Saturday, 31 May 2014

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Morley

Q2. Kirkstall Abbey

Not much sport involved in solving it this week. The information imparted in the initial paragraph seems to place us squarely in the town of Morley, south west of Leeds, in the beautiful county of Yorkshire. The Morley tunnel is listed as being anything between 3081 yards, 3350 yards, 3388 yards and 4320 yards long, depending on which source you check. There is also a mathematical theorem involving triangles and polygons, called 'Morley's Theorem' and a liberal prime minister of Britain, between 1908 and 1916 (Herbert Henry Asquith) was, according to some references, born on the 12th September 1852, at Croft house, Morley, Yorkshire. 

An industrialist, who built what was at the time the world's largest textile mill (c1853), at Saltaire, near Bradford, was Sir Titus Salt. Titus Salt was according to some of his bios, born in 1803 at the Old Manor house, Morley, near Wakefield.

The puzzle writer then appears to be in the city of Leeds, where the Leeds and Liverpool canal (127 miles long and opened c 1816) and the Aire and Calder Navigation (34 miles long, opened c 1704), pass close to each other. Travelling two short stops from the main station in Leeds would bring us to the suburb of Headingly, where c 1884, at 6 Ash Grove,  an author called Arthur Ransome (writer of 'Swallows and Amazons' and 'Old Peter's Russian Tales'), was born. Some of Ransome's bios convey the impression that he was some sort of proto-beatnik type, who was always skint but loved travelling, writing and feasting on wine and maccaroni cheese, whenever he got some money. A mile or so north west-ish from Headingly, lie the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, built c 1152 for the Cistercian order. It was of course, once again, 'appropriated' by 'enry the eighth, in the sixteenth century.

Headingly has a cricket ground called 'Headingly Carnegie Cricket ground', which seems to be where the Yorkshire County cricket team had some of their victories.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Brighton

Q2. Oh! What a Lovely War

внимание друзья! Brighton is listed as a town in some references but it is also part of the city of Brighton and Hove, however most of the locations described in the clues, are in the town of Brighton itself.

The Eastender initially thought that the film about the V1 weapons, was 'Operation Crossbow', starring George Peppard and Sophia Loren but on checking the dates, this seems to have been made c1965. The movie in question, however, seems to be a more obscure offering, called 'Missiles From Hell' (aka 'Battle of the V1' and 'Unseen Heroes'), starring the late great Michael Rennie (who played Klaatu in the original version of 'The Day the Earth Stood Still) and Christopher Lee. It was according to some sources, made by Eros Films and John Bash Films Corporation (c 1958) with some of the scenes being shot at Brighton Film Studios and some at Elstree studios. V1s were a kind of primitive cruise missile, some of which were tested by a very talented test pilot called Hanna Reitsch, who managed to land one in one piece, while trying to locate a problem with the guidance system. The early versions of this weapon had killed several pilots prior to this, as it had a very high stall speed, which made landing it extremely difficult.

The film about the journalist, is most likely 'Brighton Rock' (c 1947) starring Richard Attenborough as a demented gangster called 'Pinkie'. This seems to have been adapted from a (c 1938) Graham Greene novel of the same name.

From reading his biographies, the early talkie star (appearing in films such as Paris (c 1929) and Monte Carlo (c 1930)), who also built the Imperial theatre (c 1939/40) at 134 North street, Brighton, seems to be Jack Buchanan (b 1890/91 depending on which sources you check). His signature song is listed in some references as being 'And Her Mother Came Too'.

Wandering in an easterly direction along North street, eventually brings us to Pavilion Parade, and it is here that the extravagant Brighton Royal Pavilion lies (built c 1815 - 1823, by architect John Nash (b 1752)).

Turning right from North street at this location, takes us into East street, where the famous riot and alley scenes from the 1979 film 'Quadrophenia' (one of the Eastender's favourites), were shot. Scooting down East street, to the sea front brings us to the west of the Palace pier, where some scenes involving the staff of W.C Boggs, from the 1971 film 'Carry on at Your Convenience' were shot.

Almost straight across the road from the south end of East street, lie the remains of the West Pier and this according  to some sources,  burned down c 2003. It was this structure which featured in the (c 1970) film version of Joe Orton's play, 'Loot' , which involved an inspector Truscott, searching for some bank robbers.

A bellicose film which was also shot on the West Pier, is 'Oh! What a Lovely War' (c 1969), starring a raft of famous actors such as Dirk Bogarde, Susannah York, John Gielgud and Jack Hawkins, to name a few of them.

Oh! Oh! Oh! it's a lovely war,
Who wouldn't be a soldier eh?
Oh! It's a shame to take the pay.
As soon as reveille is gone
We feel just as heavy as lead,
But we never get up till the sergeant brings
Our breakfast up to bed

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Tiree

Q2. The Treshnish Isles

The initial (huge giveaway) clues seem to place us on the beautiful island of Tiree, in the eileanan a-staigh, or inner Hebrides. The OS map shows one lighthouse on the island, at the harbour and from the photographs, it looks to be around thirty six feet of so high. I could not find any references to a children's TV program shot on location in Tiree, back in the seventies but the satellite pictures show a golf ball radar station at a point called Carnan Mor, on Ben Hynish, which is marked as 141 metres (436ft) on the OS map. There do not appear to be any A roads on the maps of the island I looked at but there are phone symbols shown on the OS map. 

I found several references which claim that Tiree airport opened in 1935 and it is built on an area of Machair (fertile soil which is a mixture of peat and crushed seashells), called 'The Reef'. Some of the tourist blurb also claims that Tiree is one of the sunniest places in the UK and the puzzle author is likely standing on a beach called Traigh Bhi, on the south western end of the island. A lighthouse which lies 12 miles or so south west of Tiree, is the Skerryvore light, which some sources claim, was built c 1844 and is around 156ft in height.

The Dutchman's Cap or Bac Mor, is an island which lies 18 miles or so to the east of Tiree, in an archipelago called the Treshnish isles. The OS map shows the highest point on Bac Mor to be 86 metres (282 feet) in height.

Travelling five miles south east from Bac Mor, would bring us to an 82 acre national nature reserve, called Staffa. Here lies Fingal's Cave, made famous by Felix Mendelssohn, who wrote a musical overture about it (Hebrides Overture), following his visit in 1829. The poet who wrote the lines "mighty waters play/Hollow organs all day", was John Keats (the poem is called 'Staffa').

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Mail on Sunday £1500 prize puzzle (no 1644)

Near as I can figure it, as viewed through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers seem to me to be:


1. Bill Hayley

6. Snow Goose
11. Janice 
12. Bambi
14. Retina
15. Pawnee
16. Wounded
17. Goya
18. Chuzzlewit
22. Guernica
24. Tin Cup
26. Gregg
27. Island
28. Limousin
29. Ugly Sister
31. Apes
33. Ant Hill
36. Persia
38. Juneau
39. Rossi
40. Ishtar
41. Abyssinia
42. Agamemnon


2. Ivana

3. Leibniz
4. Arete
5. Elbow
7. Naiad
8. World Series
9. Octagonal
10. Sonny
13. Mount Vesuvius
19. Heidi
20. Lapis Lazuli
21. Wigan
22. Gogol
23. Canoe
25. Cross Keys
30. Sorghum
32. Plumb
34. Tarsi
35. Laing
36. Priam
37. Idaho

Mail on Sunday You magazine prize crossword 1385 answers

Near as I can figure it, as viewed through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers seem to me to be:


7. T(a)iw(a)n
9. Rhetoric
10. Drunk(a)rd
11. Oliver
12. Comedy
13. Wh(a)t (a)
15. Diffuse
17. Trumpet
19. Lycr(a)
20. (A)stute
22. Memoir
23. Customer
24. Uncle S(a)m
25. Regg(a)e


1. P(a)triotic
2. Une(a)sy
3. Pre D(a)wn
4. Debon(a)ir
5. Louis (A)rmstrong
6. Vixen
8.  Wonderful world
14. Gentlem(a)n
16. Securest
18. S(a)tchmo
20. (A)bsurd
21. Seine

There are a total of 17 incidences of the letter A, if split up into across and down, as above but viewed on the actual crossword grid, there seem to be a total of 10 instances. To win the £500, you would text 'you 10 your name' to 65700.

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Llangollen

Q2. Cyngen (ap Cadell) aka Concenn

внимание друзья! The king's name was Cyngen, the 'ap Cadell' part of it means 'son of Cadell' and in English his name is Cyngen son of Cadell, not too sure whether they want the Welsh or English version of the name but submitting Cyngen with the 'ap Cadell' or 'son of', in parenthesis, may get you to where you want to be. Have also seen references where Cyngen is called Concenn.

The initial clues seem to place us in Denbighshire, in Wales, specifically in the town of Llangollen. The Llangollen canal (46 miles long and closed c 1944, according to some sources) starts near the settlement and terminates somewhere north west of Nantwich, across the border in England. I found several references which claim that the first Llangollen International Musical Eistedfodd took place there c 1947. A novelist called Richard Llewellyn (aka Richard Dafydd Vivian Llewellyn Lloyd) according to some of the bios I read, lived in Llangollen for a while. He published a book called 'How Green Was My Valley', c 1939, which was made into a film (c 1941), about life in a Welsh mining community.

There does seem to be a heritage railway there, with some sources claiming it was eventually closed c 1968. The OS map shows what looks like a hill fort, north east of the town. It is called Castell Dinas Bran and appears to be of 12th century origin. Dinas Bran translates variously as 'Crow Castle', 'Hill of the Crow' or 'Bran's Stronghold'.

Travelling a mile and a half or so north west of the castle, would bring us to Valle Crucis abbey, which some references claim was founded c 1201 by a prince of Wales (not a king as stated in the clues) called Madog ap Gruffydd Maelor (mother Angharad). The abbey is probably named after a large cross, which was known as 'The Pillar of Eliseg'. This was erected, according to some references, by a king called Cyngen ap Cadell (died c854/855 depending on which source you check), in memory of his great grandfather, Elised ap Gwylog. It is thought by some, that the stone carver spelled the name wrong (Eliseg, instead of Elised). Some sources refer to Cyngen as 'Concenn' .

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Teignmouth

Q2. Babbacombe

внимание друзья! for question 2, some sources claim that Emma Keyse was murdered at Babbacombe Bay but the district just seems to be marked as Babbacombe on some of the maps I checked.

The initial clues seem to place us in the town of Dawlish, in the county of Devon. Isambard Kingdom Brunel is said in some references to have built an atmospheric railway (c 1846) from Exeter to Newton Abbot, which passed through Dawlish. The project is believed to have failed because rats ate the leather seals which kept the air in the pipes which propelled the trains.

An artist who was associated with rodents and painted a large canvas featuring Waterloo Station (c 1967) , was Terence Tenison Cuneo (he liked to paint a small mouse in some of his pictures) but I could not find any references that claim he went to school in Dawlish. Cuneo did produce a painting of a train called the 'Monmouth Castle'  (the work was called 'Castle on the Coast'), emerging from a tunnel in the Dawlish area and he said this image reminded him of his schooldays, as when the train emerged from the tunnel on his way back to Cornwall, he knew his holiday proper, had begun.The 'gingerbread nuts being smallish' reference, seems to originate with John Keats, who produced a work called Dawlish Fair

"Over the hill and over the dale, And over the bourne to Dawlish, Where ginger-bread wives have a scanty sale, And gingerbread nuts are smallish"

The clues given suggest that the second town is Teignmouth, as a poet called Charles Causley (born c 1917), wrote a poem called 'Keats at Teignmouth - Spring 1818', which contains a verse about a 'gaudy river' :

          "By the wild sea-wall I wandered 
           Blinded by the salting sun, 
        While the sulky Channel thundered 
           Like an old Trafalgar gun. 

        And I watched the gaudy river 
           Under trees 0f lemon-green, 
        Coiling like a scarlet bugle 
           Through the valley of the Teign. 

        When spring fired her fusilladoes 
            Salt-spray, sea-spray on the sill, 
        When the budding scarf of April 
            Ravelled on the Devon hill. 

        Then I saw the crystal poet 
            Leaning on the old sea-rail; 
        In his breast lay death, the lover, 

            In his head, the nightingale."

Some sources claim that Teignmouth pier is 625ft long and was opened c 1867, with an octagonal domed lighthouse being built there, c 1845.

Travelling seven miles or so south west from Teignmouth via the upstream route, would bring us to the outskirts of the resort of Torquay and it was here at Babbacombe school, that some sources claim a theatre builder called Frank Matcham (born 1844) was educated. According to some references, Babbacombe was also the site of the murder of Emma Keyse (c 1884). The man accused of this homicide was one John Henry George Lee aka 'The Man They Could Not Hang'. The authorities tried to hang Mr Lee three times at Exeter prison but the trapdoor on the scaffold failed at each attempt and the home secretary commuted his sentence to life imprisonment.

The funicular railway at Babbacombe, which takes holidaymakers 720 feet up and down the cliff to the beach, is said to have opened c 1926.