Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Little bit tricky this week. Near as I can figure it, the most likely answers are:

Q1. Newcastle Upon Tyne

Q2. The Ouseburn Viaduct

NB question one is a little bit ambiguous but making the assumption (and the Eastender Himself does not like assumptions) that he means which city was he in, I have selected Newcastle upon Tyne as the most likely answer. It's also worth noting that sometimes the city is referred to as just 'Newcastle' but it is more accurate to say Newcastle Upon Tyne.

The initial clues place us squarely in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne. The river Tyne is sixty two miles long and the Romans built a bridge and a fort called Pons Aelius there, near the High Level bridge, which was opened in 1849. Aelius was emperor Hadrian's heir but he died before he became emperor so this is maybe why the author says it's slightly confusing (Aelius was also said to be Hadrian's family name in some texts). The High level bridge is around 446 yards long and depending on the state of the river, can be 109 feet above the water. The castle keep the author is referring to is the original new castle and was built by Robert Curthose, duke of Normandy c1080 as a wooden motte and bailey structure, with the stone keep being constructed later by a king (Henry II, who had a son also called Henry).

The parish church is most likely The Cathedral of St Nicholas (patron saint of barrel makers) , Newcastle upon Tyne, which became a cathedral on the 25 July 1882. The inventor referred to is most likely Sir Joseph Swan (b 1828), who invented the first incandescent lightbulb and demonstrated it at the Newcastle Chemistry Society and the Literary and Philosophical society of Newcastle Upon Tyne, both of which were close to the cathedral.

The theatre Royal in Newcastle was built by an architect called Benjamin Green (b c1811-1813) who also did a lot of work on railways. The theatre lies in a district known as Grainger town and Grainger (b1797) was a builder who developed the 12-13 acre area referred to. This is where the puzzle becomes tricky because there are two viaducts, originally constructed using timber arches mounted on stone piers for N&NSR, in 1839, in Newcastle. They were both designed by the same architect, Benjamin Green. The bridges are the Willington viaduct and the Ouseburn viaduct and from the description in the text, the Ouseburn viaduct is the best fit. It has five arches (the Willington viaduct has seven) and is closer to the author's position to walk to than the Willington viaduct (it's approximately a mile north east of the high level bridge)

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Marvelously entertaining this week leddies ed jittlemen, many interesting clues for the puzzler to research, with the author cleverly weaving some of the sponsor's SEO keywords into the piece. The Sunday Times programmer has claimed that the competition is closed (it's not, if you scroll down, you can still enter it). Near as I can figure it, the most likely answers are :

Q1. The Cowburn Tunnel

Q2. Kinder Scout National Nature Reserve

The clues in the second paragraph place us in the town of Buxton. There is a shrine called St Anne's well there. Saint Anne was a first century saint whose feast day is 26th July. Buxton has an opera house which was designed by an architect called Frank Matcham (born 1854). It opened in 1903 and according to the records, the first play performed there, was 'The Prologue'. An architect called John Carr (b1723) built the beautiful crescent in the town.

Driving north from Buxton, the author is likely to be on the A6, which goes past a place called Dove Holes. The Dove Holes tunnel, which is 2984 yards long, travels under the road at this point and comes out near a place called Chapel En Le Frith. If you continue north to the Buxton road, you come to a right turn which can lead to a village called Edale (A6187, then the Edale road), which marks the start of the Pennine way. Further along the A6187, about seven miles south east from Edale, as the crow flies, lies the village of Hathersage, where a gentleman called John Nailor is reputed to be buried. The Cowburn tunnel (3702 yards long) lies a little way to the south west of Edale station. The peak district is made up of three parts, the dark peak, the white peak and the south west peak.

However, the author says he did not visit these places and travelled north/north west and this makes it likely that he is travelling on the Hayfield road which goes past a place called Kinder Scout National Nature Reserve. Kinder Scout was the scene of a heroic struggle for access by hikers and ramblers against the goon squad of a deranged NWO neo feudalist bankster financial terrorist absentee landlord, who thought only he should be able to enjoy the scenery . The ramblers took part in a mass tresspass on Kinder Scout on the 24th April 1932 and gained their much desired rights to walk in the countryside.

Around fourteen miles north from Buxton, if you are on the Hayfield road, there is a junction which takes you onto the snake road (ophidian means serpent like) and the pennine way crosses this at a height of 1680ft. The peak overseeing the proceedings, (which someone once tried to land a Liberator bomber on and unsurprisingly managed to break it) is likely to be Mill Hill, which is recorded as being 544 metres or 1785ft high.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Not too bad this week, though the puzzle solver is hampered by the fact that there are non numeric characters where there should be numbers in some of the distance measurements on the online version. The most likely answers, near as I can figure it are.

Q1. The Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation

Q2. Secret Water

The initial clues place us at Heybridge basin, near Maldon in Essex. The Chelmer and Blackwater canal begins at its western end in Springfield basin, Chelmsford  and the blurb about this canal does indeed indicate that legally, it only needed to have a minimum depth of two feet. It was also never nationalised and ceased commercial operations c1972.

Six miles south west of Springfield basin take us to Ingatestone and Ingatestone hall, which was built by one William Petre (b1505). Petre was an operator who worked for 'enry the eighth and was appointed treasurer of the first fruits and tenths c1549. The first fruits and tenths were money that Henry diverted (stole) from the churches en route to Rome in protest about not being allowed to divorce. The first fruit was an initial sum (an annate, the church's whole profit for the first year) and the tenths were ten percent of the church's annual income thereafter.

The resort the puzzle author is seeking is most likely Walton on the Naze, it has a 2600ft pier and a village around nine miles southwest of there, which is named after the abbey of a 7th century saint, feast day October 7th, is St Osyth. There is a ruined church with two towers in Mistley, near Manningtree, which was built by Robert Adam (b1728, father called William), which looks to be in the right location, though Adam built more than two churches.

The tower is likely to be the Naze tower, it is 86 ft high and was built c1720. West of there lies a salt marsh called Hamford water and this is the setting for a story from the "Swallows and Amazons" series of books by Arthur Ransome. The story, which was published in 1939, is called 'Secret Water' and features another group of campers called 'The Eels'

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Sunday Times Where Was I ? Holiday Competition

Quite difficult this week. In order to get the answer to question one, you need to know that there is a poem about rustproofing the structure using wine and could easily mistake the Antelope Inn for the edifice in question, as it is right next to it. Near as I can figure it, the most likely answers are:

Q1. The Menai Suspension Bridge

Q2. William Hughes

(NB for question one, this is sometimes referred to as 'the Menai bridge' but there are two bridges over the Menai strait, the second being the Britannia bridge a kilometer or so to the south west of the suspension bridge. Google maps call it the 'Menai Suspension Bridge' )

The initial clues place us in the town of Bangor, Wales, at Garth pier (1500ft long and opened 1896). The structure with the literary reference to bibulousness is likely to be the Menai suspension bridge, it is around two miles south west of Bangor and there is some verse by Lewis Carrol about boiling it in wine.

White Knight to Alice:
"I heard him then, for I had just
completed my design,
To keep the Menai bridge from rust
By boiling it in wine."

—"Haddocks' Eyes", Through the Looking-Glass, Lewis Carroll

Skirting the northern periphery of the Snowdonia national park and travelling around fourteen miles,
takes us to the Conwy estuary.A likely candidate for the remains of a castle built by a king whose father was John, is Deganwy castle, which was reconstructed by Henry III (son of king John). The castle was destroyed after a long seige but I have so far not found any texts on how long this siege lasted.

Crossing the Conwy estuary takes us to the town of Llandudno, where the seventh Australian prime
minister, William Hughes (little digger) lived for a time. A lexicographer called Henry Liddell who
specialized in Greek and English lexicon had a holiday home in Llandudno. Some references claim that Lewis Carrol visited Llandudno in 1862 and he was an acquaintance of Liddel.

Llandudno pier is 2295 ft long and was opened in 1877. The great Orme is a 679 foot high
limestone headland near Llandudno and there is a funicular railway (opened 1902 with
track gauge of 3ft 6inches) there that takes you to just below the summit. There is
prehistoric copper mine on the great orme.