The Eye Spy Puzzle

The Eye Spy Puzzle

Create June 10, 2012 / By Barry R. Clarke
The Eye Spy Puzzle

This, one of the shortest poems, Requests your help as Sherlock Holmes.

Espionage dates back as far as 322BC to the Maurya Empire in east India where the scholar Chanakya was teacher to the Emperor Chandragupta Maurya. Chanakya penned a treatise Arthashastra which is divided into 15 sections, giving advice on law, war strategy, the conduct of courtiers, and secret means. Published under the pseudonym Kautilya, the book defines a wise king as one who keeps his eyes open through spies. The king was consulted on the drawing up of a strict timetable for him to perform his duties. Secret agents were to be interviewed in the first 90 minutes after sunset and three hours after midnight, after consulting his counsellors, the king was to send out his spies.

In 15th century Japan, the chief duty of the ninja or shinobi was to covertly obtain information on the plan of enemy castles and their entry passwords. The ninja originated from highly trained mountain clans in the Mie and Shiga Prefectures and were hired, not only for intelligence gathering, but also to carry out arson and assassination attacks. Their many disguises included monks, fortune tellers, and priests, and one of the skills they acquired was Uzura-gakure which was the art of curling up into a ball to appear like a stone!

One of the most notorious spymasters in history was Sir Francis Walsingham who, for almost 17 years, was principal secretary to Queen Elizabeth I of England. His network extended across most of Europe gathering intelligence in foreign courts about Spanish intentions towards England. In 1586, he was instrumental in setting up an entrapment for the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots who was imprisoned at Chartley Manor, Staffordshire, and was seen as a danger to the Protestant Queen Elizabeth. Walsingham made sure that Mary received all of her incoming mail with the seals broken, so that she knew it was being read, and that all methods of sending secret messages to her were obstructed. At the same time, Walsingham secretly allowed the possibility for Mary to convey and receive coded messages in a beer keg, so that his agents could intercept and deciphered them. In July of that year, Anthony Babington sent a letter to Mary informing her of a plot to free her, assassinate Queen Elizabeth, and place Mary on the throne. Feeling secure in showing support for the venture, she responded favourably, was arrested, and her death warrant issued. On 8 February 1587 she was beheaded.

By a remarkable coincidence, this week’s teaser is also about spying.

Sid Sly has inadvertently left his notebook on the bank of the River Rumble. In it he has cryptically drawn what he had seen in the river just before he became separated from his book. The five letters in Sid’s diagram must be placed in the four circles, at least one to a circle, and the arrows rearranged. By doing so, can you discover what Sid spied?

Last Week's Puzzle

Adding a triangle as shown gives a view of a bedraggled-looking bird. Congratulations to Justin Butler for finding the solution with his choice of an owl.


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