[r-t] A Ringing Puzzle

Richard Smith richard at ex-parrot.com
Sun May 25 11:57:16 UTC 2014

Mark Davies wrote:

> Graham writes,
>> I would just call it Horsleydown Surprise Major.
> That sounds sensible! And in fact I don't think it is technically too hard to 
> classify such methods. Every bell is a hunt bell, but if we prioritise 
> certain kinds of hunts (plain, treble bob etc - as the current CC Decisions 
> already do) then it should fall out as a Surprise method.

It seems to me that the problem is with how the Decisions 
were changed in 2002 to allow short-course methods.  I 
believe the main motivation was to allow Slinky to be rung 
in peals of Cyclic Maximus, and the parallels to the current 
situation are striking.  In 2002, the Methods Committee 
clearly felt that Slinky was radically different to anything 
being rung on twelve, and arguably they were right.

The minimal change to support Slinky would have been to 
delete the then Decision (E)A.1(a) which at that time read:

   In methods with hunt bells, all the working bells do
   the same work in the plain course, the number of leads
   being the same as the number of working bells.

Instead they chose to introduce a new type of method called 
a diffential hunters.  I can see the logic behind that: the 
space of methods were nicely in two orthogonal ways: hunter 
vs non-hunter, differential vs non-differential; and hunters 
were sub-divided into classes.  It meant that Slinky was not 
just a different class of method, but also a different type, 
which was a more radical difference.  I dare say that felt 
appropriate as Slinky was quite radically different.

But the change also legitimised many things that were not so 
radical, such as short-course methods (though not one-lead 
methods like "Horsleydown" S Major), something that was 
recognised and minuted at time.  Do short-course methods 
really deserve to be considered separately to ordinary 
methods?  In practice they are mostly rung in spliced.  If I 
ring a peal of spliced surprise royal, is it relevant if one 
of the methods is a 'c' group method?  Indeed, can I even 
call such a peal 'Spliced Surprised Royal'?  Could it could 
as a record length of it?  The Decisions do not say.

I have no strong opinion on whether or not it is appropriate 
that differential hunters should require the word 
'Differential' in their name.  I probably wouldn't have 
required it, but I can see the case for including it. 
Where I think they went wrong was to regard differential 
hunters as a fundamentally different type of method to 
normal hunters.  It really isn't: it's a relatively 
insignificant attribute of the method.  If the Methods 
Committee were concerned that Slinky should be marked out as 
an unusual method, it already was by virtue of being a 
little treble place method.

This is precisely the same mistake they are making with the 
quarks: falseness within the plain course is again a 
relatively insignificant property for methods rung in 
spliced.  But methods with false plain courses are to be 
considered so inimicable that they are not even methods, but 
"non-method blocks".  David says he hadn't noticed when he 
designed them that two of the methods were false in the 
plain course, and I can readily believe that.  They're not 
designed for their plain courses any more than Slinky was, 
and so the properties of the plain course are irrelevant.


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