What would you do ? (6) The Puzzle

“What would you do ?” used to figure on the cover of a boys comic called “Boys’ World”. This was a publication, obviously, aimed at boys and first appeared on January 26th 1963. There were 89 issues before the comic was merged with Eagle in 1964. The last issue of “Boys’ World” came out on October 3rd 1964.

I used to buy “Boys’ World”, and this was mainly for the front cover which always featured a kind of puzzle. It was called “What would you do ?” and was based on somebody being in what Ned Flanders would call “A dilly of a pickle”. Here’s the situation:

The yellow box sets the scene, and the task is for you to solve the situation. Perhaps you might like to write your idea in the “Comments” section.

Here’s the yellow box enlarged:

So…..it’s one “A dilly of a pickle”.  Alone on the front line. Cut off from the rest of his unit. He shelters from the bombs and shells in a ruined church. His own lines and safety lie to the east. But which way is east? The weather vane  has been shot to pieces and the smoke of the battle obscures the disc of the sun.

What can  he do??


Filed under History, Humour, Literature, Personal, Writing

20 responses to “What would you do ? (6) The Puzzle

  1. Follow the way the church faces

  2. The church altar will be facing east. Let’s hope he knows that.

  3. I’m afraid Andrew answered it. If that isn’t the mag’s answer, I’d say he’d have to stay hidden till nighttime.

    • Well, we’ll just have to see if Andrew was right! You are certainly right about waiting until nightfall though. At the moment it looks a pretty hectic place to be wandering around in.

  4. A real “dilly of a pickle” he’s in, especially if he’s not of Christian faith. Assuming it is a relatively ‘modern’ church (within the last few hundred years) indeed use the alter to determine east. Opposite the alter is the west door.

    • Well, it looks as if this problem was a little on the easy side! As we shall see next time, though, a Muslim ought to be able to solve it as well because Muslim graves all face east and he might work out that the Christian altar probably does as well. It might be a little more difficult if he is an Indian Hindu or a Gurkha who I think are Buddhists, but don’t quote me on that one!

  5. Yup, what they said – the altar faces east in older churches.

    • Yes, you are right. This was perhaps too easy a question. Still, it’ll be nice to sit quietly and wait for it to get dark, as GP Cox suggested. It’s a pity we’ve got no beer though.

  6. Chris Waller

    The altar is usually at the east end of the church so he should walk towards the altar and keep going. However, this will only be a rough direction since churches are not necessarily aligned precisely on the east-west axis. My local church is 13 degrees off axis.

    • Hi Chris. I suppose the less distance he has to go the better. 13% is a rather large error. Hopefully it was the Anglo-Saxons who were responsible for that, rather than the Diocese Surveyor twelve years ago !

  7. Jan

    I don’t want to nit-pick this dilly of a pickle but, surely, it would be Red Army soldiers that needed to know where East was. This steely-eyed, square-jawed Tommy Atkins should “Go West, young man” to find his own frontline. Unless, that is, he is one of those fiendish SS truppen, who featured in many a True Commando Story, masquerading as a Tommy but always let down by an inability to explain the intricacies of LBW.

    • Yes, in general, an Allied soldier should go west, but there were occasions when east was the direction to take. A good example would be the Scheldt Estuary clearing where the Allies were attacking from the east (from Antwerp) and from the south (from the southern bank of the Scheldt, towards Middelburg) but, yes, in general, the Allies should have walked west.

  8. Chris Waller

    I should have added that my local church is late C 13th (around 1260-ish). A question arises: how did they determine the east-west axis? By using a compass? Or would they have taken the position of sunrise on the day of the equinox? I used a compass and adjusted for the difference between magnetic and grid north. By the way, the tower of my local church leans to the east and is noticeably bent so this may have a bearing (sic) on the matter.

    • From what I’ve seen the very first churches were always built in the middle of a stone circle, or on the site of some ancient monolith, whatever. The priest would only have to ask his future flock which stone aligned with which period of the year and which particular festival and he’d be ready to start digging. Priests probably became quite expert at looking at old stone circles.
      In a similar way, a TV programme once said that straight roads were not Roman ones but were originally built by the Celts. The Romans just put a decent surface on them!

  9. Jan

    Your blog reminds of those rare, but wonderful, 40 minute (or even double!!!) periods when the master abandoned that days lesson and the class tackled a totally unrelated matter. Ted Kettel was great at this but I shall never forget David Phillips Friday afternoon digression on racehorse training in Ripon.

    I suspect he had a £1 stake on that weekend’s ITV Seven.

    • I was a dab hand at that type of thing myself but none of them could compare with “Sammy Corner, the deputy head before the First World War. His obituary in the Nottinghamian said, “His interests were so wide, though, that he fell easy prey to those who preferred General Knowledge to Geometry. To get him to leave Euclid Book XI for a talk on meteors was almost too easy.””

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