Enigma 141: Singing in the train
2 November 2013
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From New Scientist #1285, 24th December 1981 [link]
A Christmas puzzle
As part of an advance promotion campaign, British Rail persuaded Santa Claus to drive one of its special trains home from London after Christmas. On a calm evening the train had passed the Station Inn in a small village and was approaching the Church when Santa began to hum an appropriate carol. The publican heard the first two notes as E and thought the carol was “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” while the vicar heard the first three notes as B and identified it as “Angels from the Realms of Glory”.
What note did Santa hum, what was the speed of the train, what was the carol, what day was it and from which station had the train left London?
(The key for all three carols is G major (using a diatonic scale), as given in the “Penguin Book of Christmas Carols”, though it should be possible to obtain the answers without the music. The speed of sound in air at 0°C is 741 mph.)
This was not a prize puzzle. The solution was published in the same issue.
This completes the archive of puzzles from 1981. There are now 541 puzzles on the site, with a continuous archive from the start of Enigma in 1979 up to 1981 and also from (almost the start of) 2006 up to 2013. I shall continue adding puzzles to fill in the gaps.