A Crossword War

by Kevin Adams

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Comes in a beautifully produced Digipak (less plastic!) with a 12 page booklet including lyrics of all the songs.

    Includes unlimited streaming of A Crossword War via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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The King 03:02
“In this grave hour, perhaps the most fateful in our history, I send to every household of my people… this message. For the second time in the lives of most of us, we are at war… But we can only do the right as we see the right, and reverently commit our cause to God. If one and all we keep resolutely faithful to it, ready for whatever service or sacrifice it may demand, then, with God's help, we shall prevail… The task will be hard … and war can no longer be confined to the battlefield.”
Let's Begin 02:08
Let’s begin, set the scene We present this encryption machine War is brewing, there’s lots to be doing Let’s begin. Do your best, all we ask You may face an impossible task. Daunting we know, it’s a terrible foe Do your best. Pool your resources, apply your great minds You’ll be quite safe from air raids, we’re going to find Somewhere deep in the country and yet well connected, You’ve all been well vetted, most carefully selected So to accomplish this difficult feat You should play on our enemy’s fatal conceit They’re so very complacent, their faith is unshakeable Sure as can be that Enigma’s unbreakable Prove them wrong, then we’ll find We’ll be reading the enemy’s mind Pierce through the veil, we trust you won’t fail Prove them wrong, do you best, let’s begin, let’s begin.
Arrival 00:33
In August nineteen thirty-eight the strange affair was started, Some gentlemen came down from town, remained a month then parted, Remained a month then parted. They booked out hotels hereabouts and every day we seen ‘em Go up the house in Bletchley Park, and not a gun between ’em, And not a gun between ‘em. A shooting party, so they said, but we had our suspicions. Whoever Captain Ridley was he’d never shot no pigeons, He’d never shot no pigeons. Well, anyway they all went home and soon we’d all forgotten, Until Herr Hitler started up, and things became quite ‘ot then, And things became quite ‘ot then. Back they came to Bletchley Park though no-one said too much (too much) Whatever they was doin’ there (don’t say where!) Was def’nitely hush-hush, (hush-hush) was def’nitely hush-hush.Shush!!
I’m listening to you, I treasure each call. Say whatever you like, I won’t mind at all. I just need to hear you speak to me, dear. I’m hearing your voice, your voice in my ear. I cherish the words though they aren’t very clear. I try to make sense, decide what you meant. Spill all your secrets to me, no matter how small, And though they’re a big mystery I’ll look after them all, Your innermost thoughts, the intimate sort Each night at this time I listen and wait. I need to find out why your love turned to hate. I write down what you say, I read it all day. Whisper sweet nothings my love, no subject forbidden. How is the weather right now on Unter Den Linden? And how was your day? Oh please won’t you say? We’re listening to you, we don’t think you’ve guessed. Say whatever you like, we will fill in the rest.
I received an invitation from His Majesty, Why he wanted me I didn’t know. I reported to a country house in Bletchley- When His Majesty says ‘Go!’ well then you go! They made me swear a solemn oath of secrecy In terms I couldn’t possibly refuse. They wouldn’t tell me why it was they wanted me, But I have qualities they say they’d like to use. Qualities they say, qualities they say, qualities they say they’d like to use. I’d rather finish off my work in Cambridge, I’ve a feeling this will be a dreadful bore. At least they tell me I won’t need a uniform And I can make a contribution to the war. I don’t know very much about cryptography, It wasn’t on the syllabus at school. Finding needles in a haystack might be easier, But it’s only mathematics after all. Only mathematics, only mathematics, Only mathematics after all. What I’m doing isn’t quite the stuff of heroes, Serving here for King and country, but I’m not downing German bombers in a Spitfire, I’m sitting in a draughty wooden hut. I’m working with a chap called Alan Turing, I met him up at Cambridge just before the war. His lack of social graces is alarming, But he’s a clever fellow, that’s for sure. He’s a clever fellow, a very clever fellow, He’s a clever fellow, that’s for sure.
“I am sure I could not have found anywhere another companion so brilliant and yet so charming and unconceited. I regarded my interest in my work…as something to be shared with him and I think he felt a little the same about me ... Finding such a person makes everyone else appear so ordinary…and if anything happens to him, you’ve got nothing left but to return to the ordinary world, and a kind of isolation that never existed before.”
I do my best to say the right thing I play the game they taught me, I find it frightening. I get confused, my theory crumbles Then I retreat inside my head full of numbers. People are foreign to me, I can’t predict them. There is no pattern to see, no rules to fix them. Lost in a crowd, I search the faces. I know you’re waiting for me in secret places. There may be rules- I can’t apply them. Can’t work them out by logic and can’t live by them. You were the one, the one exception. Now I am left to lead this life of deception. My side of life’s equation I see more clearly, My differentiation is bought so dearly. Lost in a crowd, could this one be you? I know you’re waiting for me- I can’t quite see you. Numbers are steady and true, no clumsy fumbles. One and one always make two- safety in numbers. Lost in a crowd, some way behind you, I know you’re waiting for me- but I can’t find you. I just can’t find you.
Bombe 03:55
Rhythmic running, checking, chasing, working. Ratchet rotors, restless racing, working. Tireless testing, never resting, cipher seeking, sequence solving, Working, working. I’ll find it, I’ll find it, I’ll find it, I’ll find it for you. I’ll find it, I’ll find it, I’ll find it, I’ll find it for you. I’m on it, I’m on it, I’m on it, I’ll find it, I’ll find it, I’ll find it, I’m on it, I’m on it, I’ll find it for you. Thoughtless thinker, setting sifter, hunting. Dizzy spinners, battle winners, hunting. Secret mover, pattern prover, answer finder, convoy minder, Hunting, hunting. I’ve found it, I’ve found it, I’ve found it, I’ve found it for you. I’ve found it, I’ve found it, I’ve found it, I’ve found it for you.
Secret War 03:50
We’re in this little town in Buckinghamshire, We’ve worked so hard since we arrived here, And though we’re not allowed to tell you what we do here, Maybe the world will know some day. This is a secret war, fought out along the airwaves In streams of dots and dashes to the headphones of the listeners As they scribble random letters in their endless blocks of five. This is a crossword war, fought out on scraps of paper To the sharpening of pencils, with our ashtrays overflowing, As we scrabble for admittance in an adamantine wall. I know I’m not in uniform, I know that you despise me. I see your eyes dismiss me, but I’m sworn to tell you absolutely nothing. This is a thinker’s war to which I’ve been recruited, So they’ll never let me risk it in a bomber over Europe, Or a slit trench in the desert, or a North Atlantic gale. My parents think that I’m shirking, they’d like some stirring stories To pass on to the neighbours, but I’m sworn to tell them absolutely nothing. It’s been a long hard war, and though I long to tell them Of my special contribution, I tell my wife and daughter That I’m only pushing paper round a War Department desk. Mine is a thinker’s war, a crossword war, a secret war.
Day after day, day after dreary day. Day after weary day. Day after day. My digs are cold, my landlady can’t cook So I curl up with my cocoa and a book I hope I sleep tight and hope the bugs don’t bite, And hope the air-raid sirens don’t go off tonight. My digs are cold and my landlady can’t cook. I dream of dancing, spooning in the moonlight. Wining, dining in the candlelight. Can I find romance? In this place? Fat chance! Pining, for my Mr Right Day after day etc. There’s plenty more excitement I could take Than rounders in the summer by the lake. There must be better ways to pass the time away Than going to the Odeon on Saturday. There’s plenty more excitement I could take. Typing endlessly, it’s boring. Filing, everything in foreign. Lunch hour, let’s eat. Bad news- whale meat. Fed up with this rotten war thing. Day after day etc.
Enigma 04:07
Permutations, so many possibilities, One fifty nine quintillion possibilities. The current is flowing, a letter is pressed. Through the plugs on the stecker board- And every time a rotor clicks, and another, And another rotor clicks- The letter is lost deep inside Enigma Turning back again, reversing on a different path. Winding through the wiring on a different path. Enter a letter and type it again- A different lamp lights every time, And every time etc. Never find itself, no it will never find itself. Lost in electricity in the circuitry, And it can never find its way out. Tangled in the mystery- And every time etc.
The sister: Working the night shift, it’s pouring outside. Letters are swimming in front of my eyes. Hours after midnight, can’t stop myself yawning. Headache from bright light and longing for morning. I think of my brother on board his corvette, Herding a convoy, frightened and frozen and wet. The brother: Wolf-pack around us, a gathering storm. Dark as the grave - will I ever be warm? I’m not religious but I’m saying my prayers- Will someone watch over us till daylight appears? Will it ever appear? Then the sun rises. Then the sun rises.
Will you dance round the bonfire with me? Have a drink and let’s toast to a great victory. Grown tired of Bletchley but soon we’ll be free- Will you dance round the bonfire with me? I’m not sad to be saying goodbye, But I’ll take memories with me to last ‘til I die. Now they’re burning so much there’s a thick cloud of smoke, Must be why there’s a tear in my eye Will you dance round the bonfire with me? Have a drink and let’s toast to a great victory. Grown tired of Bletchley but soon we’ll be free- Will you dance round the bonfire with me? Will the last one out please close the door? We’ll go home to pick up where we left off before And we’ll try to be normal as normal can be And forget what we did in the war Will you dance round the bonfire with me? Have a drink and let’s toast to a great victory. Grown up here in Bletchley but soon we’ll be free- Will you dance round the bonfire with me? All the lads will return from the war. They’ll be telling their stories of all that they saw And they’ll ask us what we did while they were away. What to say? Well I’m not really sure. We mustn’t talk about, whisper or shout, Not a word must slip out of the part that we played. No-one will know of it, nothing to show for it, No medals, no credit, no big parade. Will you dance round the bonfire with me? Have a drink and let’s toast to a great victory. Grown old here in Bletchley but soon we’ll be free- Will you dance round the bonfire with me? Will you dance round the bonfire with me?
So what went on at Bletchley Park? What kind of secrets lurked there? For by the time the war was won Ten thousand people worked there. The geese that laid the golden egg Had done as they’d been bidden. Not a soul had breathed a word The secret stayed well hidden.


A Crossword War - Bletchley Park Remembered In Song

The work done at Bletchley during the Second World War has been fêted since it was first revealed in the 1970’s. However, 'BP' was about far more than Enigma and the codebreakers at the sharp end of the business. The ‘boffins’ were supported by a huge workforce, both civilian and in uniform. By 1945 nearly ten thousand staff worked at BP. These songs are imagined snapshots of life there.



released July 15, 2018

All songs written & composed by Kevin Adams © 2018, except:
'Calling All Workers' by Eric Coates, pub. Universal Music Publishing Ltd
'Enigma' words Kevin Adams, music Kevin Adams based on Philip Catherine’s 'Nairam', pub. Warner Music
'When They Sound The Last All Clear' by H. Charles, H. Elton Box & D Cox; pub. Dash Music Co. Ltd

All spoken word excerpts, except where noted, are quoted with permission from Marion Hill’s book 'Bletchley Park' People, pub. Sutton Publishing 2004

Featuring: Brad Bradstock, Terry Brown, Marion Hill, Dorien James, Andrew King, Sheena Masson, Colin Watts & Ruth Adams.


all rights reserved



Kevin Adams Milton Keynes, UK

Blending traditional folk music with a love of other genres- classical, jazz, folk-rock, prog-rock, pop… music, music, music…

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