27 December 2016

RSS Christmas Quiz, question 10

I'm revisiting the 2016 Christmas Quiz for the Royal Statistical Society, seeking help to the answers for the above question.  I think I have 9 of them, but I give up on the others and would like your input.  (The official answers will be published by the RSS in mid-January).  (Addendum January 2017:  The answers to all the quiz questions are now posted.)

In case you want to try your hand at them first, I'll place my answers below the fold (click on "read more" when you want to see them:

i.  "overlay" (two definitions), transforms to "overlax"

ii.   ?? [answered - see Comment section]

iii.  "litter" + "P" (head of pigeon) anagrams to "triplet", which transforms to "triplex."

iv.  ?? [answered - see Comment section]

v.  "retail" minus "I" becomes "retal" which anagrams to "later," which transforms to "latex."

vi.  ?? [answered - see Comment section]

vii.  ?? ("flat stone" could be talc, slab, disc, tile, mica - none of which help me...) [answered - see Comment section]

viii.  removing the head of "napes" yields "apes," which transforms to "apex."

ix.  the note "fa" + "U.N." gives "faun", which transforms to "faux."

x.  if you give up the "d" from "hoard," you have "hoar" (grey-haired), becomes "hoax."

xi.  ??  ("poll" for head + E & N directions gives "pollen" but it can't take an "x." [answered - see Comment section]

xii.  ?? [answered - see Comment section]

xiii. a confused (anagrammed) "miser" yields "mires," which transforms to "mirex."

xiv.  if you cover a "u" with "roe" you have a "roue," which transforms to "roux."

xv.  "flu" sounds like the passage "flue", which can become "flux."

In addition to the unanswered ones, I don't know what the "second variation" is for adjusting the answers.  I wondered about removing an "x", but can't get that to work. [it's changing the first letter rather than the last one to x]

Please feel free to leave suggestions, hints, or answers in the Comments.  Thanks.

Update December 29: Thanks to the expertise of readers here, all 15 of these clues have now been decrypted (see the Comment section for answers to the more difficult ones).

And feel free to use the Comments to answer or discuss any of the other questions in the quiz.


  1. xi. pollex - the innermost digit of a forelimb, especially the thumb in a primate

    1. Excellent. New word for me. You learn something every day.

  2. For vii, remember that in the UK, cars have "tyres". Tire only related to tiredness - in this case, "flag". A flag is a standard, also. And flagstones are flat. Flag becomes flax.

    Very sneaky. I had no idea at first, but was just reading a book that used the word "flagstone" and it hit me!

    1. Yes! For the other "tire" definition I had tried "lag" +S for standard = slag (slax), but slag isn't flat. Yours is perfect - actually a triple definition.

      Many thanks Vireya.

  3. ii. should be "denial", because 'the Nile' forks Blue and White. Maybe transforms to "xenial"?

    1. Absolutely! And if substitution of an initial "x" is in fact the other transformation, then the "filter feeder" in iv. is probably "oyster" transforming to "xyster." But I haven't found out how to construct "oyster" from the last part of the cryptic.

      Thank you, Kniffler.

    2. Even more. xii is now obviously "nonet", which backwards is a "tenon" joint, which transforms to "xenon."


    3. Oh, obviously :/

      Afraid I can't help with oyster, but I now think iv might be "codes" (as in to encode / to program [in R])

    4. I quite agree with your suggestion of "codes." I didn't know that there was an "R code" one could write.

  4. Oyster cards are used to travel on London's underground aka Tube.

    BTW Q3 and Q7 - any ideas?

    1. Thank you for finishing iv., anon. It's been a long time since I visited and lived in London - before the advent of "oyster cards"

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oyster_card (Oyster was conceived and promoted because of the metaphorical implications of security and value in the component meanings of the hard bivalve shell and the concealed pearl, the association of London and the River Thames with oysters, and the well-known travel-related idiom "the world is your oyster".)

      For Q3 and Q7 on the quiz, I have no good answers so far. I think there's a couple weeks to go before the answers are posted.

    2. Q5 is about golf, and the Eldrick referred to is a robot that shot a hole-in-one during an exhibition at a tournament. I doubt the other golfers in the question have had that many holes-in-one, but a hole-in-one on a par 3 is also an "eagle," and The Eagles recorded the song "Pretty Maids All in a Row."

  5. Q2, iii is clearly the sequence of the Sherlock Holmes novels, so the fourth item should be The Valley of Fear.

  6. Q11. 114 (Flerovium)
    The chemical symbols of atomic numbers give America states in order, eg Al (13 - Aluminum ) Alabama, Ar (18 –Argon) Arkansas etc.

    1. Excellent. And the "recent addition" then obviously refers to the periodic table, not to the states. Thank you.

  7. 4.vi. Richard 1st, Richard 2nd, Richard 3rd
    9.1 . Cassius Clay/Mohammad Ali
    ii. Siam/Thailand?
    iii. Congo/Democratic Republic of the Congo
    iv. Opal Fruits/Starburst

    Given up as I can't get Q3, most of 4, 7, 13 and wtf is Q8?????

  8. Excellent again. I had to look up the second part of the Siam/Thailand conversion. Found it here -



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