Tuesday, 24 January 2017

What's in a name ... : The answers

The answers to yesterday's quiz are:
  • Colonel Hilary Bicks (Bicks Pasha) is a simple and rather obvious reversal of the first letters of the name of the man initially sent to catch and punish the Mahdi. William (i.e. Billy) Hicks became Hilly (= Hilary) Bicks.
  • Sheikh Muhammad Sherif is a slight variation on the name Sheikh Muhammad Sharif, with whom Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah (the Mahdi) stayed and studied for seven years before he rose to prominence.
  • Oberst Wilhelm Frederickson's name is 'borrowed' from a character in Bernard Cornwell's SHARPE novels, Major William Frederickson. The latter was a half-English Westphalian who was known to his men by the nickname 'Sweet William'. In the books he suffered a serious facial wound that had destroyed his left eye and broken his jaw as well as knocking out several teeth. This resulted in him having what appeared to be a permanently smug look on his face. When in battle he was reputed to take out his false teeth (all of which had been taken from dead French soldiers) and remove his wig and eye patch.
  • Colonel Pavel Strelnikov's name is a combination of the name Pavel Pavlovich ('Pasha') Antipov (an idealistic young left-winger who is married to Larissa ('Lara') Antipova in Boris Pasternak's DOCTOR ZHIVAGO) and his alter ego Strelnikov (from the Russian word strelok, which means gunner, shooter, or marksman), the name he adopts when he becomes a leader of the Revolutionary forces during the Russian Civil War.

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