Saturday, 9 April 2016

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. The Battle of Naseby

Q2. Sir Everard Digby

The initial clue of SK/TF/SP/TL seems to relate to the Ordnance Survey's 100km square grid designation system, with these particular ones relating to areas in Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire respectively. The puzzle author is most likely at the site of the monument commemorating the battle of Naseby, which occurred during the first English Civil War c June 14th 1645. Travelling east north east from the monument, would probably take us across the two hundred and twenty five mile long Midshires Way walking trail (which some of the reference sources I checked claim starts at Bledlow, near Aylesbury and ends in Stockport) and thence to the 'Triangular Lodge', near Rushton. This seems to be have been built by Sir Thomas Tresham c 1593 - 1597. Tresham was the father of one of the gunpowder plot jihadists and the fact that the house is triangular, has trefoil windows with triangles in them and has three floors was said to be because Tresham was a staunch Catholic obsessed with the holy trinity, though it being a lodge covered with triangles may point to him being a member of a very different sect.To keep in with his 'three is a magic number' fixation, his wife called him 'Good Tres'.

North North East of Tresham's triangles, lies the Lyddington Bede House, which once belonged to the bishops of Lincoln and this seems to have come under the ownership of a courtier and squaddie called Sir Cecil Thomas, first earl of Exeter (born c 1542). Some of his biographies claim that he was Lord President of York,which is the same thing as President of the Council of the North. By all accounts, the lad was a bit of a rake during his gap year, when he went inter-railing round Europe but eventually calmed down and turned Lyddington Bede into an alms house.

About a mile west of Lyddington Bede, lies the one horse dorp of 'Stoke Dry' and this appears to be where one of the gunpowder plot conspirators, one Sir Everard Digby was born, c 1578. Prior to reading his biographies, the Eastender had formed the opinion that 'Everard' was a joke name made up by a seventies game show host, who used it as a running gag from his selection of catch phrases and double entendres. The unfortunate Digby had his request to be dispatched by the axe man refused and was subsequently hung drawn and quartered c 30th of January 1606.

The viaduct is likely to be the 'Welland Viaduct', which looks to be a good fit for the location given in the clues. Some of the sources I checked claim that it does have eighty two arches and was constructed c 1879. The village that the puzzle writer stops at, could be Duddington, for about a mile south east, in a forest, is where the corners of the four one hundred km national grid squares SK/TF/SP/TL meet. This point is also around three miles south west of RAF Wittering ( motto "Strength is Freedom") .

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 or quip relating to the puzzle and its solution, he will endeavour to publish it.

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