Category Archives: Administrative

7th Annual Twelfth Night Giveaway Rules

Screen Shot 2018-12-23 at 8.54.00 PM

“Ah, Watson, it’s time for the boring part again.”


As much as Holmes may loathe them with his whole Bohemian soul, there do, indeed, have to be rules. Civilisation and all that. So here they are! I can’t believe this is the seventh year we’ve done this, and I hope you continue to find it as much fun as I do!

12th Night Give-Away Rules

  • The quiz and giveaway will be conducted via this blog and FaceBook.
  • The contest will begin on December 24th, 2018 and continue until January 6th, 2019. The last winner will be announced the following morning, January 7th. And yes, this is more than twelve nights. I am bad at math.
  • In order to encourage people to answer more questions, people will be allowed to win TWICE during the regular phase of the give-away, and all will be eligible to try for the grand prize offered on January 6th, no matter how many times he or she has won previously.
  • I will post the questions every morning. The time will vary, but I will try to do so by 6am, EST. Sometime during the day, as life permits, I will gather the names of those who answered the previous day’s question and place them in a box. One of my children will then draw from the correct answers to determine the day’s winner, and I will announce it on the blog and FaceBook sometime during that day. I have a day job now, which complicates things, but I will let you know!
  • If I receive only one answer for a question and it’s wrong…ok, that person wins. But next time, do your research. If I am wrong, well, I will be very happy to have it pointed out!
  • To answer a question, please leave a comment here on the blog or PM me on FaceBook,  either on the WRS FaceBook page, or on my personal FB page, if we are friends “in real life.” Blog comment answers will be kept private. In this way, I hope to avoid concerns some might have with others simply “copying” answers. :)
  • For questions with more than one prize, you must specify which prize you want when you submit your answer. This keeps me from having two winners who want the same prize. If you do not specify a prize on your entry, I cannot place you in the drawing. I know that might be harsh, but hunting everyone down to see which prize they want before the drawing would be time-consuming, and allow for a greater chance of error.
  • The daily prize will be announced, so that you can decide if it’s something that appeals to you.
  • If a prize has no takers, I will use it for a future giveaway.
  • If you win, I will ask you to give me your address privately in order to send you your prize. All addresses will be deleted once the Giveaway is over, and I know the prize has been received.
  • I will do my best to contact winners. If, however, I do not hear from a winner, that prize will be used for a future giveaway or awarded to someone else if unclaimed by February 12, 2017 (Mycroft’s birthday). I cannot tag some of you on Facebook, so PLEASE check back to see if you have won. I CANNOT EMPHASIZE ENOUGH HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS!!!
  • At this point, I can’t see that geography will be a factor in anyone’s ability to participate. However, unless otherwise specified, videos are all Region 1 only, so please make sure your DVD player is either Region 1, or an All Region model.
  • I will ship prizes starting December 28th.  Be patient, because shipping can take time, depending upon the weather, or where you live. Sometimes it also depends on payday, but all prizes (excluding “book clubs” in which the book has yet to be published, or is specified as being delivered on a future date) should be shipped by 31st January.
  • We’re not talking blue carbuncles, here, just small tokens. All decisions are final. If your prize is damaged in shipping, contact me privately, as most prizes are replaceable.
  • If you’ve already won twice, you can, of course, continue to answer questions. You can also answer questions and specify that you don’t want the prize on offer, or that you never want a prize. This happened a lot last year, and it was fun!
  • Brett and Mom–sorry, immediately family are not eligible. Also, as always, no Napoleons of Crime.

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12th Night Giveaway: Day 8

My husband had hair just like that, I swear.

My husband had hair just like that, I swear.

These days, it’s unusual to see a popular movie or television show without some sort of merchandising tie-in. The Star Wars franchise made the practice into an art form, but even in decades previous there were Lone Ranger lunch boxes, Batman coloring books, Shirley Temple dolls and Little Orphan Annie decoder rings. People love to find ways to bring the characters and performers they love into their daily lives, and while it’s easy to get jaded about this part of human nature when it intersects with the equally human desire for “great gain,” it’s a boon for those of us with the collecting gene.

Which is why we have this.

Which is why we have this.

I must confess, I have been tempted several times to just keep today’s prize for myself. It is that cool. An early example of a Sherlock Holmes media tie-in. When this book was printed, William Gillette was the face of Sherlock Holmes, and publicity stills from his play serve as illustrations. This was no doubt a primary draw for some fans. One can, however, imagine some of the older set (who had read Holmes in the original Beeton’s) grumping that Mr. Gillette is too attractive to truly be the Great Detective, and that they prefer Paget. Or Gutschmidt. Or Charles Doyle. Ok, probably not him.

Unfortunately, the book is not the novelised version of Gillette’s play. Or rather, fortunately, for if it had been, I would have kept it.

For, museum....

For, um…my museum….

Instead, it’s the novel A Study in Scarlet. But even if the story and the photos don’t completely match, it’s still a wonderful treasure, and I hope you enjoy playing for it.


It’s not in pristine condition. As you can see there is some cover wear, shelf wear, and a small amount of writing on the inside front flyleaf. There is some slight pull-away to the hinges. I can provide photos of this if it is a concern. Here are some inside shots:




The ads in the back are a nice touch, and help to date the book between 1900 (the play debuted in London in November of 1899), and 1917, when the Iron Route advertised closed.

So then, today’s question:


Sherlock Holmes was himself a “fan” of particular performers. If he had a collection, to whom might it have been devoted? (Hint: There are several possible answers).

As always, send your answers in via FaceBook PM, Twitter DM, or blog comment for your chance to win. For full rules, see the blog entry for 20 December. Good luck!

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12th Night Giveaway: Day 7

Sometimes the identity of the villain is as plain as the ancestral nose on his face.

Sometimes the identity of the villain is as plain as the ancestral nose on his face.


Photos are everywhere nowadays. Even when I was a kid, photographs tended to be of specials occasions–birthdays, holidays, weddings, that sort of thing–and they were filed meticulously in albums or (in the case of my own family) kept in boxes. We had 3 albums and two small wooden boxes for over 20 years-worth of polaroids and photos that one stuck onto adhesive cardboard backings.* Now, I have well over 100 photos on my phone, many times that on my hard drive, and those of you whippersnappers with Instagram or other apps, well…..

Sherlock Holmes never took a selfie, however. We really have no idea what he looks like, even now. But over the past century or so, we have had dozens of actors portray him, each of whom, no doubt, became someone’s mental version of the Great Detective. Which leads me to today’s prize offering:


Admit it: they do beat Beecher and Gordon now, don't they?

Admit it: they do beat Beecher and Gordon now, don’t they?


If you can’t have a photo of the real Sherlock Holmes, these should do in a pinch. They are: William Gillette (bottom), and top, left to right, Jeremy Brett, Robert Stephens, and Christopher Plummer. Gillette is not in his Holmesian garb, but it’s really an awesome (and slightly rakish) photo, so I thought I’d throw it in. They are all prints, not originals, but they will look very nice in an album or framed on your sitting-room wall.

For your chance to win, simply answer the following question:



*No, they were not cabinet photos, and yes, I am very old.

Film never forgets, and sometimes, it reappears when we least expect it, throwing our past into the face of our present. Several of Holmes’s clients sought him out because their youthful indiscretions had come back to haunt them–or to threaten someone they loved. Name two, as well as the name of the case. Photographs may or may not be involved.

Send your answer to me via FaceBook PM, Twitter DM, or blog comment. Full rules can be found in the entry for 20 December.

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12th Night Giveaway: Day 6

No, they don't wear no scrubs....

No, they don’t wear no scrubs….


Reference books are all well and good of course, but eventually they become outdated–particularly in a field like medicine, where new discoveries are made all the time. When John Watson was born, many physicians were still be trained via apprenticeship, and many of the remedies available were insufficient, or even dangerous. By the time he would likely have been ready to retire, he and his colleagues had access to anaesthesia, could perform many operations successfully, and understood the importance of sanitary procedures. Diseases once thought to be attributable to bodily “humours” were now understood to be the product of bacteria or viruses, and disease prevention measures, such as sanitary sewers, hand washing, and vaccinations were becoming more commonplace. Pharmacology had advanced far beyond calomel and laudanum, with attempts manufacturing safer pain medications and, in 1929, the break-through drug, penicillin.

Any responsible and passionate physician would have wanted to keep up on these exciting  developments, but medical texts then as now would have been outdated nearly as soon as they were printed. The solution? Medical journals, published weekly or monthly. Hence, today’s question:

Passionate and responsible physician that he was, John Watson kept up his continuing medical education by reading which prestigious publication?

As Sherlockians, we too must keep abreast of research in our field, and one of the most reliable ways to do that is through the Baker Street Journal. I was, frankly, astounded at last year’s response to a set of old issues, and so am very pleased to be able to offer another this year. This is a complete set of Volume 2, 1947, 4 issues. They are in fair condition; two are in great shape, while two display some sort of moisture damage on the spine. For those of you who are sensitive to such things, they do smell like musty old paper, but there’s no mold. A casual glance-through revealed no writing inside,so I unfortunately cannot tell you to whom they belonged. I was a little intrigued, however, by the seller’s last name….

Sinister, isn't it?

Sinister, isn’t it?


Here are the journals themselves:


As always, to enter the drawing, send your answer to me via FaceBook PM, Twitter DM, or blog comment. Full rules can be found on the blog entry for 20 December. Happy Researching!

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12th Night Giveaway: Day 4

Charts. What a pain. Maybe I don't want to keep my privileges, CCH!

Charts. What a pain. Maybe I don’t want to keep my privileges, CCH!

So now we’re into the holiday weekend. Hopefully you’re enjoying it in the ways you like best, whether it’s spending time with friends and family, burning through your gift cards, lounging on the beach, or simply binge-watching movies in your pajamas. Quite a few of you, though, will be spending this Saturday the way you spend every Saturday: at work.

Dr. John Watson, M.D. empathizes. Because if there are two professions who are never completely off the job, it’s doctors and detectives. And if you’re a doctor who moonlights as a detective, well, then, you’re always on call.

Ok, I'm scheduled off today, and you want me to round in two hospitals and pick up some consults?

Ok, I’m scheduled off today, and you want me to round in two hospitals and pick up some consults?

We don’t get to see a great deal of Watson, the physician, in the Canon. He mentions seeing patients, treats a thumb amputation with carbolic acid and is always ready with the brandy and biscuits, but given Conan Doyle’s actual medical experience, it’s interesting that we don’t get to see him in action a little bit more. A true Boswell, he downplays his own skills to highlight those of his friend.

That being said, through the experiences of both Watson and the gifted young Dr. Percy Trevelyan, we do get a picture of how difficult it was to establish a profitable medical practice in London. One needed either a lot of money or a bit of luck and, as Trevelyan’s story shows us, one cannot trust that his “luck” is actually good. After his marriage, Watson found himself needing to go into “harness” for the first time since leaving the Army. Lacking the funds to simply take rooms in the famous Harley Street, he had to settle for a less prestigious area and a practice which was in decline. Today’s question, then, is:

From whom did Dr. Watson purchase his first medical practice, and why was it for sale?

When he moved into his new consulting rooms, Dr. Watson likely brought with him quite a few medical reference books. We Sherlock Holmes aficionados tend to have our own favorites in that line. Today’s prize, therefore, is one I am very excited to offer: D. Martin Dakin’s  A Sherlock Holmes Commentary. I cannot tell you how many times I have turned to this book for quick story summaries, a look at common debates and, most importantly, a concise and comprehensible discussion of the more famous chronologies. This copy has its original dust jacket and is in excellent condition (although the binding is extra tight and may not be flexible). Just send your answers in via FaceBook PM, Twitter DM, or blog comment, and you’ll be entered in the drawing! For further rules, remember, see the blog entry for 20 December.


Day 3 Winner!

Congratulations to today’s drawing winner, Monte Elder! He actually sent in several options as answers: for Holmes, Winwood Reade’s The Martyrdom of Man, mentioned in SIGN and the “Agony” column in the Times (ENGR); for Watson, those sea stories by Clark Russell (FIVE), and the works of both Edgar Allan Poe and Thomas Carlisle (STUD). Other entries mentioned these books, along with Gaboriau’s Lecoq (STUD, likely both Watson and Holmes), Le Vie Boheme (STUD, Watson), and The Practical Handbook of Bee Culture,written by Holmes–so, of course, read by him as well.

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12th Night Giveaway: Day 2

Whitaker's almanack

Precision matters when you’re a detective. Whether you’re determining a bicyclist’s direction via tire tracks, or the intelligence of a man by his hat size, you’ve got to be accurate in your observations. A quick glance or a slap-dash measurement won’t do. It’s the same when it comes to time. The “curious coincidence” of the installation of a vent and faux bell-pull with the death of Miss Julia Stoner set Holmes on the trail of a merciless killer in “The Adventure of the Speckled Band.” In “The Adventure of the Creeping Man,” Trevor Bennett’s meticulous record-keeping helps the detective deduce the reasons for Professor Presbury’s disturbing behavior.

Watson, however, is not so meticulous when it comes to the calendar. Scores of articles and not a few books have been written by Sherlockians determined to come up with a definitive chronology of Holmes’ career using his Boswell’s unreliable date book. Sometimes, Watson obfuscates the date on purpose. At others, he’s…well, he’s just flat-out wrong. One imagines that the various Mrs. Watsons were often disappointed to find their birthdays or anniversaries go unmarked.

One hopes he made it up to them.

One hopes he made it up to them.

Now that we’re approaching the New Year, perhaps you’d like a new calendar for your own special occasions and appointments. This time, I’m happy to offer you a choice:

The 2015 BBC Sherlock Calendar, shown here….


Or, if you prefer something more traditional, the 2015 Sherlock Holmes calendar from The Strand Magazine, here:

Most of the months have arrangements of Paget illustrations.

Most of the months have arrangements of Paget illustrations.

To be included in the drawing, send in the correct answer to the following question, along with your choice of calendar:

Dr. Watson is known for his confusing chronologies. However, there is one date he gives in the Canon which we know must be incorrect. What is it, where is it found, and why is it wrong?

Again, please send your answer via FB PM, Twitter DM, or blog comment. You can find the complete Giveaway rules here:

Day 1 Winner!

Congratulations to Resa Haile, our first winner of the season! She knew that Sherlock Holmes once decorated the wall of 221B with a patriotic “VR”in bullet-holes…because he was bored. Other entrants mentioned Watson’s framed portrait of General Gordon, evidence of his patriotism and continued loyalty to his brethren-in-arms, and Holmes’ scientific charts, described in “The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone,” possibly suggesting that he didn’t rely on his “brain attic” for everything!

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3rd Annual 12th Night Giveaway: Day 1

221B as seen during the Festival of Britain in 1951. That is indeed Sidney Paget's "basket chair."

221B as seen during the Festival of Britain in 1951. That is indeed Sidney Paget’s “basket chair.”

A great deal of Sherlockian time and money has been spent on 221B–either trying to locate it (in London), or to replicate it (typically in one’s basement). Although we cannot now know for sure where Holmes and Watson spent their London years, the Canon does give us a fair picture of what it looked like. When the two friends-to-be first moved in, Watson wrote, their new flat was “large” and “airy,” “cheerfully furnished with, and illuminated by two broad windows.” By the time Holmes feels comfortable enough with the doctor to haul out his own tin box (and the memories that go with it) however, their rooms had become rather more…lived in:

[Sherlock Holmes] was…one of the most untidy men that ever drove a fellow-lodger to distraction. Not that I am in the least conventional in that respect myself. The rough-and-tumble work in Afghistan, coming on the top of a natural Bohemianism of disposition, has made me rather more lax than befits a medical man. But with me there is a limit, and when I find a man who keeps his cigars in the coal-scuttle, his tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slipper, and his unanswered correspondence transfixed into the very centre of his wooden mantelpiece, then I begin to give myself virtuous airs. (MUSG)

Over time, then, they put their own stamp on the place, and that once-anonymous sitting room with two bedrooms became a reflection of the “two men of note” who called it home…which bring us to tonight’s question:

One of the easiest ways to make your house your home is to put something on the walls. What might one find on the walls of 221B–and who put it there? (Extra admiration if you tell us what it reveals about that particular flatmate!)

And your prize for doing so? Why, something to make your own décor a little more Holmes-y. We cannot afford to redecorate your basement, but we can send you this lovely pillow….

(It's a pillow)

Suitable for settee, bedroom, or throwing at recalcitrant clients!

Just send us  your answer, via FB PM, Twitter DM, or blog comments to be included in the drawing on 12/25 (on which date the winner will be announced. Please do not just put your answer in the FB comments, and for other rules, see the blogpost for 20 December. Happy reading!

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