The X-File (No.21) - September 1997

As mentioned briefly last month, it seems that some method designers are getting a little bit miffed that their new inventions are not being reviewed by the X-file. The answer? Must do better. The staff here selects methods for review purely on merit - being a well-respected, high-flying megastar carries no weight around here. If we don't think your method is any good, it won't get included. Simple as that…….….. Sorry? Did somebody mention cash? Oh yes, we accept cash.

Here's this month's bribe-free selection of chart-toppers:




Rung at




Double Coslany





I Butters




BD(in) BDa1a2c(out)



T E Hinton


Judgement Day



Birmingham, St Martin


D G Hull


St Mary's Gate





D D Smith







R C L Brown





West Ham


J B Keeler


Double Coslany Court Bob Caters : lh 1

The concept is simple - take a plain major method, add another hunt bell, and you've got a new caters method. In practice, as with Double Norwich, your new creation is probably significantly harder to ring than (a) it looks, and (b) it should be. Double Coslany Major is essentially Bristol at double speed - plenty of points plus places around the treble. Adding an extra hunt bell means, in effect, that the bells above the hunt bell do their entire work one place higher up. The music is pretty good, not surprising really, given the Bristol connection, and this must have been fun, and not a little tricky, to ring.

Harrison Surprise Royal : x3x4x2.5.6x34x5x6x7.6x56.7 lh 12

The backwork of this exciting looking f-group production is characterised by back-to-back fishtails with treble bobbing in 7-8 and 9-10 around the half-lead. On the front, roll-ups start occurring as soon as the treble reaches 5-6, and with points as it leaves 7-8 and wrong double dodges across the half lead, the roll-up possibilities are maintained throughout the treble's excursion to the back. It probably won't hinder the production of a musical composition, but the in-course falseness does mar things a bit, and with a typical show of f-group-itis, all the music (7 567890s at the back, 10 0987s off the front) is rather clustered around the course-end and half-course leads.

Judgement Day Alliance Maximus : x5x4.5x5. lh 1T

Re-use (otherwise known as plagiarism) is the name of the game here, the method being a hybrid of Maypole Alliance (Bristol, but the treble misses 5-6 and 7-8), and Double Coslany (which seems to be a best-seller this month). Not surprisingly, there are no complaints music- wise, as the plain course contains a subset of the rows in a plain course of Bristol. With the treble just dodging in 1-2 and 3-4 there are only 32 changes in a lead, and the work is fast and furious. There's plenty of scope on the composition front - Bristol lead-end order and lots of leads to play with - but I suspect there's also scope for plenty of trips, particularly in the "forget to not ring Bristol" category.

St Mary's Gate Surprise Major : 3x3.4.56x5.6.34x4.5x6x7 lh 12

From the tried and trusted Sussex corporation comes a method utilising a backwork only seen once before. A London start is interrupted by places in 5-6 when the treble is in 3-4. The bells continue to wrong hunt at the back, and we get a non-coursing pair together in 7-8. The frontwork brings a coursing quadruplet together as soon as possible, and, with Bristol-style points and a dodge at the half lead, a plethora of roll-up opportunities abound until the treble returns. With only B falseness to navigate there are an abundance of true courses, but the generation of roll-ups at the back should prove a tricky challenge for the composer.

Talbot Surprise Major : x3x4x2.5.6x4x45x2x7 lh 12

Talbot's above-work is a contraction of Harrison (see above) - another case of great minds thinking alike. The 7 5678s at the back are complemented by 2 each of 6578s, 8756s and 5678s produced by the simple, and wholly right-place, frontwork. Unfortunately, the D falseness manifests itself in every lead, and it would seem unlikely that a composition worth ringing again could be put together - I doubt whether Mr Washbrook's brainchild was particularly entertaining.

Troutsdale Surprise Royal : x3x4x5x36x47x8x2x5. lh 12

Troutsdale is markedly similar to Derbyshire, sharing over 50% of its blue-line. It features Cambridge above the treble, and a wrong hunting 4-bell frontwork, with bells turning round in 5ths from the back once the treble is in 7-8. This frontwork is, musically, somewhat of an improvement over Derbyshire, producing 3 7890s, 2 8790s and a 0987. The lead-end order (10ths place bell becomes 3rds place bell) means plenty of blue-line movement, and being clean-proof in-course, a good, musical, peal is possible. A shame, though, that the back-bell music off the front is confined to just one lead.

This file is now closed.


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