Answers to our occasional newsletter quizzes. Useful for frustrating your family and friends at social gatherings. With thanks to Patrick for compiling the questions.

May 2024


1 –  In England fifty years ago over 50 million roses were planted yearly; today, only some 6 million are planted.  The only Rose Nursery in Kent and Sussex, not far from Hastings, is where? N (8 letters)
THE OLD ROSE NURSERY, Beal Lane, NORTHIAM. Since 1966 it’s kindly sold reasonably priced strongly scented roses: now notably, A Whiter Shade of Pale, Olivia, Absolutely Fabulous, and Gertrude Jerkyl.

2 – This writer planted roses in his kitchen garden at Wallington, Hertfordshire, from 1936-1940; now the subject of a book (2022). He hated his Prep School, St Cyprian’s in Eastbourne, which he excoriated for its snobbery and cruelty – a ‘world of force and fraud and secrecy’ – in a famous posthumous essay ‘Such, Such Were the Joys’(1952).  Who is he? G (6 letters) O (6 letters)
Eric Arthur Blair aka GEORGE ORWELL (1903-49).  Rebecca Solnit has given us another perspective on Orwell in her book Orwell’s Roses (2022). You Tube – Rebecca Solnit & Margaret Atwood on Orwell’s Roses (48 mins)

3 – Hastings Augustinian Priory, founded in the 13th century – the foundations are below ESK today – closed in 1419, due to sea flooding.  It moved to Warbleton where it became ‘The New Priory of Hastings’.  The Priory had a daughter house at Upper Dicker, near Hailsham.  Moated and charmingly set over seven acres this Priory, founded in 1229, after the Dissolution of the Monasteries became Anne of Cleves’ home.  What’s the Priory’s name?  M (10 letters)
MICHELHAM PRIORY.  Open to the public and popular as a Wedding Venue, Michelham is managed by the Sussex Archaeological Society

4 – This great British architect built two large houses in St Leonards in his timber and high chimneys parochial style – Bannow (1877-79), now a Retirement Home, in Quarry Hill, and Baldstow Place (1888) which became Claremont School in 1925. Especially known for the buildings that bear his name on the Embankment, Bedford Park, New Scotland Yard; also Bryanston (1888-94) in Dorset  – the last of the Grand Stately Homes – a progressive school since 1928, and Cragside (1869-85).  What’s the architect’s name? N (6 letters) S (4 letters)
[Richard] NORMAN SHAW RA (1831-1912). No expense was spared on Cragside, in Northumberland, extended from a hunting lodge for Lord Armstrong, scientist, inventor, Arms manufacturer, and philanthropist. It’s the first house in the World to be lit by hydroelectricity; and acquired by the NT in 1977

5 – By tradition, the first cuckoo of spring is heard at the Heathfield Fair.  ‘The Cuckoo Trail’ follows the old railway track from Heathfield to where? H (7 letters) P (4 letters)
HAMPDEN PARK, 14 miles south of Heathfield. Cuckoos arrive in England in April, not always first in Heathfield, and leave in June.

6 – This great American artist – acclaimed as ‘The Van Dyke of the Age’ – was famous in England for his many penetrating and charming portraits: notably Carnation Lilly, Lilly, Rose, and Lady Agnew of Lochnaw, The Wyndham Sisters and the WW1 pictures Gassed and The Generals.  Who is he? J (4 letters) S (6 letters) S (7 letters)
JOHN SINGER SARGENT (1856-1925) abhorred the many large portraits he did for the rich and from 1907 concentrated on small charcoal portraits. He did 750 of these portraits – finishing them at one sitting. The critic, Robert Hughes, wrote: ‘Sargent was the unrivalled recorder of male power and female beauty in a day that, like ours, paid excessive court to both.’ You Tube – John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Charcoal (2021, 8 mins)

7 – Claude Monet called this Spanish artist ‘The Master of Light’.  Acclaimed the greatest Spanish artist since Diego Velaquez, he learnt to fence to control his three-feet-long brushes on huge canvases, often painting outdoors. Fiercely independent, his large early pictures include sharp social comment: notably, Another Margarita, They Still Say That Fish is Expensive! Sad Inheritance, and The Return from Fishing.  Who is he? J (7 letters) S (7 letters)
JOAQUIN SOROLLA [Y BASTIDA] (1863-1923). Remarkably, like Velaquez, Sorolla painted his pictures with little preparatory sketching.  He believed in painting quickly and directly onto the canvas. You Tube – Dr Micah Christensen Joaquim Sorolla Undraped (2023, 118 mins)

8 –  From a 250-year-old dynasty of English actors and performers, this actress wrote her first play aged seven and had memorised all the female lines in Shakespeare’s plays by the age of ten.  Aged thirteen – claiming to be fifteen – she got into RADA and starred in her first films aged fourteen. Nicknamed in Hollywood ‘the English Jean Harlow’ she quickly fell out with the Studio system.  She acted in over sixty films and wrote, produced, and directed independent films on important social issues, notably Not Wanted (1948), Outrage (1950), Never Fear aka The Young Lovers (1950) and The Bigamist (1953).  What’s her name? I (3 letters) L (6 letters)
IDA LUPINO (1918-95) was praised for her wonderfully realistic acting best seen in The Light That Failed (1939, with Ronald Colman), Ladies in Retirement (1941), Road House (1947), and Lust for Gold (1949, with Glenn Ford).  All the films cited here are on You Tube. You Tube – Ida Lupino Documentary (44 mins); This is Your Life – Ida Lupino (24 mins); & Ida LupinoTop 10 Best Performances & Films (2023, 41 mins)

9 – TIME Magazine named this singer ‘a Teenage Idol’ – the first use of the term.  With his elder brother, David, he’d acted from the age of eight in his parent’s hugely popular TV serial depicting life in a typical American family. Hits include Poor Little Fool, Hello Mary Lou, It’s Late, Travelin’ Man, Never Be Anyone Else but You, It’s Up to You, Teenage Idol, Lonesome Town, and Garden Party. Who is he? R (5 letters) N (6 letters)

RICKY NELSON [Eric Hilliard Nelson] 1940-85. Between 1957 and 1962 he had 30 Top 40 Hits; more than any other artist except Elvis Presley (53) and Pat Boone (38). On his death, Bob Dylan said: ‘We never told him how good he was’ and would end his concerts with Nelson’s Lonesome Town in tribute. You Tube – Ricky Nelson Documentary (36 mins)

10 – This singer was only fifteen when he was called upon to play his first gig at Moorhead, Minnesota.  He’d hoped to see Buddy Holly and the Crickets, but it was the weekend of the tragic plane crash, ‘the Day the Music Died’ (Feb. 3, 1959)…Someone had to play for the waiting audience and he was asked to do so. With his elder brother, Bill, and his scratch band – instantly named ‘The Shadows’ – they saved the day.  He’s best known for Rubber Ball, Take Good Care of My Baby, The Night has a Thousand Eyes, More Than I Can Say, and Suzie Baby. Who is he? B (5 letters) V (3 letters)
BOBBY VEE [Robert Thomas Velline] 1943-2016, had 38 songs in the Top 100 Charts and was in the process of publishing his back catalogue of 130 songs when he died. In 1959, Bob Dylan, back then ‘Elston Gunnn’ -yes, with three ‘ns’ – performed with Bobby Vee’s the Shadows.  At a concert in St Paul, Minnesota, in 2013 – with Bobby Vee in the audience –  Dylan reminisced and extolled Vee’s voice and stage presence and played Vee’s first song, Suzie Baby, in tribute. You Tube – Bobby Vee and the Day the Music Died (2016, 8 mins). Joe Taysom – The Story of Elston Gunnn, Bob Dylan’s unknown alter-ego. Far Out, 2 Nov. 2020 (Online)

11 – What five letter word starts with a consonant and is followed by five vowels – and makes a line? Q (5 letters)
QUEUE. French from L cuada, tail

12 – The first letter of two or more words are transposed, usually by a slip of the tongue, e.g.  ‘you have hissed the mystery lectures’ is called a S (10 letters)
SPOONERISM. Named after the Revd. W. A. Spooner (1844-1930) English Scholar and Warden of New College, Oxford.  He was reputed to have often made such errors of speech

13 – What word relates to mousetrap, blue, and cottage? C (6 letters)
CHEESE. Old English cese from ultimately L caseus, cheese

14 – N 1. the official proving a will. 2 a verified copy of a will’s certificate as handed to executors.  P (7 letters)
PROBATE. L probatum – past particle of probare, to prove

15 –  N. a tendency or inclination.  P (10 letters)
PROCLIVITY. L proclivitas from proclivis inclined (PRO-towards) clivis, slope

16 – Adj. 1. talkative, esp. on trivial matters. 2 loquacious or wordy. G (9 letters)
GARRULOUS. L garrulus from garrire, to chatter

17 – Adj. 1. proceeding or progressing inconspicuously but harmfully (e.g. a disease). 2 treacherous or crafty.  I (9 letters)
INSIDIOUS. L insidiosus cunning from insidiae ambush. INSIDIOUSLY adv. INSIDIOUSNESS n.

18 – This word means (a) a vessel used for cooking (b) a filming technique, and (c) a Greek God. P (3 letters)
PAN. OE panne, ultimately from L patina dish; abbrev. of panorama; God of the Wild, with hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat

19 – A small country villa in Russia. D (5 letters)
DACHA.  Russian = gift

20 – In Greek mythology, the Chief or King of the Gods. Z (4 letters)
ZEUS. Sixth and last child of Cronos and Rhea and God of the Sky & Thunder. Zeus was infamous for his erotic escapades which resulted in many divine and heroic offspring.

March 2024

1 – Born into a wealthy Presbyterian Philadelphia slave-owning family, the Founder of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus order of nuns (1846) – previously a mother of five – ‘HAD A LIFE NO NOVELIST WOULD DARE TO INVENT’ (from Judith Lancaster, below).  She was trail-brazing in broadening girls’ education with Greek & Latin, science, logic, art, music, drama, and dancing including the polka (some parents didn’t approve). Following a picnic from St Leonards HCJ School to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s derelict Old Palace, her pupils persuaded her to buy it; and it’s where she’s buried. What’s her name? Where’s the Old Palace and School today? C (8 letters) C (8 letters); M (8 letters)
CORNELIA CONNELLY SHCJ (nee Cornelia Peacock) 1801870; MAYFIELD SCHOOL. Her motto was ‘Action Not Words – to Meet the Needs of the Age’.  Through trust, each student was to be helped to find and fulfill their unique potential with the nuns in the role of mothers to a large family.  Judith Lancaster SHCJ’s Cornelia Connelly and Her Interpreters(2004) is a thorough evaluation of Connelly’s seven biographies – six are by SHCJ nuns –  and a fascinating meta-biography. Outlines of Cornelia Connelly’s life are on the SHCJ Website and Wikipedia

2 – Living at 9 Dane Rd, this popular novelist and writer decided to become an author at the age of 10.  At St Leonards Ladies College, it’s reported, she wrote seventeen novels.  She published The Tramping Methodist(1908) when she was 21.  She got to know and love the Sussex-Kent border country from Romney Marsh to Ashdown Forest – where she set her many novels; the best known is Joanna Godden(1921), a successful film as The Lovesof Joanna Godden(1947).  Who is she? S (6 letters) K-S (4-5 letters)
SHEILA KAYE-SMITH (1887-1966) had four great loves: her husband, Penrose Fry, an Anglican priest initially attached to Christ Church, St Leonards; her writing & writers; the Weald; and her faith. She and her husband became Catholics in 1929 and built St Teresa’s Church near their home, Little Doucegrove, at Horns Cross, near Northiam.  Quartet in Heaven(1956) includes a remarkable immersive study of Cornelia Connelly’s dramatic spiritual journey. The Sheila Kaye-Smith Societyis based in St Leonards (Website Online); Georgina Doherty – ‘Sheila Kaye-Smith (1887-1956)’, Talk to Battle & District Historical Society, 2017 (Online, 14 pages)

3 – John Keats stayed at this pub in St Leonards in May 1817 and met Isabella Jones. What’s the pub’s name? T (3 letters) B (2 letters) P (4 letters)
THE BO PEEP in West St Leonards.  Keats stayed here in St Leonards in May 1817 (aged 21). He met the beautiful and well-read Isabella Jones who inspired his poetry, notably Endymion,which refers to Isabella as ‘the Lady from Hastings’ and famously starts: ‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever’. Bo-Peep was a village and a pub, founded in 1548. The pub changed its name and location a few times and was famous for smuggling, coded in the name (Quote:) ‘The Bo Peep area of St Leonards was a popular place to land contraband. The popular nursery rhyme ‘Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep’ is said to be a metaphor.  Bo Peep were revenue men and the sheep the smugglers that gave them the slip.  The sheep were [also] the barrels of contraband, often thrown overboard by smugglers, but would coming bobbing home on the tide to be recovered.’ (Andy Hemsley – ‘New Era for St Leonards pub.’ Online, 5 Jan. 2024)

4 – Overlooking Bodiam, Ewhurst Green in E. Sussex had a pub called the Castle Inn. The pub changed its name in the 1970s and is famous for its food. What’s the pub’s name? T (3 letters) W (5 letters) D (3 letters)
THE WHITE DOG, Ewhurst Green

5 –  After the Battle of Waterloo, The Duke of Wellington was offered this fine house on the Sussex Downs. Later, it’s where the young H. G. Wells lived ‘below stairs’.  What’s the house called? U (6 letters)
UPPARK (c. 1690), South Harting, W. Sussex, now a NT property. The Duke of Wellington declined Uppark, saying he’d crossed the Alps once and didn’t intend repeating the experience for the rest of his life… G. (Herbert George) Wells’ mother, Sarah, was a maid and later the Housekeeper at Uppark (1880-93) and Wells (1866-1946) was shocked by the oppressiveness of the English class system he experienced there. Fortunately, he could use Uppark’s superb Library – which greatly influenced his writings and remarkable fiction.  Later, he joined the Fabians and was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature four times. Tessa Boase – ‘Sarah Wells of Uppark’ The Housekeeper’s Tale: The Women Who Really Ran the English Country House(2014) pp. 49-96

6 – A Victorian writer of children stories and Oxford don would walk from Eastbourne to visit three aunts who lived in Wellington Square, Hastings.  What’s his real name?  C (7 letters) L (8 letters) D (7 letters)
CHARLES LUTWIDGE DODGSON akaLewis Carroll (1832-98). Three maiden aunts, his mother’s sisters, Charlotte, Margaret, & Harriet Lutwidge never married – devoting themselves to charity work while living at 2 Wellington Square, Hastings

7 –  A Victorian Socialist writer and leader of the Arts & Crafts Movement wrote: ‘The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life’. And ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’. Who is he? W (7 letters) M (6 letters)
WILLIAM MORRIS (1834-96), socialist, writer, poet, novelist, artist, printer, & manufacturer is best known today for his designs for textiles, wallpaper, etc.  The William Morris Museum & Society(Online) is based at Kelmscott House, Morris’ old home in Hammersmith. And: Introducing William Morris – V & A(Online)

8 – Which is the only one of the 52 countries on the African Continent which is Spanish speaking? E (10 letters) G (6 letters)
EQUATORIAL GUINEA, formerly Spanish Guinea, became independent of Spain in 1968. (Portuguese & French have recently been recognized as ‘official languages’, but are little spoken). Over 85% of the population are Fang, whose language is related to Bantu. The Fang were the victims of trans-Atlantic and trans-African slave trade between the 16th-19thcenturies. Their masks have greatly influenced Western art. A rare Fang mask from Gabon – estimate 300,000-400,000 Euros – fetched $4.6 million at auction in Montpellier, France, in 2023

9 – Which Sussex-born food writer popularised Mediterranean Cooking for the British in the 1950s.  E (9 letters) D (5 letters)
ELIZABETH DAVID CBE (nee Elizabeth Gwynne) 1913-92) grew up with her three sisters at Wootton Manor, Folkington, near Eastbourne.  With no experience of cooking growing up – and rebelling against her background – she wrote her bestselling book on Mediterranean Cookingin 1950, aged 36. Eleven other books followed (Quote:) ‘changing the eating habits of Middle-Class England forever’ (Wikipedia)

10 – Which much-missed BBC Radio 2 DJ, whom Jo Whiley called ‘the Broadcaster’s Broadcaster’, entertained his audience with fascinating ‘factoids’?  S (5 letters) W (6 letters)
STEVE (Stephen Richard) WRIGHT (1954-2024). Ian Davie, the BBC’s Director General, called him ‘…a truly wonderful broadcaster…He was the ultimate professional – passionate about the craft of radio and deeply in touch with his listeners.’

11 – N. assurance; distinct confidence. A (6 letters)
APLOMB – F = literally ‘perpendicularity’, à plomb – ‘according to a plumb or plumb line’

12 – N. 1 money or gifts freely given, esp. on an occasion of rejoicing, by a person of high position. 2 benevolence. L (8 letters)

13 – N. 1 the place of origin or history, esp. of a work of art. 2 origin. P (10 letters)
PROVENANCE – From L provenire, as PRO- ‘towards’, venire ‘come’ 

14 – N. 1 the act of sorting according to quality. 2 the assignment of degrees of urgency to decide the order of treatment of illnesses or injuries e.g. in a Surgery. T (6 letters)
TRIAGE  – From F ‘sort or select’

15 – Adj. 1 laughable, ludicrous. 2 inclined to laughter. R (6 letters)
RISIBLE – From Late L resibilis from ridere/ris – laugh.  RISIBILITY (N), RISIBLY (Adj)

16 – Adj. wicked, iniquitous. N (9 letters)

17 – Adj. 1 light, airy. 2 highly delicate esp. in appearance. 3 heavenly.  4 relating to ether. E (8 letters)
ETHEREAL (also ETHERIAL)– From Old F ether or L aether or shine. ETHEREALITY (N), ETHEREALLY (Adv)

18 – N. 1 any manifestation of a god or demigod. 2 a manifestation of Christ or the festival commemorating this on 6 Jan.  E (8 letters)
EPIPHANY – From Gk epiphaino – reveal/ manifestation. EPIPHANIC (Adj)

19 – Adj. 1 unutterable, too great for description in words. 2 that which must not be uttered. I (9 letters)
INEFFABLE – From L ineffabilis as N- ‘not/without/lacking’-effari – speak out, utter. INEFFABILITY (N)

20 – Adj. 1 outstandingly bad, shocking. 2 (archaic or jocular) – ‘remarkable’. E (10 letters)
EGREGIOUS – From L literally ‘standing out from the flock’ ex (out/from) – grex/gregis – flock. EGREGRIOUSLY (Adv)

January 2024

1 – Hastings Pier (1872) was built by the greatest British promenade-pier builder.  He built 14 piers including: Blackpool’s North Pier (1863), Brighton’s West Pier (1866), and Eastbourne (1872). What’s his name? E (8 letters) B (6 letters)
(Appropriately!) EUGENIUS BIRCH (1818-84). Aged 19 and 20, he won Prize Medals from the RSA for his ingenious original designs. Later, he designed bridges and aqueducts for Indian and West Country railways. He also designed Ifracombe harbour and Brighton Aquarium – the oldest operating aquarium in the World.  Between 1814-1910, eighty-nine piers were built in England and Wales with seaside towns competing with their piers’ facilities and length. The only pier built since 1910 is at Deal (1957), replacing Birch’s 1862 pier. Birch also travelled and painted numerous watercolours

2 – Rudyard Kipling lived at Burwash in his beloved Jacobean mansion from 1902-36.  He called it ‘a good and peaceable place’ where he wrote ‘If — ‘, ‘The Glory of the Garden’, Puck of Pook’s Hill, etc. What’s its name? B (9 letters)
BATEMAN’S, an ironmaster’s house, built in 1634.  Kipling spent his Nobel Prize money (1907) developing the gardens. His widow, Caroline, generously bequeathed Bateman’s to the NT in 1939.

3 – A civil engineer completely transformed Hastings’ seafront and was known as ‘The Concrete King’. He designed the Promenade’s underground carparks, Bottle Alley, St Leonards’ Lido, White Rock Swimming Baths, Hastings’ reservoirs, and the huge concrete Mulberry Harbour floats for D Day landings. What’s his name? S (6 letters) L (6 letters)
SIDNEY LITTLE, MICE (1885-1961) worked from 1926-50 for Hastings Borough Council as the Engineer, the Water Engineer, and later as the Planning Officer.  In 1960, Little was given The Freedom of the Borough of Hastings

4 – A remarkable Italian painter best known for his portraits – and latterly for his church frescos – showed in England from 1949 becoming famous overnight for a striking portrait of the 28-year-old Queen Elizabeth in 1955. What’s his surname? A (8 letters)
Pietro ANNIGONI, OMRI (1910-88).  Heavily influenced by Renaissance portraiture, with six others, in 1947 he signed The Modern Painters’ Manifesto which strongly opposed abstract art. His 1955 portrait of the Queen – familiar from stamps – hangs in London’s Fishmongers’ Hall, by London Bridge.  Annigoni painted in egg tempera: six parts egg to one of oil, plus varnish with, perhaps uniquely, white wine added.  This pre-1500 style of painting is quick drying and long lasting

5 – Known for many fine portraits, this Irish born painter – knighted for his work – used a portrait of his Irish-American born second wife, Hazel, as the ideal Irishwoman, Eileen Ni Houlihan resting on her harp, on the Irish pound note (1928-71).  Together they played a vital role in the formation of the Irish Free State in 1922. What’s his surname? L (6 letters)
Sir JOHN LAVERY, RA, RSA, RHA (1856-1941).  Hosted by Hazel, the Lavery house in Kensington became the salon for Irish and British politicians to meet which produced the understanding which led to the Irish Free State in 1922. (You Tube: ‘A Simple Irish Girl: The Story of Hazel Lavery’ & ‘Studio & State – The Laverys and the Anglo-Irish Treaty’, also ‘John Lavery: A Collection of 590 Paintings’)

6 – Starting at the age of four in silent films, she starred in over eighty  films including Call of the Wild (1935), Private Number (1937), Café Metropole (1937), and won an Oscar for The Farmer’s Daughter (1947 with Joseph Cotten) and an award for Come to the Stable (1949 with Celeste Holm).  What’s her name? L (7 letters) Y (5 letters)
LORETTA (nee Gretchen) YOUNG (1913-2000).  She also had a highly successful TV show of 162 episodes from 1953-61. All her films cited here are on You Tube; and a profile of her extraordinary life and career: ‘Biography – Loretta Young – Hollywood’s Heavenly Beauty’

7 – She starred in Claudia (1943), A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), Mister 880 (1950), Three Coins in Fountain (1954), Swiss Family Robinson (1960), and most memorably in The Spiral Staircase (1946), was Oscar nominated for The Gentleman’s Agreement (1947 with Gregory Peck) and won an award for Friendly Persuasion (1956 with Cary Cooper). What’s her name? D (7 letters) M (7 letters)
DOROTHY McGUIRE (1916-2001). Never given the acclaim she deserves. You Tube: ‘What Was Dorothy McGuire’s Charm that Enchanted Americans?’

8 – Paul McCartney contacted and signed a wonderful Welsh singer to the Beatles’ Apple Record Label – Apple’s second signing after James Taylor. Recently, she’s sung with her daughter, Jessica, and son, Morgan.  Who is she? M (4 letters) H (6 letters)
MARY HOPKIN (b. 1950) won Opportunity Knocks in 1968 with a new guitar given her by George Harrison singing the Pete Seeger/Judy Collins’ ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!’.  ‘Those Were The Days’ is a Russian song given lyrics by the American singer Gene Raskin. McCartney heard Raskin sing it in London and he produced the song with Hopkin in March 1969. It topped an amazing eight million sales.  He then generously gave her ‘Goodbye’. Quote: ‘Hopkin said she interpreted “Goodbye” as McCartney pledging to stop “micromanaging” her career, since she was uncomfortable with his positioning of her as a pop chanteuse’ (Wikipedia). Favourite to win the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest with ‘Knock Knock, Whose There’ (sold a million records), Hopkin narrowly lost to Ireland’s Dana with ‘All Kinds of Everything’

9 – This Icelander with a band of followers, exiled from Iceland for three years, claimed to have ‘discovered’ Greenland in 982.  To entice his compatriots to leave Iceland (11% covered in glaciers) and migrate to this new-found island – over 80% covered in glaciers – he emphasised the grass he found there by calling it…‘Greenland’.  Who was he? E (4 letters) T (3 letters) R (3 letters)
ERIK THE RED (c.950-c.1003). He persuaded hundreds to migrate to Greenland in 25 ships in about 986.  Only 14 ships are believed to have arrived safely.  Initially there were 400-500 settlers in Eystribygd (‘Eastern Settlement’).  They grew to be 2000-3000 and maintained contact with Europe till about 1350 and gradually died out

10 – What was the first pitched battle of the First English Civil War (1642-66)?  And in which City did King Charles 1 then spend Christmas and occupy after that? E (8 letters), O (6 letters)
EDGEHILL, S. Warwickshire (Sunday 23 Oct. 1662), OXFORD.  The Battle was indecisive. The poor tactics of the Royalist cavalry – failing to follow up on their strength and advantage – didn’t bode well for the future

11 – Adj. of person, quality, etc, that cannot be tired out; unwearying, unremitting. I (13 letters)
INDEFATIGABLE. From Latin – indefatigabilis, (IN-)defatigare – to wear out

12 – Cricket: an off-break bowled with the apparent leg-break action; sometimes used metaphorically for a ‘disguised’ leading question. G (6 letters)
GOOGLY. Origin unknown.  Colloquially called ‘the wrong’un’, ‘Bosie or Bosey’ after Bernard Bosanquet (1877-1936) the English cricketer who originally devised the googly to deceive batsmen.  He first used it in 1900 and was most successful in the first Test against the Australians in 1905, taking 8 wickets for 107, giving England a 213-run victory. He became the first player in first-class cricket to score two centuries and take 10 wickets in the same match – only two players since have achieved the feat (as of 2015)

13 – Noun. A choice of phrasing or even a single word that distinguishes one group of people from another; a long-standing formula, doctrine, or phrase, etc, held to be true by a party or sect. S (10 letters)
SHIBBOLETH.  Middle English from the Hebrew Bible – SHIBBOLETH/SIBBOLET, ear of corn, used as a Nationality Test for its difficult pronunciation (King James Bible, Judges 12: 5-6). Having crossed the River Jordan for home, 42,000 Ephraimites lost their lives after being captured and verbally ‘tested’ by the Gileadites. In Northern Ireland:  Derry (RC/Nationalist) – Londonderry (Protestant/Loyalist); in Australia and New Zealand ‘Fish & Chips’ is pronounced differently. New Zealanders hear Australians say ‘feesh and cheeps’, while Australians hear New Zealanders say ‘fush and chups’. Under German Occupation in WW2, the Dutch used the pronunciation of the seaside town ‘Scheveningen’ to detect Germans – Germans pronounce the first syllable (‘sch’) like the English ‘she’, the Dutch pronounce the ‘c’. And in the Pacific, Americans used the word ‘lollapalooza’ as a challenge to unidentified persons as the Japanese often pronounced both L and R as rolled Rs…In the dark, if sentries heard ‘rorra’ in reply to their challenge, they’d open fire

14 – Adj. of the river-bank or owner of property on a river-bank. R (8 letters)
RIPARIAN.  From Latin – riparius, bank

15 – Person given to living in isolation or seclusion. R (7 letters)
RECLUSE. From Latin – recludere, reclus, as (RE-)cludere – to shut

16 – Track or scent of an animal. S (5 letters)
SPOOR. From Africaans MDu – spo(o)r, plural: spoors – footprints or tracks, trails left by a person or animal, e.g. wagon-spoors. And the phrase ‘on spoor’, following the trail

17 – A native of Poland, who died in 1543, known as the father of modern astronomy.  C (10 letters)

18 – Buddhism & Hinduism: 1 Sum of a person’s actions in a previous existence, viewed as deciding his or her fate in future. 2 Destiny. K (5 letters)
KARMA. Sanskrit – action, fate

19 – Name of the Bell at Lloyd’s of London rung wherever there’s an important announcement for the underwriters.  L (6 letters)
LUTINE.  Bell from HMS Lutine shipwrecked in a storm in 1799 off Vlieland, a West Frisian Island. Originally a French Frigate launched in 1779, it was handed over by French Royalists – with fifteen other ships – to Admiral Samuel Hood (1724-1816) at the end of the Siege of Toulon in 1793. In the Lutine’s shipwreck, only one of some 240 passengers and crew survived. The Bell, a cannon, and the rudder were recovered in 1858.   Today, only about 20% of its £1.2 million of its bullion and coin – now estimated at £125 million –  have been recovered; and the Dutch Crown Jewels are said to be among the lost cargo

20 – Norwegian who collaborated with Germany in 1940, whose name became synonymous with ‘collaborator’ or ‘traitor’.  Q (8 letters)
Vidrun QUISLING (1887-1945).  Founded the Norwegian Fascist party, Nasjonal Samling (National Gathering) in 1933. Vehemently antisemitic, he met Hitler in 1939. From 1942, he led the pro-German puppet government called ‘the Quisling Regime’. In 1945, he was tried in Oslo as a traitor, found guilty, and shot by firing squad

December 2023

1 – Victorian postmen were nicknamed ‘Robins’ because of their red-breasted coloured uniforms. Robins on Christmas cards came to represent the postman who delivered the card. What’s the common bird on American Christmas cards? C (8 letters).
CARDINAL. The male cardinal has scarlet plumage and a lovely song and features on US Christmas cards.

Contrary to common belief, it wasn’t Prince Albert who introduced the Christmas tree to England in 1840s – it was George 111’s Queen in 1800. What’s her name? C (9 letters)
Queen CHARLOTTE [of Mecklenburg-Streglitz] (1744-1818) decorated the first known English tree at Queen’s Lodge, Windsor, with candles, baubles, toys and sweets in 1800. The children who gathered for the large party around the tree were given presents of the toys and sweets. Apparently, by 1820, Christmas trees were not unusual among the rich.

2 – Norway sends a Christmas tree from Oslo to London in thanks for British support in WW2 – the first one given in 1942. Newcastle-upon-Tyne also receives a large Christmas tree from another Norwegian town for its support in the War. Which town? B (6 letters).

Which Angel sometimes decorates the top of Christmas trees? G (7 letters).

3 – According to legend, a famous Protestant Reformer ‘invented’ the Christmas Tree. As he was walking home one winter night, he was struck by the beauty of the starry sky through the evergreen trees. Inspired by this Saviour-given vision, he decided to erect a tree at home and decorated it with candles standing in for the stars. Who was he? L (6 letters)
Martin LUTHER (1483-1546). In Northern Europe, Christmas trees became associated with upper-class Protestant homes; Catholics had Christmas cribs. The Vatican put up its first Christmas tree in 1982.

4 – Distinguished historian, ex-Director of the Wellcome Institute, and remarkable polymath – he wrote or edited over 100 books – was a member of Marina Allotments. He had Plot 70 and it’s still in his name. What’s it called? P (7 letters – including [‘s])
PORTER’S. Roy Porter FBA (1946-2002) had an amazing range of interests. He had phenomenal energy, was extraordinarily productive, and possessed a special generosity of spirit. He published (notably): a history of London, a history of medicine, and on the English Enlightenment. (Porter is recorded speaking on medicine’s history and the Enlightenment on You Tube)

5 – In 1992, a Canadian philanthropist and inventor – a refugee from Nazi Austria – bought Herstmonceux Castle. He gave the Castle to Queen’s University, Ontario, his first university. Herstmonceux Castle contains a College in his name. What’s it called? B (5 letters)
BADER COLLEGE. Alfred Bader (1924-2018) lived for a time in a modest house in Bexhill with his second wife. (Alluding here only to part of Bader’s philanthropy)

6 – The Auction House founded in Battle in 1792 has two premises. One is in the old cinema and the other in a large warehouse by the Station. The philanthropist (2 above) regularly attended the Picture Sales and gave his large picture collection to Queen’s University, Ontario. What’s the Auction House called? B & H (7 & 6 letters)
BURSTOW & HEWETT Auctioneers, Battle

7 – Nominated for an Oscar five times – but, alas, never won – and nicknamed ‘The First Lady of Hollywood’, this actress starred in 42 films including Life with Father (1947), I Remember Mama (1948) and three films with Cary Grant – most memorably in Penny Serenade (1941). Her surname? D (5 letters)
Irene DUNNE (1898-1990). Penny Serenade (1941), The Awful Truth (1937), and Life with Father [with Elizabeth Taylor, aged 15] (1947) are on You Tube

8 – Nominated for an Oscar in her first three films: The Little Foxes (1941) The Pride of the Yankees (1942) and won for Mrs Miniver (1942), this actress starred in Hitchcock’s favourite of his own films, Shadow of a Doubt (1943). And also memorably in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), and The Search for Bridey Murphy (1956). Her surname? W (6 letters)
Teresa WRIGHT (1918-2005). The Search for Bridey Murphy (1956), The Little Foxes (1941) and The Pride of the Yankees (1942) are on You Tube

9 – Person who is self-indulgent or devoted to sensuous luxury. S (8 letters)
SYBARITE – from Sybaris, S. Italy – inhabitants noted for luxury

10 – Person with a powerful voice. S (10 letters)
STENTORIAN – from Gk herald in the Trojan War

11 – Adj. of voice: pleasing to hear, musical, glowing. M (11 letters)
MELLIFLUOUS – Old F or Late L mellifluus from mel/honey + fluere flow

12 – To obscure or confuse. O (9 letters)
OBFUSCATE – Late L obfuscare – OB: towards/facing – fuscus: dark

13 – Descend from a train or dismount from a horse. A (6 letters)

14 – Adj. used in connection with courts of law – esp. application of medical knowledge to legal problems. F (8 letters)

15 – Adj. & noun – designed to aid the memory. M (8 letters)
MNEMONIC – Medieval L mnemonicus (from Gk) – mindful

16 – Source of wealth or prosperity; a large output (esp. of a mine); a run of good health. B (7 letters)
BONANZA – orig. US from Sp – fair weather

17 – Minor weakness or idiosyncrasy. F (6 letters)

18 – The Hindu practice of a widow immolating herself on her husband’s funeral pyre. S (6 letters)
SUTTEE – from Sanskrit – sati – faithful wife

19 – Theory that the Earth is a self-regulating interconnected complex system, a ‘Superorganism’. G (4 letters)
GAIA Hypothesis – name suggested by William Golding to James Lovelock (1919-2022) from GAIA/GAEA – the Female Primordial Deity representing the Earth

20 – Term used for the Age of humans’ influence on the Earth since the Industrial Revolution (c. 1780) and esp. since the Great Acceleration (post WW2). A (12 letters)
ANTHROPOCENE – The Anthropocene Epoch is an unofficial unit of geological time, used to describe the most recent period in the Earth’s history – caused by really significant Human Activity – when humans changed the ecosystem. (Gk Anthropos – human being)

September 2023

1 – Bodiam Castle was restored and renovated by two people. The first was a wealthy landowner, Squire of Brightling, MP (1780-1812), slave owner, and philanthropist. He bought the Castle for 3,000 guineas in 1828. The second was a travel writer, explorer, Viceroy of India (1899-1905) and Foreign Secretary (1919-1924). He acquired the Castle in 1917. What are their surnames? F (6 letters), C (6 letters)
John ‘Mad Jack’ FULLER (1757-1834), he preferred, ‘Honest Jack’.  Fuller watched his workmen restoring the Castle through a telescope from a tower (a folly) he built at Brightling.  George Nathaniel CURZON (1859-1925), 1st Marquess of Kedleston, lived at Bodiam Manor and left the Castle to the National Trust.

2 – Alan Turing spent his early years in St Leonards staying with an uncle’s family, the Wards, while his parents were in India. Decimus Burton built the Ward’s house, the Italianate-style Baston Lodge, in 1850 in Upper Maze Hill. Turing attended school from six-to-ten years old at nearby St Michael’s in 20 Charles Rd. It was at an American university (1936-38) that Turing’s genius flowered and from which he received his PhD. What’s its name. P (9 letters)
Estate: LEONARDSLEE. Family: LODER.  Sir Edmund Loder, 2nd Baronet (1849-1920) developed hydrid Loderi rhododendrons.  Fortunately, Leonardslee re-opened to the public is 2019.

3 – A house and magnificent 240 acre estate near Horsham famous for its gardens, woods, lakes, wallabies, and Rhododendrons – a species of which is named after the family who owned it for four generations (1889-2010). The gardens, started in 1801, are called ‘the finest woodland gardens in England’. What’s the estate’s name? L (10 letters). The family’s name? L (5 letters)
PRINCETON. Turing’s work greatly impressed John von Neumann, Albert Einstein, and others at Princeton’s Institute of Advanced Studies.  There’s a life-size statue of Turing at Princeton, and the Alumni have voted him their second most important student

4 – Able to relieve pain; mutually soothing. A (7 letters)
ANODYNE.  From the Greek anodunos ‘painless’.

5 – Person highly skilled in the technique of a fine art, especially music. V (8 letters)
VIRTUOSO. Italian, literally ‘learned, skilful’.

6 – Mammal’s back teeth used for chewing and grinding. M (5 letters)
MOLAR. From the Latin mola ‘millstone’.

7 – Trouble and annoy continually or repeatedly. H (6 letters)
HARASS.  From Old French harer ‘to set a dog on’.

8 – Over sentimental in music, drama, film, etc. S (8 letters)
SCHMALTZ. Yiddish from German schmalz (no ‘t’) ‘dripping lard’.

9 – Mental constitution, view or feeling, or mode of behaviour, peculiar to a person; anything highly individualized or eccentric. I (12 letters)

10 – System of ideas at the basis of an economic or political theory; the manner of thinking of a class or group. I (8 letters)

11 – Name of the Publisher that was effectively ‘made’ by the publication of J. K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter novel. B (10 letters)

12 – A large number of starlings in flight are known as a ‘gathering’ or a ‘murmuration’, what’s a gathering of pheasants in flight called? B (7 letters)

13 – The maxim that ‘anything that can go wrong will go wrong’. Two words. M (7 letters) L (3 letters)

14 – Name for a green woodpecker. Y (6 letters)
YAFFLE.  The green woodpecker was known as ‘the laughing bird’. ‘Yaffle’ was used as a verb ‘to sound like a green woodpecker’.

15 – Words that read the same backwards or forwards. P (11 letters)
PALINDROME. From the Greek palindromos ‘running back again’.

16 – Stage name of Frederick Austerlitz. A (7 letters)
Fred ASTAIRE (1899-1987).

17 – Branch of biology concerned with the study of fishes. I (11 letters)
ICHTHYOLOGY. From the Greek ichthus ‘fish’.

18 – Favouritism shown to relations in bestowing office or jobs. N (8 letters)
NEPOTISM. Based on the Italian nepote, nephew, originally used of illegitimate sons of Popes.

19 – The first five Books of the Bible. P (10 letters)

20 – A cave dweller. T (10 letters)
TROGLODYTE. After the Greek name of an Ethiopian people.

August 2023

1 – The name of the 220 acre estate and country house, five miles west of Battle; and the nickname of the 18th century landscape designer who created the lakes and grounds. A (10 letters), C (10 letters)
Ashburnham Place. The Ashburnham family have occupied the property almost continuously since the mid-12th century.  Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1715-83) got his nickname from telling clients that their properties had great ‘capabilities’. He designed the gardens at Blenheim, Chatsworth, Stowe, and many others.   Today, Ashburnham Christian Trust runs the estate and the grounds are often open to the public.  Brown’s Orangery (c.1757) – now a delightful Tea Room – contains the oldest camellia in England.

2 – Surname of the self-educated 19th century radical philosopher and founding father of British sociology who first used the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’. For a time, he lived at 5 The Mount, St Leonards. S (7 letters)
(Herbert) Spencer (1820-1903)

3 – The novelist George Eliot was in love with the above (2 – ‘S’), but was sadly rejected by him. She was extremely fond of St Leonards and said ‘the sea at St Leonards is like the Mediterranean’. Which of Eliot’s novels is acclaimed the greatest? M (11 letters)
Middlemarch, A Study of Provincial Life (1871 & 1872).  Many contend it’s the greatest English novel of the 19th century. Virginia Woolf famously called it ‘one of the few English novels written for grownup people’. George Eliot, nee Mary Ann (later Marian) Evans (1819-80) visited St Leonards in 1853 and 1861 for her husband, G. H. Lewes’s health. She greatly admired Dr Emil Grosslob who ran Spa Cottage in West Hill Road.  Grosslob had made St Leonards a Spa to rival Tunbridge Wells.

4 – The active masculine and light principle of Chinese philosophy. Y (4 letters)

5 – Bringing about an easy and gentle death. E (11 letters)

6 – Break or gap, especially in a series, account or proof. H (6 letters)

7 – Breaker of images; a person who attacks cherished beliefs. I (10 letters)

8 – A dismal prophet, a denouncer of the times. J (8 letters)

9 – Young hare, especially in its first year. L (7 letters)
Leveret. From Anglo-French literally ‘little hare’

10 – Low storey or floor between two others, usually between the ground and first floor. M (9 letters)
Mezzanine. From the Italian messanino, diminutive of mezzano ‘middle’

11 – Greek physician known as the father of medicine. H (11 letters)

12 – Freedom from the possibility of error or incapable of error. I (9 letters)

13 – Where would you find the tomb of the prophet Mohammed. M (6 letters)

14 – Greek Goddess of Retribution
Nemesis. From the Greek nemo ‘give what is due’

15 – Going out of use, discarded or antiquated. O (8 letters)

16 – Standard typewriter keyboard layout. Q (6 letters)

17 – Ruling house of Russia from 1613-1917. R (7 letters)

18 – Ancient and sacred language of India’s Hindus. S (8 letters)

19 – The study of trees. D (10 letters)

20 – Narrow piece of land connecting two larger bodies of land. I (7 letters)

June 2023

1 – In 1818, Decimus Burton (aged 18) designed a house in Regent’s Park popularly known as ‘The White House’. Currently it’s for sale and is the most expensive private house in the UK. What’s the house’s name and its price? [the] H (5 letters)
The Holme.  Decimus Burton designed the house for his father, James, who built it for the family. The Holme’s on the market for £250 million.  Architectural critic Ian Nairn wrote of the house, ‘If you want a definition of Western Civilization in a single view, then here it is’.

2 – Surname of the comedian whose ‘…in Town’ series on Radio 4 takes the micky out of the towns he visits. Recently visited Hastings and St Leonards and celebrated our eccentricities. S (5 letters)
Mark STEEL.  ‘Mark Steel’s in Town’ is on BBC Sounds – Hastings, Series 9.

3 – What word connects Hebrides, Mongolia and temple. I (6 letters)

4 – Public official appointed to hear citizens’ complaints. O (9 letters)
Ombudsman.  Modern usage of the term began in Norway followed by the institution of the Ombudsman, independent of the Executive Branch of Government, in Sweden (1809).

5 – Sensation of dizziness due to heights. V (7 letters)

6 – One of the three sisters whose look turned a person to stone. G (6 letters)

7 – The peninsula now comprising Spain and Portugal. I (7 letters)

8 – Eskimo one-person canoe. K (5 letters)

9 – Sycophant. T (5 letters)

10 – Using many more words than are needed. V (7 letters)

11 – Who is called the ‘father of English poetry’. C (7 letters)

12 – Study of coins and medals. N (11 letters)

13 – Figure of speech e.g. ‘she was pure gold’. M (8 letters)

14 – What word links the Netherlands’ ruling family, a French town and a South African river. O (6 letters)

15 – Room for preparations adjoining a church. V (6 letters) or S (8 letters)
Vestry or Sacristy

16 – Divide into two branches. B (9 letters)

17 – Of fever. F (7 letters)

18 – Scale for denoting the strength of earthquakes. R (7 letters)
Richter. The Richter Scale is named after C. F. Richter, American seismologist and famous naturist, 1900-85.

19 – A word, e.g. NATO, which is formed from the initial letters of other words. A (7 letters)

20 – What battle ended the Wars of the Roses and claimed the life of Richard III, and when? B (8 letters)
Battle of BOSWORTH, 1485. The victor, Henry Tudor, became Henry V11.

May 2023

1 – From where in the Hastings area can one often see France?
The top of Fairlight Church Tower – free to climb most weekends. One of finest panoramic views in the South East.

2 – When, and for how long, was Queen Victoria in St Leonards?
As Queen, alas never.  As Princess Victoria, she was in St Leonards for three months from Nov. 4 1834 to Jan.29 1835.  She stayed at Crown House, 57 Marina, the first house James Burton built in St Leonards.

3 – A Scottish poet wrote one of his best poems while at St Leonards. Who was he, and what is the poem?
Thomas Campbell (1777-1844) and ‘Lines on the view from St Leonards’ (1831).

4 – A collectivity of larks is an ‘exaltation’, and of crows is a ‘murder’, what is a group of wrens called? H (4 letters)
A ‘herd’.

5 – What word connects land, light and strong? H (4 letters)

6 – Which Gorgon was slain by Perseus? M (6 letters)

7 – Building containing a cycle-racing track. V (9 letters)

8 – Short sightedness. M (6 letters)

9 – Wooden patterned flooring. P (7 letters)

10 – French national flag. T (9 letters)

11 – Existence everywhere at the same time.  U (8 or 10 letters)
Ubiquity or Ubiquitous.

12 – Quarter of a circle’s circumference.  Q (8 letters)

13 – The male of the honey-bee. D (5 letters)

14 – Swampy region of Florida, USA.  E (10 letters)

15 – Resembling a bear.  U (6 letters)

16 – German brothers and fairy tale collectors. G (5 letters)

17 – Bird of the crow family & Cornwall’s emblem.  C (6 letters)
Chough. Choughs left Cornwall in 1973, and returned in 2001. Today, they can be seen early in the morning at the Lizard. Their presence is believed to be tied to Cornish prosperity.

18 – What was the legal marriageable age for females and males in the UK in 1929?
12 for females and 14 for males – unchanged from Hardwicke’s Marriage Act (1753).

19 – What is the moon of Pluto called?
Charon. Dwarf planet Pluto, discovered in 1930, ‘hid’ its closely circling large moon, Charon till 1978. Charon is about half Pluto’s diameter. Pluto has four smaller satellites called Hydra, Kerberos, Styx, and Nix.

20 – Betrayer of Samson. D (7 letters)