6. These two Mediterranean locations are apt to perpetually strike fear into the chronicler’s heart. What locations?

  7. Large horned animals came here to drink, and the stockbroker’s mate received something meant for a larger tusked animal. What place are we talking about?

  8. A suit, a cabinet, a system and a vase all came from this country. Which country?

  9. “A triangular piece of ground projecting in a south-easterly direction into the sea” were the words that a portly gentleman would probably use to describe this location. What location?

  10. A pale, bearded gentleman in the Canon was the Crown’s representative in an area that lies west of the river Don. What area? Who is the gentleman?

SECTION IX – “Of course, it is obvious that it is music.”

Music and musicians in the Canon.

  1. This multi-instrumentalist was described as both energetic and indolent. Name the person and the story.

  2. This quick-witted person probably played a string instrument, though it is not certain. Who is the person?
  3. A very strange kind of music could be heard in the night-time from this old place. What music and which place?


  4. The sound of a peculiar “instrument” called three people to join the person who used it and the singer. What instrument? Who was the person and who was the singer?

  5. Some people would object to this word to designate a certain instrument, but since both Holmes and Watson use it, we can perhaps accept it. What word?

SECTION X – “We travelled by the Underground…”

We all know that Holmes and Watson only use the oldest and most famous underground railway system of the world once, in The Red-headed League, and that only four stations are named as such in the Canon: Aldgate, Aldersgate (today renamed Barbican), Baker Street, and Gloucester Road. But other London Underground station names can be found in the Canon. In this section the answer to every question is the name of a London Underground station. (N.B. for the purpose of this quiz, the Underground network is considered as including the Docklands Light Railway, but NOT the London Overground)

  1. As strange as it may seem today, there was a time when it was possible to see on the Metropolitan Railway network a tram-car coming almost literally down a country lane. The gentleman humorously associated with that image mentions the name of a place that is also the name of an Underground station. Who is the gentleman? Which station? In which story?

  2. Holmes and Watson visited this place during an investigation in which they left no stone unturned to save a man’s honour. What place?

  3. Perhaps because of his many branches, this agent was a pretty shady character. Who?
  4. King’s Pyland dog was certainly not doing this in the night-time. What?


  5. This passage was excellent to protect Holmes and Watson from a possible intrusion. What passage?

  6. A “profile by gaslight” of a tall man, a corner, and a little turmoil. These three things may help you identify a location.

  7. Once owned by Knights from a holy city, this location had, in Holmes’s time, one of the detective’s most notable opponents among its residents. What location?

  8. A rural-looking gentleman did not use the Metropolitan Railway to reach his destination, but another public transport system, starting from a location which has the same name of an Underground station. What location? Who is the gentleman?

  9. This location was associated both with a wild “something” chase and with the son of a German policeman. What location? In which story or stories is it mentioned?

  10. “What a lovely thing a rose is!” said Holmes once. A place, associated in the Canon with a ceremony, evokes a red rose in its name, though it was actually named in honour to Queen Victoria. What place?

SECTION XI – “You see but you do not observe.”

Who saw what, when and where.

  1. Holmes saw the daybreak at sunset. Where? In which story?

  2. Watson saw it twice, and it was not a mask. In different circumstances, another character would swear to it. What?

  3. At least once Watson observed, but did not see. When?

  4. This character was convinced that his powers of observation were as good as Holmes’s. Who?

  5. A familiar sight met the doctor’s eyes through the window, though inside the light was so dim that he could barely see his companion. Who and where?

SECTION XII – “The game is afoot.”


Games and pastimes in the Canon.


  1. “Holmes looked at him thoughtfully, like a master chess-player who meditates his crowning move.” A character in the Canon has the same name of a famous chess master. Who is this character?

  2. Two Teutonic characters had in common the passion for this regal game of Asiatic origin. What game? Who were the two characters?

  3. “Table” or “Board” is the Greek name of an ancient game that is almost identical to its modern version. A character in the Canon used to play this game. Name the character and the game.

  4. There are references to many card games in the Canon, but, in spite of what Holmes said to Mr. Merryweather (REDH), perhaps none was played for a higher stake than the one that would award the winner a regal prize. Name the players, the prize, and the story.

  5. “I get so little active exercise that it is always a treat,” said Holmes in The Solitary Cyclist. Actually, the detective occasionally replaced some outdoor exertions with indoor ones; one in particular elicited Watson’s complaints. What exertion or activity?

SECTION XIII – “He affected a certain quiet primness of dress.”

Clothes and fashion in the Canon.

  1. This particular fabric is obtained twisting together differently coloured woolen strands. A character in the Canon wore a suit made of this fabric. Name the fabric and the character.

  2. A cyclist wore a wool coat of decidedly nautical appearance. What cyclist? Which item of clothing?

  3. This explosive item of clothing helped the brother to make something of the other. What item of clothing? Who’s the brother? In which story?
  4. This gentleman’s attire was described with an adjective meaning “marked by strikingly elaborate or colorful display” in its effect. What is the adjective? Who is the gentleman?


  5. A fashion house established in 1856 is usually credited with the invention of a particular kind of coat, so that the house’s name became synonym with the coat itself. What is the name of this fashion house and which character in the Canon wore this coat?

  6. A soft felt hat with a low crown and a wide brim was popularly associated with a great poet who died in 1892. What is the name of this type of hat and which character in the Canon wears one?

  7. Another great man on letters died in what were presumably the early days of the acquaintance between Holmes and Watson. He was the author of a book about a tailor and he’s named in the Canon twice. What man of letters?

  8. In Holmes’s estimation, 462 was perhaps a bit too much. What, and what for?

  9. This character wore trousers of a particular fabric, a coarse thick twill cotton cloth. What is the name of the fabric? Who is the character?

  10. A lady who wore a silk dress was associated with a German, a native of Lübeck. Find the name of the German and the (conjectural) name of the lady.

SECTION XIV – “The apocrypha of the agony column.”

Apocryphal sources and the Writings upon the Writings.

  1. A great Sherlockian mantained that there could be none of this for Holmes and Watson. What? Which Sherlockian?
  2. “A scion society consists of two Sherlockians, a copy of the Canon, and a bottle. In a pinch you can despence with one of the Sherlockians” is a quotation often attributed to another great Sherlockian. His BSI investiture recalled a famous person mentioned in the Canon. Name the Sherlockian, the famous person, and the story.


  3. The Literary Agent considered this “the best of all the numerous parodies” about Sherlock Holmes. Name the parody, the author, and the source of the quotation for ACD’s remark.

  4. “During the late autumn of ‘ninety-five a fortunate chance enabled me to take some part in another of my friend Sherlock Holmes’s fascinating cases.” This could have been the beginning of the sixty-first, though in the end it wasn’t so. Name the author of the passage and the title.

  5. «“Mrs. Hudson”, said I to my housekeeper, “would you kindly run along to old Dr. Winter and tell him I should be obliged to him if he would step around.”» Name the source and the author of the passage. (This passage was also commented upon by an early Sherlockian scholar in one of his essays.)

  6. “An ancestor of mine maintained that if you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains – however improbable – must be the truth.” What is the well-known source of this apocryphal quotation?

  7. “Sherlock Holmes after all is mostly an attitude and a few dozen lines of unforgettable dialogue.” Albeit a bit dismissive, this critic showed towards the Canon a certain favour that he did not grant to other works of detective fiction. Name the critic and the source of the quotation.

  8. If we are to trust an important apochryphal source, there was a 50 pounds’ difference between the respective wages of two main characters in the Canon. Name the source and the characters.
  9. “His height surpassed that of a normal man and he was so thin that he seemed still taller. His eyes were sharp and penetrating; his thin and slightly beaky nose gave his countenance the expression of man on the lookout, save in certain moments of sluggishness of which I shall speak.” A good description of the Detective, or, at least, of a detective. Name the author of the quotation, the source, and the character described.


SECTION XV – “They had just made a great treasure-trove.”

  1. These Canonical passages are the clues to the treasure. Read them all carefully and find out what they are referred to. It should not be difficult.

    • “I found no harm in the society, but a deal of good.” (VALL, 863)

    • “For some years the organization flourished” (FIVE, 226)

    • “It was early in April” (SPEC, 258)

    • “Here was one of my fixed points secured.” (MUSG, 393)

    • “I knew you came from Afghanistan.” (STUD, 24)



The John H Watson Society 2017 Treasure Hunt





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