This adventure seems to be a send up of "Our Man in Havana," starring Sir Alec Guinness (Ian Thomas).


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 man,
Who lives in Drury Lane?

Yes I know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
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,
That 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 their wrist.




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 West Flanders.

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 woodMidsummer 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 primary school?

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. iambic).

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 feet.

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!