Saturday, 13 August 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. Wolverhampton

Q2. Pennocrucium

The initial clues seem to place us in the West Midlands, at the Wyrl[e]y and Essington Canal, this appears to be known locally, as 'The Curly Wyrley' due to its somewhat meandering course. A firebrand religious fundamentalist, who according to some of her biographies taught in the town of Wednesfield, through which the aforementioned canal passes, was most likely 'Mary Whitehouse' (born c 1910). Mrs Whitehouse published a book called 'Who Does She Think She Is?' c 1971 and appears to have become radicalised in the nineteen thirties when she started a popular front called the M.R.A. (Moral Re-Armament group) in an attempt to suppress ideas that her followers and supporters didn't like being broadcast on TV, radio and printed media.

She may of course have been correct to rail against what was for the period a quite subtle method of mass psychological control, whereby the citizenry are allowed to think that they are free because they can indulge their base desires and fantasies by watching them play out on TV or cinema (which of course very effectively distracts them from taking on the incumbent regime over things they are not happy about, a fact not lost on the Maya and the Romans, who let their people watch some very violent entertainment) but like Cnut trying to turn back the tides, was on a hiding to nothing with this approach, because the bread and circuses thing has worked since Roman times and probably before that. The good lady herself could of course have been controlled opposition employed to reinforce support by the masses for the broadcasting authorities or as is perhaps more likely, an unwitting victim of another just as ancient psychological control system and may well have failed to recognise that ego dystopic rage is how the people who run some of these religious sects manipulate their followers and motivate them to do some really terrible stuff .

I digress, the next hint takes us to [M]osley Old Hall, which was at one point an Elizabethan house, where Charles II holed up while on the run from the Bizzies after the Battle of Worcester c 1651. The Eastender thought that the house didn't look very Elizabethan but it turns out from reading the blurb on the National Trust web site, that it was covered over with more modern bricks in the nineteenth century.

The city where a lady W[u]lfr[u]n (or Wulfruna as she was also known) founded a 'religious community'  c ad 994 is most likely Wolverhampto[n]. Wolverhampton Wanderers football club appear to have won the League [C]u[p] c 1974.

A forty six mile long canal which passes through the city of Wolverhampton is most likely the Staff[o]rdshire and Worcester canal, which was opened c 1771/72 depending on which reference you check and a house which was noted for arts and crafts in the vicinity of Wolverhampton could be Wight W[i][c]k Manor (constructed c 1887/88).

Assembling our clues and extracting the letters gives:

1. Wyrl[e]y and Essington Canal                         E
2. Ma[r]y Whitehouse / Wed[n]esfield                R     N
3. [M]oseley Old Hall                                          M
4. Wolverhampto[n]                                            N
5. W[u]lfr[u]n                                                     U   U
6. League [c]u[p]                                               C   P
7. Staff[o]rdshire and Worcester Canal             O
8. Wight W[i][c]k Manor                                     I C

Travelling twelve miles of so North North West of the Wight Wick Manor, brings us to a dorp called Water Eaton, which sounds like a wet version of the public school Eton. Next to that hamlet lies the Romano-British settlement of PENNOCRUCIUM, the name of which contains the same letters as those extracted from the clue answers above.

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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