The Flâneur

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December

My most esteemed Flans and Flanesess, it is with the most profound regret, nae, with a tear in my eye even, that I find myself in the most unfortunate position to announce the last round of the Fairpak International 2007 Competition. All good things must come to and end, so they say, though I for one have never quite understood why.

Without a shadow of a doubt, this inaugural year of the calendrical quiz has been a resounding success: who knows what 2008 will bring? It now only remains for me to thank you all for participating and hand you over to Sir Henry himself to deliver his seasonal address, during which he will present you with the challenge for the December round: entirely devised by himself, I hasten to add. All submissions must be received by Fairpak before midnight on the 25th of December in order to qualify for the star prize.

Quincey Riddle.

Now listen up. This Fairpak thing has at times ranged from the crassly simple to the absurdly deranged. During my absence in May when I was being robbed of tiger skins (that, I may say, were quite rightfully mine as I'd bagged the buggers in the first place), Riddle and the team lapsed into what I imagine could only have been an opium induced stupor, thus giving birth to an extravaganza of excess from which neither we nor you good chaps and chapesses out there have yet recovered. Indeed, no one has succeeded in gaining the accolade of Fastest Finger for the month of May, and here we are approaching Christmas! But that is all now in the past.

I must say though that despite this glitch, there has been an overwhelming response to the Fairpak International 2007 Calendrical Quiz. Such has been the diligence, expert research skills, and profoundly expansive displays of knowledge demonstrated by participants, not to mention the quite extraordinary influx of submissions that, as you know, resulted in the team being obliged employ more staff, purchase more sophisticated, new-fangled computer-like machinery and, through the good offices of the Grand Lodge in Edinburgh, move into more commodious accommodation. The most difficult of these having been finding an appropriate calibre of new employees: it seems to be proving dreadfully difficult, not to say irksome, to locate the right sorts these days: personally, I blame the parents.

However, I digress. The time has now come to present the final round of the Fairpak International 2007 Calendrical Competition. May the best Flâneur win. Before doing so, however, I feel it only right to reveal to you all precisely what you have been up against for the previous eleven months. Allow me to avail you of a daguerreotype image, of the modern mode, illustrating both myself and the Rt Hon Quincey Riddle Esq. (he is the elderly chap in the tweeds). This recently declassified document until now has been the prize offered to all Fastest Fingers in the 2007 competition, so, in view of the fact that we are bidding farewell to 2007, we see no reason why all devotees should not be acquainted with this happy scene.

And so, on with the quiz.

Your task is to link the following:

1: A particularly perilous Japanese marine culinary delicacy of the Tetraodontidae family.

2: The Classical Greek Goddess of the hunt.

3: The designer of the three times winner of the Monte Carlo Rally: the Mini.

4: The privateer/pirate who flew this flag.

5: The secret 'Masonic' organisation associated with God's Banker, found hanging under Blackfriars' Bridge some moons ago.

6: The incomparable musical combo who composed the most excellent theme music to the HBO Sopranos series.

7: The capital of Nepal.

(As usual: one point for each answer, plus double points if you can spot the link, and of course an extra point for the fastest finger. I believe that you will find the answer to the main question highly appropriate).

God speed, good luck and a merry Yuletide to you all.

Farquharson.

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