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Last Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
The Magazine Monitor


Welcome to the Magazine Monitor, the home for:

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


LED lamps
10 LED lamps by Jeff Jenkins

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

1. The Church of Sweden is a major shareholder in H&M.

2. A hurricane name is retired from the rotating alphabetical list if the storm has been particularly destructive. Hence there will not be another Katrina.

3. Although the US National Weather Service did not start using names until 1953, for hundreds of years hurricanes in the West Indies were named after the saint's day on which they occurred.

4. The man who famously shouted "Judas" at Bob Dylan in Manchester in 1966, after the singer played an electric guitar, did not know of the notoriety of the occasion until the late 1990s.

5. America's first regular TV news show was the Camel News Caravan - named for its sponsor, Camel Cigarettes. It was launched by NBC in 1949.

6. Andrew Motion listens to Bob Dylan every day.

7. Selina Scott runs her own business making mohair footwear.

8. Until 15 years ago, Japan had almost no foreign wrestlers. Today, they make up over a quarter of the wrestlers in its higher divisions.

9. The actor who plays Mike Tucker in BBC Radio 4's The Archers is the father of the actor who plays Will Grundy.

10. Japanese knotweed can grow from a piece of root the size of pea. And it can flourish anew if disturbed after lying dormant for more than 20 years.

(Sources on items without links; 1, Times, Wed; 4 Independent, Thurs; 5 and 8, Daily Telegraph, Wed; 7, Evening Standard, Thurs.)

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
On the front page at the moment there's the headline "Most office workers admit that computer jargon baffles them" and a little lower down "F1: Button hits back at critics". At first glance I thought the second story was a response to the first...
Rob Goforth,
Stockton-on-Tees, UK

Re your search for books expressed in just one line. Any Jilly Cooper novel: Rich people having awkward affairs. (Probably involves horses)

Robinson Crusoe - the original 'Lost'.
Dave Godfrey,
Swindon, Uk

The Lord of the Rings: Just drop it in the Volcano.
Caroline Brown,
Rochester, UK

My favourite, from the San Francisco Chronicle, of The Wizard of Oz, allegedly: "Teenage girl travels to strange land and kills, then links up with 3 men to kill again."
Jeff Wutzke,
Phoenix, AZ

Oh Contraire! I feel Imogen should marry me, thus echoing a well known John Lennon song....
Mark Aldi-Peepole,
Maidenhead, UK

I see in 10 fashion tips for the unfashionable that for men, skinny suits a la the new Doctor Who are quite the thing. The good doctor may seem a shabby-chic geek but he buttons his suit in accordance with Queer Eye... and Savile Row guidelines: top sometimes, middle always, bottom never.
Sheffield, UK

Re: A £200 ticket to ride. Megan Lane's "comparison" of rail and air fares is misleading because the quoted "air fares" cover travel only between airports, which are far from their nominal cities, and omit the various extra charges such as airport taxes which all air travellers must pay, whereas the rail fares are for the whole centre-to-centre journeys.
Brussels (UK expat)

Now look here, we've discussed this before. If you plant 7 Days 7 Questions in Flash, then we can't look at it at work. We can't look at it at work because we're not allowed Flash because it would distract us from our work. So instead of quizzing I've got to go and torture the office hedgehog. Again.
An Office, Somewhere

Why do we suddenly need Flash to do the 7 Days 7 Questions quiz? My sad little works computer doesn't have it (we're not allowed to download stuff) and now I can never beat my top score of 4!
Bristol England

Re: Teachers pre-judging by names, 23 September. My mum was a teacher, and didn't want to name me the same as anyone she had taught in case she planted their personality on me subsconciously - hence the unusual name. And that was 23 years ago, so it's nothing new.


Apologies for the non-appearance of the Friday Objective.

It's a shame really because there were some great ideas whizzing around the Monitor's brain. But the technical problems which delayed the publication of many of Friday's Magazine stories also completely wiped out the Objective. Normal service will be resumed next week.


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

As promised earlier in the week, Paper Monitor here offers a handy cut-out-and-keep updated collection of reviews of Guy Ritchie's Revolver.

"Guy Ritchie commits career suicide" - Mail

"[The quote from the film] 'Always protect your investment'... is a sentiment which Ritchie's own investors are likely to recall in future years, possibly in slow-motion flashback, and with a very real sense of bitterness." - Mail

"Darts commentator supreme Sid Waddell once described a wayward arrow as 'twisting and turning like a rattlesnake with a hernia'... there simply isn't a better way to describe this film." - Sun

"When a film sets out to confuse, you can be damn sure it has precious little to hide." - Times

"It just isn't up to scratch." - Express

"I wanted to buy a revolver so I could shoot the projectionist before turning the gun on myself." - Mirror

"Sweet Jesus it's bad. Lordy mama it's terrible, by all things in heaven and on Earth it stinks." - Mirror

"It's quite simply a crime against cinema." - Mirror

Don't say Paper Monitor never does anything for you.


In Thursday's Daily Mini-Quiz, 45% of you correctly answered that £3m was the price tag on a Scottish island with its own a 12-bedroom mansion, 13th Century castle, lighthouse and boathouse. One-third of you said it was £6m and 22% said £9m. Today's Daily Mini-Quiz is on the index now.


Letters logo
Re: A £200 ticket to ride. Spending just over £200 could buy you a single ticket on the Trans-Siberian railway from Moscow to Vladivostok - that's more than 6,000 miles in one go.
Adrian Clark,
Sutton, UK

Re The old new, which pointed out the similarities between the 1954 transistor radio and the iPod Mini. The chap sitting in front of me on the bus last night was listening to a Walkman. He even took the tape out and turned it over to listen to the other side. I was transfixed.
Steve Mac,

Caroline Brown (Monitor letters, Wednesday) points out that there's no F in lieutenant. She might also note there's no F in oil, which is why we're paying so much for petrol.
R J Tysoe,
London, UK

Re: The 100-minute Bible (Paper Monitor, Thursday) How about:
Tom Clancy's Sum of All Fears - Jack Ryan prevents WW III.
Tom Clancy's Debt of Honour - Jack Ryan prevents WW III.
Tom Clancy's The Bear and The Dragon - Jack Ryan prevents WW III.
Evan, Ashtead, UK

Ulysses - I came, I saw, I wandered
Candace, New Jersey, US

Pride And Prejudice - Dull people taking ages to get it on.
Daniel Gray, Melton Mowbray

Imogen and Nick (Monitor letters, Wednesday: the first Monitor wedding?


Thursday means it's time for the caption competition.

This week's picture shows Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy visting a creche for delegates and their children, at his party's conference in Blackpool.

Apologies folks for the late posting - we've been dogged by technical gremlins. Here are the winners to this week's caption competition.

6. J Bright, London, UK
Although somewhat entertained by the hair, Katy couldn't help but feel that Koko could have made slightly more effort on the make-up front.

5. Ketan Mistry, Dublin, Ireland
Charlie shows the lucky winners around his amazing Liberal Democrats factory.

4. Steve Kjaer, Bristol, UK
One of the few to understand Revolver's coded messages, six-year-old Sarah attempts to "rub out" ex-party leader Charles Kennedy.

3. David Chappell, London
Although Charles couldn't stand the dress, he just HAD to have the clutch bag.

2. Ajay Marwaha, Redhill, UK
Go back to your constituencies and prepare for beddie-byes.

1. M Smith, Cold Ash, UK
I'm sorry, I'll have to give this back. You're not a UK-registered company.


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

The story about the slimmed-down version of The Bible which can be read in 100 minutes got Monitor readers like Graeme Watson (see Wednesday's letters) thinking long before today's newspapers reported it.

But the Sun has gone one step further by coming up with ideas for one-line books. Some of the highlights include:

  • Dracula - This book sucks
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel - Where the hell is he?
  • Bridget Jones's Diary - V. v. tangled love life
  • Fever Pitch - Moaning Arsenal fan mopes over results
  • The Never-Ending Story - Actually, it does
  • Hamlet - Self-absorbed nutter bangs on about death
More suggestions to the Monitor welcome. And those with good memories may recall our admirable efforts to trim down that most intimidating of novels, Ulysses.


Failed for the third day this week. In Wednesday's Daily Mini-Quiz, we asked how many numbers are spelt with all their letters in alphabetical order. Only 41% of you were right. The answer is one and the number is 40. Almost half of you thought the answer was zero. Try harder. Thursday's Daily Mini-Quiz is on the index now.


Introducing a cultural exchange between Magazine readers.

Lucy Jones, Manchester, on ITV's Best Ads Ever (Tuesday, 8pm)

Lucy Jones

ITV arrived in 1955, bringing with it the commercial break, so it was fitting that an hour of the anniversary celebrations be dedicated to the Top 10 adverts. So what were the "best" ads? That Gold Blend saga, natch, with the bloke off Buffy and that bird off Holby City, the "tick followed tock" Guinness ad, the Milky Bar Kid (rather eerie seeing the series of Kids grown up) and so on, the list being topped by the Smash Martians.

No big surprises, given that Channel 4 ran a similar countdown not long ago, although that wasn't presented by Philip Schofield, in a series of implausible sets. But oddest of all were the real ad breaks - surely they could have given us three-minute segments of real programming?

Submit your entries for Culture Monitor - about books, films, TV programmes, even websites - using the form on the right.


Letters logo
The Bible in 100 minutes, 21 September? Does it include Revelation 22 verse 19, "And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life..."?
Graeme Watson,
Edinburgh, UK

Did anyone else notice how much harder the maths quiz seemed than the English quiz... probably because it's been years since I had to recall that x to the power of minus n is the same as 1 over x to the nth. Or something.
Nigel, UK

Re: £2m Lotto boost for Olympics, 21 September. If we're looking to raise £750m in total through the lottery, and there are approximately 360 weeks left before the Olympics in seven years' time, am I missing something when people cheer about raising £1m a week? Surely we need to at least double that? Or perhaps I'll have to take the Magazine's maths quiz again to get the "right" answer?
Lester Mak,
London, UK

With a few carefully placed dots, the posters for Guy Ritchie's Revolver will read as follows - "Revolver...looks like Citizen Kane", "After half an hour...you start...to live.", "It's...rational...script leaves the viewer drained."

Do you think Nick Imboden and I should get married? I would then be Imogen Imboden. Imagine the fun!

Re: Snit. I can still remember the opening titles of "Call My Bluff" in Robert Robinson's days had the word Snit flying past our eyes, and once I went to my dictionary to find it referred to the small black piece of wick left when a candle has been extinguished. Hope that helps.
Lewis Kirby,

Unfortunately for Tim G (Monitor letters, Tuesday), I do have a tie-breaker for linguistic foibles. What exactly does one say when a North American smugly points out that there is no F in Lieutenant? 2-1 to them, I think.
Caroline Brown,
Rochester, UK

"Racketeering case against son of a New York Mafia godfather ends with hung jury." (Hung jury in NY mafia son trial, 21 September) These mob types are ruthless, aren't they?
Matt Sears,
Surrey, UK


It's time for Punorama, our pun-writing competition.

Abi Titmuss
Abi Titmuss is performing live
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 the UK's first festival for "lads" about to open in east London. The three-day event, Weekend at Dave's, is inspired by "footy and birds" magazines. It revolves around a fictional 20-something who has won £23m on the lottery and is treating his mates to a blokes' paradise party. Games, cars, gambling, sport, alcohol and girls, including Abi Titmuss, are the key ingredients.

Your entries included many entirely predictable gags involving the lovely Abi's surname and the phrase "out for the lads". Abi-ssmal, as Kip of Norwich's entry had it.

A more inventive take was Titmuss be heaven, or am I dreaming (Chris Beattie, Lisburn, Northern Ireland). And Chris Field, US, makes it in with two entries: Fest men stare Abi and Super gals and thrills fantastic all in laddies' doses.

We liked Snookerlagerfootiecricketsexyabititmuss by Sue, London; Fave babes at Chav & Dave's knave rave by Sadie Bedford, Chichester; and The Full English Blokefest by S Smith, Buckingham.

Kids' nursery rhymes typically have no place at such an event, which is what makes Nick-nack, Chav Won Stack, Three Days Not At Home, Puking Curry Down The Phone (Nigel Macarthur, London) a rare treat.


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

The US reviews for Guy Ritchie's film Revolver were not good, as anyone who took part in 7 days 7 questions last week will recall. Phrases such as "convoluted, risibly overwrought muddle", "pretentious style and fractured storytelling", and "word of mouth will be a killer" were particularly memorable.

After the UK premiere last night, things are no better here. Here are some choice cuts which are unlikely to make it to the film posters:

"After Revolver, Swept Away now looks like Citizen Kane." - The Guardian

"After half an hour of this twaddle, you start losing the will to live." - The Telegraph

"Words cannot easily express how emphatically this film withholds the pleasures of film-going." - The Guardian

"[I]t's convoluted past the point of rationality; its boring, impenetrable overbearing script leaves the viewer drained." - The Telegraph

There's obviously going to be a bit of competition among the remaining reviewers to be as colourful in their damning as possible. If only there was a section of a website somewhere which could be trusted to keep tabs on what they say and report the best bits to a faithful waiting audience...


Got you again. In Tuesday's Daily Mini-Quiz, 36% of you said the novel A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian was set in Kiev. 34% of you said Norwich. And just 28% of you were correct with Peterborough. Simon Singh, presenter of Radio 4's A Further Five Numbers (click to listen to it in the Radio Player) is again our guest host today.


Letters logo
Jean Naylor asked about the difference between a ground floor and a first floor (Monitor letters, Monday). The ground floor does exist and is in fact the ground, having existed before the building was built. The first "artificial" floor is therefore the first floor. Think of it like a set of shelves: if an item was placed on the floor beneath the bottom shelf you would not say it was on the first shelf, even in North America. Or if that doesn't work just think of think of it as the first floor "up".

The breakdown of logic about the names of floors in buildings is not all on the UK's part. A Briton wishing to express their total disinterest in something will say "I couldn't care less." A North American will say "I could care less". Go figure, as they say! That's 1-all for nonsensical linguistic foibles. Who's got a tiebreaker?
Tim G,
London, UK

Philip Lickley (Monitor Letters, Tuesday) asks what a "snit" is. It's what Jean Naylor was having.

A snit is more personal than a kerfuffle, less public than a wobbly, louder than a huff and lower class than a dudgeon.

Snit is just a typo for another s_it word. The meaning's similar, natch.
American in Siberia

A "snit" is either a nasty person, a purple blob of bubble gum or a wet snart. I'll leave it to Monitor readers to decide which definition Trudeau was implying.
Joanne Campbell,
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England

Alas, Paper Monitor, yes, people on my commuter train have the Carol Vorderman book of Su Doku and the Times book of Su Doku. It's just passť to fill in the version you see in the newspaper.
Lucy Jones,

I'm adding my voice to the flurry of outraged letters from smug mathematicians you're no doubt receiving at the moment - by pointing out that -2 is just as correct as 2 for the answer to Q17 of today's Maths quiz.
Nick Imboden,
London, England

Thank you to Imboden and other correspondents.

C minus for the Magazine for the maths test... Duplicate answers, badly worded questions and incorrect marking. About the same as the exam boards then really...
Andy Smith,
Wokingham, UK

Re: Maths quiz - After struggling to decide between two identical answers for Q12 and two correct answers for Q17, this quiz seems almost impossible. Perhaps I'll go have a go at the Kakuro puzzle from yesterday's Guardian...
Cambridge, UK


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

The Hamburger (Paper Monitor did promise to be childish about this) today has some fascinating documents, obtained under freedom of information legislation (and available from the Guardian's website) about Sir Mark Thatcher's attempts to get the state to pay for bodyguards for him when his mother was prime minister and when he was living in Texas.

The documents show that, among other things, Sir Mark proposed that he be made honorary consul. This was rebuffed firmly by Downing St officials.

The Guardian then reports with some relish: "The person who comes out best of the story, as will be no surprise to contemporary readers of the Dear Bill column in Private Eye, was Sir Mark's bluff father, the late Denis Thatcher. Consulted by uneasy No 10 staff, he said Sir Mark's demands should be refused."

"But then," the paper adds, "Mrs Thatcher contradicted him."

Incidentally Paper Monitor would like to apologise for not having kept tabs sufficiently on the Sudoku inflation which has been going on as papers have sought to outdo each other with ever more elaborate Japanese puzzles. The Times has Killer Sudoku. The Mail has Sudoku X. Sundoku has transformed into Double Doku. (Is anyone, anywhere, still actually trying to solve Sudoku? Answers on a postcard please.)

The Guardian has introduced something called Kakuro, which looks and tastes like Sudoku but has half the calories. For sheer entertainment value, though, nothing beats this correction, published today: "Due to a proofing error, a square was omitted from Kakuro puzzle 005, making it impossible to complete. (The absentee was the fourth square from the bottom and from the right, which should have read 23/24.) Apologies."


Monday's Daily Mini-Quiz pointed out that it was the anniversaries of Fawlty Towers, traffic wardens, and the Glastonbury Festival. And also the word "boycott" - but how old is it? The answer was 125 years, and 48% of you answered correctly. Tuesday's question is on the index now.


Letters logo
Here is another case of British v. North American confusion of language (Harold Evans' article Lost in Translation, 19 September). When I lived in England years ago I tried to adapt to the British terms such as "petrol" for gas, "lift" for elevator, etc. But one term I could never get used to because it made no sense was the use of the term "first floor" for what was very obviously the second floor. I went into a bulding once looking for an office and was told it was on the "first Floor". But I AM on the first floor I exclaimed.
No, you're on the ground floor.
That may be, but the next floor up is surely the second floor.
No, it's the first floor.
So does this floor not exist?
It was very confusing and extremely annoying.
Jean Naylor,
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

I think that using head girls to spread the word is a fantastic idea (The world according to head girls, 16 September). As a former head girl of the Godolphin and Latymer School my magical powers of opinion forming are as strong as ever. My big tip for this year is "The MFA". They're so hot right now.
Amanda Douglas,

The record company which is sending Jamie Cullum CDs to head girls has got this SOOOO wrong! The real "cultural kingpin" (what!?) is the cool girl bunking off double physics to catch a sly ciggie with her mates behind the changing rooms. Bit hard to build a mailing list for, though.
Eddie H,
Crawley UK

I approve of Jason's proposal (Monitor letters, Wednesday) that we as readers should contribute items of cultural note, in a style similar to the Paper Monitor. So let me tell you my verdict on the new film of Pride and Prejudice, vis-a-vis the memorable Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle production. Donald Sutherland: far too American to play Mr Bennet. Keira Knightley: gorgeous and witty, refreshingly un-prim. Matthew MacFadyen: Sadly not Colin Firth.

Is Natch Watch (the Monitor's effort to stamp out the use of the word "natch" by UK journalists) still going? I was reminded of it this Saturday while reading my Daily Mirror. TV columnists Polly Hudson and Nicola Methven wrote: "So do we, natch," in response to Darryl Hannah's claims that she rarely visits the supermarket and grows all her own vegetables. (Incidentally that's a piece of trivia worthy of 10 Things there, I'd say.)
Blackpool, England

(Winner of the Monitor's occasional award for multi-tasking)

Tim Calvert asks what the phrase "in front of the headlines" means (Monitor letters, Thursday). It is when a media organisation puts its aims and agenda ahead of factual reporting, and thus spins or changes the emphasis in a story. I have just invented this usage and I'm very proud of it.

Re: Paper Monitor, Monday. What does the word 'snit' mean? I can't find out because there isn't the usual link to a dictionary site... Can anyone help?
Philip Lickley,


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

The Sun has an exclusive interview with Paul McCartney, as he starts his world tour. He's not going to change, he says, just to get a Number One. "To get a big hit single you've got to go a bit dance. You've got to go a bit Britney. I don't think I can do that - well, I could but it wouldn't look very seemly!"

Meanwhile, over at the Mirror, there's a somewhat unfavourable review of the tour's first night. "Time to Let it Be, Macca," it says.... "10 Beatles songs he murdered".... "Macca was an embarrassment".... "McCartney's cynicism and egotism are also never far from the surface"....

Ouch. ... Could the Mirror be sore that it didn't also have an exclusive interview? Paper Monitor is willing to wager it will be a little time before it does have one with him.

Footnote to last week's events: The Hamburger Guardian has done the decent thing and given Doonesbury practically an entire supplement to make up for the hasty dropping and rehiring of the cartoon. Creator Garry Trudeau himself tells the paper: "I knew nothing of the decision prior to the strip being reinstated, so there was no opportunity to work myself up into a righteous snit, which was a disappointment."

Word of the week for Monitor readers: "snit."


We got you. In Friday's Daily Mini-Quiz, 45% of you thought it was only 10 years since the last film of Pride and Prejudice. 29% of you thought it was 25 years. And only 25% of you thought - correctly - that it was a whopping 65 years. But we forgive you for being so wrong. Monday's Daily Mini-Quiz is on the index now.

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