This year's puzzle is all about song-titles and
consequently somewhat simpler than we've had in recent years
Each day there will be three questions, and you'll aim to collect three answers daily ... the names of songs recorded either by Procol Harum or (in a few cases) by present or former Procol members in a solo setting. All the answers are different.
Each day you'll make a note of the three song-titles and, as usual, there will be a 'conversion-procedure' to follow – using all 36 titles – that will yield or produce one short answer (not, itself, a song-title) for you to send to 'Beyond the Pale' to win your choice of prize.
TO make life a lot easier we're not leaving the 'conversion-procedure' until the last day, but we're going to drip-feed it to you over the last few days so you can figure it out by stages.
Hint: it's all about song-titles, so to be sure you write down the full title of any song in question (is it 'Dead Man's Dream' or 'The Dead Man's Dream', for example?). For guidance on this matter, refer to this page for the Procol Harum song-titles. The form of words on that page is what we're using in the competition.
Also please note: this quiz is written in English, and the seasons and placenames it contains are spelt and interpreted according to British custom. Thus if we refer to a gig in Winter, you're looking for the cold months of December, January and so on [even though things are different in Australia, for example]. Likewise if we refer to the capital of Poland, it will be 'Warsaw' [even though we acknowledge that the Polish name for that fair city is spelt 'Warszawa'].
Some of the questions are simple, and need very little explanation.
Others are built around two little bits of research you'll need to do, and a few moments of reasoning.
Now an example ...
clue refers to an early instrumental, played by Procol Harum in the
2001 in a European
capital city the last three letters of whose name are also the first
three letters of a Brooker/Fisher/Reid song on a Brooker solo album from
16 years before.
So how would you find the answer?
It looks a bit complicated at first, so you'll want to break it down into manageable sections. 'Beyond the Pale' has plenty of resources to help you, and there are links to them from every puzzle page. You'll find a handy index here .
Find an easy place to start. It won't necessarily be at the beginning of the
question. Look out for a word hint – picked out in large, bold
lettering – which will help you to get started. Here, for instance, it directs
you to a date. Note
that the question mentions 2001 explicitly, and a Brooker solo album from
sixteen years before that. 16 from 2001 gives you 1985. You click
here and find the List of albums by Procol Harum, and also by
former members, scroll down the page to the 'Gary Brooker' section, click on
GB's name. The page you reach (here)
doesn't include any dates ... so you click on the solo albums in turn until you
find that Echoes in the Night came out in 1985. Good ... you've set your
foot upon the correct road!
Now back to the clue ... you're looking for a capital city whose name ends with the three letters that start one of Gary's song-titles. The songs themselves are listed here and you'll quickly see that their titles start with 'Cou', 'Two', 'Ech', 'Gho', 'MrB', 'Saw', 'The', 'Hea', 'Mis' and 'Tri'. You can limit that list by checking the composers who are mentioned in the clue: three of the songs are not by Brooker/Fisher/Reid. So the list dwindles to 'Two', 'Ech', 'Gho', 'Saw', 'The', 'Hea' and 'Tri'.
Some of these can be discounted on a common-sense basis; but you
needn't rely on
that: you can Google for a list of European capitals – for instance
this one – and you
will quickly spot 'Warsaw', capital of Poland.
Now back to the clue again. Did Procol play Warsaw in the winter of 2001? Again, visit the resources page, where you'll find an index to the band's gigs. Click on that, scroll down to 2001, and click there ... now you reach the 2001 index where it's confirmed that they did indeed play Warsaw ... and it was in Winter.
Now back to the clue again again. It refers to an instrumental, and you
may not know which of the songs that they played had no words. But you can Google for songwords
(how to do this is explained on the Resources page). Type (for instance)
'Walpurgis' into Google and you'll be taken here
... click on 'Repent Walpurgis' and up comes the info that 'this song has no
words' ... so the answer to the whole clue is 'Repent Walpurgis' ...
and that's what you write down on your piece of paper.
Of course it seems pretty laborious when it's all written out, and many PH fans will have most of the above material in their memories. But the deliberately roundabout nature of the clue is intended to take readers to different parts of 'Beyond the Pale', to remind them of people, places and pieces they may have forgotten, and generally to produce the same kind of pleasure one gets from a crossword, or Sudoku etc.
And the purpose of this example is to demonstrate that you might need several steps to solve a clue, but it's not going to be hard if you use the given resources, carefully read the question, note the 'word hint' and keep (as always) a clear eye and a steady head. Once again, you don't need to start from the beginning of the clue: always look for the easiest bit and work from there. There may, of course, be occasional booby-traps in the wording ... traps it is easy to avoid if you read all the text, don't skip anything, and don't do any guessing. It's all there to be sought.
So ... good luck with The Real Thing. The first three clues will go up at our What's New page on Christmas Day, 25 December 2018 ... and there will, as ever, be more ... daily, right through to 5 January.
Now have another look at the prizes!
The solution | Winners | First question | Competitors' feedback