Celebrating Holmes for the Holidays was the only item on the agenda at the Red Circle's December meeting. In a clear break with tradition there were no speakers and no adventure of the evening. But the evening at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda was certainly an adventure, as Red Circle friends gathered to wish each other the Compliments of the Season.
The Red Circle is always pleased when new faces appear at our get-togethers, and we've certainly had our share of them lately. And when the new faces are young and enthusiastic, it's especially enjoyable. Our sociable group of veteran and new members report that they enjoyed the evening greatly.
The fun began over cocktails as Bev Wolov attached a Sherlockian name to everyone's back with the challenge to figure out their "noms de Canon" by asking others yes or no questions. That accomplished, the buffet opened and the conversations continued over the informal meal.
Peter Blau noted that at everyone's place was a copy of the first ever Sherlockian crossword puzzle, devilishly devised by Christopher Morley's brother Frank in 1934 and published in the Saturday Review of Literature. Originally used as an entrance hurdle for the Baker Street Irregulars, it's now a fun test of Canonical recall. For those who weren't with us, a copy of the puzzle is available in pdf format here, and the solution can be found here. It's definitely worth a go, and some might find that it isn't quite as difficult as advertised.
Bev Wolov was next with another quiz, this time challenging the group to identify stories in the canon from relevant pictures appearing on the screen. Then in was Alan Rettig's turn, with yet another challenge based on Victorian Secrets and Edwardian Enigmas. This punny exercise has been unleashed in various forms throughout the Sherlockian world, including at the Gaslight Gala in New York. It's continually being revised, and Alan presented his latest version, with clues like "12-inch Monopoly set," which many understood to be "The game's a foot." More difficult was "Inadequate seatbelt repair," which of course is "The Glued Car Buckle." The groan level reached a crescendo with "Salutation to one who dogs your every step," which decodes to simply "Dear Stalker."
Door prizes came next, and Peter Blau pointed out that they were in a class above the usual "trivial." The evening ended with a quiz devised by uber-Sherlockian John Bennett Shaw, which left everyone frustrated but smiling.
The next meeting will be on Friday, March 14, 2014, where the pleasant times in the company of Mr. Holmes will continue.