The X-File (No.13) - January 1997

This month, The X-File celebrates its first anniversary (cheers!) and it is probably worthwhile giving a moment's thought to how this column's got on over the past year. On the other hand, let me not think backward, but forward to new life and the interminable search for the Truth…

1997 here we come! 36 new cases were opened in January after the Christmas-shopping rush and so some not inconsiderable dilution has had to be applied in this file.




Rung at




The Borough


BDa2c (out)



J A Ainsworth




BEa2c (out)



I Butters







D D Smith







D E Sibson







D E Sibson







F M Byrne







G H Campling







S Jenner


The Borough Delight Maximus : 3x3.4x2x1x2x5x456x47x58x89x8x9 lh12

First out this month is The Borough, the best of the 3 maximus methods published in time for team selection (more about that later). Standard fayre above the treble with the Londinium/Newgate/Barford/Fenchurch/ etc. etc. etc. work with a right-place line below that looks capable of bringing out the best mistakes in anyone. However, there are 4(at least)-back-bell roll-ups in every lead either at the back or off the front, and the f lead-end order is arranged at the half-lead with the climax of 2 567890ET's off the front in the middle of the course.

5280 The Borough Delight Maximus (Arr. by R.J.W. Tibbetts)

M   W   H   23456
        2   34256
    -   2   32546
    -   -   54326
-       -   63425
-   2   -   53246
    2   -   23456

The composition used is about as simple as they come and manages to achieve a glorious 9 such 8-bell roll-ups in 5280 changes. Somehow the method lacks fluency and I reckon another choice for method group would help move things along a bit - even at Southwark.

Utterby Surprise Royal : x3x4x5x6x78x8x4x7.4x58.9 lh12

This month's Royal contest is won hands down by this method although against pretty floppy opposition ( - come on Guss! Let's have something decent to write about!). Cambridge above until the treble reaches 5-6 (allowing all the usual Cambridge above-type music which is not sniffed at in the X-file offices) and work below that produces a fury of 4-bell roll-ups (there are 5 7890's off the front albeit that they're all in the middle lead). The c1 group keeps things swinging along and breaks up the calling positions better than the 'standard' methods - it's handy in spliced too.

Merevale Surprise Major : 5x34.6x56x3.4x4.5.4x4.5 lh12

Another fine tune from David Smith and the Sussex band. The work below the treble is simply reverse hunting on 4 and is certainly not new (see eg. Kenninghall). Indeed, the number of methods with the bells in a decent order below the treble must fast be running out. Merevale combines a new (and brilliant) sighting above the treble (for me anyway) with out-of-course hunting on the front (giving 8756's and 6578's in the plain course for example). Most people overlook the simple fact that such reverse pairs can be swapped whilst maintaining an in-course coursing order and, in this particular case, the DK in-course falseness does not immediately exterminate the possibility of plenty of in-course hunting. Technical stuff - ring it and find out.

Kingstown Surprise Major : x5x4.5x5.236x34x3x236x1 lh18

This is excellent - it's absolutely packed full of goodies! OK so it's got some of those inelegant contiguous places but who cares when it sounds like this! It's very similar to Turneffe (X-file No. 3) but with the G falseness removed and a j method group giving 5 leads for a short course with 4ths place calls. The work in 1-2 is fairly static, with hunting between 3rds and 6ths across the half-lead. Of January's 'Sibbo' Bristol above methods this is the best.

Rolletown Surprise Major : 34x5.4x2x3.2x2.5.4x36.5 lh18

Belfast above comes out next. Rolletown plays largely to break up the two Bristol-above methods reviewed this month. In an attempt to put some life into the front work (2 8765's and 3 8756's in the plain course - i.e. 1 more 8756 than Belfast itself) the introduction of GK falseness over Belfast's E is pretty severe. In-and-5ths removes all but the GK falseness, but also cuts out the musical leads for the tenors on the front. All in all, stick to Belfast!

Jennie Surprise Major : x5x4.5x5.36x4x3x36x7 lh12

What better way to celebrate the chance to attend one of those three Great Universities than to ring a peal of a method as pure as this. Bristol above (perfect!), and a right place work below with symmetric sections not dissimilar to Superlative. New methods along these lines must be fairly rare and it's a surprise (oops!) that this has not been rung before. Sadly the L falseness is littered throughout the course, but there should be plenty of opportunities to exploit the **78's and 87**'s off the front.

Warley Surprise Major : x5.36.4x2x36.4x4.5.6x4.7 lh12

Another new addition to the backwork library and roll-up potential in every lead to boot. This is grand stuff: reverse hunting on 4 on the front with 6x4 in the final section breaking things up just that little bit in order to give more mobility. The lack of those ugly contiguous places (except where absolutely necessary) adds a certain degree of something-or-other as well. The BHN in-course falseness is tricky though and I would be very interested to see how John Goldthorpe worked around it.

Jolesfield Surprise Major : x56x45x56x36x4x5x4x5 lh12

One way of being pretty certain that your method hasn't been rung before is to give it a non-plain bob lead head.. Jolesfield has a first lead end 14258367 and, therefore, wins this month's first prize for innovation. The order being not too far from an f lead end means that the composer probably hasn't had to be all that subtle in exploiting the Ealing work below the treble, and with at between 2 and 5 roll-up positions (at front or back) in every lead with the tenors together, the possibilities are tremendous. There are now several non-plain bob lead head methods around, but they don't seem to be over-popular for the most probable reason that everything fits together in an unfamiliar way. But this is where new ideas come from. How about a surprise method with a first lead end 14567823?

STOP PRESS! News is just in regarding the Carlsberg method ('probably the most musical method …' in the world): Redland S. Maximus (formerly Redmarley). It's a bit late for a full review (sorry Dennis) but I reckon Bristol still wins it if you want standard roll-up generation ('x56x' is not subtle; 'x5Tx14.5T definitely is even if it has been used a thousand times - sorry Dennis - again!).

Finally, the recent cryptic criticism relating, I'm told, to the matter of my identity in the pages of The Ringing World has been most interesting, if somewhat rather beside the point. To The Bishop of Bow and O.I.L. Tanker (who might they be then?) I say simply this: the truth is still out there…..

This file is now closed.


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