Procol Harum

the Pale

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Christmas Conundrums 2011

 Schedule of Triumphant Victors


Pat Keating, from the USA, was first in with the correct answer, just six minutes after midnight. He wins his first-choice prize. His order of preference was A d h b f e g c

A decorative banner, originating at the merchandise booth that travelled around the Danish orchestral concerts that Procol Harum played in January 2011. Measuring about 2 x 1 metres, and made from a kind of strong, woven vinyl, it has been specially signed by the band for ‘Beyond the Pale’ – Gary Brooker, Josh Phillips, Geoff Whitehorn, Matt Pegg, Geoff Dunn – and the image, which derives like all the graphics for the Danish tour from Spencer Zahn’s Grand Hotel artwork, has been adapted by the musicians so that the face is grinning and there is a ‘2/6’ price-tag – reminiscent of that worn by the Mad Hatter in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland – protruding from the top-hat.


Mark Allister, from the UK, wins his second choice: his response came in two minutes later. His order of preference was a B h d c f e g

A delightful small chunky metal Procol Harum lapel badge, of the very popular ‘lifebelt’ A Salty Dog design originally commissioned by Kellogs. All supplies were thought to have been exhausted long ago, but this spanking new specimen – recently found in a drawer in his own studio – was kindly donated by Gary Brooker.


Marvin Chassman, from the USA, wins his first choice. His response came in mere seconds after Mark's. His order of preference was
H e a b d c g f

A Procol Harum tee-shirt, featuring the ‘Weird Fish’ cartoon image of the band, kindly donated by Chris Cooke


 Barbara Black, from France, wins her first choice. Her order of preference was C e g a h b d f

A Gary Brooker solo CD re-release, Lead Me to the Water, kindly donated by Esoteric Records.


 John Commons, from the UK, wins his second choice. His order of preference was c G e h a d b f

An Italian CD entitled Songs from the Procol Harum Song Book, by Antonio Zambrini, Andrea di Biase, and Jon Scott – total timing 48.40 – kindly donated by Stefano Ciccioriccio


Kerry Canfield, from the USA, wins his fourth choice. His order of preference was b h a F e d c g

A Procol Harum ‘vuvuzela’, the recreational instrument issued to each member of the audience to promote participation in Procol’s orchestral concerts in Denmark, January 2011. Fashioned from cardboard and plastic, it is decorated with images of the band, and uses a single reed to produce one comically-strident note when blown.


Heidi Widmer, from Switzerland, wins her third choice. Her order of preference was a b D c h g e f

An oval, self-adhesive vinyl promotional sticker from 1974 (about 14 x 7 cm), advertising the Exotic Birds and Fruit album and Procol Harum, ‘The best that Britain produces’. Designed in imitation of a fruiterer’s affidavit, it depicts a brightly-coloured parrot, squawking ‘Be sure of the label’; other wording assures us that ‘The guarantee is in the flavour and sweetness’. This ultra-rare item was kindly donated by Gary Brooker, and will look über-stylish stuck on your guitar-case / laptop / forehead.


Tormod Ringvold, from Norway, wins his third choice. His order of preference was d b E a f c h g

CD Mick Grabham's Guitar Orchestra kindly donated by Angel Air records.

Some comments from competitors – not all of whom got the answer right!: 'Interestingly enough, the more I worked at the intermediate solutions, I found that it was actually harder to come up with an incorrect final answer than it was the correct one'. 'Ha! Of course! The answer is so obvious! (but boy, you made me work for it!)' 'Great fun as always and I learned a lot!'. 'Thanks, as always, for all the effort and thought you put into this festive conundrum. For me it has become a most eagerly anticipated “new” Christmas tradition.' 'As always, it was a challenging quiz and thoroughly enjoyable'; 'The Christmas quizzes are such a nice tradition – this one was particularly tricky though!' 'I had a lot of fun trying to solve the statements, and no.4 brought back some memories.' 'I was very surprised – and initially let down – that the answer was ‘42’.  I know I should be better at spotting the obvious “giveaways” during the competition' 'I never “guessed” or “surmised” the answer would be ‘42’ – even though I should have, in retrospect.' 'Half the fun is jumping through your hoops: using the same answer as the last one was truly diabolical !  As soon as I saw the wallpaper behind the first clue, I thought, “42 again?  No they wouldn’t ...”'. 

Of the eight winners whose names are listed above, three win their first choice, two their second, two their third, and one his fourth.

If those contestants will now send their 'real world' addresses (please don't rely on the supposition that we have kept them from last time you won)  we shall set about posting the spoils out to them.

Thanks to everybody who took part, and commiserations to those whose correct answers did not earn them a prize on this occasion, because of the vagaries of the BtP Homburg. Thanks also, of course, to the donors whose generosity allows us to present such delectable prizes.

For the record, the most-coveted prize was the signed banner, followed by close rivals in the metal badge, the promo sticker and the Weird Fish tee-shirt; the last four choices overall were closely grouped in the following order: Grabham CD, Brooker CD, Zambrini CD and Procol vuvuzela.

Congratulations to Marvin Chassman, in the USA, whose bewildering run of skill and luck continues ... he's been a winner every year since we started running Yuletide puzzles in 1997!

And finally, many thanks to this year's Glamorous Assistant, shown (right) on the job (thanks, Hans T)

How to play | The solution

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