A Black Spy Story

Brian Kieslich

One rainy afternoon I went to my club, hoping for a game of bridge or even better Diplomacy. As none of the usual players was present I settled for a Glenfiddich and a chair by the fire. As I sat down I heard an angry voice from the other chair, "....and they have no discipline." I looked over and there was M sitting, apparently talking to his brandy. Before I could ask him what the problem was, he decided to tell me. "There have been some rumours about war next year. We know that each great powers has sent out a spy from their capital to conduct espionage in another capital, so we did too. But what are they worth, I ask? They have no respect for military or naval traditions, and what takes an army or fleet six month to investigate, they travel through in one day. How can they gather information with that speed? I doubt seriously that they do any kind of bang-up job of it! We wanted our spy to tell us who was spying on who, and all he sends back is this." M handed me a postcard with a picture of some scouts with "Wish You Were Here!" adorning one side and what looked like a normal letter on the other side:

"Dear Uncle, We have much fun here at the scouts' summer camp. Last week we had a competition. We were all given a different task. We started Monday, and the first two finished on Wednesday, two on Thursday, one Friday, one Saturday, and the last one Sunday. My Russian friend and I finished the same day. Please send some money. See you soon. James."

"Both you and James play at that game Diplomacy, so maybe you can see if there is a meaning to this, or if he simply is in his second childhood."

"Do you know how many days he travelled?" I asked. M mumbled something about a well used expense account and told me what I needed to know. And before we had finished our drinks I told M what he wanted to know.

So one rainy afternoon, take a vodka martini (shaken, not stirred) and read the postcard from James, and you will also know who spied on who that summer in 1899.

If you can untangle the spy web, send your solution to The Pouch!

Hint: It's easier to keep track of the possible solutions, if you use the grid below (simply click on a particular cell to change its contents!)

Spied On Day On Which Travel Ended
A E F G I R T Wed (2) Thu (2) Fri (1) Sat (1) Sun (1)



If something is impossible, put a dash ('-') in the cell. For example, James did not end his travel on Sunday, so the cell where England crosses Sunday gets a '-'. Use a '+' where you have found a connection. If any row or a column has six dashes, then the seventh cell must have a '+'. (In the case of the Wednesday and Thursday columns, only five dashes are needed, since there will be two pluses).

Brian Kieslich

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