In characteristic Scandinavian fashion 'Beyond
the Pale' – whose home is in Norway – will mark Christmas by running
yet another twelve days'-worth of little Procol Harum quizzes. In
1997 it was
it was clues about the songs, in
the questions were based on the Procolesque obsession with The
it was a treasure-hunt in the pages of BtP; in
emphasis was on 'lucky thirteen'; in
we looked at all the Procol albums so far; in
the amazing Procol journeys of Hans Teutiger provided our theme; in
guest Paler John Annable from Melbourne took us on a cryptic tour of
the Keith Reid songbook, and he supplied
anagrammatic conundrums as well; in
it was an album-oriented puzzle; in
it was all about cover-versions; in
we toyed with the alphabetical ingredients of song-titles; in
the theme was sound-clips from the excellent Salvo Reissue series
2010 we were back with Keith Reid's words; whereas in 2011 the
Truth. In 2012 we focused on the
happenings and announcements of the year, and
for 2013 and for 2014
it was a miscellany, and in 2015
we returned to the time-honoured matter of the albums themselves.
So what have we in store for you in 2016?
Each day, starting 25 December on our What's New page, there will be a link to a simple question with its own instructions. It will invite you to undertake a WordSearch, and keep a thoughtful record of your findings as explained below. The last question in this series will be dated 5 January 2017
First, some navigation hints. You’re looking (right) at a grid of nine crosses by nine.
We’re going to define any point by the so-called CAT/DOG method.
CAT (in this context) means ‘Count Along Top’; DOG is ‘Distance Over Ground’.
In this example, find [5,3].
To do this you Count Along Top to the 5th column, and in that column you count 3 crosses up from the bottom (your Distance Over Ground is 3).
And you find that the particular cross has been replaced by the letter ‘S’.
So that’s how we define the position of any cross, using its CAT/DOG coordinates.
Now, how to define the location not of a single cross but of a whole word?
It’s pretty easy ...
Just add an airt (non-Scots might use the less compact term ‘compass-point’) after the CAT/DOG reference.
The airts you’ll need are North (N), South (S), East (E), West (W), North-East (NE), South-East (SE), South-West (SW) and North-West (NW). Use them to indicate the direction in which the word you have found travels..So in the second diagram (right) if we look at [5,3,NW] we find the word ‘START’. In addition, at [1,8,S] is the word ‘STOP’ (notice how a letter may be part of more than one word).
And at [9,5,W] you find ‘HANDCLASP’, as when you shake someone by the paw to say, ‘Yes, thanks, I’ve got the hang of this now.’
So now for a proper example of what Procol fans will be contemplating during Christmas, in all corners of the world:
To the right, a fully-filled nine-by-nine grid. Its challenge, to find the interrelated words. Bear in mind that they could read upwards, downwards, left, right, or slantiwise ... but they'll always be in a straight line ... no kinks.
To make this a LOT easier we’ll vouchsafe that the words are all heard in one Procol Harum song.
Contemplating the grid, letting the eye rove on all eight airts, you immediately notice such words as ARK, ANGER, RAVE, PAPS, LITHE and TON. But how useful is this? If the Procols do have a song containing all those words, it’s one they haven’t yet chosen to air outside the confines of the rehearsal dungeon.
Look again, though, and you may note that these are fragments of longer words (DARKNESS, STRANGER, GRAVEYARD, NEWSPAPER, SLITHERED and TOMBSTONE) which do recognisably come from The Dead Man’s Dream, a song on Procol’s finest album to date, HOME.
If you spot a word in the grid, but can't think what song it belongs to, type it in to this Google search field
Still, you may feel a bit at sea. And here at ‘Beyond the Pale’ we don’t want you feeling kinda seasick. So each WordSearch puzzle is furnished with additional clues, such as:
Today you’re looking for TEN words, and their letter-lengths are 5, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9. (This means there's one word that's five letters long, one with seven letters, two with eight, and six with nine letters.)
Knowing the lengths of the hidden words in question makes everything much easier, and you now approach your task with fortitude and pluck, speedily finding everything you're looking for.
But what if you find other words – such as WORM – that don’t feature in the song implied by the other answers? Well, common sense says, make a note of them … in case they come in handy later on, you'll know where to find them.
Common sense also suggests you might find it worthwhile to keep a note of the locations [CAT, DOG, airt] of each relevant song-word in case you need to check anything on the final evening, when you’ve solved twelve puzzles similar to this example, and when you have the famous Thirteenth Question to answer, which might involve glancing back over previous working.
Seasoned contenders will know to watch for patterns and anomalies and so on, so as to be primed for the final evening’s entertainment.
They’ll also be on the lookout for clues and
misdirections in the daily wording and, indeed, in these very
So, on the
right you'll see
the solution to the puzzle above, laid bare to show the target words, their [CAT DOG airt] locations,
and the kind of notes a sensible contender might append to her or his
daily workings ... song title, the album, any anomalies ... you
know the kind of thing. Right-clicking each puzzle graphic and printing
it out might not be a bad idea.
That example (right) uses only two airts, East and West. Yet when the real puzzles start, watch out for North, South and the slanty hybrid airts (NE, SE, SW and NW) as well, as shewn in the additional example (below):
Fires (Which Burnt Brightly)
Note that these solutions contain crosses that aren't in the puzzles themselves. These are just to show the locations (in the puzzles themselves) of letters not used in the song-words that you set out to detect.
The puzzles start on 25 December and run for twelve nights, the last
question being posted as close as we can to Midnight GMT on the
night in question. At that point, follow the link to the simple,
final instruction advising you how to 'process' your findings.
You'll be using them to discover a brief answer – just five words, in fact – which you'll then send to ‘Beyond
Anyone can play, and join in at any time, if you have a pencil and an internet connection!
Special note: we really do advise you to read the instructions pretty
carefully and not jump to any conclusions.
As soon as you have figured out the final answer, send
your five-word entry by e-mail to BtP as speedily as possible. The address
will be given.
If you're in the quickest three correct entrants (on a beat-the-clock basis, following the midnight GMT posting of the final question) you stand a very good chance of getting your prime choice of the prizes.
After that, all correct entries received in the next 48 hours will be placed in an Homburg hat, and the remaining winners will be drawn from that by a suitably Glamorous Assistant (subject to availability).
You'll also need to look at our fab prizes and decide which one you most favour ... you'll need to let us know the full order of all eight, thus: "The brief answer is [x x x x x] and my prize preferences are AGBHCDEF".
Over the past years we've had one or two non-winners who claimed, 'You guys tricked me …' so here's fair warning … just read the final instruction – indeed, all the wording of all the questions, and all the instructions – carefully.
In the unlikely event of there being fewer winners than prizes this year, early claimants will get more than their fair share! Prizes will of course be awarded at the absolute discretion of Roland and Jens, who run 'Beyond the Pale', and whose decision will be final; their families are not eligible to enter.
| Competitors' comments, good and bad | Back to the What's New page, where the puzzles will be announced daily