The X-File (No.4) - April 1996

One of the method features that doesnít bother the staff here at the X-file is the name. However, names of new methods make fascinating, thought-provoking, even bizarre, reading. In fact some designers appear to spend more time thinking of a good name for their method than on creating the method itself. Thereís no doubt that an amusing name (intentional or not) can provide valuable and unsurpassable entertainment during a peal of spliced (remember "Well Creek"?), but some of the unpronounceable handles published do go beyond the pale. Many, of course, are sensible, straightforward, and middle-class - but as I said, we donít care: whatís in a name?

So here are Aprilís contenders for the X-file first eleven ........




Rung at







Barrow Gurney


A J Cox







R Beniston







P E Bibilo





Burton Latimer


R E J Dennis







R W Pipe


Cornelian Surprise Major : x5x4.5x5.36.4x4.3x2x5 lh 12

This Tony Cox production used Bristol above the treble, but with a seconds place lead-end. Below the treble, he has cleverly, and simply, replaced the 5ths place when the treble moves through 67 with a 3rds, which brings a coursing quadruplet together on the front. Places in 12 put the pair there the "right" way round, the middle lead of the course thus producing 2 each of 8765s and 8756s. 8765s also appear in 2 other leads giving a good spread of music throughout the course and with the B falseness restricted to the 4th lead, stacks of music should be available.

Bagworth Surprise Major : x3x4x2.5.6x2x23x4x5 lh 12

In essence, Bagworth has the look of a Cambridge-style method about it, with just one wrong place-notation to send the bells the other way as the treble leaves 34. The backwork therefore starts with hunting to a fish tail, and then another, giving 7 56s in the plain course, whilst the right-place frontwork rather neatly produces both forwards and backwards roll-ups in the middle 3 leads of the course. Particularly considering this is an a-group method (like Plain Bob) the line has plenty of movement and interest, but the preclusive D falseness manifests itself throughout the course, and probably spoils what would otherwise be a pleasant peal.

Howden Alliance Major : x5x4.5.36x5x7 lh 12

Alliance Major methods with the treble dodging only in 12 went through a briefly popular phase several years ago when a few were rung and named by David Pipeís double-handed band. Howden is obviously from the same school (playgroup?) as it takes one of those methods (Chuck Key) and replaces the 18 half lead with 7ths place with a somewhat detrimental effect. The adjusted notation gives 5 dodges in 12 and 3 in 34 and a pivot bell which stays in 78 throughout the lead. That said, it still produces the music (Bristol-style above and Double Norwich style below) and the quick-fire blue-line should keep people on their toes. And it would have sounded glorious on those bells at Howden .....

Oodnadatta Surprise Major : 3x56.4x56x3x2x25x34.6.7 lh 12

If I were bothered about method names (which, you remember, Iím not), then I would have taken the time to find out that Oodnadatta is in Southern Australia (27įS, 135įE). The method is of the "wrong hunt start, places in 56, double fish-tails in 78" variety, and whilst the frontwork at times seems over complicated it produces plenty of 8756s and 8765s (including back rounds at handstroke) in the middle 3 leads. Unfortunately it is also these leads that contain the B and E falseness, but the quantity of back-bell music should be preserved with judicious use of In/Fifths or S3rds/S5ths. In any case, with high-flier Bob Dennis at the controls, a good peal is assured.

Bowyer Surprise Maximus : 3x3.4x2x3.4x4.5.4x36.7.8x8.9x8x9 lh 12

Cantuar Alliance is a London-based method which succeeds where others fail in getting 8 coursing bells together on the front for TE098765s and a 567890ET. With a deft and subtle change to the notation, Bowyer Surprise is formed. Gone is the 8-bell hunting and in are Bristol-style points and a dodge at the half-lead. Inevitably this produces a plethora of roll-ups off the front including 4 TE098765s, the only real drawback being that with 4 rows per lead lost, 105 rather than 97 leads are required. It is perhaps surprising, given the popularity of Cantuar, that this variation hasnít been rung before, but on the other hand, like many other new Birmingham methods, it is such a simple idea that one just assumes it has already been rung and named.

This file is now closed.


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