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Joe Pope, the Beatles . . . and Elvis

This page was originally meant to be just a dopey little thing where I mix two of my "things" - Beatles, and wordplay - much as I mix guitar and wordplay in another web page (see "Right hand exercise/word search".) I had entered - and lost - a contest posed by Joe Pope back in 1987. Just because I lost doesn't mean I didn't put some effort into it, y'know!

Digging through my files, I found that Joe had presented the contest in a letter he sent out informing his readers of the "state of the magazine" - his Beatles fanzine called Strawberry Fields Forever - after several years of dormancy.

Now that I have Joe's letter in front of me, I thought I'd quote a bit of it and give this page a more important function: a small tribute and memorial to Joe Pope, a great guy in anybody's book.

Sept. 26th, 1987

Joe Pope . . . . O.P.D??? Joe is dead . . . . missim, missim. I burrrrrieeeeeed Joooooooeeeeee!!!!!!! And, oh yeah, a couple of pictures of myself with a hand being held over my head and even one of me with Walrus tusks!!! These are just a few of the things that have been turning up in my mailbox lately. So this seemed like a good time to come out of hibernation (that's all it was) and let people know I'm still alive.

I have just two words to those people who think I may have passed into the great beyond: Lemme check! Nope, I'm as alive as I ever was, sometimes even liver! And besides, if I really were dead, I'd probably be the last to find out about it!

The nice thing about all the letters, postcards, notes and candy-grams* I've received the last couple of years is the almost total lack of negative comments of any kind. Everyone just wants to know one thing: when or if there'll be another issue of SFF. There have been one or two letters accusing me of ripping them off for $10 and disappearing into the sunset. But everyone else seems to bend over backwards not to offend. A typical opening goes like this: "Joe, I know you're busy so I don't want to take too much of your time. But I'd like to know if there'll ever be another issue of SFF. If there won't be, I'd understand... I was just curious."

For almost a decade SFF defined Beatle fandom. We were the first to hold a convention... the first to offer... the Decca Auditions... We even had what amounted to the world premieres of "Magical Mystery Tour" in its uncut form and "The Beatles in Tokyo." If you were an SFF subscriber you were among the first people in the world to hear the "Royal Command Variety Show" in sound quality so crystal clear you felt you were on the front row! The list goes on and on....and on!...

That brings us to the good news and the bad news! The good news is, YES, SFF is still alive! I never consciously quit publishing. It was simply a day-to-day thing and before I knew it almost three years had slid by! That happened as the result of several things, not the least of which was John's death... Other factors are my love of travel... and new interests in other things! And, oh yeah....I guess I shouldn't leave out laziness!

Now for the bad news: even though SFF is still alive and I do have plans to continue, the plans aren't built around any firm dates...

Thanks for being so patient. And thanks for all the nice words that people have sent in the last two years when it must have looked to most people like the Blue Meanies finally got me! They didn't!!!

Still Shining On,


* Ok, so I lied about candy-grams....I didn't get a single what?????


Now I find out that the contest was much more involved than I remembered it. I had thought that I simply answered a question posed by Joe, but it turns out you had to do a lot of work just to find out what the question was! At the expense of quite a bit more typing, I guess I'll give you the contest in full. There was a time when it was so much fun getting something like this in your mailbox. Times have changed, at least, I believe they have, or, they have for me, what with the flood of slickly-packaged commercial release of what used to be Beatle rarity material since then. But maybe this will give a hint of what it was like to be part of the Beatle fan scene some years ago.


by Joe Pope

Most of this puzzle is very simple; all you have to do is follow the instructions below and cross out the words described in each line. When you've crossed out all the correct words there should be one word remaining in each column. These words will form a sentence.

Now it gets a little trickier! The sentence that you will end up with will be a question...we want you to answer that question and that won't be so easy. Because right now no one, to my knowledge, knows the answer to the question but me since I discovered it myself! It's quite possible someone else has also come up with it, but I've never seen it in print or heard anyone mention it.

Here's a couple of clues: the answer isn't something that requires knowledge of the's a small word game. And it's one of those things that will make you wonder if it's a coincidence or if the Beatles did it on purpose (much like the "Paul is Dead" clues).

Another clue: in the early days of the Beatles someone asked John Lennon what his goal in life was. He said, "To be bigger than Elvis!".

And one final clue since many of our readers are collectors of the most obscure Beatle items known to mankind: the record that will lead you to the final answer is NOT some off-the-wall release by a bootlegger from's a legitimate well-known American or English release. That's all you're gettin'!!! Good Luck!!!

We'll pick three winners at random from all the correct entries... Good luck to all the players and remember, as in all SFF contests, cheating is not only permitted, but encouraged!!!!


1. Cross out all words in Column E that are colors.
2. Cross out all names of record labels in Row 9.
3. Cross out the names of the Beatles in Row 7.
4. In Column J, cross out things from the "Yellow Submarine" film.
5. In Column G and Row 2 cross out nick-names of girls who are in Beatle song titles.
6. In Row 6, cross out instruments that Paul plays.
7. In Column F, cross out birds mentioned in Beatle songs.
8. Cross out Allen Klein where-ever you find!!!
9. In Column B, cross out what people threw at Beatle concerts and what people throw at punk concerts!
10. In Column E, cross out people on whose albums George has appeared.
11. Cross out words in Row 4 that describe how you felt when you heard your first Beatle album.
12. Cross out the names of Beatle children in Column I and Row 10.
13. In Row 9 cross out the 3 words in the title of the Beatles' hit on Swan.
14. In Column H, cross out things everybody's talkin' 'bout!
15. In Rows 1, 5 & 8, cross out famous places the Beatles have played.
16. In Row 9, cross out the name of a famous fanzine editor who threw his name in here just so he could see his name in print one more time.
17. In Row 3 and Column J, cross out Beatle songs not written by Len/Mac.
18. Cross out things in "I Am the Walrus" in Column F.
19. In Row 1, cross out books by John Lennon.
20. In Row 5, cross out words that describe the Beatles.
21. In Row 8, cross out John's wives.
22. In Column C, cross out the instruments in the Beatles' line-up.
23. In Row 4, cross out the names of the best and worst magazines in he world (which is which??? YOU decide!).
24. In Column I, cross out other Beatles besides John, Paul, George, and Ringo.
25. In Column H, cross out names of Beatle girl-friends who never married a Beatle.
26. In Column J, cross out a Beatle and a Wings song that mentions a celestial body in the titles.
27. In Row 7 and Column G, cross out names of animals in Beatle song titles.
28. Cross out members of the Epstein family in Column B.
29. In Row 9, cross out the last word in, "Rattle your _______!"
30. In Column E, cross out the name of what is simply the greatest LP ever made.
31. In Column D, cross out musicians who played at the Bengla-Desh concerts.

Here's another clue for you all: now you should have one word in each column. Read 'em across and you'll get a enter, just send us the final answer to the question. In fact, send the answer and the ANAGRAM to the answer! If all that sounds a bit confusing, it really isn't! Just do the puzzle first and then return to the'll be much clearer then!!!

[To get more of the puzzle on your screen, try View/Text Size/Medium or Smaller in your browser.]

         A          B          C          D          E          F          G          H          I          J    
   |A Spaniard|          |          |          |  In His  |          |          |          |          |          |
 1 |  in the  | Queenie  |   Star   |  Billy   |    Own   |   eagle  | Palladium|  bagism  |   Pete   |   Blue   |
   |  Works   |          |   Club   |  Preston |   Write  |          |          |          |   Best   |  Meanies |
   |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |
 2 |  Which   |  Brian   |  Ellie   |   Bob    | Shelley  | naughty  |   Liz    |   Jane   |   Lee    |   Mr.    |
   |          |          |          |  Dylan   |          |   boy    |          |          |          |Moonlight |
   |          |          |          |  Dizzy   |          |          |          |          |          |          |
 3 | Cry for  |  jelly   |  drums   |   Miss   |   Sgt.   |    an    | Matchbox |  about   |Sutcliffe |   Sun    |
   | a Shadow |  babies  |          |  Lizzy   |  Pepper  |          |          |          |          |   King   |
   |          |Strawberry|          |          |          |          | Computer |          |          |          |
 4 |  Happy   |  Fields  |   bass   |  elated  |  yellow  |blackbird |  Babes   |  Allen   | excited  | thrilled |
   |          | Magazine |          |          |          |          |Bi-Monthly|  Klein   |          |          |
   |          |          |          |    Ed    |          |          |          |          |          |          |
 5 | Talented |   sexy   |    LP    | Sullivan |  witty   |    Cow   |  Annie   |   fun    |   Zak    | Presley  |
   |          |          |          |   Show   |          |  Palace  |          |          |          |          |
   |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |  Twist   |
 6 |  Piano   |  Beatle  |   Allen  |  drums   |  Alvin   |  walrus  |   bass   | popeyes  |  Jimmy   |    &     |
   |          |          |   Klein  |          |   Lee    |          |          |          | Nichols  |  Shout   |
   |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |
 7 | Starkey  |   Clive  |   Paul   |   John   |  Martha  |cornflake |  Julie   |  Nancy   |  Elvis   | Harrison |
   |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |
   |          |          |          |          |  Cheech  |          |          |          |          |          |
 8 |   Yoko   |    up    | Carnegie |  Cavern  |    and   | choking  | anagram  |  rabbis  |  Allen   | Cynthia  |
   |          |          |   Hall   |          |   Chong  | smokers  |          |          |  Klein   |          |
   |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |  Venus   |
 9 |  Apple   |   Loves  | jewelry  |   She    |   Deep   |   EMI    |   Joe    |   You    |  Zapple  |   and    |
   |          |          |          |          |   Blue   |          |   Pope   |          |          |   Mars   |
   |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |
10 |  Allen   |   Sean   |  guitar  |  title   |    is    |  Dhani   |  Rocky   |  Thelma  |  Stella  |  Flying  |
   |  Klein   |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |          |   Glove  |


Now, in case you want to work out the puzzle yourself, I'll pick up a bit further down so you can avoid seeing the answer.

























If you crossed everything out properly, you were left with the question, "Which Beatle LP title is an anagram about Elvis Presley?"

I figured out the answer Joe wanted easily enough, but I thought it would be fun if I could find an alternative answer that might throw a spaniard into Joe's works. I started playing around with Something New Something New, which, in all honesty, is how I've always thought of that album's name. I suppose it's a prosaic, single-pump Something New in a Capitol record catalog somewhere, and maybe even on the record label, but the front and back album cover both trumpet Something New Something New, loud and proud. When I was done, I sent my entry to Joe:

Dear Joe,

The Beatle LP is obviously SOMETHING NEW SOMETHING NEW, but which anagram you wanted, I'm not sure. Here're my best guesses.

- We sing honest; now get him, men!

- We men sing something he won't.

- He won't swing, eh? Sing to me, men!

- We men egg him on with sonnets. (John always was sort of literary.)

- Gong when 'is motets whine, men! (Must've watched the "Gong Show", too.)

It's no wonder Elvis packed it in after and assault like that. And people thought John was nasty to Paul with his lyrics...

Now send me my prize.

Don Sauter


Since Joe's desired answer was much easier, by comparison, I figured he would know that I must have gotten that, too, and was just playing around - but apparently not. He sent me a note:

Oct 25th, 1987

Hi, Don,

The good news and the bad news is......well, first the bad news: you didn't get the right answer! Since it's past the deadline, I can tell you. The LP title is "Beatles VI" and the anagram is "Beat Elvis." But the good news is that out of all the wrong answers, yours deserves a special honorable mention...

So, congratulations...I loved your answers and it's clear you put a lot of work into it...hope you had fun with it too!!!

Shine On,



So, some time in 1988, Strawberry Fields Forever #42 came out, and with it, the contest results (in which Joe forgets to give the 10-word mystery question being answered, "Which Beatle LP title is an anagram about Elvis Presley?") Here are the...



Most of you remember that in September of '87 we sent out a letter to let people know what was happening with SFF. Included in this letter was a contest; it was a puzzle that was supposed to be fun and enjoyable...but very tricky! We thought it would amuse some people, frustrate others and that maybe....MAYBE....someone somewhere MIGHT come up with the right answer. HA! We received over 200 correct answers PLUS we received several entries that had a different answer than ours but also had to be considered correct! So their names went into the hat too (a brown one, size 6 7/8) and were eligible for the prizes. We must say we were VERY impressed by the overwhelming number of correct responses!

First, the winners: First prize ($50 worth of Beatle stuff) goes to Barbara Roehrer of Montvale, New Jersey. Second prize (a collection of Beatle magazines, value about $20) goes to Mark Krukar of Utica, New York. And third prize, a George Harrison tour program, goes to Paul Shire of San Diego, California.

And now the answer: The LP is "Beatles VI" and the anagram is "Beat Elvis." Is it a coincidence??? Maybe, but ask yourself why would they use Roman numerals in their album title?

One thing seems certain; even if the anagram was done intentionally, none of the Beatles themselves had anything to do with it. "Beatles VI" was strictly an American release put together by Capitol Records to cash in on the popularity of the Beatles.

Now for some honorable mentions: Debbie Berliner used "Revolver" to come up with "Elv R Over", an answer which sounds like a combination Elvis message and toy store. Dominic Precopio must have spent weeks to come up with the fact that "Revolver" is an anagram for "Rev Lover." What does it mean? Don't ask us, ask Dominic!

Gretchen Krafft was imaginitive; she used "Beatles Sixty-Five" to find "Beatt Elvis If Sexy!" Not bad!

Paul Shire, our third place winner, says he spent hours working on "Sgt. Pepper." Then he noticed "Beatles VI" and solved the puzzle in ten seconds! But he wasn't the only one who got hung up on "Sgt. Pepper."

Rachelle Malek, for instance, came up with "Beatle's Band Tops Presley." Good....but there were a lot of letters left over so it wasn't a true anagram. Jennifer Holubowicz worked out "Help Top Presley's Graceland"....but had a "BBNT" with nowhere to put it! And Al Duchaney gave it a great shot with this one: "Beatles Stop Presley And Help Anger Burn."....but, alas, he had one "C" left over. (Al used "Sergeant" instead of "Sgt.", but why quibble! Besides, Al's mom should be proud because he also came up with no less than eight others, all with various amounts of letters left over. The only problem with Al's eight other entries is that none of them made any sense whatsoever! But, hey, it's the effort that counts!)

And, finally, a special honorable mention goes to Don Sauter of Lanham, Maryland. In one brief letter Don managed to convince us that without a doubt he is SFF's sickest reader! This is a guy with an amazing amount of spare time on his hands! We're sending Don a special prize of ten 8" x 10" Beatle glossies.

Don used the letters in "Something New Something New" to come up with five true anagrams all of which, incredibly, make sense. The best is, "We sing honest; now get him, men!" But "We men sing something he won't" isn't bad either. Don also found, " He won't swing, eh? Sing to me, men!" And one that even suggests all four Beatles were really the Egg Men: "We men egg him on with sonnets."

The last one and one that proves that Don could do with a little professional care is, "Gong when 'is motets whine, men!" Yes, motets is a real word and it means "choral work on a sacred text" which Elvis sang quite often! How did Don come up with these? We don't know and, frankly, we're afraid to ask him! GET A LIFE, DON!!! And enjoy the glossies!


(I shuffled around Scrabble tiles.)

This word game monkey business business brings to mind one more thing. At the end of a letter dated May 19 1993, Joe wrote:

And finally, in closing, I'd just like to tell you something that will probably do nothing more than pi-- you off....but, hey, you know I wouldn't do that if I didn't like you!!! In an upcoming SFF I have a contest called something like "The Toughest Beatle Quiz Ever." It's not fact, it's probably custom made for you! It's mostly a collection of word puzzles!!! AND...I think I've come up with one question that is the best Beatle "word" thingie's something that I first thought about in 1964. And I finally figured it out myself just a few years accident. What's gonna p--- you off is that this is all I can tell you....and the puzzle doesn't have any set issue for it to be in! It might not be out for a year!

Shine On,


P.S. Alright, I know...teasing like that is a terrible thing to do. Tell you what...if you give me your word you won't reveal that one question to anyone, I'll send it to you. Besides, I'm curious as to whether or not you'll figure it out. This particular question is not one of the toughest...but I do think it's one of those things that's, uhhh, elegant in its simplicity! Let me know if you want it...but I'm serious about keeping your word on it...I really wouldn't want it to pop up in another Beatle 'zine before SFF. And no one in the world except me and my girlfriend know it! (I'm really not being too jerky...I mean, I realize if someone else printed it first...well, so what! It won't upset the balance of nature! But I still want to use it first!).


In my next letter to Joe, I wrote:

Dear Joe,

About your "word thingie", it wouldn't kill me to wait, but you did pique my curiosity. Took 25 years to figure out, eh? Not, "Where did they get the company name Seltaeb?" (ha ha ha.) I'll leave it up to you whether you want to try it out on me first, but I can assure you that I am the all-time champ at keeping secrets. You know that Beatle Significa game I produced? My family and friends never knew what I was up to.

By the way, Joe, we crossed paths once at Beatlefest a few years ago. You were at a table in the flea market with a display of SFFs. I was too dense to put 2 and 2 together and realize it was the man himself there. Duhhh. I naturally figured you'd sent one of your personal assistants there - on an expense account, no doubt - to represent you.

See ya later



Joe wrote (July 1 1993): talked me into's the word game. Remember you promised to keep it under your hat. Since I was in high school, whenever I'd see the word Beatles I'd figure there had to be an anagram in seemed to have the right balance of vowels and just looked right! But I could never find one. But one day, I looked up and there it was! (Yes, that is a hint.) There is, in fact, a perfect anagram in the "Beatles." And it has to be one that is both appropriate and ironic! There's a slight catch to it...but that's all I'm saying. And in what I've written above, there are two clues! Good luck! No one knows this but me and my I plan to use it in a future SFF...but I don't think most people will appreciate it as much as you will.

Smile Away,



Me again:

Dear Joe,

Thanks for letting me in on the the word puzzle. I have to say I'm stymied. I found a few lackluster answers, like ABLE SET and BEATS EL, which, although sort of appropriate, I'm sure can't be it because, not only are they really lackluster (did I say that already?), but they don't seem to tie in with your supplied clues. I'm curious to see what your other readers can find. 'Spect I'll feel like a bloomin' idiot when I see the answer. My other favorite ones, by the way, were: BEST ALE, EL BEAST, SEA BELT (maybe a good race horse name?) and (my very fave) BEE SALT.


After this round of correspondence, Joe put out 4 more issues of SFF, Nos. 49-52, but the contest never appeared, and I never found out what answer Joe had in mind.


Follow-up note, Oct 2009: My mind keeps getting drawn back to Joe's anagram puzzle. He said there was a "slight catch." It occurred to me that maybe the catch was incorporating the word "the"; that he was being tricky when he said:

...a perfect anagram in the "Beatles."

Working on "the beatles" we find two very interesting words - "blest" and "hate" - and they certainly satisfy Joe's requirement of "appropriate and ironic!" The Beatles' career was certainly blessed, and there were certainly those who despised them. (How ironic!) Maybe "one day", Joe "looked up" and saw blessings pouring down from heaven?

The problem is, there's a leftover "e" that I don't know what to do with. It would have been amazing if it were a "d" for "blest" and "hated". It's vaguely interesting that "e" means "and" in Italian, in the same vein as "et" in Latin and "y" in Spanish, but trying to slip it between "blest" e "hate" is hopelessly farfetched.

Can anyone polish this off?


The final word(!), May 2010: In April 2010 (Polythene) Pam put up a Facebook page for friends of Joe Pope. Significantly, one of the "friends" to join up was Joe's girlfriend, Cindy Noe-Pope.

On April 19 Pam brought up the anagram puzzle and Cindy confirmed:

Yes, I do know the answer! I always kinda doubted that anyone would be able to come up with it since it was a bit tricky, but please do run it again and see if anyone wants to take another stab at it. There are lots of anagram programs around now for you guys to let your computers do all the work, anyway! I will, of course, give up the answer if nobody gets it right...

On April 21 Pam posted Joe's anagram puzzle. In response to a rather wild solution found on the web (not mine!), Cindy wrote:

Wow...THAT was an elaborate answer to Joe's anagram puzzle.....but STILL not the answer Joe had in mind!!! It is, in fact, an anagram using the word "Beatles" only (not "The Beatles.") And his hint about looking up and 'seeing' it is accurate, if not a little obtuse--that is, unless you were in the city that we were in that day! Wanna try from there...?

Aha - "the city". There's something new to work with. Joe's clue about "looking up" brought exactly two possibilities to this slug-a-bug brain of mine - the sky... or the ceiling! But now we seem to be gunning for some sort of landmark, or perhaps a specific one.

Joe moved to San Diego sometime in 1993. As he warbled in SFF#49, "Joe-Joe left his home in Boston, Massachusetts for some California grass!" This gave rise to speculation on West Coast landmarks.

On April 24 at 1:17am, Cindy admonished:

You're in the wrong part of the country, guys!

On April 24 at 4:53am, Pam begged:

OK, I'm gonna need a clue...Boston...NYC?

(Can you all handle the building excitement???)

Then, 1 hour and 14 minutes later, on April 24 at 6:07am, Janet Davis piped up:

BEALE ST (Beale Street) in Boston?

Later that day, Cindy confirmed (sort of):

Yay JANET!!! Right answer, actually, just the wrong Beale St!!!!

We were driving across the country and stopped in Memphis for a day. Of course we had to take a tour of the major rock 'n roll landmarks there: Graceland, Sun Studios...and Beale St., "home of the blues, birthplace of rock 'n roll." Joe looked up and saw the street sign, and ... immediately saw "Beatles!"

So there it is...Elvis Country, where rock was born, where the Beatles first took their inspiration to become musicians. Sun Studios, a couple of blocks from Beale, which produced the records that the sailors brought back to Liverpool...

And there you have it, BEALE ST -> BEATLES. Not bad at all; well worth the wait. (Can you handle the fame, Janet?) If you do a quick search on Beale St., you'll find a couple of things not specifically mentioned by Cindy. Elvis is known to have soaked up r&b vibes on Beale St. as a teenager. And there's a famous statue of Elvis on Beale St.

Kind of neat that both puzzles on this page end up sharing the same basic theme: the Beatles in the footsteps of Elvis.




In April 2007 I received several email requests for a picture of Joe. I didn't think I had any, and a bit of web searching didn't turn one up. In any case, I went through my Strawberry Fields Forevers page by page - and found a couple.

View picture of Joe Pope at his historic 1974 "Magical Mystery Tour" Boston Beatle convention.

View picture of Joe Pope at his 1975 "Magical Mystery Tour" convention.


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