by Rudolph, the Ninth Reindeer
The following was sent to Sherlock Holmes, c/o The Diplomatic Pouch, shortly before Christmas. Holmes, as you may expect, was able to solve the conundrum. Can you?
22 December 1900
Dear Mr. Holmes,
It will soon be Christmas again and we need Santa Claus and all the reindeer
to bring out the presents. But we can't find Santa.
Last Spring, after we had finished cleaning up after Christmas, Santa
and six of the reindeer went on a vacation to Europe.
I don't know where they are staying, and I need your help to find them.
Santa has sent me some postcards in which he talks about a game called
I know you are a master of the game, so I hope you can deduce Santa's and
the reindeers' location.
"After a long and dreadful voyage we have finally arrived here in
Europe. We have each chosen a different country in which to stay. Then we can
spend the long summer telling each other and you back home about the
country we visit.
The only positive thing about the trip was that we learned a new game
called Diplomacy. It is very exciting, and we will play it as often as
we can, at least once each month. We will therefore stay in cities where
we can find fast overground transportation, so we can visit each other for a
"...and our Diplomacy games are very interesting. Last time we played
at Comet's hotel. Dasher and Vixen arrived twice as fast as the rest of
us. The game ended with a three-way draw among the three of them. We suspect
they had conducted some pre-game diplomacy. So we have agreed that we will meet
at Cupid's place next time. There we will all arrive at the same time."
"Last Sunday we played the seventh Diplomacy game, here in my city.
The reindeer arrived
in pairs, just as they do when they pull my sleigh. Dasher has proven
to be the fastest of the reindeer. He is always among the first to arrive
where ever we meet for a game. Prancer, on the other hand, is getting slow.
He never arrives before Dancer.
I would love to heed Santa's instructions and send tickets to the
travellers, but, dear Holmes, Santa never told me where he or any of the
others are staying.
I hope you can help me locate them, because if not, I will not be able to
send them their tickets, and then there will be no Christmas.
I won the game, but couldn't enjoy it much as I'm beginning to feel
homesick. And soon we will have to go to work. We don't have any money
left, so please send each of us a ticket home."
Thanks and Merry Christmas.
P.S. If you can help us with the problem, you will be granted the title
Sleigh Master, as you then will know in which order the reindeer are pulling
If you wish to e-mail feedback on this article to the author, click on
the letter above. If that does not work, feel free to use the
"Dear DP..." mail
c/o Brian Kieslich