Procol Harum

the Pale

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Christmas Conundrums 2015–16 • Competitors' Comments

 'Diabolical' • 'Funny, sly and clever'

Many thanks to everyone who sent these comments in, either before or after they'd been advised that they had the right answers.
Some comments are shortened or mildly re-sequenced for readability. Compliments gratefully received, criticisms acknowledged.
There's a lot of wit and insight here ... the last comment sees to the very heart of the matter!

I realise that you are a proper English gentleman and don’t much care for the salty language, so I apologise ahead of time for calling you a diabolical motherfucker.

Every year it never fails to surprise me how original and enjoyable the quiz is, and this year is no exception.

The questions were not too difficult and some answers were very funny … the Fresh Fruit answer came to me very quickly as an intuition, I still don’t know how I did it!

A tremendous finale reminded me of those Russian dolls where you think you’ve reached the end and there’s another one waiting in line with another puzzle to be solved. Truly fiendish ... can’t wait for the next conundrum.

It’s a pity that annual things happen only once a year.

The individual daily questions and answers were pretty easy. The solution method was very clever – I commend whoever devised the methodology to create the two-level anagram. Especially impressed by the fact that the anagram was from four separate real words, not just a letter jumble. Good job.

The hints get better every year! (when ‘wordshuffler tramples info’ came up, I knew I was into something good). You are talented people.


 I knew I was in with a chance once I saw the letters of the anagram spelling out words rather than gobbledegook.

Thanks for all the work you put into the quiz; it took me into areas of the website that I rarely visit; something I need to put right.

Big fun: I was totally hooked. I have also now much better knowledge of many PH details than before Christmas. The final instructions – and final final instructions – were funny, sly and clever.

Great fun, my first try.

… encouraged me to listen to some of my less often played albums. Failed to use the visual clues to speed my final response.

Win or lose, the BtP Christmas puzzles are always so much fun to work on. I’m amazed at the methods you devise for us to decipher the final answers. Despite the fact that you say that this year’s puzzles were "simplified", I still feel a sense of accomplishment.

Your puzzle was a problematic experience but my interest in the band was bigger than the challenge

Certainly no easier than previous years, if not rather more challenging! It’s not every day one is asked to solve a 24 letter anagram! Thanks very much Roland for taking the time and trouble to set such an enjoyable, though fiendish, puzzle over the Christmas period.

As usual it was a concentrated effort using all the tools only to see that it was a piece of cake, and that piece was right there in plain sight, as in other years.

I suffered a lot trying to solve it, but the final part (the chorus) got me a little crazy, because not too many PH songs have a traditional pop song structure.

Glad it wasn’t as easy as you first suggested.


The quizzes were indeed easier to solve: to follow the final instruction and the actual final instruction at 1 am CET was the real challenge! Anyway, I had a lot of fun with the quizzes: I wonder how much time you invest to compile everything, must be many hours of brainwork!

‘Now if I’d known then what I know now’ - it probably wouldn’t have taken me 40 minutes to work out the final clue! Once again congratulations to those concerned in creating the logistics of the whole puzzle.

It certainly got the grey cells working. Long may it continue!

Had I known that ‘piece of piss’ actually means ‘piece of cake’, I would have won! Unfortunately I didn’t use Google search at 1 am!

I had to go through the quizzes twice to search first for the first letter (I had noted only the numbers of the right answers!) and then for the clue word. I haven't thought about noting the complete answers and I was angry since I believed that having to go through them all twice prevented me to be one of the three winners.

To find the anagram of Fresh Fruit I followed your suggestion and searched all the titles with an "f" ...

We have time zone GMT +2 hours, so it was 2 am when the last puzzle was published. My wife said I’m crazy when I set my phone alarm. Yes, apparently I am. It must have been much easier for Procoholics in USA or Australia, where it was still/already daytime.

Although I did ignore your admonition to "take your time," I can tell you it is very satisfying to find, after forty minutes of following the very simple final instructions, that the answer I had in my head after the eleventh day was correct.

Just to let you know that some non-competitors greatly enjoy your Christmas puzzles as well, just by reading the questions, perhaps surfing BtP a bit, trying to guess the final answer by means of semi-hidden clues, and by reading your comments on the right answers!

(I tried the capitals of your background icons ... Cake Angle Star … but gave up with Camel, as CASC was apparently leading nowhere … The ‘piece of cake’ riposte to the rhythm section was brilliant, of course!)

I’m so happy that you keep up the great tradition. Fun!

Thanks again for the pure enjoyment that are the Christmas Conundrums

There’s a dream in every home, and in mine a different vestal virgin brought a tray with a quiz every night for twelve nights. Now I wonder if I could meet one of the four remaining vestals to spend together the time that has to pass from here to the next edition of PH Christmas Conundrums...

Thank you, web-weavers, for another amazing, magical, maniacal, puzzle!

Our devious webmasters have once again brought Something Magic to our holiday season: a most frustrating, but enjoyable, entertainment. I’ve included three statements that support this assertion - choose the one that is most correct:

01 ‘Conundrums’ are actually a form of old English pastry buns made popular by The BBC’s ‘Great British Bake-off’

02 ‘Walpurgis Night’ was originally a mis-heard version of the phrase ‘warped-urges night’ - a night every January where Procol Harum fans get the urge to spread every album, cassette, and CD by the band in front of the computer to count letters and search for secret messages

03 Misdirection is a form of deception in which the attention of an audience is focused on one thing in order to distract its attention from another. Managing the audience’s attention is the aim of all theater, it is the foremost requirement of theatrical magic.

Later on I thought that it must have been possible (easier?) to solve the puzzle just by calculating which pair of the songs in a same album have altogether 24 letters in their names. Perhaps it is not so many of them.

2015 puzzle prizes | Solution coming soon | Triumphant Victors

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