Procol Harum

the Pale

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Christmas Quizzes 2018–2019

'I was trying' ... 'hard to win' • Competitors' Comments

Please enjoy this genial, witty feedback from a number of thoughtful competitors ... lightly chopped up / churned out for enhanced readability

Thanks for my juicy portion of happiness you add since long time ago to my Christmas time ...

No witty words of feedback as you'd expect. Just a word of thanks. My mind is duly boggled by the amount of work and ingenuity it must take for you to come up with a new puzzle every every year. 

You sneaky bastard(s)! I knew 'a word hint' meant something. I latched on to it early on but didn't try hard enough to solve it as an anagram. I finally found an anagram site online where you could specify 'make it three words' (or other options), but that didn't yield the answer. I should've sat me down and tried rearranging the anagram manually.

My first time attempting a BtP puzzle, it was not only excruciatingly frustrating (at times) but so enjoyable to ramble around in the PH playrooms and gather/revisit information that only reinforces my long-lasting (since ’67) love affair with this mighty band.

Sad to say that although I had an inkling that ‘a word hint’ and the changing clock face were significant clues, and tried to use both to solve the puzzle, I failed miserably.

In the night of 5 January I realised that it was not at all a good idea to try to solve the Final Procedure of the BtP Conundrum AND to watch an interesting ice hockey match on TV at the same time. I should have remembered to exclude the outside world to be able to solve the puzzle quickly enough, “against the clock”. Luckily in the end the results in both –puzzle and ice hockey – were reasonable.

Thanks for another terrific quiz with plenty of red herrings. 

There is always something to learn, not only about Procol Harum, but also about our computer having a Find function! That was new to me and already turned out to be helpful in a different matter

Well...the lesson lies in learning, thanks for enlightening me about the 'find' feature [on my computer]. I never realised how useful it is.

Such innovation deserves a poem:

Pairs of letters, pair of blunders
Almost tore it all asunder.
But with corrections just in time
I ended up with sense and rhyme.


Once again, the BtP quiz proved a splendid diversion from the general festivities and as usual, provided a nerve wracking final night.

'Hard to win' is the right description of this 2018/2019 Christmas puzzle. It is not so much the puzzles that make it hard, but the procedure to arrive finally at an answer. It is a bit of a fixed match. You think you are solving a difficult puzzle when all the time the quizmasters send you in the direction they want to get to the right solution. It is a bit David and Goliath, and it turns out that Goliath is the clever one and gets the result he wants.

Very happy to hear that I made it into the hat! I got stuck, so I had no chance against the clock; However, winning is not so important, as I always get much joy from playing, no matter the length. Thank you for doing a great job time and again!

Thanks for the amazing puzzle. I had a lot of fun solving it – like all years before.

Unusual competition this year. Found the finding of the tracks the easy bit for the most part, until the very last night when for some unfathomable reason it took me twenty minutes to twig Teatime (needed a late night cuppa, maybe?). The puzzling method was possibly more straightforward than usual and brought about some backward proofreading looking for specific letters.

Revealing some of the solving methods ahead of time made the midnight rush a little more reasonable and I used my own word logic to find a solution and did not resort to the clock jigsaw method. I arrived at an answer and await 'the reveal' with some optimism. Thanks again for the puzzles, but more for the whole year's news and views. Happy Hogmanay greetings from Bonnie Scotland.

Thank you (and your team of elves) for another tremendous conundrum.

My phone alarmed at 1:57am, 11:57pm UK time. Like a déjà vu from previous years my wife, still half-asleep, groaned “Oh no”, and for a second or two she got me wondering if I’m silly. Then I got off the bed I switched on my laptop …

Every time you say it is not going to be hard, it sure is! It was sheer torture to solve the puzzles but there is a Christmas quiz addict in me!

Thankfully, I had eleven of the twelve double-letter answers which was sufficient to suggest that 'king' and 'world' would lead me to the answer. A quick entry in the site search resource directed me straight to it.

I enjoyed it. Resources link was useful. Still haven’t worked out the answer to Question 6 

Thank you so much for running such a fun quiz. I can hardly wait until next year's edition. A lot of quizzes/competitions are too simple or, if they are difficult, far too hard. But a Procol quiz is never so difficult that it stops being enjoyable.

Once again I noticed that the capability to read and write without making mistakes is essential. One stupid spelling mistake of my own made my life much harder when I tried to figure out the mysterious line in question.

Had a great time, got up at 5 am New York time and it took an hour and a half to get it

I like the Christmas puzzles but only enter them now and then. To me it assures that my mind is still working and that I still remember all those fabulous Keith Reid lyrics. You get that way when you reach that part of your life that makes you an OAP. And always been a fan from the first time I heard the first note, when it was the first time on air, of A Whiter Shade of Pale. Again, I enjoyed it. Oh yes, and with the clock suggestion for finding the answer I relived my kindergarten days! Only shame is that the instalments are always published in the middle of the night, so I will never be part of the first-three-in club, because I enjoy my bed too much at that time.

I am pleased for the lucky winners and look forward to the next Christmas quiz which I am sure will be equally exciting!

I appreciate the tremendous amount of work that has to be put in to put together the puzzles each year.

Trying to solve these puzzles is more like attempting to complete the 12 Labours of Hercules. It gets harder each year and the latest set took the biscuit! It is truly 'unique entertainment' and very much appreciated. Many thanks!

The puzzles are really lots of fun … and it is fine that the name remained in the Homburg! I will admit I told [my wife] that it took a 'diabolical mind' to build the puzzle, but that aside, it was an excellent challenge!

My answer, 'hard to win', is a statement of fact. It just didn't click for me this year but the idea of solving this conundrum in the manner presented strains credulity. There are, after all, only 288 hours in the twelve days of Procol puzzles. On the other hand, thanks again for another year of great fun, a wonderful way to start the new year.

This twisted puzzle would have given me some more grey hair, if it already wasn’t all grey. And what else that can be than an outcome of desperate efforts to solve the puzzles in past years.

Back to the how-to-play page for the 2018 'Beyond the Pale' Christmas puzzles | The fab prizes | How to play | Resources and links | Solutions

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