I must confess that this very lame lead-off question is the reason I’ve taken so long to provide any answers. It was really the legend of the Man in the Iron Boot I wanted to talk about, the one Briquet based his ballet on.
The founder of the Trancredi dynasty in San Sebastiano ruled as Prince Sixto the First. Legend had it that he --and all his male descendants-- had an extra toe on the left foot. At the Battle of Lepanto, Didier, eldest son of Prince Waldemir, was betrayed into the hands of the Moors by Lothair, his own younger brother. Years later Didier escaped and returned to San Sebastiano to find Lothair on the throne. But before Didier could reveal himself to his people, Lothair had him imprisoned in the Chateau Gai with an iron boot to conceal the sixth toe on his foot.
Ludwig Fong who wanted to bend the world to his will was a chiropractor.
Crown Prince Beaumont-Zoltan or Bozo, to use his professional name as a clown, ran away and joined the circus. Then came World War I. Wars hate circuses. All bareback riders were drafted into the cavalry. Their dapple-grays were used to drag artillery pieces through the mud. Most clowns were marched off to officer-training schools. Somehow the Cirque de la Lune and Bozo survived intact before vanishing on the Eastern Front. Some say Bozo lost his memory and his bright red nose amid the horror of the Pripet Marshes. Others claim he had been sighted in Vladivostok with the Czech Legion in 1918 and later in Canada.
Fong Shoe (or Shui as some spell it) is a sixth sense that alerts a Ganelon when a Fong is nearby. It is a feeling of apprehension not unlike waiting for the other shoe to fall.
The Order of Saint Magnus the Great provided Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Lands with hostels along the way. After the Crusades they introduced the saluki or gazelle hound into Europe. They also opened inns across the continent with the head of a saluki (The Saracen Dog) on the sign over the door.
In an effort to infiltrate organized crime the RCMP recruited a special breed of Mountie, men and woman who were below the height and over the weight requirements of the Force. They got the name teapot Mounties because they were short and stout. At the Mountie Academy they were taught, among other things, how to use bad language and cheat at cards.
The Clothes-Horse Cavalry is the enforcement arm of Beauties without Borders, informed models and starlets working for peace and the environment.
The Stout-Hearted Men is the male RCMP choir. Its female equivalent is The Scarlet Ladies.
Stuffed animal head on the wall is a time-honored insignia of rank in the RCMP. The commissioner works beneath a splendid bison head, assistant commissioners a moose, superintendents an elk and inspectors a pronghorn antelope. The tradition has only two drawbacks. First, whenever an assistant commissioner operating undercover enters a room with a stuffed moose head on the wall he will instinctively go sit beneath it, something the smarter criminals have come to watch for. Second, when the antelope made the endangered species list the Force had to make do with cast-iron horns mounted on oak shields. Hence the expression “Hat-rack Inspector.”
There is a flowerbed on Parliament Hill called The Leap. When his or her superiors think a Mountie has made a wrong choice of careers they sometimes assign them to guarding that particular flowerbed. It is a quiet place where few tourists come and perfect to contemplate one’s future on the Force. Far below flows the Ottawa River. There is understood that should anyone assigned there happen to jump to his or her death the Force will consider them as having died in the line of duty.
As for the Scarlet Totem Constable Cornelius O'Reilly passed the terrible winter of l904 at the lonely Peter Pond Lake settlement by carving his own life‑size likeness out of a single pine block. When spring came he swept the shavings out the door and set the painted statue up outside to mark the RCMP post. Later that year when O'Reilly returned from delivering a prisoner to justice in Winnipeg he found five Indian lawbreakers, three Metis and an Irish fugitive from Soapy Smith's infamous Skagway gang chewing pemmican in the shadow of the statue. And in their midst sat the Scottish factor of the Hudson's Bay Company store who, after months of staring out his window into the inflexible gaze of the carved Mountie, was eager to confess he'd been giving short weight.
Overnight the Scarlet Totem became a famous and useful object for the Force. When a Yukon constable needed to attend his sister's wedding in Montreal they shipped the Scarlet Totem over the Chilicoot Pass and paid a small boy a quarter a time to wheel it through Whitehorse in his red wagon to quiet the miners if they turned rowdy on a Saturday night. The simple people in the Territory quickly fell under the statue's spell. Even the Indians and the Eskimo came to believe that the rule of law in Canada would endure as long as the Scarlet Totem did. Today the original Scarlet Totem stands in the Parliament Building's Hall of Honor.
Christmas story answers
Kriskringlite is a rare metal used in the manufacture of Christmas tree tinsel. The only known deposits are under the North Pole. Santa’s elves mine the lode and the proceeds support the Toyworks and reindeer.
Santa’s Own Whippet Lancers is an elf cavalry regiment mounted on whippets who protect the Toyworks from intrusive polar bears.
Santa’s elves believe that human kneecaps are a window into the human soul.
The space-time capacitor is an ingenious arrangement of shoehorns and stopwatches which allows Santa to visit every good little boy and girl all over the world on Christmas Eve.
White Swan answers
The Mysterious Hornbook etc. are detective magazines for children that Polly writes for.
Hopp’s favorite drink is Wild Carrot made from the fermented root of Queen Anne’s Lace. His middle name is Hippity. His loyal sidekick is Woodrow Wilson Woodchuck. The other characters are insects.