The X-File (No.24) - December 1997

Christmas is coming - only nnn shopping days to go now. Still, the expected influx of presents for the X-file's staff from the country's leading method designers has yet to materialise. We were hoping for a few liquid bribes at least. It's probably just as well, though, because December's offerings contained pretty little to write home about, or even e-mail home about. Generally a veritable cesspool of poor pickings were on offer, but we've sifted the nicely wrapped parcels from the dung. Fevered paper tearing follows:




Rung at









G E Evenden







D D Smith







W Butler





Barrow Gurney


A J Cox







J A Ainsworth







D D Smith


Anniversary Delight Royal : 56x56.1x2x3x4x5x6x7x8x9 lh 12

I'm sure I've seen this before somewhere - ah, yes, it's the same as Barham (first rung in 1976), but with the Kent places around the lead-end shifted from 34 to 56 (Barham was the subject of an excellent article by Roddy Horton - see RW 1994 pp 1272-1273). Like its predecessor, Anniversary is fairly simple to ring with (virtually) Kent above the treble and (wholly) Cambridge below. On the music score we've got 6 567890s and 2 657890s at the back, and although the music off the front isn't spectacular, it does contain 6 7890s in 3 separate leads. Very pleasant, all things considered - well worth a second, third and fourth outing.

Buxted Surprise Major : 34x5.6x56x3.4x4.5.6x34.5 lh 18

Every cloud has a silver lining - one can only hope this is true with Simon Poole in the band. Nevertheless, this is another of two good offerings from the Sussex band this month. Above the treble we have a work that has been used a number of times before, starting like Belfast, but then with the 7th making places in 5-6 (rather than fishtails) and 4ths and 5ths place bells swapping as the treble passes through 2-3. On the front, things are a little more sedate, and whilst the music isn't great (2 6578s, 1 8756 and a 7654), the blue line looks interesting enough to ring, particularly for an m-group method. Music on the back is good, with 5 5678s and 2 6578s in the plain course, and a smart composition should be able to avoid the rather awkward falseness.

Decembre Delight Major : 3x5.4x2x36x4x1x2x1 lh 12

If a composition that exploited the full potential of Decembre was used for this peal then the band will have had a smashing time. But it would have needed to be particularly clever. Unusually for an f-group method, the middle lead of the course is the only one not to contain any conventional roll-ups or potential roll-ups at either the front or the back. Rarer still, roll-ups, or potential for them, do exist, front (2 5678s and one each 8745, 8754, 8764, 8736, 8763, 8735, 4678, 5378) and back (3 each 5678s, 4678s and 8735s and 2 5378s and 8764s), in every other lead of the course. Points are also scored on the ringability front - the blueline is wholly right-place once the treble has left 1-2, the backwork starting with wrong hunting to four points in 7-8 and a 5ths and a fishtail in 5-6. Only B falseness proliferates the middle three leads - just how good could a peal of this be?!

Iolite Surprise Major : x56x4x56x3x4x5x2.36.1 lh 18

Iolite has Cornwall work above the treble, so no complaints there. Nor does the frontwork warrant criticism, with backward and forward roll-up potential in 4 leads. Quite an interesting below-work, with features like 'fishtail 3-4, dodge 4-5, point 6ths', is rather spoilt by the pivot bell (the 4th) spending virtually the whole lead in 1-2, but I've seen worse. Unfortunately, the below work does introduce B falseness (Cornwall is cps in-course), but that's not usually a problem for Good Old Tone. Ever thought of sending us some of your compositions, Mr C?

Quinquagesimus Surprise Royal : 3x5.4x5x23x4x5.6x4.7.4x4.7 lh 12

To start with, the back bells all wrong hunt to a point, and this sets 4ths place bell off on its rather exciting 'point 8ths, point lead' extravaganza. Once the treble has left 5-6, the coursing quadruplet on the front start wrong-hunting, and this generates 2 7890s and a 0987 in the middle lead of the course. Two 0987s also appear in the surrounding leads. Music at the back consists of 5 567890s, 2 467890s and a 537890, and the production of a suitable composition should pose no problems, given the lack of any in-course falseness. The 1230 place notation is a slight blemish, but moving the 2nds to either of the previous 2 blows introduces the wickedly horrible T falseness.

Tavy Surprise Major : 34x5.6x56x23x4x5.4x34.5 lh 12

This month's second David Smith offering utilises the same above work as the first, albeit with a 2nds place lead-head. Below the treble the work is relatively static, with bells spending extended stretches in both 1-2 and 3-4. Plenty of roll-ups (including 4 8765s and an 8756) appear in the middle 3 leads, but it is also these leads where the D falseness manifests itself. As usual, short courses can be used to avoid this, at the inevitable expense of the music off the front, so the prospect of a peal with wall-to-wall roll-ups seems but a distant dream.

Meanwhile, could someone please explain to me the thinking behind Duke of Norfolk Surprise Major. It's Superlative with 3rds and 7ths place bells making places in 78 rather than double-dodging. Now what's the point of that eh?

This file is now closed.


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