One morning the castle awoke to a shout:
"A monster's attacking, come quick!"
"Call for the wizard", said somebody else,
"He'll save us - his favourite trick".

They called him 'Ard Merlin for that was his name,
Because he was tough as old nails.
Life had been hard since old Arthur had gone
And the times of the Camelot tales.

"Excalibur's lost now, we need a new sword -
that's our only hope to defeat it.
There's one in the castle, now what was it called?
My old memory is sadly depleted."

"Like the Gryffindor blade, it appears from thin air
Only just when it's name is yelled out.
Ask all around in case someone recalls it.
Without it we'll perish, no doubt."

Jaden the Jester was in the Great Hall
Yelling "Old Reach" but nothing appeared.
Glossan the Groom cried "Dresswear" out next
But he was distracted, I feared.

Talic the Tailor shouted "Unrated"
But still no great weapon arrived.
Cherat the Chamberlain blurted out "Brassed"
But his answer was far too contrived.

"Dull Metre" laughed Opdal the Ostler out loud
But that was decidedly wrong.
And Marul the Minstrel suggested "Hardcore"
Before launching into a song.

Turfa the Tinker was the only one left
I prayed that his idea was right
He took a deep breath and uttered "Mean Lords"
But there was no magic weapon in sight.

"Her Grinder!" I shouted, but I knew it was wrong
I just couldn't find the sword's name.
All I had learnt from the people around me
Was: in this court all fish are the same.

"Relax" said 'Ard Merlin, "it's come to me now -
A wizard's a creature of habit.
Look for the blade in a legendary place.
Use the outbursts for sorting - you'll have it."

Question: What was the name of the sword that would save the castle from the monster?


2 Answers 2


Second part of the answer, building on Deusovi's partial answer:

'Ard Merlin says "Look for the blade in a legendary place." A legendary place for a sword is ..

... a stone. In some variants of the Arthurian legend, there is a sword in a stone, which only the rightful ruler of England can pull out.

The name of the sword is ...

... "set in stone": It is hidden in the names of the men in the court and the names are minerals or "stones" with an extra letter:
Jaden = jade + N
Glossan = gossan + L
Talic = talc + I
Cherat = chert + A
Opdal = opal + D
Manul = marl + U
Turfa = tufa + R

This give the name of the sword, but the letters aren't in the right order. Using Deusovi's findings as sorting criterion, we get:

Cherat = chert + A bass
Jaden = jade + N loach
Opdal = opal + D mullet
Marul = marl + U roach
Turfa = tufa + R salmon
Talic = talc + I tuna
Glossan = gossan + L wrasse

and the name is:

ANDÚRIL, the Flame of the West, Aragorn's sword in the Lord of the Rings.

Further observations:

• In other variants of the Arthurian legend, the sword Excalibur is given to Arthur my the Lady of the Lake. The fish in the outbursts may be an allusion to the lake, although not all are freshwater fish.
• The wizard's name, 'Ard merlin, is an anagram of red and a fish as well: RED MARLIN
• The narrator's outburst doesn't feature in the sword's name, because it is a, well, red herring.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well done, but to top it all off, can you explain the penultimate line better (it's not referring to the weapon in the answer - more how to get to the answer) $\endgroup$
    – Gordon K
    May 14, 2016 at 22:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Ah, I didn't see that! I've updated the answer, although I got the answer backwards and with the explanation of the legendary place retrofitted. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    May 15, 2016 at 9:27

Partial answer:

The outbursts are...

anagrams of the word "red" plus some type of fish:
And of course...
Since all fish are the same (according to the second-last stanza) the actual anagrams aren't important. When it says to use them for ordering, that may mean that each name and job can give some component of the sword name, which can be ordered alphabetically by the person's corresponding outburst.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Very good. You can also treat the wizard's name in the same way. (Not sure how to put spoilers in comments. Rot13?) $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    May 14, 2016 at 20:00

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