Saturday, 26 September 2015

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. Wigan

Q2. Lynda-Lee Potter (nee Lynda Higginson)

The initial clues, rather obviously, appear to place us in the town of Wigan, in Lancashire. The settlement at one time had a pier, probably a staithe (possibly from the Norse word for landing stage, according to some of the sources I checked), on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. An author who was disappointed at not viewing it, was probably Eric Arthur Blair (aka George Orwell), who published a work called 'The Road to Wigan Pier' c 1937, which describes the dire state of the housing stock in Wigan, which may have 'slid to startling angles', due to subsidence from collapsing mine workings, below the town.

The rugby club mentioned in the hints, may be Wigan Warriors, who were one of the clubs instrumental in founding the Northern Rugby Football Union c 1895. A comedian who had a long running radio show, called 'Ray's a laugh', was Ted Ray (aka Charlie Olden), who according to some of the biographies I looked at, was born at 110 Great George Street, Wigan, on the 21st of November, 1905. The music hall entertainer, who starred in a film called 'By the Shortest of Heads', is probably George Formby', who was born at 3 Westminster Street, Wigan c 26th May, 1904. Also born in Wigan c 1848 was the medicine manufacturer, Sir Joseph Beecham. Beecham had adverts for his company's products placed on the sails of ships and on billboards, with slogans like "What are the wild waves saying? (Try Beecham's Pills)" .

There does appear to be a monument to a royalist army officer, one Sir Thomas Tyldesley (born at Woodplumpton, c 1612 ), who was slain during the battle of Wigan Lane, c 1651. The Leeds and Liverpool canal, descends some two hundred feet, through twenty ( or twenty one locks, depending on which references you check), from Wigan top lock, by the Kirkless pub, down to the junction of the Leigh branch. Following the Leigh branch of the Leeds and Liverpool canal, East south east, brings us to the town of Leigh, where it joins the Bridgewater canal, which appears to be carried over the Manchester Ship Canal, by a marvel of Victorian engineering ( constructed c 1894), the grade II listed, Barton Swing Aqueduct.

The puzzle author has been a bit crafty here, because there was more than one 'First Lady of Fleet Street' but the one who most fits with the given clues, is Lynda-Lee Potter, who was born in the Firs Maternity Home, Leigh c 2nd May, 1935. Potter wrote a column for the Daily Mail and published a book called 'Class Act: How to Beat the British Class System' .

N.B. Due to the number of people who normally write poison pen letters in green ink posting on his page, the Eastender has moved to moderated comments but rest assured, if you have a non abusive comment related to solving the puzzle, he will endeavour to publish it.

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