The Foxer

Attending the funeral of a professional foxer setter is rarely straightforward. In a tradition dating back to the 1930s the location and time of the service is almost always distributed in collage form. When Jim Poskett, the Telegraph’s veteran vulpinist, was laid to rest in 2001, there were only two of his peers at the graveside. A misidentified interwar biplane and a misinterpreted photo of Joyce Grenfell meant most mourners ended up 300 miles away inadvertently paying their respects to a deceased piano tuner.

*       *       *


Roman claims the two ‘spare’ letters in last week’s foxer were a deliberate nod to EFO. I reckon they were a consequence of too much cider and too little sleep. Whatever the explanation, the rogue pair made a formidable task even formidablerererer. If it hadn’t been for some brilliant defoxing from Gothnak and Barfo, the hive might never have surrendered its secrets.

Theme: stamps and stamp collecting (defoxed by Gothnak)

HELVETIA (Gothnak)
BLUENOSE (Gothnak)
HINGE (Gothnak)
HILL (Gothnak)
SUOMI (Gothnak)
INVERT (Gothnak)
PERFIN (unsolved)
CHARADE (Gothnak)
CERES (Gothnak)
GUM (Barfo)
Z GRILL (Barfo)
SVERIGE (Gothnak)
FDC (Gothnak, Barfo)
MACHIN (Barfo)


  1. Little_Crow says:

    Icon bottom right is for an audio induction loop

    • Lazzars says:

      I thought it was the international symbol for deafness.

    • Little_Crow says:

      Could be, depends if a ‘T’ is present on the chopped off bit at the bottom

  2. AFKAMC says:

    I think the jet is the Supermarine Type 508 – if so, that was the forerunner of the Supermarine Scimitar.

    The actual image is of a cigarette card, specifically “Turf” cigarettes, I think:

    link to

    • Spakkenkhrist says:

      Is that the jet version of the Supermarine Spiteful, which was the short lived Spitfire successor?

      • JohnnyG says:

        That was the Supermarine Attacker, are we sure this isn’t an Attacker?

  3. Lazzars says:

    Bottom left looks like the letter Æ or ash.

  4. mrpier says:

    Bottom corner left, the letter or symbol Æ (æ, AE), used for different things all over. Popular as a regular letter in the alphabet in Norway.

  5. Joriath says:

    Is that the Eagle 5 from Spaceballs top center?

    • Little_Crow says:

      I don’t think so, nor is it the magic school bus.

      I’ve exhausted my knowledge of space flight capable buses after that

      • Joriath says:

        Oh yeah you’re right, it’s not. Looks like a modified VW campervan.

        • phlebas says:

          Quite like the one on this album cover:
          link to

          …but not quite.

          • phlebas says:

            Aha! It’s the cover of Moon Safari by Air.

          • Little_Crow says:

            Good find.
            I know the front cover of that album, don’t think I’ve ever seen the back

          • Rorschach617 says:

            Nice spot, Phlebas.

            Saves me from spending more time trying to remember old children’s TV programs, because wings on a VW camper van sounds horribly reminiscent of the kind of special effects I remember back in the day :)

    • AFKAMC says:

      The image resembles a VW camper van? The ship in Spaceballs was apparently a Winnebago.

  6. Rorschach617 says:

    The stamp top-centre is from the 1933 Chicago Worlds Fair.

    link to

  7. Stugle says:

    I think I’m going to slap my forehead in a overly dramatic fashion once the identity of that photo on the right is revealed. It looks so familiar, but I’m drawing a blank.

    Also, there’s a unicorn in the center background image, which I find to be unsettling.

    • Gang of one says:

      Is it maybe Pele?

      • Gothnak says:

        Pele the unicorn?

        The unicorn tbh, looks like it was drawn by a classic Fighting Fantasy artist, so maybe a page out of a book like Masquerade or Rebecca’s World or something

        • chuckieegg says:

          Rebecca’s World… By Terry Nation?! What was he thinking? Is the unicorn really a mutant killing beast?

          • Gothnak says:

            It’s not that book is it? :)

            I remember my sister having a book which was very fantasy with highly detailed fantasy art on lots of pages in pen/pencil and ink… I thought it was Rebecca’s World but i fear i may be badly mistaken!

        • phlebas says:

          Fighting Fantasy isn’t far off – it’s the cover of Tunnels and Trolls:
          link to

          • Gothnak says:

            Goddammit, i loved playing that as a kid, at least it was a different cover in my day :).

          • Little_Crow says:

            That is one beefed up unicorn!

      • Stugle says:

        I think you’ve got it with Pele! Consider my forehead duly slapped.

        EDIT: Pele is also the name of the Hawaiian Fire Goddess, in case we need some kind of obscure link.

        • Gothnak says:

          I’m not sure it’s Pele, his hair line looks different at that age. The picture is reminding me of an american actor who played a gangster in something in the 70’s or 80’s but by god i can’t remember what. The kind of parts Benecio Del Toro plays these days :p.

          So, probably Pele. :)

          • Rorschach617 says:

            I know what you mean.

            The photo has a certain “police mugshot” quality that is hard to associate with Pele.

          • AtlasIsKing says:

            The photo on the right is not Pele, it’s American writer and social activist James Bladwin. The photo is one of the first to come up when you google him. A documentary about him was just made called “I am Not Your Negro”

          • Gothnak says:

            Great catch Atlas, you win ‘most well read’ of the Foxer today!

            Although you can’t spell Baldwin :).

    • AtlasIsKing says:

      To follow up from my previous reply, the photo is of James Bladwin, probably taken from this event:

      link to

      I actually know a couple of people who work at the Jazz Museum in Harlem but I doubt that’s the link.

      He does look a lot like Pele though.

  8. Gothnak says:

    The counters dotted about look as if they are from a civilisation style board game for various upgrades. I’m crap at this bit of the foxer, and i appeared late, i blame staying up for the election.

    • Gothnak says:

      Looking at them again, it might be a game based around surviving.

      Wood for shelter, sewing, furs, water filtration…. germs in a jar? :p

  9. Little_Crow says:

    Only link I have so far is Mount Pele.
    Links in with TUFF cigarettes and ASH, not a lot else yet

    • Little_Crow says:

      Tuff is the volcanic rock that the easter island moai statues are made of – for another line of enquiry if that’s the clue rather than the 508

  10. Gothnak says:

    I had Reliant Cars…

    Scimitar & Safari.

    • Rorschach617 says:

      “Chicago”, “Slugger” and “508” led to a long time running through baseball statistics.

      I’ve never played or watched baseball so I had no idea if it was relevant :)

    • AFKAMC says:

      The word “Supermarine” is (almost) clearly visible in the Type 508 image, which made it easy to identify the aircraft – suspiciously easy, to my mind. So I wonder if it’s the fact that it’s a cigarette card (whether or not specifically “Turf” cigarettes) which is the real clue…

  11. Gothnak says:

    Well, further to AtlasIsKing’s Baldwin, ‘i am not your Negro’, Samuel L ‘JACKSON’ narrated the film.

  12. Gothnak says:

    Right, i have no idea where i’m going with this…

    The Chicago Tunnel Company, used Baldwin Engines (One numbered 508) to build a freight train line under Chicago.

    So we have:
    JACKSON (Chief engineer)
    ASH (The tunnels were to remove ash)
    AIR (They also supplied Air conditioning)

    link to

    • Little_Crow says:

      It ran under the Chicago Loop to tie up the audio induction loop clue

    • Gusdownnup says:

      There’s a cable (knitting) needle at the bottom of the image, too.

    • Rorschach617 says:

      Nice one, Gothnak.

      I hate to see a Foxer survive into the weekend :)

  13. Little_Crow says:

    It’s looking good Gothnak.
    Just need to identify –
    Emblem – top left
    Tank – Middle
    Square pattern – Top Right
    Game icons/tokens

    • Gothnak says:

      The tank is the M36 Jackson from Rorschach617

    • Little_Crow says:

      Seems like the threat of a hung parliament has melted the foxing part of my brain, and I don’t have the excuse of staying up all night to watch it unfold

    • phlebas says:

      The squared pattern indicates coal, another cargo delivered through the tunnel:
      link to

  14. Barfo says:

    Top left is a British Field Marshal Hat Badge from WW2 (link).
    (Marshall Field’s is one of the department stores served by the Chicago Tunnel System according to Gothnak’s wikipedia link)