14
$\begingroup$

This puzzle is part of the Puzzling Stack Exchange Advent Calendar 2023. The accepted answer to this question will be awarded a bounty worth 50 reputation.

<Previous DoorNext Door >


Mr. Slant, our old-school, puzzling choirmaster, picked a good variety of Christmas carols for today’s service, including old favourites as well as less-know works by Skoog and Winkworth. He told us that we should work out the eighth hymn from the first seven, but while hurrying to the service, I slipped on the ice and scattered the carols! To make matters worse, I had foolishly only noted down the solfege of the first lines of each carol…

  • DO DO DO RE DO DO SO // LA SO LA TI DO DO
  • DO RE MI LA SO SO // SO SO SO MI RE MI SO SO SO MI RE MI
  • MI RE DO LA TI DO TI LA // MI RE DO LA TI DO TI LA
  • SO DO DO DO TI LA SO FA MI // SO FA FA FA MI RE MI
  • SO DO DO TI DO MI MI RE // SO SO SO FA MI RE MI
  • SO LA SO MI SO LA SO MI // RE RE TI DO DO SO
  • LA LA LA SO LA DO TI LA // LA TI DO RE DO RE RE MI

Can you work out what the 8th hymn should be?

HINT (20231218):

Mr Slant also works as a Latin teacher and was keen to point out that the Winkworth carol is an English translation of a German translation of a Latin piece by St. Ambrose. The carol with words by Dante's sister has a number of arrangements.

HINT (20231219):

As a classicist Mr Slant is familiar with the ISIS puzzle format. He also knew that the puzzle had an appropriate day (but the year being a 50th and 10th anniversary passed him by).

HINT (20231220):

In the chapel (which Mr Slant had kept at a brisk 45 degrees), he said "If your sheets get out of order, remember that the carols come in the same order as in the back of the hymn book."
One of the choir seemed to be making better progress: "Ah! Of course, he's using the Latin alphabet."

$\endgroup$
9
  • $\begingroup$ Thats a carol... $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2023 at 22:36
  • $\begingroup$ I have 5/7 melodies identified. I almost have a perfect match for the second one except for the “fa re” at the end. Is that definitely right? (The other one I don’t have is the last one) $\endgroup$
    – caPNCApn
    Dec 18, 2023 at 1:38
  • $\begingroup$ @caPNCApn It seems that there are a lot of arrangements and parts to the second carol. I've now changed to something that seems a bit more consensus. $\endgroup$
    – Daniel S
    Dec 18, 2023 at 7:26
  • $\begingroup$ The hints helped me get the first seven hymns, now need to work out the eighth... $\endgroup$
    – fljx
    Dec 18, 2023 at 10:43
  • $\begingroup$ @fljx now, are you able to post a partial answer? $\endgroup$ Dec 19, 2023 at 7:14

1 Answer 1

14
+50
$\begingroup$

Took a bit of time but with today's clue, I think I've got a solution. The carols are spoilered separately at first for anyone who wants to check without seeing my other identifications.

First, we start by converting the Solfege into the carols:

1. Good king Wenceslas

2. Love came down at Christmas

3. We three kings of orient are

4. Our day of joy is here again

5. Hark! The herald angels sing

6. Silent night, Holy night

7. Redeemer of the nations, come

Next, sort them into

Alphabetical order:

- Good king Wenceslas
- Hark! The herald angels sing
- Love came down at Christmas
- Our day of joy is here again
- Redeemer of the nations, come
- Silent night, Holy night
- We three kings of orient are

and extract letters by

Removing punctuation and spacing, and reading diagonally downwards, in keeping with the Professor's name and preferred temperature:

Goodkingwenceslas
hArktheheraldangelssing
loVecamedownatchristmas
ourDayofjoyishereagain
redeEmerofthenationscome
silenTnightholynight
WethreEkingsoforientare

to give us

GAVDETE in Classical Latin

So the 8th carol must be

Gaudete, gaudete! Christus est natus
which is only appropriate for Gaudete Sunday - credit to @Stiv for the connection

$\endgroup$
9
  • $\begingroup$ Oh damn I so close!! $\endgroup$
    – PDT
    Dec 20, 2023 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ I just thought it was a nonsense word well done!! $\endgroup$
    – PDT
    Dec 20, 2023 at 13:32
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Ah well done - all I was missing was the final extraction, which I didn't think of because it wasn't square! The link you need for the date relies on the fact that rot13(Gur guveq Fhaqnl va Nqirag vf Tnhqrgr Fhaqnl) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Dec 20, 2023 at 14:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Falsesummer Also, from 1973 and from 2013 $\endgroup$
    – Daniel S
    Dec 20, 2023 at 14:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Stiv Ah, very clever! I'll add that to my answer with credit, if you don't mind. $\endgroup$ Dec 20, 2023 at 14:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.