The X-File (No.3) - March 1996

March was a busy month for staff at The X-file offices - not only was it a five week month, but no fewer than 34 new cases were opened. Is it the post-Christmas blues or the long winter nights in front of the fire that stimulate the creative minds of our intrepid method designers? Who knows. What we do know is that however many new methods are rung, they all still have to be investigated to sort good from evil. The Truth Is Out There, but so are the lies ............

With scarf, mittens, and bobble hat firmly in place, hereís X-file no.3 .......




Rung at









D E Sibson







D E Sibson







J P Loveless





Sullivanís Island


I Roulstone





Barrow Gurney


A J Cox







R Beniston


Hoof Stones Height





G H Campling




cps(in) Dc(out)



D J Pipe


Turneffe Surprise Major : x5x4.5x5.236x2x45x36x1 lh 18

It would be difficult, although not altogether impossible, to design a new, unrung, work above the treble that is capable of producing all the music. In fact, why bother? All the best above works have been used time and time again combined with a varied selection of good, bad or indifferent below works. Turneffe uses the tried-and-tested Bristol work above the treble and a right place work below. This produces some 5678s off the front (without the oft-used 4-bell hunting) and potential for more throughout the course. Fourths place bobs give a 2 lead course with 2 of the roll-ups off the front and apart from a couple of place bells, the blue-line has plenty of front-back movement.

Utilia Surprise Major : 56x56.4.5x2.3.4x4.3.6x6.7 lh 18

Derek Sibson has combined a rare, but quite pleasant, backwork with a mainly wrong-hunting below work to produce Utilia. Besides looking interesting to ring, the plain course provides 8 roll-up positions at the back, including 2 56s and 65s, as well as various combinations of the back-bells off the front. The B falseness can be avoided using 4ths place calls, which give a 4 lead course which contains 2 5678s off the front. This needs a good composition to get the best front it, but David Beardís usually produce the goods.

Erica Surprise Major : 3x56.4.56x5.6x4x45x4x1 lh 12

Erica comprises a wrong-hunting start and places in 56 with 4-bell hunting on the front, which, unusually is right. (This poses the interesting question: is the attractive feature about wrong 4-bell hunting the fact that itís wrong or that itís hunting? - Answers on a postage stamp please.) Anyway, this has the effect of splitting the music at the front between different leads, and the result is a method which has music or possibilities in every lead of the course and therefore a blueline with plenty of movement. Tony Coxís composition will, no doubt, have exploited this and provided Mrs Kippin with a suitable (if a little brisk) birthday tribute.

Carolina Surprise Major : 3x3.456x56x3.4x2.5.4x36.7 lh 12

Last month it was Cape Town; this month itís South Carolina - that Ian Campbell certainly seems to get everywhere. The method, too, has plenty of excitement, and, once again, the music is spread throughout the course. The above-work is London with the fish-tail in 56 replaced (aha) with places. The roll-ups are therefore London-esque, and the slightly contrived frontwork manages to produces 5678s, 6578s and 8756s. The only drawback with this one is thereís lots of falseness, but as we know, Stan Jennerís an expert at that.

Fluospar Surprise Major

Itís not often that a purely right-place method gets reviewed, and thatís not bias, itís just that most new methods seem to be wrong-place. Fluospar employs 4-dodges at the back and places in 56 (hang on - is there a fashion developing here?) to produce the roll-ups and concentrates on a coursing quadruplet on the front. The contiguous place notations may look inelegant but the results are both pleasing and simple. Enough music should be available to make this enjoyable to ring and it should certainly appeal to any band who "thought they might try Ashtead next". My advice - Ashtead is a waste of space, ring this instead.

Merrylees Surprise Major : x3x4x2.5.6x34x5.4x4.7 lh 12

Having started off like Cambridge, the backwork suddenly goes wrong (as it were), but not before all the roll-up positions have been catered for. And the frontwork? No surprises here - fishtails, points in 34 and then some wrong-hunting. 8765s, 8756s and 5678s occur, but, as often happens in an "f" group method, theyíre clustered together in the middle lead. Unfortunately, the D falseness seems to get everywhere, and this may make a really good peal difficult to compose.

Hoof Stones Height Delight Major : 5x34.1x56x6x4x5x6x7 lh 12

Difficult to find it may have been, but as far as I can make out, this above work hasnít been rung before, so double marks to the Lancashire band for being both musical and innovative. The below work, on the other hand, is none other than Yorkshire after the treble has left 34. Still, nothing wrong with that. The roll-up positions both above and below the treble are all over the place, forwards, backwards and sideways, and whilst there is some considerable falseness, the first and last 2 leads of the course are clean. Yet again, itís a composition by Tony Cox - surely thereís room here for a publication: "Musical compositions for tricky falseness groups"?

Cerisier Alliance Royal : 34x5.4x5x3.4x7.58.6x6.7.6.9 lh 10

This is the second method that David Pipe has managed to get reviewed by the X-file by virtue of the fact that he sends his peals in late. However, black mark aside, this is a interesting and musical method. The treble dodges everywhere except 9-10 which allows exactly enough time for 6 coursing bells to plain hunt round of the front. The 3rd lead of the course gives a 567890 and a 098765 (with a couple of 0987s for good measure), and 4ths place calls give a 5-lead home with 5 567890s at the back.. The backwork starts with 2 points, bells then hunting Ďtil they pass the treble, with an additional point when the treble dodges 56 to get the right bells on the front. This methodís strength lies in its simplicity of structure - course bells follow each other around constantly - which just goes to show that it doesnít have to be difficult to be clever.

Warmed up yet?

This file is now closed.


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