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the Pale

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Christmas Quiz 2014/15

The Solutions

One of Procol Harum’s albums has a run of three consecutive songs whose titles contain words that end in '-ly'. (list of titles here)

Your letter of the day is the least common (or less common) initial letter in the words of the title of the song that follows that trio of songs in the original track runng-order


The three consecutive '-ly' songs are Quite Rightly So, Shine on Brightly, and Skip Softly (My Moonbeams). The next song in the running order is Wish me Well. The least common initial in those three words is 'M'



What instrument plays the prominent, melodic solo in the 1975 hit single recording of Pandora's Box? Is it

A flute
B chrotta
C Hammond organ ?

Your letter of the day is the initial of the correct instrument


'F' is for Flute


Think of a pair of well-known Procol Harum songs with two-word titles, such that the first word in the title of Song A ends with the same pair of letters as the first word in the title of Song B – and also, the second word in the title of Song A ends with the same pair of letters as the second word in the title of Song B.

Example: if there were Procol songs entitled Wet Honeymoon and Bayonet Poison, they would qualify for this question, inasmuch as the first word of each title ends with 'et' and the second with 'on'.

However those aren't the titles of proper songs, let alone proper Procol Harum ones. The ones you're looking for are well-known, canonical items (list of titles here): one song contains the words ‘burning’ and ‘brighter’, the other contains the words ‘bones’ and ‘burst’.

Anyway ... consider these three statements about the two songs whose titles are referred to in the first paragraph above. :

A There are nineteen different letters in the combined titles of the songs
When you write down the two song titles, just six of the letters you use occur once only
The two song-titles share a total of four letters altogether

Your letter of the day is either A or B or C – select the one that corresponds to the true statement


The songs that contain the words quoted are Holding On and Rambling On. In both, the first word ends with 'ng' and the second with 'on'.

The letters that occur only once when you write both song names are
A, B, D, H, M, R: so it's Statement 'B' that is the correct one
Shared forenames in Procol Harum:

Matthew Pegg / Matthew Fisher … Geoff Whitehorn / Geoff Dunn … but can you think of two people who have taken the stage with Procol Harum – not necessarily at the same time – who share a forename and play the same instrument?

Your letter of the day is the first letter of the first name of both of those gentlemen

Some thinking-out-loud on Facebook hinted – incorrectly – that there were two identical answers to this question. In fact there are four.

Dave Ball and Dave Colquhoun, guitar
Dave Bronze and Dave/David Knights (bass)
David ('Dee') Murray and Dave Bronze (bass)
David ('Dee') Murray and Dave/David Knights (bass)

Whichever pair you choose, you’re looking at a



Here at BtP we keep playing the longest suite that Procol Harum ever committed to vinyl. Or is it the second-longest? It's not always useful to be too specific, and nobody likes a pedant.

Anyway, for your guidance, its title consists of five monosyllables, and at least one of these three record albums doesn’t feature a version of it.

A Shine on Brightly
B Live at Edmonton
C Something Magic

Your letter of the day is the first letter of the last word of the title of the suite we have in mind. Or, equally, the first letter of the first word. Or of the penultimate word.  It's not always useful to be too specific, and nobody likes a pedant.

PS. A pedant writes, 'It's also the last letter of the final word of the title of the suite you have in mind.' Oh, yes, so it is, thanks for the clarifying. Trust a pedant to have the last word


The Edmonton version of In Held 'Twas in I is extremely close in length to the album version of The Worm and the Tree. In both suites the first and last words of the title, and the penultimate word, start with the same letter (I and T respectively). But In Held 'Twas in I  is the one whose last word starts and ends with the same letter. So 'I' is your answer


Undoubtedly the easiest question of this season. Listen again to the two mp3s, A and B,  associated with the downloadable Procol Harum SatNav ('GPS') system that was heavily featured at 'Beyond the Pale' in the spring.


As you listen, familiarise yourself with the voices of the participants Gary Brooker, Geoff Dunn, Matt Pegg, Josh Phillips and Geoff Whitehorn.

Decide for yourself which of the two clips is more persuasive, and your letter of the day is the middle initial of the last man to speak on it


Since both clips end with the voice of Geoffrey Edwin Dunn, it doesn't matter which of the clips you think is more persuasive: your letter is 'E'.

Delightful to see the spike in requests for downloading this product, during the run of the puzzles!


Here’s a list of adjectival (or descriptive) expressions that all occur in one Procol Harum song (list of titles here, index to song-words here)

A Breast-fed
B Emperor
C Mighty
D Milk-fed
E Wet-nursed

In the context of the song, one of these expressions is the odd-one-out.

Your letter of the day is the letter that comes, in the ordinary English alphabet, immediately before the initial letter of the odd-one-out expression


The first four expressions are followed by 'Baby Dumpling', but 'wet-nursed' is not.

'W' is the initial of 'Wet-nursed', so your letter of the day is the one that directly precedes it in the alphabet, namely 'V'


Like all Procol fans, the BtP team were thrown into bewildered confusion on discovering that one of the band’s albums, which we first had on CD, contains a song – we recently heard it performed in London – with two conflicting titles: the name the song given on the back of the jewel-case artwork is three letters shorter than the name it is given inside the lyric booklet.

Your letter of the day is the first initial of the first word in the shorter of these two titles


Wall Street Blues is the name given to the ninth track on the back of the Well's on Fire; the lyric-booklet, however, calls it The Wall Street Blues. The first word in the shorter title is 'Wall', so your letter of the day is 'W'


Early in the morning of Procol Harum's gig at Freising in 2014, Gary Brooker greeted a member of the BtP team, in the hotel car-park, with the salutation 'Happy - - -  - - - - -  Day'.

Your letter of the day is the initial of the first of those missing words (3, 5)

A little clue: what he said included the name of a British public holiday that was formally abolished in 1859, but whose day and month he has good reason to know.

And – if needed – a strong clue: visual assistance and useful associated links on this page

Another tiny clue:  the same graphic might serve in connection with Isaac Albéniz, Mel B, Michael Berkeley, Danny Elfman, Melissa Etheridge, Noel Gallagher, Bob Hope, La Toya Jackson,, JFK, Erich Korngold, Joey Levine, Nanette Newman, Francis Rossi, Irmin Schmidt, or Iannis Xenakis if they knew anything about the history of English monarchy


Gary Brooker's birthday, 29 May, was formerly known as Oak Apple day: the letter of the day is therefore 'O'.

Film clips linked from the foot of the
page of clues showed the shape of an oak leaf and the shape of an apple for those unversed in botany.

A moment's Googling was sufficient to establish that 'Oak Apple' was part of a former public holiday in the UK


This question concerns the locations of ten Procol Harum concerts which we've divided into the following five 'gig-couples'

Gig-couple A, 20 March 2003 and 27 May 2006
Gig-couple B, 12 June 1993 and 7 October 2013
Gig-couple C, 7 December 2002 and 15 March 2005
Gig-couple D, 19 August 2012 and 1 March 1968
Gig-couple E, 24 November 2003 and 18 June 2005

Where did they take place? Since BtP contains setlists for all these gigs, all you need to do is type the date + 'setlist' + into Google, and you'll know exactly – it'll be the word or words before 'setlist' in the red subhead near the top of each page.

For each date, copy down the place name where the gig was held and divide it into pairs of neighbouring letters or 'letter-pairs': for instance, 'Bristol' would yield the following six letter-pairs: 'br', 'ri', 'is', 'st', 'to' and 'ol'. On the other hand 'Kristiansand' would give you 'kr' 'ri' 'is' 'st' 'ti' 'ia' 'an' 'ns' 'sa' 'an' 'nd'.

For each gig-couple find any of these letter-pairs that occur in both place names. We might call these 'shared neighbours'. For instance, for Kristiansand and Bristol, the words contain the shared neighbours 'is' and 'ri'.

So your first little task is to find the place names where the Procol shows took place, and for each gig-couple to identify the shared neighbours from among the letter-pairs.

Your next task is to take one pair of shared neighbours from each gig-couple, and arrange these to spell the name of a Procol Harum track (if you're not getting anywhere, find another letter-pair shared between one or more of the gig-couple venues specified).

For instance, if you had 'el', 'gr', 'ot', 'an', and 'dh', you could make 'Grand Hotel'. Notice that this is done changing the order of the letter-pairs, but not changing the order of the letters that make up each pair.

Little clue: the track whose name you're after was an official release, but you're very unlikely to have heard it in concert. It's played more offstage than on.

Now the easy bit. Look at the name of that track, which contains 5 x 2 letters. Assign to each individual letter a numerical value based on its position in the English alphabet (R = 18, J = 10, and so on). Add up these ten numbers and divide by five to get the average of the five pairs. Translate that number back into a letter of the alphabet: and that's your letter of the day for this little diversion.

Example: Punchdrunk you'd process like this: p(16)+ u(21)+ n(14)+ c(3)+ h(8)+ d(4)+ r(18)+ u(21)+ n(14)+ k(11)=130; divide by the five shared pairs of the title: 130/5 = 26. 26th letter of the alphabet is 'Z' ... so that would be your letter of the day. But it's not, because this is just an example, and Punchdrunk is not yet a known Procol Harum song


The gig-couples are

Emmen and Lillehammer (shared pairs 'mm' / 'me')

Osnabruck and Stockholm (shared pair 'ck')

Ancona and Monaco (shared pairs 'on' / 'na')

Las Vegas and Stuttgart (shared pair 'ga')

Bamberg and Basel  (shared pair 'ba')

Arranging the shared pairs you can make Backgammon (often played offstage, rarely on).

Add together the letter-values b (2)+ a(1)+ c(3)+ k(11)+ g(7)+ a(1)+ m(13)+ m(13)+ o(15)+ n(14) and the result is 80; divide by the five letter-pairs (80/5 = 16) and translate that back into alphabetical letters your answer is therefore 'P'


The Beatles famously started All You Need is Love with a quotation from the French National Anthem. Much more artful is the weaving of another patriotic tune into Desperate Measures, a solo number by former Procoler, Matthew Fisher: listen to mp3 here.

What tune does the guitar solo – played by Fisher himself – quote here (about 14 seconds in)? Is it the vocal melody of ...

A The Star-Spangled Banner (very useful links here and here)
B Jerusalem (very useful links here and here)
C Deutschland über Alles (very useful links here and here)?

Your letter of the day is the first initial of the surname ('family name') of the man or woman who wrote the music of the patriotic song that has been woven into Mr Fisher's song


The guitar is playing the melody of Jerusalem, whose music was written by Parry. So 'P' is again your letter

Consider these three Keith Reid songs – click on the links for enlightenment – which all start in a specific location:

A Last Train to Niagara
B Venus Exploding
C Something Following Me

Your letter of the day is the first letter of the name of the one song that doesn’t touch on 42nd Street


Something Following Me explicitly name-checks 42nd Street, and the Last Train to Niagara departs (supposedly!) from Grand Central Station which is on E 42nd Street (clicking the links took you to maps and other references). So the letter of the day is the initial of the song that doesn't touch on that street: 'V' for Venus Exploding



The letter you need to find – the single letter – occurs in the name of a musician who’s made a notable contribution to Procol Harum’s performing history. You have twelve letters-of-the-day, and they need to be reordered for anagrammatical purposes. The name you’re looking for doesn't actually have twelve letters … we’re adrift by +1 or -1. And you will also find you need to move the whole set of letters-of-the-day forward or back by one position in the alphabet. In other words, you’ll be using a Caesar Cipher with value +1 or -1.’

The letters of the day were M F B D I E V W O P P V, and you were looking for a Procol player with either eleven or thirteen letters in his name.

Using the +1 Caesar Cipher, your letters for anagrammatisation would be N G C E J F W X P Q Q W. It's not specially easy to think of a musician with JWXQQ in his name, though he'd be a high-scoring Scrabble player.

Trying the -1 Caesar Cipher, your letters for anagrammatisation would be L E A C H D U V N O O U. The eye quickly settles on that 'V'.

An early question in the quiz drew your attention to five fretmen with 'V' in their name ... the Daves, in fact. Which of those men has eleven or thirteen letters in his name? Mr Colquhoun springs to mind. Did he make a notable contribution to Procol Harum’s performing history – at the Dominion Theatre when he depped for Geoff Whitehorn on so little rehearsal? He certainly did. And you can make his name from those letters, just adding a 'Q' ... the letter emphasised along the way by Matt Pegg's 'Queue round the block', unusual or unnecessary phrases involving 'Cue' or 'IQ' or 'Kew' in the instructions, and even in the Quarter-turn rotations of the puzzle-page backdrop, or the Spoonerism in the e-mail you sent us about the Quistmas Chriz.

'Q' is your letter. And a good 90% of the contenders got it right. The wrong answers were all accompanied by a declaration to the effect that 'I got lost, so here's a guess' ... except for the one rogue response, '17' ... which is admittedly the position of 'Q' in the alphabet, but is not quite what we were asking for ...


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