21. OUR MAN IN DRURYLANIA (1960)
This adventure seems to be a send up of "Our Man in Havana," starring Sir Alec Guinness
Drury Lane is situated in London, and celebrated in a children’s nursery rhyme:
Do you know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Do you know the muffin
Who lives in Drury Lane?
Yes I know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin
Yes I know the muffin man,
Who lives in Drury Lane.
The rhyme is first recorded in a British manuscript of around 1820 preserved in the
Bodleian Library with lyrics very similar to those used today:
Do you know the muffin man
And don't you know his name
Do you know the muffin man,
lives in Drury Lane?
Victorian households had many of their fresh foods delivered; muffins would be delivered
door-to-door by a muffin man. The "muffins" were the product known in much of the
English-speaking world today as muffins, not the cupcake-shaped American variety.
The rhyme appears to have spread to other countries in the mid-nineteenth century,
particularly the USA and the Netherlands. The rhyme is associated with a children’s
game. Iona and Peter Opie have observed that, although the rhyme had remained fairly
consistent, the game associated with it has changed at least three times including:
as a forfeit game, a guessing game and a dancing ring.
1. Queen's Messengers are couriers employed by the British Foreign and Commonwealth
Office. They hand-carry secret and important documents to British embassies and consulates
around the world. Many Queen's Messengers are retired Army personnel. Messengers
generally travel in plain clothes in business class on scheduled airlines, carrying
an official case from which they must not be separated - it may even be chained to
Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, 1887 –1976),
often referred to as "Monty", was a British Army officer. He saw action in World
War I, and during WWII he successfully commanded Allied forces at the Battle of El
Alamein, a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign.
Richard Hannay: John Buchan’s all-action hero, with a stiff upper lip and a miraculous
knack for getting himself out of sticky situations. He appeared in five novels, the
first of which was The Thirty-Nine Steps.
2. Messing about in foreign parts: allusion to Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame.
"There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing
about in boats. In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter,
that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive
at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get
anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and
when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you
like, but you'd much better not."
Spoken by Ratty to Mole.
9. Archduke Christophe: On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir
apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg,
were shot dead in Sarajevo, by Gavrilo Princip, one of a group of six Bosnian Serb
assassins coordinated by Danilo Ilic. The political objective of the assassination
was to break Austria-Hungary's south-Slav provinces off so they could be combined
into a Greater Serbia or a Yugoslavia. The assassins' motives were consistent with
the movement that later became known as Young Bosnia. Serbian military officers stood
behind the attack. The attack led to the outbreak of WWI a month later.
Psaltz: Salzburg? Pfaltzgraff is an American kitchenware company that has been in
business for almost 200 years.
10. Ostend is a Belgian city and municipality located in the Flemish province of
A packet ship was, originally, a vessel employed to carry Post Office mail packets
to and from British embassies, colonies and outposts. The captains were generally
also able to carry bullion, private goods, and passengers. The ships were usually
lightly-armed and relied on speed for their security.
The diligence, though not invariably with four horses, was the continental analogue
of the British stagecoach for public conveyance, especially as formerly used in France,
with other minor varieties such as the Stellwagen and Eilwagen. Stagecoaches could
compete with canal boats, but they were rendered obsolete in Europe as the rail network
expanded in the 19th century.
12. A swordstick or cane-sword is a cane incorporating a concealed blade. The term
is typically used to describe European weapons from around the 18th century, but
similar devices have been used throughout history.
13. Gunsmoke was a radio (and later TV) Western series. One of the main characters
was Marshal Matt Dillon.
The window test: putting a cricket ball through a window?
MTV: Metropolitan television
16. IRBM: ICBM is InterContinental Ballistic Missile.
17. Sappho was an Ancient Greek poet, born on the island of Lesbos.
A spinet is a smaller type of harpsichord or other keyboard instrument, such as a
piano or organ.
Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger), also known as stinking nightshade or black henbane, is
a plant of the family Solanaceae. It was historically used in combination with other
plants, such as mandrake, deadly nightshade, and datura as an anaesthetic potion,
as well as for its psychoactive properties in "magic brews." These psychoactive properties
include visual hallucinations and a sensation of flight. Henbane can be toxic, even
fatal, to animals in low doses.
18. Quiver: container for arrows
Swain: young man
19. Omsk is a Russian city located in southwestern Siberia.
24. Ginzane: Gitane is a brand of French cigarettes.
Gun Law: Hybrid of Gunsmoke and Lawman? (TV westerns)
Cannonball: Thunderball? (James Bond)
25. San fairy Ann: A deliberate jokey corruption of the French phrase 'a ne fait
rien' - it doesn't matter.
Cochon: (French slang) dirty pig, swine, contemptible person.
Tete de veau: calf’s head (French)
Crêpe Suzette is a French dessert, consisting of a crêpe with buerre Suzette, a sauce
of caramelized sugar and butter, tangerine or orange juice, zest, and Grand Marnier
or orange Curacao liqueur on top, served flambé.
28. Lie doggo: to hide.
29. Sacre dieu! Sacred God!
Le wagon est disparu! The wagon has disappeared! (French)
31. B.R. British Railways
32. Nodd: ???
35. Was ist los? (What’s up? – German)
Que pasa? (What is happening? – Spanish)
Merde alors – on nous a coupe! Ca doit etre le sabotage!
Wow! (literally, shit, then) Someone has cut us off! This has to be sabotage! (French)
C’est lui le coupable! Donnez chasse!
It’s the culprit! Give chase!
Arretez, l’assassin! Stop, assassin!
36. In another part of the wood… Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 2, Scene 2.
37. Crambeau Abbey: ???
38. Keg of brandy: According to tradition, Saint Bernard dogs carry a small keg of
brandy to help rescue those lost in the snow.
41. Crème do Crambeau:
42. A knout is a heavy scourge-like multiple whip, usually made of a bunch of rawhide
thongs attached to a long handle, sometimes with metal wire or hooks incorporated.
The dreaded instrument became synonymous in Western European languages with what
was seen as the tyrannical cruelty of the autocratic government of Russia. The expression
"under the knout" is used to designate any harsh totalitarianism, and by extension
its equivalent in a private context, e.g., a grim patriarch ruling his household
'with an iron rod'.
44. Briefcase labelled A.S.: Alex Smatter (see earlier)
50. Briefcase labelled C.V. Senator Cornelius Vandersnatch (see earlier)
58. Lady Smilax: ?
Sir Bulstrode: ?
59. C’est la guerre: Literally: "It's the war!" This French phrase of resignation
gained widespread use during World War II. It provided the universal excuse for everything
that was broken, no longer functioned, was unavailable or could not be accomplished.
It also explained away all unusual behaviour. That it is in the language of a nation
whose life and joie de vivre was being crushed by an occupational army gives it an
aroused sensibility. The phrase lingered into European reconstruction and then into
modern times in all nations. It is spoken with a wry acknowledgement of its former
literal meaning even though it may currently describe any other interfering force
preventing accomplishment of a task, even laziness.
Settle someone’s hash: Subdue or get rid of someone, deal with a troublemaker.
62. By hook or by crook I'll be last in this book: old school hilarity upon leaving
63. Reeves: Jeeves? (P.G. Wodehouse butler)
64. Warscow: Hybrid Warsaw/Moscow
75. Spoonee: To “spoon" is a sweet old-fashioned term that means cuddling and a light
kiss or two.
A trochee or choree, choreus, is a metrical foot used in formal poetry consisting
of a trochaic “feet” (i.e. a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one (c.f.
The word “iambic” describes the type of foot that is used (in English, an unstressed
syllable followed by a stressed syllable (c.f. trochaic).
Iambic tetrameter is a meter in poetry. It refers to a line consisting of four iambic
feet. The most common meter is the iamic pentameter, in which there are five iambic
Onomatopoeia is a word that imitates the sound it represents.
95. Bagatelle: trifle
96. Hapsburgs: European aristocratic family
97. Ode to a mouse, by Robert Burns:
Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim'rous beastie,
O, what panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle! I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!
99. Bloody royalists!