Paris! And a Tolkien Society Puzzle Featuring This Blog's Title

Have you taken part in a quiz lately?

The Tolkien Society have been running a Weekly Puzzle for 100 weeks now, and counting!

I find them very tricky.

Puzzle number 94 turned out to be all about the Girdle of Melian:

Weekly Puzzle 94 (21-24 February)
Question 1: Puck could make one in 40 minutes.
Solution: We start in A Midsummer Night's Dream (act 2 scene 1), where Puck says "I'll put a girdle round about the earth in forty minutes."

Question 2: Heard by Romeo – or was it a lark?
Solution: In Romeo and Juliet act 3 scene 5, Romeo and Juliet hear a bird:
Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day.
It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear.
Nightly she sings on yond pomegranate tree.
Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.
It was the lark, the herald of the morn,
No nightingale.

Question 3: Tolkien's Star-Crossed Lovers.
Solution: Shakespeare uses the term "Star-Cross'd Lovers" in the prologue to Romeo and Juliet to describe the protagonists of that tale. Tolkien's equivalent couple are Beren and Lúthien.

Question 4: A place to sleep, perchance...
Solution: This alludes to Hamlet (act 3 scene 1), and one of the most famous soliloquies in Shakespeare – "To be, or not to be...", in which Hamlet continues "To sleep: perchance to dream...".
So where in Middle-earth would you go to dream? The answer we were looking for was the gardens of Lórien in Valinor.

Connection: "So what connects a girdle, a nightingale, Beren and Lúthien, and the gardens of Lórien?
The answer of course is Melian who created a "girdle" to protect Doriath, taught nightingales their song, was mother of Lúthien (and mother-in-law of Beren), and spent the early years of Arda in the gardens of Lórien."

Puzzle number 100 was only the second puzzle of the series that I actually solved!

"For our 100th puzzle congratulations go to [redacted], Deniz Bevan and [redacted] who all got all 4 clues, and found the connection with a very little nudge – but the Acclaim of the Society to [redacted] who was the first to give an all-correct solution first time, including the connection.
Question 1: The dust in the deserted ways.
Solution: This refers to the arrival of Eärendil in the Blessed Realm (The Silmarillion – "Of the Voyage of Eärendil): "He walked in the deserted ways of Tirion, and the dust upon his raiment and his shoes was a dust of diamonds..."

Question 2: ‘Ere, ‘oo are you?
Solution: This of course was the comment which was squeaked by the troll’s purse in The Hobbit ("Roast Mutton") when Bilbo lifted it from William’s pocket.

Question 3: I came from the end of one, but none went over me.
Solution: Staying in The Hobbit, but moving forward to Bilbo’s conversation with Smaug ("Inside Information"), Bilbo uses many riddling descriptions of himself, including "I came from the end of a bag, but no bag went over me".

Question 4: Alas! it notched my Axe.
Solution: "Forty-two, Master Legolas!", he cried. "Alas! My axe is notched: the forty-second had an iron collar on his neck" (The Two Towers – "The Road to Isengard").

Connection: "So what connects diamonds, purse, bag and collar?
The answer is that these were all things offered by Chrysophylax to the people of Ham as compensation for the damage he had done. "Ten pounds and purse of silver for every soul, and gold collars for the dogs?" and "A bag of gold for everybody, and diamonds for the ladies?" were two of the many offers he made before he invited them to “Name your own price!"."

I have a large number of photos to share on the blog from our first trip abroad in nearly three years, to England! I haven't had a chance to sort any of them yet, though.

On the way, we spent an evening in Paris!

Dessert at an American-style diner!

Climbing up to Sacre-Coeur

View of the Eiffel Tower

Train station!


What was the first trip you took after our long break from travelling abroad?


Hi Deniz - I'm just very glad you posted the answers - as I'd no idea!!

I'll enjoy Paris with you ... I haven't done much travelling since the dreaded Covid took hold ... but over the years I've been places. Your kids look like they're having a great time ...

Looking forward to your English ones soon - cheers Hilary