In our example we showed, here, how one might approach a typical clue such as the one below.
Your clue refers to an early instrumental, played by Procol Harum in the winter of 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.
Now it's time to explain what many will have suspected, namely that the
answers to the clues are not the only information you're going to need in order to
solve the final puzzle.
You're also going to need to extract some information from the actual questions, by means of a straightforward gambit.
The questions are labelled with a number and a letter. Kudos to those who
have already suspected that the letter components add up to an anagram of the core
idea of the abovementioned gambit:
IN EACH QUESTION THE FIRST LETTER IS THE KEY.
Look again at the example clue above. Its first letter is 'Y' ... so we establish the 'question value' simply by counting the number of times 'y' occurs in the question. Of course it's easy to overlook the 'y' in 'by' or even in 'early' so the best way to achieve an accurate count is to engage the 'Find' function on your computer, and search mechanically for those 'y's.
There are six ... in the words 'Your', 'early', 'played', 'by', 'city' and 'years'. So the 'question value' in this case is 6.
We now apply the 'question value' to the clue's answer, which in this case was 'Repent Walpurgis'. First of all, remove all spaces from the track-title ...
Then count along to the letter position corresponding to the 'question value', which in this case is 6
Yet we're not looking just for that letter, but also the letter that comes after it ...
So this letter-pair, tw,
is the 'answer value' for this particular question.
Another example, even easier.
What is the name of the song Procol released in 2017 in which Gary Brooker sings the name a well-known English port that is also referred to in the title-track of the band's album released 44 years before?
The English port named in two songs 44 years apart is 'Dover' and the 2017
song is 'I Told on You'
Question value ... count up the instances of the opening letter ('w'): it occurs four times, in 'What', 'which', 'well' and 'known'.
Apply the question-value (4) to the clue-answer (first stripping out the spaces and punctuation, if any):
So this letter-pair, ld, is the 'answer value.' Simple, again.
One last example, for clarity
Find a song by Matthew Fisher of which part of the title also features in the name of a play by RC Sherriff from 1928.
The Sherriff play is Journey's End and the Fisher song is 'Journey's
End Part I' ('Journey's End Part II' is not strictly a song, but an
Question value ... count up the instances of the opening letter ('f'): it occurs nine times, in 'Find', 'Fisher', 'of', 'of', 'features', 'of', 'Sherriff' and 'from' [note that we're counting the number of 'f's, not the number of words featuring 'f', nor the number of different words featuring 'f'].
Apply the question-value (9) to the clue-answer (first stripping out the spaces and punctuation, if any):
So this letter-pair, en, is the 'answer value.'
Simple, without a doubt.
And – in the real competition of course – such letter-pairs, such 'answer values', will play a part in finding the final, short answer that you'll be sending to 'Beyond the Pale' on 5 January.
Exactly how, a future bulletin will explain.
How to play | The solution | Winners | First question