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Last Updated: Friday, 14 July 2006, 16:37 GMT 17:37 UK
The Magazine Monitor


Welcome to the Magazine Monitor, the home for:

  • Daily Mini-Quiz results
  • Paper Monitor
  • Your letters
  • Punorama (Tues)
  • Caption Comp (Thurs)
  • 10 things we didn't know (Sat)


10 deckchairs
10 deckchairs by Perdita Blease

Snippets harvested from the week's news, chopped, sliced and diced for your weekend convenience.

1. People added uranium ore to their water jugs in the 1920s as it was thought to improve health.

2. And Radium-brand toothpaste, condoms and shoe polish were sold as the word was indicative of quality, much as "platinum" is today.

3. Forty-eight percent of the population is ex-directory.

4. Nasa worked on inflatable spacecraft in the 1960s.

5. An SAS dog made more than 20 parachute drops in World War II.

6. Red Buttons - real name Aaron Chwatt - took his surname from the nickname for hotel porters, a job he did in his teens.

7. Nerve cells grow along bundles of a special fibre similar to spider silk.

8. About 750 copies of Shakespeare's First Folio, which set down 18 plays for the first time, were printed 1623 - some 230 survive.

9. The Severn Estuary has the second highest tides in the world.

10. The postcode with the highest income in the country is KT19 7, for West Ewell, near Epsom in Surrey.

[Sources, where stories are not linked - 1 and 2: Horizon, BBC Two, 13 July. 5: The Times, 13 July. 8: Daily Telegraph, 14 July. 9. Coast, BBC Two, 13 July. 10. Daily Mail, 14 July.]

If you spot anything that should be included next week, use the form below to tell us about it.

Your e-mail address
Your thing and where you saw it

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.


Letters logo

Re: the Chap Olympics. Brilliant coverage of a unique event. However, aren't the pictures in "That Cad Zidane" out of sequence?
DS, Bromley, England
MM: We think not.

As Richard Littlejohn might say, you can't make it up. I quote from Postman jailed for hoarding mail: "A postman has been jailed for nine months after more than 34,000 unopened letters were found at his home. When police went to question Rodger Parkinson they found so much mail a lorry was needed to take it away. Parkinson, 48, formerly of Hoylandswaine, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire, said to police officers: 'I'm glad in a way - it needs sorting'."
I thank you.
Edward Higgins, Plumstead

Are cities the new countries?
Is 2006 the new 1976?
You're in great danger of being reported to Private Eye my dear MM.
Imogen, London

Regarding the plea for scavenger hunt items (Thursday letters): 1. Picture of the Queen (i.e. money) 2. Half a shoelace (to stop people using their own) 3. Autograph from a shopkeeper 4. A spring 5. An old mobile phone (there's one on every street corner) 6. A rose/daffodil/daisy 7. An item of clothing 8. A computer mouse/keyboard 9. A pixel (will confuse everyone) 10. Something silver.
Cat, Manchester, UK

A plaster (unused) and a matchbox (particularly difficult since everyone has lighters nowadays).
Caroline, Edinburgh

A snail or a worm is always a good one. Please note that no animals were harmed in the making of this comment.
Lucy Jones, Manchester

Two of the most interesting items I've had to find on a scavenger hunt were a brown shoelace (which we found surprisingly hard to get!) and a suspender belt. Both were on a hunt organised by my boarding school and we ended up asking our male German teacher. We got one, not the other...
Tanya, Staines

I've taken part in hunts around Edinburgh that involved trying to "find" a tourist from outside the UK and a Fringe performer. Very easy to track down but only the promise of a drink would get them to accompany us to the finish point.
Vicky, UK

Re what's a male ballet dancer called (Monday letters)? The words ball, ballet and ballerina come from either the French verb baller or Italian ballare (to dance). If a female dancer is a ballerina, then in the male form, the word loses its -ina suffix leaving you with baller. Probably.
Nick Jones, Dorking, UK

Re: Quick versions of WWW (Thursday letters). A friend of mine suggested W3 (6 syllables less and less geeky than hex-U).
DS, Bromley, England

In Spanish WWW is even worse as the W is pronounced "Uve doble". Hence "Uve doble, Uve doble, Uve doble".
James Hayward, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

www in French is wuhwuhwuh, so even that one is not universal. On the other hand, in German the is a "rundesdoppel ess" (5 syllables and a break).
Jel, Swansea

I've always thought tri-dub would work, though dub dub dub or even just plain dubs could work in a pickle.
Andy Hewitt, London, UK

Am I the only person who says wuh-wuh-wuh?
Rick P, Tamale, Ghana

Re the caption competition. The instructions state "But what's being said?" But seems to me that the most successful captions don't fit this criterion. PS My entry this week was "I spy with my little eye, something beginning with... M." Surely a winner.
Gordon Tonker (last place last week), Belper, UK


It's time for the caption competition.

This week, it's the contest for the mud King and Queen at Wayne County's annual Mud Day in Westland, Michigan. The event consists of hundreds of children playing in a giant mud puddle made by combining 200 tons of topsoil with 20,000 gallons of water. But what's being said?

Here are the contenders for caption of the week. Get voting.

1. Adam, Ashford, Kent
One of the youngest members of the Pompeii volcano re-enactment society.

Which is the best entry?
Louise D
Sue Lee
Rob McKay
Tom Kay
3078 Votes Cast
2. Louise D, Bedfordshire
Glastonbury organisers vow to rethink the location of the creche for 2007.

3. Sue Lee, Twickenham
Jamie's School Dinners: the scenes they wouldn't let you see.

4. Rob McKay, Banbury
The secret Cadbury disposal ground is discovered.

5. Cayley, UK
The Famous Five were never going to get to the bottom of this one.

6. Tom Coward, Maidenhead
Another bad day at Cadburys.


Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It is another red-letter day for the Daily Express, as other papers lead on a Diana story. This time it is the publication by an Italian magazine of a never-before-seen photo of the dying princess in the car wreckage. The Daily Mirror calls it "sickening", while the Express talks of the "outrage" over the unofficial embargo on the picture being broken.

But neither reach the heights of apoplexy in the Sun. SHAME ON YOU screams the headline. There is "outrage" and "fury" over the publication of the picture. And yet there the picture is on the front page of the Sun, albeit with the face of Diana obscured.

The Daily Mail can barely contain its glee over the dark maelstrom of sleaze gathering over the Labour government. Max Hastings says he does not want to see "Lord Levy sewing mailbags or even in the dock". Instead he wants to "see the organ-grinder".

But there is even more pressing news. The Daily Mail has picked up on the Times' revelation on Thursday that style guru Trinny Woodall left the house with unshaven armpits. It dominates page three, along with La Trinny's explanation that she simply forgot to shave.

Paper Monitor would like to be the first to christen this scandal Armpitgate.



On Thursday, the Daily Mini-Quiz asked how much is Saudi Prince Bandar's US home on the market for - it's billed as the world's most expensive. The correct answer was 73.4m, which just 19% of you got right; 39% said 83.4m and 43% said 93.4m. A new mini-question is on the Magazine index now.


Letters logo

A CD that will teach you to speak French "in a week" (Paper Monitor) - shouldn't that be "oui'k"?
Carol, Portugal

In your article on Sinclair's new folding bike you state "The A-bike's distributors hope to shift 15 to 25,000 in the first year." I think it will be closer to 15, or possibly 16 if Sinclair buys one himself.
NJM, Edinburgh

Re Kaz's acronymania (Wednesday letters): The most obvious is WWW (9 syllables over 3 for World Wide Web). Seeing as W appears to be the only letter in the alphabet with more than one syllable...
Jess, Essex

I've heard various alternatives to WWW proposed for speedy recital - the best being 'hex-U' (3 x double Us?).
Ian Ferguson, Southampton, UK

For the pedants amongst us: the more accurate sextet-U is just never going to work.
Andy, Horsham

Superfluous and redundant acronyms; BBC corporation, HIV virus, and best of all, using your PIN number in the ATM machine. Get it right people.
Tom, Birmingham, UK

With regards to getting MM onto the 'most read pages' list (Wednesday letters), I have seen it there twice already, both on Saturdays and around 8.00pm.
Rachel Davies, Cambridge

So Zidane has apologised without expressing regret. Is that actually possible, or does 'sorry' have a different meaning in 2006? Does sorry have any meaning in 2006?
Matt, Surrey, UK

Help please! I'm helping organise a scavenger hunt in a few weeks' time and need to create the list of items to collect. Do any MM readers have any suggestions or comments on the sorts of things they may have collected on past scavenger hunts?
Andy, Leeds, UK


Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

The Times has long held a status as Britain's "newspaper of record". It has been going for 200 years. It was reputed to be the first paper to send war correspondents abroad. But perhaps its greatest milestone came on 13 July 2006.

On p10 a picture of "style doctor" Trinny Woodall contains a blow-up detail of her armpit, with the suggestion that she has sparked a new trend for not shaving one's armpits. It's official: the last bastion has been stormed.

The Daily Express finds room only for a moderate-sized picture of Diana on the front today, because, hard as it is to believe, there is a much more pressing issue. The Express has launched a crusade. The government action under attack is variously described as "fascist", "Stalinist" and a "spiteful socialistic nightmare".

It is Tony Blair's plan to steal your home AKA the Empty Dwellings Management Order, which allows councils to take control of private homes left empty for six months. The Express's opinion piece contains the memorable line:

"Town halls are being told to treat the bereaved 'sensitively' when carrying out the orders. No doubt Stalin's thugs were given the same advice."

Paper Monitor knows the Express runs a pretty tight ship, but perhaps an investment in Robert Conquest's The Great Terror, or Simon Sebag Montefiore's Stalin for the office library might be prudent.

The Daily Mail and Daily Express seem to have decided simultaneously that Britain needs to communicate with Europe better.

The Express is offering CDs which will teach you to speak French and Spanish "the easiest way ever". Unfortunately, the Mail seems to have trumped them by offering a CD that will teach you to speak French "in a week". That is quick.



On Wednesday, the Daily Mini-Quiz asked where the stone for the repairs of Nelson's column came from. It's from Donaldson's School for the Deaf in Edinburgh. Almost 60% of you got the right answer. A new mini-question is on the Magazine index now.


Letters logo

Has anyone else noticed that the most e-mailed story is usually a bizarre one, such as today's Killer Kangaroo story. It seems that once you get on the list, this can only increase the pages popularity. I therefore propose that every single MM reader clicks on the page at precisely 1300 BST tomorrow to get it onto the most read table - lets see if we can get it to number one.

"There were meat-eating kangaroos with long fangs and galloping kangaroos with long forearms, which could not hop." So just how are they 'kangaroos'?
Basil Long
Newark, Notts

I'll trade two paperclips and a drawing pin for a winning punorama entry!

First of all a pristine photo of the earl of Essex, now one of Casanova, where does the BBC get its photos and who can we expect next - I'm hoping for Cardinal Wolsey myself

I quite agree with Damon Dash (quote of the day). If I'd had a butler I wouldn't have had to type this myself.
Dave Godfrey

Jim from Aldershot (letters, 11 July). Am I the only one that can't think of a single joke that could be made out of Blonde Mammoths?

The fact that Vanuatu is the happiest place on Earth wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that it's a South Pacific tropical paradise, would it? They wouldn't be so bloody smug if they had to make do with a fortnight on the Costa Brava.

Acronymania: Can anyone think of any other superfluous Acronyms? CSI the other night used G.S.W. (five syllables) whereas Gun Shot Wound is only three. Yes it's slow without the world cup (WC?).


Mongolian wrestlers
It's Punorama results time.

The rules are straightforward - we choose a story which has been in the news, and invite you to create an original punning headline for it.

This week it's wrestlers waiting to compete at the annual Naadam festival in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator.

The Naadam festival features Mongolians competing in the three national sports of wrestling, archery and horse racing.

Steel Mongolians is this week's clear winner, with Robin from Edinburgh responsible.

After that there are various puns on Khan for can, Ulan, Bator. Ulan Rouge from Stephen Derry in Newcastle is probably the best of them, while Stig from London with Don't steppe me now is there or thereabouts.

Honourable mentions go to Nobody does it bator from Sarah in Cheshire and I can't believe it's not Bator from Simon Rooke in Nottingham. Modern pantsathletes from Helene Parry, South Wales expat to Brentford Lock and Mongolion Pant-athlon from Commie in Bolton are bringing up the rear.

Sick twisted genius prize of the week goes to Kip in Norwich for Tamburlaine is in my ears and in my eyes, there beneath a pile of Mongolian guys.


Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's only mid-week, and Paper Monitor's mind is starting to wander. What better excuse for a charivari of highlights from Fleet St's finest?

The Times solves the problem of the hard-to-illustrate news story by digging a pic of a bobby on the beat aboard a Segway out of its photo library. Et voila! Job done (well, certainly for those who share the Magazine's long-standing fondness for the incongruous transporters).

The Independent's diary column Pandora spots that the same week that David Cameron urges us all to "hug a hoodie", he requests a copy of ITV's new tough love reality show Bad Lads Army, in which ne'er-do-wells undergo 1950s-style National Service training.

The Daily Mail has a typically Mail-esque headline which renders the accompanying story superfluous: "TAKING US FOR A RIDE - ALTON TOWERS WEDDING COUPLE TOLD THEY WILL HAVE TO SPLIT UP TO GO ON ATTRACTIONS - THEY'VE BEEN DOUBLE-BOOKED WITH A MUSLIM FUN DAY".

The Daily Telegraph has a marvellously cautionary tale that too can be summed up in its headline: "NEW YORK SURGEON FACING EVICTION TO PAY FOR ALIMONY BLOWS UP 5.5m HOUSE AFTER SENDING BITTER E-MAIL TO HIS WIFE - 'YOU WILL BE TRANSFORMED FROM GOLD-DIGGER TO ASH AND RUBBISH DIGGER'." Well, that showed her.

And is that Princess Diana on the front page of the Sun? That'll get the wind up the Daily Express.



On Tuesday, the Daily Mini-Quiz asked what's the average price paid for a bottle of wine? It's 4.75, which 31% of you correctly answered. The rest of you cheapskates said 4.25 (47%) or 3.99 (23%). A new mini-question is on the Magazine index now.


Letters logo

Maria (Monday's letters), ballerina is another word for danseuse, and the male equivalent is danseur. Prima Ballerina is the female equivalent of Premier Danseur, the principal dancer in a ballet company.
Craig Andrews,

Maria ... I think you'll find he's called Wayne.
Stafford, UK

Would it be too obvious to suggest a ballerino?

"Ballerina" is simply Italian for "dancer", but as in the feminine gender as Italian is one of those languages that has gender modes for its words. The masculine gender for "dancer" in Italian is "ballerino". The French masculine for "dancer" is "danseur" and the feminine is "danseuse".

English rarely permits gender modes to its words and "dancer" suffices regardless of the object's sex. However, since many different types of dancing are recognised, and since English easily assimilates words from other languages into itself, "ballerina" is now the English, technical word for specifically a ballet dancer, but suffers from the handicap of being gender-specific and leaving a hole for a single word communicating "male ballet dancer".

The three word phrase is substituted readily, however, and with use, "ballerino" would become an accepted English word. Though, with use, "ballerina" could be applied to males in English, too.

I would like to thank Tom Fordyce for his highly amusing tennis commentaries during the Wimbledon fortnight. Comparing Tim Henman taking Roger Federer to deuce with the invention of the shoe is pure genius.

Monitor asks why everyone is still interested in the Zidane incident two days after it happened. Come on, two days is nothing compared to the English who still talk about the last time their team won the World Cup - 40 years ago!
Paris, France

Man turns paperclip into house. The solution to the affordable housing crisis suddenly seems to be within reach.
Bas, London

Tickled by the idea of blonde mammoths. Opens up a whole new avenue for jokes.....
Jim, Aldershot,

Matt from Surrey's list of more than 17 electrical items suggests he either doesn't remember the 1970s or he grew up in an atypically wealthy household. An electric lawnmower? A freezer? A dishwasher? Not in most people's houses 30 years ago, I think you'll find.
MJ Simpson,
Leicester, UK

BBC strikes. Best make it a Thursday to minimise disruption to the Monitor.
Tom Webb,
Epsom, UK


Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

There was no escaping the big talking point in the newspapers. Once again it was that insult that provoked Zidane. But which insult?

Inside sources, lip-readers, sources close to other sources, sources close to lip-readers produced a long list of entirely different accounts of what was said.

The Daily Mirror provided its own round up of the alleged insults, against his family, friends, race, religion and politics. It's a range of possibilities so wide that it was a wonder anyone had time to play football when so much verbal cut and thrust was taking place.

The Guardian produced its own humorous "10 things Materazzi might have said" including: "Oi, slaphead, let me do that thing Benny Hill used to do to the little old fella."

Meanwhile the footballer at the centre of the storm appeared only in picture form, tie loosened, looking rather world weary, making a different kind of small talk with President Chirac.

But why are we so interested? Why was the picture of the head butt still appearing on the front pages of the Guardian, Sun and Daily Mail two days after the event?

Maybe it's a reflection that this was truly a global moment - an event watched by 1.3 billion people, according to the Scotsman. And with multi-channel audiences fragmenting it was one of those rare occasions when we were all watching the same thing at the same time.

When people see something they don't understand, they want to talk about it. And the impression of the angry Zidane driving his head into an opponent has already made its way into the collective imagination.

Take a look at the Daily Telegraph. There's a big picture of Zidane on the front page, another on page five, along with three pictures showing the sequence of the attack, plus another picture on page 16.

But this Zidane moment has already spread deeper, the Matt cartoon on the Telegraph's front page has a wife butting her husband and the big political cartoon on the opinion pages has Chirac butting a political rival.

Is there no end to this butting mania? Yes. At least, the Daily Telegraph can still see the other big subject that interests readers. Furry animals.

The entire promotional colour banner at the top of the front page - formerly the preserve of Wine Week - is given over to a DVD giveaway showing films about dolphins, bears, sharks, elephants and gorillas. At last we're back to proper news values.



On Monday, the Daily Mini-Quiz asked readers how much was being handed over to bookmakers during every minute of the World Cup tournament. A majority - 62% - gambled correctly on the answer being 18,000 per minute.


Letters logo

A typical household in the 70s had only 17 items using power "such as" electricity (The joy of gadgets)? Let's try the Generation Game Conveyor Belt game!
So that's: Fridge, Freezer, Kettle, Toaster, Liquidiser, In-Sink-erator macerator, (Cuddly Toy!), Oven, Hob, Record Player, Cassette Deck, Television, Electric Fire, Table Lamp, Vacuum Cleaner, Iron, Washing Machine, Dishwasher, Tumble Dryer, Hair Dryer, Curling Tongs, Lava Lamp, Hostess Trolley, Teasmaid (assuming we're not having a clock radio), Lawn Mower, Slide Projector, Remington Microscreen, Fondue Set...
Have we reached 17 yet?
Surrey, UK

And MM thought the Daily Express was slipping (Paper Monitor). You obviously didn't realise that "Household fuel bills set to rocket once again" is an anagram of "Diana's Locket Fuels Big Shoot Out Encore Hell". It makes about as much sense as their usual headlines.

Can I nominate "Gunfight at the Croquet Corral" from Friday's Sun as the pun of the year? I think you can guess what story that relates to...
Michael Hall,
Croydon, UK

The geniuses have declared themselves clueless. The oracle has no answer. So I turn to the Magazine Monitor for assistance. What's a male ballerina called?

10 things mentions special underwear for the space shuttle, and links to the quiz - which mentions special underwear for the space shuttle. It's really not fair to give teasers in the 10 things, if the "more details" link does not actually provide any more details.Please elaborate on this special underwear!

Re the caption competition vote, please can we have a 'Mine, Which Was Much, Much Better' button please?
Sue Lee,

Did I miss it, or were the promised photos of completed crostini sticker albums published last week?
Sarah Jo,
Leeds, UK
MM note: You missed it, but can see it by clicking here.


Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

There is a serious case of "sport encroachment" in Monday's papers. That process by which, news pages are taken over by major sporting events. Needless to say it isn't Italy's triumph in the World Cup or their sudden mastery of the spotkick that gets the column inches, rather it is Zinedine Zidane's surprising headbutt.

The Sun says "It's Zid Vicious" on its front page, categorising his conduct as "astonishing headbutt disgrace". Inside it goes one better by branding him "ZZ Bop". The condemnation in all papers compares with the ambivalence that surrounded Rooney's red. Perhaps sports desks are angry that full-page panegyrics to the French maestro had to be rewritten ten minutes from the end of time to reflect his new status as a disgraceful hooligan. Woe betide any sporting star who causes deadlines to be missed.

A number of the papers find themselves enjoying the latest on Cowboygate, the revelation that John Prescott received a full cowpoke's outfit including a Stetson, boots and personalised belt buckle. In case readers are unable to use their imagination, the Daily Mirror has helpfully mocked-up a photo with John Prescott resembling something out of a line dancing evening on a wet Tuesday night in Chorley.

Something is clearly wrong over at the Daily Express. It's a Monday, but the front page story is about rising household fuel bills, a story which has seemingly no link to the death of Princess Diana. Readers need not worry too much as a front page photo of Diana leads inside to a two page interview with the man behind many of her famous dresses. Phew.



On Friday, the Daily Mini-Quiz asked readers to identify a shimmering new building - with the largest number, almost 46%, incorrectly guessing that the picture showed Jodrell Bank. The correct answer, the Serpentine Gallery pavilion, was spotted by 28%.

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