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Plum Puzzled


At their press conference for their newest Compact Disc release, Extended Family, the six extraordinary musicians who comprise the Neo-Alternative Rock and Fusion band “Plum Polygamous” made headlines among the veteran music press corps by entering in three separate groups. For years the curious goings on as well as the behind the scenes dynamics of the band had provided gossip or news for both the tabloids and legitimate press.

Traveling with the three men and three women of the band are the usual crew members, managers and roadies, but there are also six children under the age of five who share a unique bond with the band. Each child is the son or daughter of two of the band members, but to make matters more confusing, no single child has the same set of parents as any other child.

It’s always been a sort of a game among “Plum” watchers as to who belongs to whom from day to day. The game also extends to the children. See if you can figure out which child belongs to which band member parent:

1. Original band members James and the bass player were the only two members of the band ever to be married. They were divorced after the 1997 release of the band’s first album Fertile Minds/Fertile Bodies. They share custody of one son.

2. The keyboard player was classically trained for a formal music career, but she gave it up in the spring of 1998 after she’d conceived a daughter by “The Hawk.”

3. During the Conception: In Utero world tour (September through November of 2000) the tour was cut short in Toronto due to Fawna’s delivery of her son, Grant. Eight days later, Donna gave birth to Kym by Sharon’s father, who is not the lead guitarist. Another girl, Riki, was born two weeks after that in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

4. After he discovered that his ex-wife was pregnant by the youngest musician in the band, the lead guitarist came very close to quitting the group just before the Conception: In Utero tour of 2000. Relations in the band were quite strained for several days thereafter, until the lead-guitar player did an emotional about face and threw a party to celebrate the news that Michelle’s mother, his consort at the time, was carrying his first daughter.

5. Perry, who joined the group right out of high school in 1997, has two daughters, as does the woman who composes many of the group’s songs on a baby grand piano in her oceanside condo. The members of the group have a standing joke that if the two of them ever had a child together, it would be a boy.

6. At the press conference for Extended Family, their newest CD release, veteran members of the press corps noted that a brand new pairing of “significant others” had taken place. Debra Jo accompanied the drummer, the cellist entered arm in arm with Riki and Bryan’s father, and “The Hawk” came in with the oldest woman in the band who appeared to be dressed in loose fitting maternity style clothing. This, of course lead to a new round of rumors about the various individuals involved. When asked about upcoming projects after the Extended Families press conference, Donna smiled and said: “As you can see, we’re hoping to extend our little family even farther.”

Okay. Do you think you can designate each of the six children born to Plum Polygamous band members and determine whom the child’s mother and father might be? There’s no prize, but if you enjoy puzzles, this is one of my best.

Solution To Plum Puzzled

From the first four clues we learn that the children of Plum Polygamous are divided as follows: four girls and two boys. The bass player is a woman (clue 1), as are the keyboard player (clue 2) and the cellist (clue 6).

The keyboard player has two little girls (clue 5), neither of them by Perry (clue 5). Therefore the keyboard player has had one daughter by The Hawk (clue 2), thus making James the father of her other daughter.

The bass player has one son by James (clue 1). Since Perry is the father of two daughters by two different women excluding the keyboard player (clue 5 and introduction), Perry must be the father of both the bass player’s girl child and of the cellist’s daughter (clue 6). Since only the bass player and James were married (clue 1), and since the lead-guitarist was upset over his ex-wife’s pregnancy (clue 4) by the youngest member of the band, it follows that James is the lead guitarist and that the youngest musician is Perry.

In 2000, three years after the bass player gave birth to her son (clue 1), Fawna delivered a boy named Grant (clue 3). Therefore Fawna can not be the bass player, and, by process of elimination, the bass player must be Bryan’s mother. Since the keyboard player has no sons (clue 5), Fawna is not the keyboard artist. So Fawna plays the cello.

In 2000, that year of mass gestation, during the Conception: In Utero tour, Donna gave birth to a girl, Kym, by Sharon’s father (clue 3). But the only man to father two females was Perry (clue 5). Therefore Perry and Donna are Kym’s parents. Also since Kym’s father was not the lead-guitarist (clue 3), and Fawna gave birth to a boy (clue 3), Riki must have been the daughter for whom James threw the celebratory party just before the tour started (clues 3 and 4).

By process of elimination, Debra Jo is Riki’s mother. But since James found out that he’d impregnated Michelle’s mother with a baby girl (clue 4), then Debra Jo, as the mother of two girls, must be the keyboard artist. Michelle must be the daughter whom The Hawk fathered by the keyboard player in the early days of the band (clue 2).

By further process of elimination we now know that Donna is the bass player, and that Fawna had her son, Grant, by The Hawk in late 2000.

At the Extended Family press conference, The Hawk accompanied his new partner, Donna, the bass player, who was the oldest woman in the group (clues 6 and 1). Since pianist, Debra Jo accompanied the drummer at the press conference (clue 6) and Riki and Bryan’s father (James, the lead guitarist) entered with the cellist (Fawna), then The Hawk must be the lead singer. That leaves Perry to be the drummer.

In 1997 James and Donna had Bryan.

In 1998 The Hawk and Debra Jo had Michelle.

In 1999 Perry and Fawna had Sharon.

By the year 2000:

1. Fawna gave birth to Grant, The Hawk’s son.

2. Donna had Kym by Perry.

3. Debra Jo and James delivered Riki.

Presently Donna, the bass player, is carrying the lead singer, The Hawk’s, child. Debra Jo, the keyboard artist, and the drummer, Perry, are sleeping together; while the cellist, Fawna, and James, the lead guitarist, are lovers as well.

I hope you enjoyed this puzzle!

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