Procol Harum

the Pale

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Christmas Quizzes 2020–2021

How to play • How to win • Helpful hints

Game now over!

In characteristic Scandinavian fashion 'Beyond the Pale' – whose home is in Norway – marks Christmas by running twelve days'-worth of little Procol Harum quizzes. The 2020 puzzles start on 25 December; the last question in the series will be dated 5 January 2021 and will be posted as close as we can to Midnight GMT on the night in question ... that is, it will appear to you in the first few moments of 5 January. At that point, once you've cracked the twelfth puzzle, there will be a link to the simple, final instructions which advise you how to 'process' your findings. You'll be using them to discover a very brief and tiny answer – which is all you need to send to ‘Beyond the Pale’.

You can join in at any time, if you have a pencil, paper and an internet connection.

The target of this year's game is to discover one particular word that you've heard Gary Brooker sing on record. But on the way to that target we'll pose you three Procol-oriented questions each day. Some you'll answer in a flash, some will require you to explore 'Beyond the Pale' a bit. Part of the fun of this is reading all sorts of articles you have perhaps overlooked ... and almost everyone comes out knowing more trivia and illuminating details than they knew when they went in!

Some resources you'll find useful

Most players will click on several of these each day as they tackle the questions.

Song words Procol Harum song list Brooker solo recordings UK chart positions
List of Procol Personnel List of Procol Harum albums Search Procol songwords Roland's CD liner notes

And the most indispensible of all is undoubtedly the Google any page at BtP link. With 36 questions to complete, you'll probably use this link 72 times!

Sample question, with working, and answer ...

Q 37:  Born in London's Savoy hotel, this composer may be held responsible for one instrumental on a Gary Brooker solo album, and lies buried about 8 miles from where it was recorded.
Now even the most diligent Procol scholar probably doesn't know the answer to that ... but would definitely be interested to find out.

Here's how to do it. Don't panic, just break the puzzle down into simple stages and get help online with each one.
• Click on Brooker solo recordings, and scroll down the page looking at all the song words. Sooner or later you come to an index-box which notes three titles – on the album called Within Our House – that are instrumentals. Make a note of the composers: Henry VIII, Warlock, McIntosh.

• Common sense suggests that Henry VIII was not born in the Savoy Hotel; so now you will probably turn to regular Google and type in 'Warlock composer Savoy' or 'McIntosh composer Savoy'. Up comes a Wikipedia article, and Warlock is quickly revealed as the winner.

• Now to find out where Warlock was buried ... read the Wikipedia article that Google took you to, and you learn that he was laid to rest at Godalming. Is that eight miles from where the Brooker album was recorded?

• Now you'll want to use the most powerful research link of all, Google any page at BtP.

• Click the link, and don't delete the preset wording that comes up. Start your specific search with a space.

• Something like [space] Within Our House location. Google swiftly brings up a 'Beyond the Pale' page which you then read until you find 'location' ... and in that sentence there's a clickable link that brings up the exact recording spot.

• Now use regular Google Maps to check how far that is from the cemetery in Godalming ... and (hey presto!) the answer is under 8 miles.

• So you can be absolutely certain of the answer, and on your notepad you write the date and number of the question alongside 'Warlock' ... for future reference.

NOTE: this sample question is a fair bit harder than the average question ... and that's so we can demonstrate how winning players will use the recommended research tools.


Helpful hints

• Don't jump too quickly to conclusions . What looks EASY might be misleading ... the compilers of these questions are known for the occasional morsel of misdirection. .

• If the answer is a person, give forename + family name unless instructed otherwise.

• In general opt for the most usual style of naming: Dave, Pete, Chris, Geoff; Mr Pegg is 'Matt', Mr Fisher is 'Matthew' etc etc. Bobby Harrison is not 'Robert' for present purposes.

• The 36 answers are all different.

• If you're stuck, or otherwise floundering, just type one or two key words from the question into Google any page at BtP, and see what comes up.

• Remember that this quiz has been explicitly designed to be do-able.

• Pay attention to detail ... read the questions carefully, and a couple of times at least.

• No guesswork is required at all. It's all there to be sought.

• Obviously don't share your findings online, or comment on the questions in Social Media forums or fora. It's competitive! You won't win if you tell others what you're thinking.

• Each evening, make a careful note of the date, and the numbers of the questions and your answers.

• People who choose not to keep notes as the puzzle progresses will be at a disadvantage at the end.

• Best to play on your PC or laptop ... you could get eyestrain if you attempt it on a mobile phone.

• The winning players are people who are willing to read webpages about Procol Harum, and to explore 'Beyond the Pale' by following blue underlined links in the text or at the foot of most pages.

At the end

• On the final night there will be a straightforward thirteenth clue, which will greatly assist you in finding the word that could win the prize, and will tell you how to convey your findings to the 'Beyond the Pale' team. And how to make yourself eligible for a Procol prize!

• When you send in your answer, be sure to include your prize choices – "my prize preferences are JAILEDCOURTS, or CLOUDIESTJAR, or whatever".

• List the key letter associated with the prize you most favour, follow it with your second choice, and so on until the last letter, representing the item you covet least avidly.

• Take care to send all twelve letters ... without the full dozen, we can't count you as a potential winner.


• We shall allot the first three prizes on a beat-the-clock basis, where the earliest correct response earns its first choice of prize and so on; after that all subsequent correct entries received in the next 48 hours will be placed in a freshly-sanitised BtP Homburg and the remaining prize-winners will be drawn by a suitably Glamorous Assistant, Covid permitting.

• In the somewhat unlikely event of there being fewer than a dozen winners, the first people to submit correct answers will get more than their fair share of the prizes!

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.

History of the Christmas Puzzles at 'Beyond the Pale':
In 1997 it was anagrams, in 1998 it was clues about the songs, in 1999 the questions were based on the Procolesque obsession with The Truth; in 2000 it was a treasure-hunt in the pages of BtP; in 2001 the emphasis was on 'lucky thirteen'; in 2002 we looked at all the Procol albums so far; in 2003 the amazing Procol journeys of Hans Teutiger provided our theme; in 2004 guest Paler John Annable from Melbourne took us on a cryptic tour of the Keith Reid songbook, and he supplied 2005's anagrammatic conundrums as well; in 2006 it was an album-oriented puzzle; in 2007 it was all about cover-versions; in 2008 we toyed with the alphabetical ingredients of song-titles; in 2009 the theme was sound-clips from the excellent Salvo Reissue series and in 2010 we were back with Keith Reid's words; whereas in 2011 the theme was The Truth. In 2012 we focused on the happenings and announcements of the year, and for 2013 and for 2014 it was a miscellany. In 2015 we returned to the time-honoured matter of the albums themselves; 2016 saw our first Procol Wordsearch; 2017 commemorated the band's fiftieth year, while 2018 was fun with song-titles and 2019 was preoccupied with places.

The fab prizes | The solutions | The first puzzle | Competitors' feedback |

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