Saturday, 27 July 2013

The Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Reasonably straightforward this week, the most likely answers, as seen through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, seem to me to be :

Q1. Dunblane

Q2. Monty Python and The Holy Grail

"Ye Jacobites by name, lend an ear, lend an ear
Ye Jacobites by name, lend an ear
Ye Jacobites by name
Your faults I will proclaim
Your doctrines I maun blame, you will hear, you will hear
Your doctrines I maun blame, you will hear"

...Robert Burns

The Eastender raises a glass to the king over the water and salutes his ancestors who took part in the 'hunting expedition' against the upstart Hanoverian pretender's dragoons, at Sheriffmuir on the 13th November 1715, a costly fight, as like many Jacobites, they were declared attainted shortly thereafter and had their lands confiscated, (the attainted ruling, is still on the statute books to this day and has never been rescinded).

The initial clues place us in the vicinity of the Sheriffmuir battlefield, I am not sure what the 'mon' clue refers to but think it could be from the song 'Ye Jacobites by Name Lend an Ear' by Robert Burns, though the word is spelled 'maun' in that. North of the city of Stirling, lies the cathedral town of Dunblane, some sources claim that the name of the settlement means 'The Fort of Blane'. Blane was a sixth century saint and his feast day is given in some references, as August 10th.

Around three miles west of Dunblane, lies Doune castle, which according to historic Scotland has a 100 foot high gate house and was constructed for Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany (born c 1340), sometime in the 14th century. It was also the location used for the Kinghts who say 'Ni' in the film 'Monty Python and The Holy Grail', which was shot c 1975 . A second castle, which lies around two and half miles south east of Doune, is Arnhall castle. This is a ruined three story tower, which was constructed from rubble, c1617. Arnhall castle was also used as a location in the Monty Python film and lies in the grounds of Kier house, which some references claim, was the birthplace of a truly great Briton, David Stirling, founder of the SAS.

A third castle, which according to the OS map, lies within the grounds of the Stirling university campus, is Airthrey castle. Travelling two miles east of Airthrey castle, brings us to Menstrie castle which is said by some sources, to be the birthplace (c 1577) of Sir William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling,who was one of the founders of Nova Scotia.

Eine stetige Tropfen höhlt den Stein (misoneists, read ye no further)

The Eastender has discovered there are words concealed within some of the UK lotto data. Below is one found this week in the Thunderball game, the original data shown below

Wed 24 Jul 13 08 11 25 26 29 04
Sat 20 Jul 13    15 18 21 23 38       03
Fri 19 Jul 13    10 17 30 35 36        11

was substituted as follows:

A = 1, B = 2, C = 3, D = 4, E = 5, F = 6, G = 7, H = 8, I = 9, J = 10, K = 11, L = 12, M = 13, N =14,
O = 15, P = 16, Q = 17, R = 18, S = 19, T = 20, U = 21, V = 22, W = 23, X = 24, Y = 25, Z =26

Wed 24 Jul 13 H K [Y] Z 29           D
Sat 20 Jul 13  [O] R U W 38            C
Fri 19 Jul 13  [J] Q 30 35 36            K

Would you jump for JOY, if you won the Lotto?

This is real world data, check it for yourself on the national lotto web site if you don't believe it.

The Eastender's analysis shows that sometimes there can be anything up to twenty two possible words which could complete in the next game and it is no good betting when this is the case  but there are instances, when there are between one and five possible words, where 1 - 2 of the letters which form those words actually appear in the next game and it is at this point, that a bet with a low cost permutation, can sometimes yield positive results.

Read more about this here:

Lotto Codewords In the Thunderball Game

Link to the competition:

Where Was I?

Saturday, 20 July 2013

The Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Little bit tricky this week (the puzzle author has been very crafty) but near as I can figure it, the most likely answers seem to me to be

Q1. Par

Q2. The Treffry viaduct

N.B. (For question 1, Daphne Du Maurier's house Kilmarth, was near the town of Par and the town of Fowey but it is nearer Par than Fowey and the railway line out of Fowey goes to the north then turns to the east and does not pass under a viaduct around three miles from town, which does not fit with the clues.

For question 2, the viaduct in some sources, is sometimes referred to as the Luxulyan viaduct but it is marked on the OS map as the Treffry viaduct.)

The puzzle writer has thrown in some nacht und nebel this week, the UNESCO world heritage site  he is most likely referring to ie The Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape (created c 2006), covers more than one location. These are, according to

St Just Mining District
The Port of Hayle
Tregonning and GwinearMining Districts with Trewavas
Wendron Mining District
Camborne and Redruth Mining District with Wheal Peevor and Portreath Harbour
Gwennap Mining District with Devoran and Perran and Kennall Vale
St Agnes Mining District
The Luxulyan Valley and Charlestown
Caradon Mining District
Tamar Valley Mining District with Tavistock .

The one which seems to me to be the best fit, with the clue about the novelist born c1907,  one Daphne Du Maurier, is The Luxulyan Valley and Charlestown, which lie close to the town of Par, where her house Kilmarth was. There can be some confusion as to whether Kilmarth is in the village of Tywardreath, the town of Par or the town of Fowey but from looking at the OS map, it's clearly closer to Par and the railway clue does not fit with Fowey.

An industrialist born c 1782 was one Joseph Thomas (Austen) Treffry. I found several references which claim that he built the Treffry viaduct, which does seem to lie around three miles north of Par, anytime between 1839 and 1847,depending on which source you want to believe. The viaduct is said in some references to be 216 yards long, 98 feet high with ten arches and to have carried a tramway and leat or stone water channel, to power a water wheel. The tramway, which was built to connect to the canal that leads to Par, closed c 1933.

Walking north from the Treffry viaduct brings you to the town of Luxulyan, which is said to have been founded by a saint Sulien (feast day 29th July) c 6th century. A granite called Luxullianite is said to be found in the locale and was used in the duke of Wellington's tomb, in Saint Paul's cathedral in London.

The railway line out of Par does run to the north and pass under the Treffry viaduct, before turning to the west, where it eventually terminates in the town of Newquay, which c 1911, was the birthplace of an author called William Golding (wrote Lord of the Flies). Golding won the booker prize in 1980 and the Nobel prize for literature in 1983. Travelling roughly three miles west south west from Newquay would take you to Hollywell bay, which is where some sources claim that the North Korean beach landing scene in the film 'Die Another Day' was filmed, c2002.

In the belief that "Eine stetige tropfen höhlt den stein", there are words concealed within the UK Thunderball lotto data, sometimes, when you see one developing, you can intuit what the next letter is going to be and get  lucky. Word puzzlers, Lotto players and data miners, check out the Eastender's book on the subject here:

Lotto Codewords In The Thunderball Game

Link to the competition

Where Was I?

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Very tricky this week, it seems that quite a few people were turned to stone in der altvater tagen, for glugging ale and dancing to fiddlers on a sunday, and quite a few of these fossilized revellers are located in national parks around the UK (though some of them still show up at the Glastonbury festival every year). Near as I can figure it, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. The Peak District National Park

Q2. The Monsal Trail

The initial clues place us in the Peak District National Park, specifically at a bronze age barrow called 'Hob Hurst's House' . Some sources claim this is around ten metres or thirty two feet in diameter and it was said to be named after a local hobgoblin, who liked to glug Superlager and noisily harrang passers by, from a nearby woods.

Travelling around four miles or so, south west of the barrow, brings us to the 'Nine Ladies' stone circle, which is said in some references to be the petrified remains of some witches, who were turned to stone for dancing to a fiddler on a Sunday (sounds very like what still happens in Banff to this day, on Sundays).

A fortified manor house c 12th century,which lies a shade north west of the 'Nine Ladies', is likely to be Haddon Hall. A treasure house located two miles north west of the barrow, is likely to be 'Chatsworth House', which is said in some references to have an 'Emperor Fountain' which has a jet that can reach a height of 260 feet. Some references claim that the house was built c1686.

A trail which starts six miles or so north west of the barrow, is likely to be the Monsal trail, some sources say that this begins at Blackwell Mill in Chee Dale and follows the former Midland railway line for eight and a half miles, to Coombs road at Bakewell. There are several railway tunnels which the trail passes through and these are lit during the day but are switched off by a light sensor at dusk, so carrying a torch is advised if you will be hiking after dark.

The 'gasp worthy viaduct' is likely to be the Headstone viaduct (aka Monsal viaduct), which crosses the river Wye. Several references I checked claim that this is 111 yards long and 78 feet high, it can be seen from Castlegate lane. At the eastern end of the viaduct, lies the 533 yard long, Headstone tunnel.

The Eastender has discovered that some Lotto machines generate clusters of words, as part of their normal operations and that sometimes you can get lucky by betting that the letter which completes a word will show up, για παράδειγμα (eg) : In the week that the Where Was I? puzzle contained a reference to a mathematician called Napier, the word NAPIER completed in the UK Thunderball data:

Fri 14 Jun 13 X T [R] C A 03

Wed 12 Jun 13 02 04 Y T [E] 13

Sat 08 Jun 13 02 U T [I] B 10

Fri 07 Jun 13 06 08 10 [P] E 01

Wed 05 Jun 13 06 Y W M [A] 05

Sat 01 Jun 13 13 Y R [N] A 08

Check it yourself if you don't believe it, the original data below is from the National Lotto Thunderball game results published on their website:

Fri 14 Jun 13       16 20 22 37 39 03

Wed 12 Jun 13      02 04 15 20 35 13

Sat 08 Jun 13          02 19 20 31 38 10

Fri 07 Jun 13           06 08 10 24 35 01

Wed 05 Jun 13       06 15 17 27 39 05

Sat 01 Jun 13         13 15 22 26 39 08

and was substituted as follows:

39 = A, 38 = B, 37 = C, 36 = D, 35 = E,
34 = F, 33 = G, 32 = H, 31 = I, 30 = J,
29 = K, 28 = L, 27 = M, 26 = N, 25 = O,
24 = P, 23 = Q, 22 = R, 21 = S, 20 = T,
19 = U, 18 = V, 17 = W, 16 = X, 15 = Y,
14 = Z

The Eastender has written up the results of his data mining, which if you are into word search puzzles and playing the lotto, can be viewed here:

Lotto Codewords in the Thunderball Game

Link to the competition:

Where Was I?

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Reasonably straight forward this week, the most likely answers seem to me to be:

Q1. St Giles Without Cripplegate

Q2. Salter's Hall

N.B For question one, the church is also known as St Giles, Cripplegate

The initial clues place us in the city of London, more specifically at the site where the Cripplegate once stood. According to some sources, this was constructed c 120 ad by the Romans, underwent several rebuilds and modifications c 1244, 1491, 1663, before being demolished c 1760. This gate was situated in what is now a very strange area of the metropolis, called 'Barbican'  (some of the houses in there, bizarrely have the kitchen on the top floor) and there appears to be a church called 'St Giles Without Cripplegate' there, the name deriving from the fact that it was probably located beyond the London wall, back in the day. I found a reference which says this church was built c 11th  century and was originally Saxon, then Norman and was damaged by fire in 1545, 1897 and in 1940 by the Luftwaffe.

A poet called John Milton, was appointed secretary of foreign tongues in 1649 and some references claim that he was buried in St Giles Without Cripplegate church. Also reputed to be buried there, is the commander of a ship called 'The Triumph', Sir Martin Frobisher (born c 1535) and a big sociopathic thug called Oliver Cromwell, is said to have been married there on the 22 August, 1620.

A street leading south from the church is Wood street, and this is referenced in Charles Dicken's 'Great Expectations' published c 1861, the Inn referred to is probably 'The Cross Keys'

"The journey from our town to the metropolis was a journey of about five hours. It was a little past midday when the four-horse stage-coach by which I was a passenger, got into the ravel of traffic frayed out about the Cross Keys, Wood Street, Cheapside, London."

A poet who wrote about a thrush in Wood Street, is most likely William Wordsworth as he published a work called 'The Reverie of Poor Susan' c1797

"At the corner of Wood Street, when daylight appears, Hangs a Thrush that sings loud, it has sung for three years:Poor Susan has passed by the spot, and has heard, In the silence of morning the song of the Bird."

Ambling east from the church brings us onto Fore street, site of the first bomb to be dropped on London in world war two. There are photographs of a plaque there, which has the following inscription:

                                                "On this site at 12:15 AM
                                                On the 25th August 1940
                                                Fell the first bomb on
                                               the city of London in
                                               The second world war"

According to some sources, a man who came up with a concept for garden cities and who was also born in Fore street c1850, was Sir Ebenezer Howard, son of a grocer, according to one of his bios.

The Eastender was hard pushed to find anything that to his eye resembled 'a fine building' on Fore street, the architecture in that vicinity can best be described as 1960's glass and concrete grot-tacular carbuncle but there is however a building called 'Salter's Hall', which was built c 1976 and this seems to have been used by a company formed c 1394 (Worshipful Company of Salters), who were into salt and molecular science. Their original building in St Swithin's lane was destroyed c 1941, by some overseas based demolition contractors, called Heinkel, Junkers and Dornier. Salter's hall was according to some sources, designed by Sir Basil Spence (born c 1907) who also had to begin another project, to repair the damage caused by airborne Blue Meanies, to Coventry cathedral. The second gate is most likely Moorgate, it lies east of Barbican and is said to have been constructed c 1415.

Check out the Eastender's latest data mining book here (It is not widely known that lotto machines produce words, as a co product of their normal operations):

Lotto Codewords in the Thunderball Game

Link to the competition

Where Was I?