It was a thrilling finale this year: the winning entry came in date-stamped five past midnight, and the second entry mere seconds later. Luckily the two competitors in question both got their first-choice prizes (Marvin Chassman claiming his eerie twentieth prize in twenty-one years). The third beat-the-clock competitor came in at midnight twenty-two, the start the night's main influx. And the last of the prize-winning entries was sent some 45 hours after the final puzzle was published.
The overall prize popularity ranking (the figures include those who answered correctly and the tiny minority who answered in the other way) was as follows: C (Boxed Set) 13.6%; M (Novum artwork) 12.8%; Q (Signed CD) 10.8%; G (drumhead 10") 10.5%; K (Anniversary programme) 10.0%; U (drumhead 12") 9.9%; O (Rome t/s XL) 6.0%; A (Novum t/s blue 2XL) 5.6%; E (Novum t/s red 2XL) 5.4%; S (Novum t/s blue XL) 5.3%; I (two Novum t/s) 5.1%; W (Rome t/s L) 4.9%.
There were many ways to solve the puzzle (solutions: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 12 part 2)
Most obvious, perhaps, was to work out each day’s solution, and then follow the tortuous manipulations specified in the thirteenth instruction, solve an anagram, then do some lateral thinking to turn it into a Roman numeral.
More popular (thank goodness) was to consider the possible one-letter Roman numerals, (I, V, X, L, C, D) and guess which one had most relevance to Procol Harum’s fiftieth year, which was the heavily-emphasised theme of all the questions. This is the route we expected competitors to take.
How could you be sure ‘50’ was the right number? By spotting clues: it was the price of the dodgy eBay CD, and you probably spotted that the puzzle had been conceived, following a chat with Italian competitor Stefano Carbone, midway between Milan and Rome: the eleventh question explicitly invited you to turn place names into numbers: average the PNVs of ‘Milan’ and ‘Rome’ … it’s fifty.
How were you to know you had the right twelve letters before attempting the final anagram? The answer, ‘Yacht Funeral’, was set up by the examples of ‘ships come home to die’, and other stuff about marine graveyards. Those twelve letters had already been used in the caption to the Procol-imitate-Tull photograph, and hinted at in the caption to the Procol/Madness shot
How were you to solve that anagram? A verbal clue (the puzzles came ‘from a galaxy far far away’) was reinforced by the obvious puzzle-background, adding one star each day, and finally colouring the largest one in red. It was a simple matter to look up the best known constellations, and identify the coloured star. ‘Alpha Centauri’ was a sound-clue to the anagram solution, ‘Half a Century’. ‘Ten’ and ‘year’ etc, on the other hand, were cruelly sewn into the anagram to sow doubt, confusion and perplexity. This is presumably why 'X' was the most popular 'differently correct' response.
So, the winning persons, their origins, their prizes, and their list of preferences:
First in after midnight on a beat-the-clock basis, Robert Young from the USA
wins his first choice, the signed Fiftieth Anniversary programme,
from a prize selection running kmcugqwosiea
Second in on a beat-the-clock basis, Marvin Chassman from the USA
wins his first choice, the Procol Harum Fiftieth Anniversary Boxed Set,
from a prize selection running cqkwguosmeai
Third in on a beat-the-clock basis, Gabriella Vinci from Italy
wins her third choice, the signed Novum CD with scroobious addendum in the Brooker hand,
from a prize selection running ckqmugeaiosw
First out of the BtP Homburg, Lourens Visser from the Netherlands
wins his third choice, two Novum teeshirts,
from a prize selection running ckimguqasoew
Second out of the BtP Homburg, Gary Madely from the UK
wins his first choice, the 12” signed Procol drum-head,
from a prize selection running umcgqkaeowsi
Third out of the BtP Homburg, Richard Beck from the USA
wins his first choice, the artist’s print of the Novum artwork,
from a prize selection running mceigosquawk
Fourth out of the BtP Homburg, Jutta Kaufmann from Germany
wins her sixth choice, the XL Procol / Rome tee-shirt
from a prize selection running cmkquogswiea
Fifth out of the BtP Homburg, Bert Saraco from the USA
wins his second choice, the 10” signed Procol drum-head,
from a prize selection running ugmciqkosaew
Sixth out of the BtP Homburg, George Parker from the UK
wins his seventh choice, the blue XL Novum tee-shirt
from a prize selection running mckqugseaowi
Seventh out of the BtP Homburg, Claire Margerison from the UK
wins her sixth choice, the large Procol / Rome tee-shirt
from a prize selection running mgukqwocsaei
Eighth out of the BtP Homburg, Ian Hockley from Oman
wins his sixth choice, the blue 2XL Novum tee-shirt
from a prize selection running mcugqaiowesk
Last out of the BtP Homburg, lucky Maurice Atkinson from the UK
wins his second choice, the red XXL Novum tee-shirt
from a prize selection running aeiomkqswugc
So if your name appears in the schedule above, please send your street address, if you haven’t already done so, and we’ll put the wheels of postage in motion. Obviously the Boxed Set will not be going out immediately. Special thanks to Procol Harum, Julia Brown, Mark Powell and Stefano Ciccioriccio for these truly excellent prizes, and to our exceptionally Glamorous Assistant, who discharged her duties with impeccable style and care, but declined to be named or pictured.
And lastly, thanks to everyone for playing, and for many kind remarks; commiserations to those whose names stayed in the BtP Homburg, and also to those (few) who didn’t come up with the correct tiny small miniature answer.
Here's the log of who's won how
many times since the first BtP Christmas puzzle in 1997:
Once: Alan Semok, Alick Leslie, Andrea Grasso, Aongus Collins, Arne Grue Jensen, Avihay Abudy, Barrie Deatcher, Basil Steven-Fountain, Bent Aronsen, Bernard O Connor, Bruce Donley, Christina Hermansson, Claes-Peter Haväng, Dietmar Schloetel, Dominik Halas, Erik Mouridsen, Ernst Schuiki, Fred Schröter, George Parker, Giancarlo Buletti, Giorgio Marcanato, Graham Wallis, Gary Madely, Heidi Moen, Ian Berry, Ian Elby, James Kline, James Waters, Jim Krapf, Jim Stratico, John Crouch, John Weir, Karsten Overgaard, Kurt Harding, Marc Laveaux, Mark Mott, Michael Haag, Mick Norman, Mike McGill, Mike Norman, Nancy Zohner, Peter Bourne, Peter Christian, Peter Gardner, Pierre Godbout, Richard Mosely, Robert Young, Russell Maddox, Sam Behrend, Søren Borello, Stefano Ciccioriccio, Stuart Grant, Toshiya Hyakuma.
Twice: Carlo Ponissi, Charlie Allison, Claire Margerison, Dave Knight, Evan Wagshul, Greg Panfile, Jan Pederson, Jutta Kaufmann, Kerry Canfield, Lourens Visser, Markku Huttunen, Mogens Vinther, Pamela Miller Chwedyk, Peter Cohen, Phil George.
Thrice: Barbara Black, Beverly Peyton, Bob Young, Gabriella Vinci, Gordon Chalmers, Ian Hockley, John Cammalleri, John Commons, Jonas Söderström, Marcelo Pereira, Stefano Carbone, Tarvo Niine.
Four times: Axel Leonhardt, Dave Pettit, Heidi Widmer, Maurice Atkinson.
Five times: Mark Allister, Richard Beck.
Six times: Jeremy Gilien.
Seven times: Kerry Holloway (and Jen, sometimes), Piotr Wlaz, Tormod Ringvold.
Eight times: Bert Saraco (and Carina, sometimes), Bob Jaccino.
Nine times: Pat Keating.
Twenty times: Marvin Chassman.
Back to the how-to-play page for the 2017 'Beyond the Pale' Christmas puzzles