Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale

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Christmas Quizzes 20142015

Question of the Day : 3 January


Q: 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 visit 'setlist' + site:procolharum at Google, and cut'n'paste in each gig-date from this page, and you'll know exactly where it took place. It'll be the word or words before 'setlist' in the red subtitle near the top of each page.

For each date, make a written note of 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', and 'nd'.

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

So your first, simple 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 choose one pair of shared neighbours from each of the gig-couples, and arrange these five pairs to spell the name of a Procol Harum track (if you're not getting anywhere, choose another shared neighbour pair where available from the gig-couple venues specified).

For instance, if you had 'el', 'gr', 'ot', 'an', and 'dh', you could rearrange them to make 'Grand Hotel'. Notice that this is done by 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.

A: 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.

 
For the avoidance of doubt, when we refer to 'the alphabet' in these puzzles, this is the sequence of letters we mean, in this order:
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

 


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Yesterday's puzzle | Forecast for tomorrow's puzzle: something to do with a detail of a Matthew Fisher record: listen well and don't jump to conclusions


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