Enigma 134: Remember, remember
11 October 2013
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From New Scientist #1278, 5th November 1981 [link]
The fated three sat in “Ye Ink and Blott”
To settle when to carry out the plot.
Said Fawkes “I have this day my passage set:
Before the month is ended I’ll have fled.
Now tell me John and Thomas, if you please,
How many days you’ve free before I leave.”
So John did now the wanted figure state
(The days he’d counted many times of late!)
Tom said he’d three-quarter many days as John
On which he could be there to set the bomb.
“And Tom, I’ve three-quarter many days as thee —
Therefore a handsome choice of dates there’ll be.”
But Guy was wrong since there was just one day
On which all three could be there for the fray.
(One was the smallest number which there could
Have possibly been with the figures as they stood.)
And hence Guy Fawkes did solemnly decree
“The fifth day of November it shall be.”
Tell me, how many days did there remain
Before the day Guy planned to sail away?
This puzzle is a reference to Guy Fawkes, a conspirator in the Gunpowder Plot, the failure of which is traditionally celebrated in Britain on 5th November.