Spartacus Paraclete wrote:
What is your opinion of the content (and purpose) of the competitions in the 1956 editions of "Circuit"?
I'm not quite sure if this is a tongue-in-cheek question directed at the 'spam-amis' twaddle, or a genuine question relating to the topic of this thread...
Both BLL and P&P have argued that the competitions are a sort of code, perhaps directed at secret CPS cells.
Unfortunately, I have never viewed the early issues of CIRCUIT first hand.
Do you have any theories Paddy? If you do, I'd be interested in hearing them.
I was tempted once to think there might be something in the idea of a code, but I honestly don’t know, and am rather doubtful now.
Like everyone else, I’ve always been intrigued by the bizarre mismatch between the banal contents of “Circuit” and the grandiose chivalric ambitions enunciated in the Priory regulations. The only connection I could find was in the edition of “Circuit” for 1 July 1956. It’s in the first question of that month’s competition, which was set by Stanis Bellas. You may well have seen this before, but I’ll quote it anyway.
‘PROBLEME No. 1 - VALEUR 10 POINTS
Capitaine Français, né près de GRENOBLE, il se couvrit de gloire pendant les guerres “faites sous trois rois”. Sa bravoure lui valut un surnom célèbre; avant d’expirer il exprima à un autre combatant ces paroles : “Je meurs un homme de bien, mais j’ai pitié de vous, ... qui combattez contre votre Roi, votre patrie et votre serment”...
Quel est son nom et prénom véritables?
[Problem no. 1 . Value 10 points. French captain, born near Grenoble, he covered himself in glory during the wars under three kings. His bravery earned him a celebrated surname. Before expiring he expressed these words to another combatant. “I die a man of property, but I pity you who fight against your king, your country and your oath.” Have you recognised him? What is his real name and surname? Stanis Bellas.]
The answer, revealed in August, and which you’ve probably guessed, is “PIERRE de TERRAIL, Seigneur de Bayard.” In other words Le Chevalier Bayard .
This is a name which not only evokes chivalric glamour, of course, but also has an intriguing contemporary resonance (for the French after the war) which is discussed by Guy Patton in his books: Château Bayard, the centre of the Ecole Nationale d’Uriage and its Knight-Monks.
Other answers given in August to the other questions were to a little crossword, one of the answers to which is Nelson (as in Lord Nelson); and King Louis IV (interesting); and the planet Pluto (hmm).
I do have a theory about an aspect of these competitions in general which I’ll leave to another time.