Welcome to the Magazine Monitor, the home for:
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10 THINGS WE DIDN'T KNOW THIS TIME LAST WEEK
Snippets harvested from the week's news, chopped, sliced and diced for your weekend convenience.
1. In Guy Fawkes's day, those who persistently refused to attend Protestant services were fined £20 a month - the annual salary of a school teacher.
2. Margaret Thatcher "stamped her feet" in anger at the prospect of German reunification, according to Helmut Kohl's memoirs.
3. The first traffic cones were used in building Preston bypass in the late 1950s, replacing red lantern paraffin burners.
4. Britons buy about one million pumpkins for Halloween, 99% of which are used for lanterns rather than for eating.
5. Albania is retiring its Soviet MiG aircraft, which have killed 35 Albanians, but not a single enemy.
6. The French translation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has an extra 120 pages as it is a less concise language than English.
7. Bailiffs cannot evict on Sundays, bank holidays, Christmas Day or Good Friday.
8. Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli was once a backing dancer for Bananarama in the band's heyday.
9. You can dial the emergency services with 112 as well as 999.
10. Cabinet ministers who have been sacked, resigned or lost their seats collect an £18,000 golden goodbye (and those who leave twice get the payment again).
[Sources, where stories are not linked: 1. BBC History magazine, November issue. 3: Times, 1 November. 5: Yahoo News, 1 November. 6: Sunday Telegraph, 30 October. 8: It Takes Two, BBC Two.]
If you spot anything that should be included next week, use the form below to tell us about it. Thanks this week to Lester Mak.
The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.
YOUR LETTERS FRIDAY 4 NOVEMBER 1710 GMT
I'm not easily offended and I'm a very liberal person with a strong dislike of the "PC" way of doing things, but I've found the jokes at the expense of David Blunkett, both sick and shallow (Paper Monitor, Thursday). Why should a man, blind from birth, who has transcended all the challenges and prejudices of his disability and his working class roots, to rise to become the only blind cabinet minister ever, be treated in such an appalling way? A surprising bravo to the Sun, amazingly tasteful (for once...)
If the government is bringing in legislation to make it illegal to glorify terrorism, could they please wait until after the weekend to enforce it? I'm going to a fireworks display on Saturday, and I don't fancy being arrested.
Coventry, UK, thelbiq.co.uk
That's a nice picture of Guy Fawkes outside Parliament on the Magazine index, but the Westminster clock tower behind him was built between 1840 and 1888.
I like a light-hearted story as much as the next person, but surely Camilla nearly walks into glass door cannot be considered a news story in any way?
So, the Friday Objective has made an unannounced reappearance, slinking back in like a cat who's been getting fed by the neighbours for the last fortnight. Is there a Flexicon word for a "regular feature of the Magazine Monitor that is not as regular as some"?
I've just recorded my first ever 0/7 in 7 days 7 questions. I blame the new 'Flash' format and insist you return to the good old fashioned version as soon as possible!
Paper Monitor! You should be ashamed of yourself. Yesterday you questioned the mocking of a blind politician. Yet, here you are today delighting in the papers banter over a couple of men who appear to have been the victims of domestic violence.
It's funny to think that had Ross Kemp allegedly assaulted Ms Wade, he would be vilfied by the press and his career prospects shortened. However by not responding to violence with violence, he is labelled "a big girl's blouse", while Ms Wade's position as a strong woman of the press will undoubtedly only be enhanced by the coverage. Makes me reflect on-what a strangely balanced society we live in.
I've checked in a few dictionaries, and "antisocial" is one word, un-hyphenated. So the question I'd like to pose to Magazine Readers is this: why isn't it called an "ABO"?
Go on then, I'll answer the question asked by Jacqui Adams and Kaylie from Runcorn (Monitor letters, Wednesday). Jonathan Ross and Ricky Gervais are very good friends, and I would imagine the pictue of Rossy with a beard is actually him pretending to be Ricky. Showing this picture when talking about a potential Gervais doll is probably more accurate than showing what the doll may have looked like, judging by the recent standard of these mini-clones.
In Times are tough, your correspondent notes that Labour's majority of one in the recent terror bill vote is their "smallest margin of victory in the Commons since it came to power in 1997". I thought I remembered a majority of 0.666 (recurring) votes back in 2001, but I must have been mistaken.
FRIDAY OBJECTIVE 4 NOVEMBER 1330 GMT
Your mission should you choose to accept it...
Right, we mean business this week. In May we asked for your suggestions for comedy versions of Sudoku. To be honest, we never imagined that the Sudoku madness would still be raging nearly six months later, but it appears that it is.
We have been inspired by Magazine reader Sander, from London, who suggested that the Flexicon (our dictionary of new words) should incorporate the word "pseudoku". Unfortunately none of us are too clear what it might mean.
Which is where the Objective Collective come in. Create a puzzle which would do this wonderful new word justice, tell us about it using the form on the right, and we will publish the best.
If anyone comes up with a really good idea, who knows, maybe we will use some BBC magic to make the Pseudoku a reality.
Marks, set, go.
It's not a new game, it's a verb. To pseudoku - to seamlessly continue inserting numbers into the puzzle with no visible change of expression to fellow commuters whilst realising you've cocked it up.
Well its just surreal really isn't it..is, it not? Conjures up images of contemporary artists in white sheets shouting out numbers at random
J Bright, London UK
Completely fill a traditional blank grid with numbers from 1 to 9, in any order. Sender of the correct solution by tomorrow wins a holiday to Majorca.
Josh D, Leicestershire, UK
Not a Pseudoku made up by me (I'm afraid to say, would love to take credit for it), but I read in my Prospect (Union) magazine this month that the Ordnance Survey branch of the union produce a Map-Doku for their newsletter, using 9 tourist symbols from the Landranger map Series (Camp Site, Caravan Site, Garden, Golf Course or Links, Information Centre, Nature Reserve, Picnic Site, Parking, and Walk). I think they should make it more widely available! Any more industry specific examples out there?
Morag Fyfe, Edinburgh
How about a 9 x 9 grid where the rows, columns and 3 x 3 boxes DON'T contain the digits 1 to 9. It might be a bit easier.
Josh D, Leicestershire, UK
Since sudoku means "numbers only", then pseudoku should reflect a letters-only puzzle. Official pseudoku puzzles will have 25 columns and rows, set in blocks of five. Each column, row, and block should have exactly one of the letters from A through Y.
Or perhaps pseudoku will be the 2006 name from what we used to call "crossword puzzles".
Tim Francis-Wright, Boston, US
My girlfriend already plays Pseudoku. When sitting on the train, in order to look brainy and not feel left out, she fills in the Sudoku squares of her newspaper with random numbers, thus creating the impression that she is completing the puzzle in super-quick time.
Jon Copley, Southampton, UK
The way Pseudoku would work is there is a grid just as in Sudoku, but instead of filling in the numbers you fill in names of famous people. Any name counts as long as you reference your chosen pseudonym for each person with their actual name. Winners are players whose lists beat the scores of other players. A popularity counter works that out for you.
Prizes are little statues of politicians and writers, and money, which can be given away to a favourite charity.
Thomas Latcham, Erith, Kent - London
You need to fit numbers into a grid shaped like Carol Vorderman's face; must include at least 3 almost imperceptible witticisms.
Pseudoku: One blank square. Think of a number, any number. Multiply it by the sum of the two preceding numbers to the number you first thought of. Divide it by Pi (to 17 decimal places). Subtract your age. Add the number of times you have failed to get a post to the MM published. Divide it by the square of the number of times you expect to see Punorama again. I think you'll find that the number is always 41.8975. (So not quite the answer...)
Stig, London, UK
Pseudoku - the game where you have to arrange arts critics' weekly newspaper columns in such a way that, when read sequentially, they form a coherent essay on the state of modern culture and its relation to, and resonance with (in a very real sense) the deeper underlying structure of contemporary philosophical and spiritual experience.
Phil Emery, Manchester, UK
Pseudoku? Surely it's a competition to find the best Christopher Lee impersonator. (NB Sad Star Wars reference).
dave godfrey, swindon, uk
Pseudoku - when you fill in a 9x9 square with random digits in an attempt to appear intellectual. Probably used by men in wine bars in a vain attempt to pick up intelligent women. [This is not autobiographical!]
Dave Slater, Glasgow, Scotland
'Pseudoku' is the ancient Japanese art whereby proponents spend hours figuring out the exact time at which they can leave the office on a Friday which meets these two following criteria:
a) it's not too early that you might be caught out as a skiver.
b) It still gets you out before the rush to leave the car park / train / tube home.
CAPTION COMPETITION FRIDAY 4 NOVEMBER 1335 GMT
It's time again for the caption competition.
This week, amid much turmoil at Westminster with resignations, crunch votes, demonstrations and intrigue, Big Ben gets a clockfacelift.
The winners are:
6. Dave Kelly, San Francisco
"So Gordon, when the lightning strikes the clocktower, it'll produce the 1.21 gigawatts required to send us back to 1997"
5. Patrick Forgette, Seattle, US
4. Christian Cook, UK
Spring cleaning in the Dali household
3. Alastair Tams, Selkirk, Scotland
"Typical, you spend weeks doing a jigsaw and there's one piece missing"
2. Lynn, London
"What can you see Teddy?"
1. Angie, Oxford
"Damn my liberal arts degree"
PAPER MONITOR FRIDAY 4 NOVEMBER 0930 GMT
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
Regular readers of Paper Monitor will know of the concept of News Carnivals, those rare occasions when the news is so insanely fascinating that the papers can hardly control themselves. Friends, today is a News Carnival.
It's all about the arrest of the editor of the Sun, Rebekah Wade, after she allegedly assaulted her husband Ross Kemp. And also the apparently unrelated incident in which Steve McFadden (Phil to Kemp's Grant) was also allegedly assaulted.
"What would Peggy say?" asks the Daily Star, before suggesting: "Ere! Woss going on?", "What you doing letting that pair of slappers knock you around", and "I always said she was a wrong un".
"Hard man of EastEnders is decked by the Ginger Ninja," says the Times. Yes, the Times.
"Would you Adam and Eve it," says the Mirror.
Paper Monitor's eyes were really on the Sun, of course. How was it going to deal with the story? The answer is with complete chutzpah. It puts a picture of McFadden on page one with the headline: "EastEnders hardman beaten by lover." That's McFadden, not Kemp. News of Ms Wade's arrest is on page seven.
Two points stand out. The Sun refers to the incident as an "allegation", which is curious. Two people know exactly what happened, and one of those people - it says later in the article - returned to work to "mastermind production of today's newspaper". Did it happen or didn't it?
Secondly, the mastermind truly was at work. For the woman who has been leading a campaign against domestic violence, this incident is, it turns out, "'an old fashioned row' between a married couple".
Aren't traditional family values great?
FRIDAY 4 NOVEMBER
Both Adam Ant and Rosanne Barr celebrated birthdays yesterday. The Daily Mini-Quiz asked which was older - it's Rosanne, who was 53. Adam was 51.Given the option, most of you (41%) thought they were the same age. A new Daily Mini-Quiz is on the Magazine index
PUNORAMA THURSDAY 3 NOVEMBER 1245 GMT
It's the return of Punorama, our headline pun-writing contest.
The rules are simple - we give you a story and in return you give us a punning headline, with the accent on originality.
This week, the story of the red panda which has escaped from a zoo in Birmingham. It's an intriguing tale - why, for instance, did the panda choose now to escape, just a few days after another one had made a bid for freedom. How did it manage to evade tough new security measures? What is it doing now? And who knew that there were 70 red pandas in this country? (More details at this page: Red panda missing from city park).
Some stunning punning folks.
We lost count of how many submitted Panda-monium (often with the rider "I'm probably not the first, but..."). Andy for Epsom was the first, so a mention to him for being quick on the draw.
There were quite a few Eats, Shoots and Leaves although Sean Smith, Bucks, expanded on the theme with Absent without leaves.
Vicki Powell, Manchester, offered Flee-at Panda and Lynn from London came up with No locks and the free bears.
Fans of those dinky fizzy drinks will appreciate Panda pops out of stock, from Stella Alvarez, Teesside, and alliterative kudos to Joel Wilkinson, Beaconsfield for Hairy Houdini.
Vicki Powell, Manchester, dusted off an old Smiths lyric, with Pandas on the streets of Birmingham.
And Laurence Hayden, Los Angeles, showed commendable foresight, suggesting "when it's recaptured you can have
Time to love you and leave you.
PAPER MONITOR THURSDAY 3 NOVEMBER 1000 GMT
A service celebrating the riches of the daily press.
Tasteless, and in some cases offensive, cartoons on the Blunkett resignation:
Daily Star: Guide dog speaking for Blunkett asks producers of I'm A Celebrity: "Gizza Job!"
Daily Express: Blunkett, tied to giant firework. Guide dog holds taper and asks: "Ready?"
Daily Mail: Blunkett as Pinnochio. Aide says: "The trouble with David is he couldn't see the length of his nose..."
Daily Mail: Blunkett in bed, with guide dog reading him a bedtime story (The Peter Mandelson story). "Once upon a time..." the dog says.
Independent: Guide dog, leading Blunkett towards the exit in Downing St, says: "It's all right, I know the way."
Paper Monitor isn't usually easily offended. But is it really funny to have jokes based on a man's blindness and/or possession of a guide dog? So gold stars today go only to the Sun and the Times, which give us cartoons which are offensive in their own way but at least avoid making lazy blind jokes.
Times: Blunkett pictured as dead horse Best Mate with Blair as jockey.
Sun: Blunkett, undressing as he is about to jump into bed with big-breasted woman, is on the phone saying: "I'll be fine! There's other things I can do apart from being a cabinet minister."
(Also special mention to the Telegraph's Matt, which has Guy Fawkes being discovered, saying: "I wasn't aware I was doing anything wrong.")
THURSDAY 3 NOVEMBER 0935 GMT
In Wednesday's Daily Mini-Quiz, we asked where, in a ranking of most expensive property hotspots in the world, was Sandbanks peninsula in Dorset. The correct answer, as chosen by 45% of you, was fourth in the world. Today's question is on the index now.
YOUR LETTERS WEDNESDAY 2 NOVEMBER 1550 GMT
Wonderful Dickens quiz, Magazine Monitor (How Smart are You? - Dickens, 2 November). I was surprised, however, at the lack of reference to senor Dickens' appearance in this year's Doctor Who (not Dickens himself, of course, rather an actor playing him). Surely this is the first time the BBC News website has missed even the slightest opportunity to link an article or feature to Doctor Who since early 2004?
I applaud your article about a long golf hole (878 yards) (Players faced with marathon hole, 2 November). It was nice to see the following description, "The par-six fourth at the St Andrews Hill Club is the length of 73 double decker buses or 10 football pitches".
So Lambeth Council has dropped the word "Christmas" so as not to cause offence to other religions (Row as Christmas lights renamed)? Why stop there - I'm sure that with a bit of thought they could come up with acceptable modern names for Wednesday and Thursday, since surely nobody in the borough believes in Woden or Thor.
What a pity Mr Blunkett resigned before you had time to tap your "Blunkett Barometer". Perhaps you could create a "Virtual Blunkett", to fill the space during our short wait for Mr Blair to re-employ the real one.
To Geoff Harrison, (Monitor Letters, Tuesday). Surely there must be a Master's in stripping available at a British university by now?
Neil Golightly comments on your use of 'Charivari' (Monitor Letters, Tuesday). Well I remember back in the golden days of CEEFAX (the early 1980s) that they used to have a page in the news section (page 119 if memory serves right) called Charivari. It featured some of the more bizarre stories of the day. One I distinctly remember was about the steps leading up to the Royal plane having to be altered as the Corgis didn't like the gaps in them. It was accompanied by a small blocky graphic representation of a Corgi and the item was suitably renamed 'Corgivari'!
High Wycombe, UK
Given the Prince of Wales' alleged habit of talking to plants is the story Charles and Camilla to meet Bush really news?
PAPER MONITOR WEDNESDAY 2 NOVEMBER 1020 GMT
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
Here's Paper Monitor, carefully crafting the second edition of the Blunkett Barometer, assessing the Work and Pensions secretary's chances of holding on to his job. And what happens? The barometer falls off the wall and Mr Blunkett resigns before Paper Monitor can even post today's entry.
Curses all round. Now you'll never get to hear a couple of jokes about "set fair", "increasing pressure", "grim outlook" etc etc.
Ah well. Let's fall back on our old favourite, Sudoku watch. In a worrying sign that addicts are having to go further to get their kicks, rampant Sudoku inflation has again hit Fleet Street.
Mere fiendish Sudoku puzzles are now not enough. The Telegraph is this week among those offering a new puzzle - Kakuro. Here's how it's done.
"You must enter a number between 1 and 9 in the empty squares. The clues are the numbers on the black squares that give the sum of the solution numbers: above the line are across clues and below the line are down clues. Thus a clue of 3 will produce a solution of 2 and 1, and a 5 will produce 4 and 1 or 2 and 3, but, of course, which squares they go in will depend on the solution of a clue in the other direction."
Genius. But the Guardian - the paper which promised "almost imperceptible witticisms" in its own Sudoku - has trumped them, introducing a further new grid game, Maru Batsu. "Like Sudoku it is more a game of logic than arithmetic, but there the similarity ends. Some like it to chess, some to poker, some to an unholy combination of the two, but in the end such comparisons are useless. Maru-batsu is unique." A clue comes in the translation: maru is Japanese for a circular character, Batsu is a figure closely resembing our own X. Yes, it's Noughts and Crosses.
WEDNESDAY 2 NOVEMBER 0912GMT
Yesterday's daily mini-quiz asked why the winner of Sunday's Snowdonia marathon was disqualified? He ran in climbing boots, said 21% of you, while 32% thought he'd hitched a lift in a Land Rover. But it was because he'd taken a wrong turn a mile from the end, which 47% of you answered correctly. Today's DMQ is on the Magazine index.
YOUR LETTERS TUESDAY 1 NOVEMBER 1645 GMT
Why such extensive coverage of Charles and Camilla "on tour" in the US (A tough act to follow, 31 October)? Does anyone really care? Well, we know hardly anyone there does, because we have polling evidence to that effect. But over here? I suspect the results - should anyone have the gumption to commission a similar poll - would be similar. Please concentrate on matters more relevant.
Kris from Orkney and Spangle from Birmingham both talk about disappointments when ego-surfing on Google Images (Monitor Letters, Monday). Be grateful you aren't me.
Are you going to answer Jacqui Adams' question (Monitor Letters, Monday)? I asked myself the same question yesterday. But I didn't know.
Re: David from Jerusalem's query (Monitor Letters, Monday). The VAT take of France equates to just over 25 Olympic size swimming pools. I would provide a diagram but the feedback form only allows plain text.
I'm impressed by the changes they have made to Rupert the Bear. All they need to do now is swap his jumper and scarf for a large rosette, and his transformation into Nookie Bear is complete.
Why does the link to the Magazine article Begin at the beginning, 31 October, show a blonde in a mortar board, looking like a academic stripper-gram, when she is not mentioned in the article?
Two universities in the top 20 worldwide (Begin at the beginning, 31 October)? That sounds very reasonable to me, given the number of universities worldwide! Surely it would be a bit greedy to expect any more?
Emma Bates, Kendal, UK
Architect Richard Horden has designed a "micro-house" (Germany tests micro-house, 1 November) , which is 9'x9', and has a folding bed. Isn't this just a very small caravan without wheels?
In your article Pumpkin Passions, 31 October, you write that the British bought a million pumpkins for Halloween last year, that 99% of pumpkins bought are for lanterns, and that David Bowman alone grows 2 million pumpkins in Spalding each year. Does that mean there are 980,000 lanterns (or more) in the UK each year at times other than Halloween? I'd have thought I'd have noticed at least one of them.
I would like to suggest a Flexicon entry: Limborick (n), the emotion experienced in the period between 1pm Monday and 1pm Tuesday by a person who has uploaded a really funny limerick to the Magazine's Lunchtime Limerick and is anxious to know whether it has been chosen.
Tim G, London, UK
Charivari? There's a Sunday best word and no mistake. Has Paper Monitor been watching lots of Call My Bluff recently?
(Adopts Robert Robinson voice) Ah. Indeed. Therein lies the crux of the matter. Three definitions we have: two are mere flights of fancy. Charivari: is it
a) a noisy serenade for newlyweds,
b) a brightly coloured Gypsy caravan
or c) a gaudy star-shaped ornament, popular in 18th Century Italy.
A NOTE FOR READERS TUESDAY 1 NOVEMBER 1500 GMT
Harold Evans, formerly the author of our column A Point of View, writes:
The most satisfying aspect of my period with A Point of View were the responses from listeners and readers - but consistently interesting and provocative. I learned a lot. The volume is too high for me to have any chance of replying individually, but please know they were read and appreciated.
PAPER MONITOR TUESDAY 1 NOVEMBER 1030 GMT
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
The Blunkett Barometer...
The Daily Mail: "Mr Blunkett? What a very tragic figure he cuts. A year of unimaginable turmoil in his private life has sapped his political judgement."
The Guardian: "By selling the shares... Mr Blunkett has removed the potential for a future conflict of interest and his family will not profit from any flotation. But he has not come out of it well."
The Daily Telegraph: "If Tony Blair does not grasp the nettle now and replace Mr Blunkett, it is difficult to see why he should remain in office any longer himself."
The Times: "It is certainly to be hoped that Mr Blunkett can devote more time to [the day job]... At the very least Mr Blunkett now owes Mr Blair results and a period of relative calm."
The Daily Express: "The Prime Minister was last night quick to insist that 'no further action is needed and the matter is now closed'. The British public will be the judge of that."
TUESDAY 1 NOVEMBER
£333 - that's what you'd pay for a Magie Noir cocktail in the London nightclub Umbaba. It's a hefty price for one drink (although they throw in a 24-carat white gold swizzle stick), which is perhaps why only 27% of those who answered yesterday's Daily Mini-Quiz thought it was the correct answer. Today's DMQ is on the Magazine index. Go on... try it.
YOUR LETTERS 31 OCTOBER 1600 GMT
Tut, tut Monitor. Tempting your readers with a new quiz (Citizenship Test, 31 October) only for them to realise that they already did it 4 months ago!
Was this a resit for those who failed first time round?
(Monitor answers: Apologies to anyone who felt conned - this should really have been labelled "Another chance to enjoy...". It was done in a good cause though - the difference between a government plan being announced and implemented.)
Why is Paper Monitor's disclosure that Ricky Gervais turned down the opportunity to release a dancing David Brent doll illustrated by what is clearly a picture of Jonathan Ross in a false beard?
Friday's Daily Mini-Quiz answer: "A sizzling 52% of you got it right." - Is this a record? (since records began of course)
On Friday you printed my letter about being stuck in a departure lounge and being unable to access the Monitor, because the internet terminal judged its content to be "inappropriate". Having since returned home and had chance to read what was actually written on Friday, I have to say I agree. Nevertheless I thought I'd send you this photograph which proves my story.
I would like to point out to David Cannadine (A Point of View, 31 October) that there are not just two UK universities in the world's top 20 - there are in fact 4, with LSE, at which I am a (somewhat indignant) student, placed 11th, and Imperial College 13th. Although I must say I agree with many of his other comments, particularly about underfunding.
Kris from Orkney, who wrote in Friday's Monitor Letters about finding a picture of himself when ego-surfing (ie looking for picture of yourself on Google Images). He should think himself lucky. I was presented with a picture of a gravestone.
Re: Joanna McMenamin's article as the first Reader's Column (My ad breakdown, 28 October). So you showered and washed your hair while the adverts were on?
My wife can just about manage that while Lawrence of Arabia was on.
You report that VAT fraud in the EU is so great "that it costs EU countries the equivalent of the VAT take of France" (10 Things We Didn't Know, 31 October) Could you please tell us how much that is in football pitches, London buses or the size of Wales?
As well as a Letter of the Week Award, how about a Not The Letter of the Week Award, you useless idiots? Do I win, or lose, or whatever?
PAPER MONITORMONDAY 31 OCTOBER 1030 BST
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
Today, a five-point charivari from the papers.
HEADLINE OF THE DAY The Daily Mail's story about a man fined for driving through a puddle, splashing a passer-by: "The road puddle martyr".
SECOND HEADLINE OF THE DAY The Sun's allegation that Charlotte Church asked for interest-free credit on a couple of sofas: "Invoice of an angel".
LETTER OF THE DAY To the Daily Telegraph: "SIR - Please stop showing us pictures of the Archers characters. You listen to a radio play or soap so that you can imagine the characters. I have never understood someone who actually wants to investigate whether Shula, for instance, looks as she does."
REVELATION OF THE DAY The Guardian tells us that Ricky Gervais rejected plans to put out a dancing David Brent doll. "It might be funny to have a tacky Brent doll and it'll probably sell well. But's it's a con. It's a piece of tat that you don't need." Also reveals that he doesn't want to write his autobiography, even if it's called A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Office.
SOCIAL ANALYSIS OF THE DAY The Times's Caitlin Moran tells us what we've learnt so far this decade: "Fortysomething divorcees have learned to eschew the tapered trouser... Close harmonied male voice groups from Essex have learned that there is a limited market for their talents. Uri Geller has learned that the only way he can get on television is by crawling through a tunnel of rats with a waffle stapled to his head."
MONDAY 31 OCTOBER
On Friday's Daily Mini-Quiz, we asked where the British temperature record was broken on 27 October. A sizzling 52% of you got it right - the answer is Aultben in the Scottish Highlands. A new question can be found on the Magazine index.
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