Monthly Archives: April 2020

Cryptic Cotton Famine Poem #1 Answer and Winner Announcement

Well done folks. There were many entries, but actually, although of all of the answers were correctly guessed across the range of respondents, not a single entry got every answer correct. So the four entrants who got 20 out of 21 questions correct had their names go into a hat for the draw and the winner was Timothy. He didn’t send his full details, but we have his email address and we will get the prizes to him.

The full poem (including extra lines not in the puzzle) is below. It was published in the North Cheshire Herald on the 25th of July 1863 and was composed by J. Lee.

Keep your eye out for more cryptic poem competitions!

North Cheshire Herald


‘A Voice Out of the Distress’

Parent of Good, how long, how long

Shall famine, sadness, be the theme of song?

The smokeless chimney and the silent loom

Reflect each day accumulated gloom.

Less hopeful seem the victims of distress,

Who hitherto have borne with noble manliness,

In mercy see this fratricidal strife,

That urges brother on to brother’s life.

Stay this sad war, and early may we see

The gentle reign of peace and industry.

We blame our country not, for neutral place;

For, otherwise, would be to her disgrace;

We know she yearns to give her children food,

And tho’ she gives not, still consults their good.

Oh! thou, who rul’st the nations with a nod,

To whom we can but pray – thou allwise God –

Bring, we beseech thee peace, and rest, and love,

Down from the angelic realms above.



Cryptic Cotton Famine Poem #1

In order to gear up for the imminent massive expansion of our Cotton Famine poetry database (look out for 300 more poems being added later this spring!) we are pleased to announce the inaugural Cryptic Cotton Famine Poem Competition.

Solve the cryptic clues to complete this extract from a genuine nineteenth-century Cotton Famine poem. Use your cryptic solving skills along with your knowledge of poetic and historical context. Don’t bother trying to Google it, this has never been digitised, and was last seen in a local newspaper in the 1860s. It is one of hundreds of poems being prepared for inclusion on the Poetry of the Lancashire Cotton Famine database.

 Message (don’t Tweet and give the game away!) the completed version of the poem including your 21 correct answers to @cottonpoetry, or send it to before April 24th 2020 to enter the draw to win a free Faustus Cotton Lords CD and limited edition fine print lyric sheet. The answer will be published here and on the Twitter account on April 24th along with the Twitter handle of the winner.

1          ‘A Voice Out of the ——–’

2,3       —— of —-, how long, how long

4,5       Shall ——, sadness, be the —– of song?

6,7       The ——— chimney and the silent —-

8,9       ——- each day accumulated —–.

10,11   Less hopeful seem the ——- of ——–,

12,13   Who hitherto have —– with —– manliness,

14,15   In ….. see this fratricidal ——,

16,17   That —– ——- on to brother’s life.

18,19   —- this sad war, and —– may we see

20,21   The gentle —– of peace and ——–.


  1. Misery from Diana’s lock of hair? (8)
  2. Trim part of the book carer (6)
  3. Benevolent deity with nothing inside (4)
  4. Renown about in dearth (6)
  5. What it’s about in the meadows? (5)
  6. Clean fuel and cut down (9)
  7. Imminent machine (4)
  8. Mirror in ref lecture (7)
  9. Dark weaver after gravity (5)
  10. Timothy’s after Queen’s sufferers (7)
  11. Sorrow Street, about in Norfolk town (8)
  12. Carried hear no longer carried (5)
  13. Aristocrat, the French aristocratic… (5)
  14. Clemency? Hear French thanks (5)
  15. Conflict is way common! (6)
  16. Encourages desires (5)
  17. Cold noise different to relative? (7)
  18. Remain supportive (4)
  19. Nobleman gets annual prompt (5)
  20. Hear drops of sovereignty (5)
  21. River attempt to work (8)