By Eric Shackle
Bell to chime 2011 times
At precisely 10.30pm on Christmas Eve, six bell ringers will begin tolling the bell of Dewsbury Minster in Yorkshire, 2011 times, to finish on the stroke of midnight. It's a 600-year-old custom, called the Devil's Knell.
The bells remind the townspeople of the number of years that have elapsed since the birth of Christ. It's supposed to mark the Devil's departure from the Earth.
In the 15th century a local knight, Sir Thomas de Soothill, in a fit of rage, murdered a servant boy by throwing him into a mill pond. To expiate his crime he gave the tenor bell, Black Tom, requiring it to be tolled at his own funeral. It is now rung on Christmas Eve to signify that the First Eucharist of Christmas proclaims the defeat of evil.
"We ring about 26 blows per minute" says bellringer Derek C. Johnstone. "Each person takes his turn to ring 100 blows, then signs them off on a sheet.
"We have a target time chart to ensure we stay on track to finish at midnight.We ring from the comfort of the ringing chamber. The wind through the louvres makes ringing an alpine sport."
The other ringers: Ronalda and Richard Johnstone, Gill and Denny Flynn, and Hazel Crabb.
The British Post Office issued a special stamp in 1986, commemorating this historic event.
The Anglo Dutch brewery in Dewsbury produces Devil's Knell beer, described as "A reddish ‘winter beer'".
You can listen to the Devil's Knell here: the Devil's Knell.
See the Dewsbury stamp, 1986.
Saturday, 17 December 2011
From Sydney, Australia.
(anagram: NEW, SANE PEN ON PRESS)
In the anagram world, it's well known that MONKEYS WRITE the NEW YORK TIMES.
That's not surprising, since the infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite number of times will almost surely type the complete works of William Shakespeare.
Nor is it surprising that Rupert Murdoch recently closed down his infamous THE NEWS OF THE WORLD, since it was a HOT, LEWD SHEET (FROWN) with HOT, TENDER FLESH. WOW!
THE SCOTSMAN (Edinburgh) with typical frugality, HASN'T COST ME
THE GLOBE AND MAIL (Toronto, Canada) is seen as GENIAL, HOT, BLAMED or ABLE, HOT, MALIGNED.
The letters forming THE IRISH TIMES say EITHER HIT, MISS.
SUNDAY BUSINESS POST (Dublin) can be shuffled to read SITS ON UNUSED BYPASS. ASSESS PUBS ON NUDITY.
A London newspaper, THE DAILY EXPRESS, can claim I HELP SEXY STAR!
Another, THE GUARDIAN, can be shuffled to say HUGE, RADIANT. Mix the letters again, and they produce the less complimentary HIT AND ARGUE, or (worse still) DRAINAGE HUT.
THE OBSERVER has a SEVERE THROB that EVER BOTHERS THE SOBER REV.
THE MAIL ON SUNDAY can claim that it LEADS ON HUMANITY.
The letters forming the words THE INDEPENDENT can say it's THE INTENDED PEN or THE INDENTED PEN. Or PENNED, THEN EDIT.
The CAMBRIDGE EVENING NEWS (England) is NICE GEM, NEVER WINDBAGS.
The FINANCIAL TIMES is FINE (ITALICS), MAN!
THE STRAITS TIMES (Singapore) claims IT IS THE SMARTEST. IT'S THE SMART SITE. ITS ITEMS SHATTER.
Australia's SYDNEY MORNING HERALD is MERRY, DANDY ON ENGLISH. Its stablemate, the AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW, is INFLUENTIAL (VIEW AS A RAIN ARC) offering FAIR VALUE IN ANTI-RACIAL NEWS.
Anagrams for some US newspapers:
AKRON BEACON-JOURNAL says OK ON A JOCULAR BANNER (it must sometimes display amusing banner headlines). Another anagram indicates AN OK, AN ABLE, CONJUROR.
Atlanta JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION = JUST OR LUNATIC NOTION?
Austin (Texas) AMERICAN STATESMAN = AM SMART, NICE AS NEAT; MAINSTREAM, SANE ACT; NASTIEST CAMERAMAN.
THE BALTIMORE SUN = NOBLE? THAT I'M SURE.
BUSINESS FIRST can be shuffled to say IS BEST FUN, SIRS.
THE BOSTON GLOBE = HOT, BEST ON GLOBE or HOT, GENTLE BOOBS.
CHARLOTTE OBSERVER = BRAVE, HOTTER, CLOSER. It's a newspaper with ABLER, HOTTER COVERS which give things a RATHER CLEVER BOOST.
CHARLOTTE SUN HERALD = CUTE, NEAT, DROLL, HARSH.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES can be shuffled to show that this newspaper is AMUSING, CHOICEST! Mix them again, and you find that it IS CATCHING MOUSE.
The CHICAGO TRIBUNE wins a prize for being a BIG ANCHOR CUTIE with A BIG, NICER TOUCH.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR = IS COMIC, INTERIOR ENCHANTS.
CINCINNATI POST? Well, ANTS PICNIC ON IT.
Cleveland's THE PLAIN DEALER has A DIRE, LETHAL PEN.
THE (Columbus, Ohio) DAILY REPORTER can be shuffled to form two apparently related anagrams, revealing that a HYPER ALERT EDITOR REPORTED HEARTILY.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS = NOW SANER, MILD SLANG.
THE DENVER POST = PREVENTED SHOT, or TENDER TV HOPES.
DENVER ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS can be re-arranged to say SUNNY, DOWN-MARKET (OVER-NICE?). Mix them again, and they tell you that an UNKNOWN SECRETARY MOVED IN.
DESERET NEWS, SALT LAKE CITY can be shuffled to read SWEETER, SLICK (SAY TALENTED). Mix them again, and you find it LIKES NEWLY-CREATED STATES and prints STATELY ARTICLES WEEKENDS.
DETROIT FREE PRESS = FEED ITS REPORTERS; REFER EDITOR'S PETS; SETS REPORTED FIRE.
THE DETROIT NEWS can be shuffled to say it's WISE TO THE TREND with a RED-HOT, TENSE WIT. Mix the letters again, and they recall that in the RED-HOT TWENTIES THE EDITORS WENT. IT'S TETHERED NOW, but still NEEDS HOTTER WIT. ON THE WEIRD TEST it WRITES TO THE END. NOW EDIT THE REST!
EL PASO TIMES also spells A POET SMILES. Mix the letters again, and they say SEEMS A PILOT who AIMS TO SLEEP.
FORT LAUDERDALE SUN-SENTINEL can be mixed to show that this newspaper is NEAT (UNDERLINED) OR FAULTLESS. Shuffled again, they say it has a FAULTLESS RETURN ON DEADLINE.
THE HARTFORD COURANT yields these three anagrams: (1) TRUTH AND HERO FACTOR, (2) HURRAH TO NOTED CRAFT and (3) TRUTH AND/OR HOT FARCE.
HOUSTON CHRONICLE = RICH. NOTE, NO SLOUCH; CHERISH – NOT UNCOOL; RUN HONEST, CHIC LOO.
INDIANAPOLIS NEWS can be shuffled to say it's IDEAL, WINS ON A SPIN. Mix them again, and they suggest NOW SLIP IN AN ASIDE. And if you do that, you're rewarded by a WIN AND A LIP'S NOISE (that's a kiss!)
INDIANAPOLIS STAR can be shuffled to say it's A LAD'S INSPIRATION or INSPIRATIONAL, SAD. Mix them again, and they tell us that A SNAIL IS NOT RAPID. AND IT IS ON A SPIRAL!
The INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY yields two highly complimentary anagrams: IS SUNNY, ASSORTED, VISIBLE and its BODY IS AS SUNNIEST SILVER.
KANSAS CITY STAR says SACK ANY ARTISTS! Mix those letters again, and you find that that ISN'T A SCARY TASK and that objections can be overcome by A SCANT, ARTY KISS.
LOS ANGELES TIMES is SO ELEGANT, SMILES. Or SO SLIM, AS GENTEEL, or even IS TENSE: SMALL EGO.
THE (MEMPHIS) COMMERCIAL APPEAL can also say CALL, COME, I AM THE PAPER! Mix them again, and they proclaim AM THE COMPILER PALACE.
THE MIAMI HERALD boasts HAIL! I'M THE DREAM; HI! I'M HAMLET, DEAR; HA! I'M THE IDEAL MR.
MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL can also say JOLLIER, KEEN, MUTUAL, SANE WIN. Mix them again, and they tell you this newspaper is JEWEL-LIKE, LUMINOUS, NEAT RAN.
MINNEAPOLIS-ST.PAUL PIONEER PRESS can be shuffled to read SUNNIEST, PROPER, APPEASES MILLION. Mix them again, and you get a fine piece of alliteration: PRIME PURPLE POSITIONAL SANENESS.
MINNEAPOLIS – ST. PAUL STAR TRIBUNE can also read BRILLIANT! PURE, NEAT ASSUMPTIONS! Mix them again, and they say STIPULATION – LET'S BRAIN SUPERMAN!
NEWARK STAR-LEDGER can be shuffled to say WE'RE GRAND TALKERS who KNEW LARGE TRADERS.
NEW JERSEY TIMES can ask WIN? YES! (MERE JEST). Mix them again, and you find the reply: YES, I'M NEWER JEST.
NEWSDAY, LONG ISLAND can be shuffled to say DANDY AS WELL – SIGN ON! Mix them again, and they form AND NOW SADLY SINGLE or SNOW DELAYS LANDING.
THE NEW YORK TIMES (quoted earlier) can be shown to contain KEEN WORTHY ITEMS or else THE MONKEYS WRITE it.
THE OREGONIAN can be shuffled to read ONE GIANT HERO. Mix the letters again, and you find the message, NO! IGNORE HEAT! or GENERATION OH!
ORLANDO SENTINEL is DONE IN NEAT ROLLS; AND LOT ONE-LINERS. Its longer title, THE ORLANDO SENTINEL is TOLERANT, SHIELD NONE; but INTENSE ON THE DOLLAR.
PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS can be shuffled to say HAPPY HEADLINES WILL AID. Mix the letters again, and they boast WELL, I AN IDEAL HAPPY DISH!
PROVIDENCE JOURNAL-BULLETIN is ON ROLL, REJUVENATED IN PUBLIC.
(ROCHESTER) DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE can also say DECENT, CORDIAL – MARCH ON! (or ON MARCH). Mix them again, and you find the message CHARM CARTOON DECLINED, and the reply CARTOON DRENCHED – CLAIM!
THE SACRAMENTO BEE can be shuffled to say THE NAME? BEST OR ACE! Mix the letters again, and you find SERENE, COMBAT HEAT.
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH can be re-arranged to show a puzzling SLID PAST THIS OCTOPUS. Mix them again, and you find STATISTICS SHOULD POP or AS POLITICS THUDS – STOP!
SALT LAKE TRIBUNE is LIKE BEST, NATURAL; IS NEAT, ALERT BULK.
SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS has SANER SEXINESS NOW ON TAP.
SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE = GENIUS, DUE BRAIN NOTION; OBTAINED INGENIOUS RUN; GENUINE BRAIN, NO STUDIO.
SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER = NICE SCENARIO, MARX FANS!
The letters spelling SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS can also say WARMNESS CURES, ENJOY! or a somewhat cryptic CREW ENJOYS SURNAMES.
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER can be shuffled to read GENTEEL, TALL RECEPTIONISTS. Mix the letters twice more, and you find INTERESTING, TALL TELESCOPE or POLTERGEIST TALENT LICENSE.
SEATTLE TIMES = SET LATE ITEMS; MEET ITS TALES.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE can be shuffled to say THE BRAIN TEAM PUT (or BRAIN PUT THE TEAM). Mix them again, and they say REMAIN – BET THAT UP! or disclose a mysterious I'M A BETTER HAT PUN.
Top-selling national newspaper USA TODAY shouts OY! – US DATA, while USA TODAY NEWSPAPER can be re-arranged in A SANE, SUPPORTED WAY.
The 21 letters forming VERO BEACH PRESS JOURNAL (Florida) can be shuffled to read HE'S JOCULAR, BRAVE PERSON. Mix them again, and you get JOCULAR, SHARP – EVEN SOBER! And for a third anagram, you find the slogan OUR SHARP RELEVANCE: JOBS!
VIRGINIAN PILOT can be shuffled to say NIP IN – GO TRIVIAL! Mix the letters again, and you find OIL VIA PRINTING is PILING ON TRIVIA, with a LOVING PAIR IN IT, and a VIP IN TAILORING.
WALL ST. JOURNAL delivers a simple message: JOLT ALL, WARN US (is that us or U.S.?)
WASHINGTON POST can GASP ON THIS TOWN, or you may call it a GIANT TOWN'S SHOP.
THE WASHINGTON TIMES can be shuffled to read HONEST MIGHT, SANE WIT. Mix the letters twice more, and they say HAT ON – MIGHTIEST NEWS! followed by WHITE-HOT ASSIGNMENT!
FOOTNOTE. These and many other computer-generated anagrams can be obtained easily (and free of charge) from either of two Internet servers, run by computer wizards William Tunstall-Pedoe, of Cambridge, England (AnagramGenius) and Anu Garg, of Seattle, Washington: wordsmith.org/anagram
Tuesday, 27 December 2011
From Sydney, Australia.
Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.