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Whickham and District Motor Club Limited

Colin's December Cryptic Quiz - 23 December 2020

2020 Wyvern Image

Cryptic - a meaning that is mysterious or obscure...

I've always been very fond of Grandads, they are really quite special people. I was lucky enough to have two excellent Grandads, who always seemed to be much more wonderfully relaxed about things like rules and going to bed times and all the stuff your Mum was quite strict about. My brother, sister and I used to spend our Summer Holidays at my Grandparents in Canvey Island, and I will always treasure those memories as long as I live, especially some of the things we used to get up to. My Grandad had a workshop, and we had free reign over anything we wanted, so I was always sawing and hammering and making things throughout the six weeks and always with his blessing.

One of the other things my Grandad used to do was ask me riddles, and say things in a way that initially didn't make sense. As a young boy I often thought he was just a bit strange but soon realised he was playing his little game of saying cryptic things to see if I could work out what he meant; it was just one of the funny little things he used to do, but it stayed with me for life. I suppose he must have been a crossword puzzle aficionado, but it made my time there an extra bit special.

So when it came to Christmas 2020, and we were all pretty much settled into lockdown mode, the arrival of Colin Fish's Cryptic December Quiz was a nice adjunct to the Christmas holidays, a pleasant little event to while away the time we might have otherwise spent travelling across the country to visit friends and relatives, which of course we were all unable to do as much this time. Colin, of course, is a Grandad himself, so one could be forgiven for thinking it is maybe a time of life thing, but either way, he provided a list of 35 cryptic teasers designed to test our ability to see the answer behind the clues.

There were some fairly gentle ones of course, designed to lull you into a false sense of security, so that as you scanned the column of clues you felt they were not as hard as you might imagine: Ford's chocolate bar was obviously a Galaxy, the boat park almost invariably suggested Marina, whilst Bond's casino could hardly have been anything other than Royale. But as you delved further into the quiz, it became a little more apparent that not all was as it appeared to be; the Pound Coin certainly testing our interpretation, and what on earth was an Old Toe? Worse was to come, with 'Vauxhall's Winged Dragon' catching most people out and the very difficult 'Daimler Dart' - who could have guessed that for one member, knowing the history of Swindon's Wyvern Theatre would have come back so helpfully 30 years later? 'Not a film:- Er, dial M for Murder ? No, a missile' proving to be almost impossible to solve, (although not quite).

Having given everyone virtually two weeks to work out the clues, you could have expected everyone to get almost every answer correct, but such is the quality of Colin's offerings, this one proved to be just as effective as any of his other events, showing a good spread of everyone's abilities and providing a final results table as follows:

1 Peter Metcalfe 31 correct answers
2 Tosh and Brian
3 Mac Cliff
4 Peter Heatherington
27 (Furthest cleanest applies)
5 John Brown
6 Stuart Bankier
7 Gordon Bradford
8 Guy Wickham
9 Simon Jennings
10 Martin Wilks

A superb win for Peter Metcalfe, showing that piano tuning does not necessarily interfere with one's cognitive ability in the way that perhaps those more associated with building sites might suppose; his result almost matched by team Townsend, with Brian and Tosh combining their abilities to try to snatch the victory; a great third place for Mac Cliff, perhaps his own little bit of Grandad mode giving him that tiny little advantage and allowing him to gain that vital extra point to put him just above those clamouring to gain places from fourth to seventh.

Many thanks to Colin for putting the event on, he has been absolutely brilliant during lockdown, consistently creating events for everyone to try and yet still managing to come up with things to fool us all. Absolutely brilliant to see a good ten competitors taking part and trying their best to be the victors, but full marks must go to Peter for his win and to everyone else for chasing him all the way.

Points in the Superstars Championship to all members who took part, this being the first event of the 2020-2021 season it shows Peter as the man putting his initial stamp on the Championship. Whilst we may not be meeting up physically, it is good to know that there are still those in the club willing to continue to put events on to keep the competitive spirit alive and well within Whickham and District Motor Club. Long may it continue!


Tabletop Round 1 - 2 December 2020

2021 TTR1 Map

Colin 1, WDMC 0

The 2021 Maps Championship started with a bang on the very first Wednesday of December when WDMC stalwart Colin Fish put on another of his excellent Table Top Rallies, and true to form although it appeared to be very straightforward it was of course anything but. For those of us who have been competing on Colin's Table Top rallies over the years we all know that although we enjoy the healthy degree of competition, we also realise there is a degree of cerebral machinations involved in trying to work out just how complicated Colin's very simple phrases are really meant to be.

There is an old saying that husbands use when talking to their wives: 'If there are two ways of saying something, and one of them upsets you, I meant the other one'. It would be a foolish man that didn't apply the exact same logic to any of Colin's instructions, as it can always be reasonably concluded that if there is any single instruction that can be taken in two ways, one of which appears to be very simple, then Colin obviously meant the other way.

The first section lulled everyone into a very false sense of security: it was so simple, so obvious, so very clear, that virtually everyone got it spot on. A train and car, travelling to roughly the same point, with nothing of any real significance to make you think there could be any confusion in the instructions. One suspects that most of the competitors spent more time than they should have done looking for the hidden meaning, the 'dirty dog', the not-so-obvious little thing that would make it more complicated than it needed to be, and in doing so result in a fail. But there was none, and everyone thought that perhaps Colin was being kind this time and starting 2021 off with a gentle, easy Table Top.

Oh dear. Oh very dear. What untold fools we were.

Part 2 started well, with a definite start point and easy to follow instructions, leading everyone to the finish at 'Pentre'. This was of course a very calculated and deliberate ploy on the part of Mr Fish, creating the perfect 'Derren Brown' situation by planting the seed in our minds with the word Pentre itself. We had to take note of this word, Pentre, as it was one of the answers. It was in our minds, this Pentre.

Part 3 was one of those sections that didn't quite make sense; go via 144173 to the next grid line - except by travelling to MR 144173 there was no way to get to the next GL. Surely it wasn't a mistake by Colin? He is so careful and particular. Hmmm. For those of us with previous knowledge, it was a red flag moment, which meant there must be another option. Careful investigation revealed it was so: the 144173 was to be read in the same manner as the previous instructions, two separate spot heights linked together and leading South to GL 10.

For those who got that right, they might have been feeling smug; this of course is a very bad move, as Part 4 came back at us with that classic Derren Brown hook that told us to start under the letter "t" of Pentre. We knew where that was of course; we had only just been there. The instructions told us to go via even SHs that added up to 356m. A little careful examination of the area showed that there was indeed a route that fitted that criteria, go South via 84, 86 and 186. Perfect - and so easy to find! The competitors that have done Colin's Table Tops before would have immediately realised that was just too easy, so looked for the less obvious alternative - and there it was: go North instead, and by travelling via 224 and 132 you got the same result in a shorter route. Nailed it, and spotted your clever ruse, Colin. No fool me.

Except that wasn't the case, because Colin had found another 'Pentre' in GS 1115, with a single SHG of 356 only 2.5km away. How much time must that man spend finding different ways to catch us all out? The smug feeling disappeared almost as quickly as it had arrived. Damn the man, damn me for not spotting it myself.

The final insult had to be in the tie-deciders, where the latest letter in the alphabet had to be found on the map under GL14. Amazingly, nobody at all found the letter y of the 'Afon Efyrnwy' - whatever that means. What is it about those rivers and brooks that make them invisible to the competitors? How can we miss them time after time? If you asked the entrants each would say they looked incredibly carefully, yet everyone completely missed it. Amazing. But then Colin knows this.

And so by the end of the week, a consensus had emerged with the results being declared final as follows:

1 Peter 4 fails
1 Tosh
3 Brian
4 Alan Graham
6F Furthest cleanest
5 Josh Bailey
6 Simon Jennings
7 Guy
8 Gordon

A brilliant tie for first place between Peter and Tosh, even though neither of them spotted that fateful y which would have given one of them a clear victory; a great third place for Brian, only the single point behind them, with Alan Graham finishing fourth - wonderful to see a founder member of the club still competing on a regular basis. Another good result for regular competitor Josh Bailey, showing he is as keen as ever for a good season's competition, with Simon, Guy and Gordon all starting their Championship year with good points in the Championship.

Many thanks indeed to Colin for putting the event on, it is very much appreciated by all who take part in his events, and whilst they may not appeal to everyone in the club, there are certainly those who truly appreciate not only the tremendous effort that goes into organising these events, but also love the thrill of pitting themselves against each other to perhaps take Peter's crown in 2021!

Points in the Maps Championship to all members who took part, Peter and Tosh both putting down their markers immediately and setting everything up for yet another promising season....

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