[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 22 July 2005, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
The Magazine Monitor


Welcome to The Magazine Monitor, the home for many ever-popular features, including your letters and :

  • MON: Si's riddle
  • WEDS: Punorama
  • THURS: Caption comp
  • FRI: Friday Objective
  • SAT: 10 things we didn't know this time last week


    10 THINGS
    10 toilet rolls by Simon Butterfield

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

    1. Actor James Doohan, who played Scotty, created the Klingon language that was used in the movies, and which Shakespeare plays were subsequently translated into.

    2. Doohan also landed in Normandy on D-Day with Canadian forces.

    3. Mia Farrow was educated at an English convent.

    4. A flesh-eating caterpillar that uses spider-like silk to trap and eat snails has been discovered.

    5. Sheep don't show outward signs of distress when they're injured, although they may feel pain.
    More details

    6. Tony Blair received a Segway personal transporter last year as a gift from the King of Jordan.

    7. Prince Charles stopped learning the cello when he joined the Navy because there was no room in his cabin.

    8. The hotter it is, the more difficult it is for aeroplanes to take off. Air passengers in Nevada, where temperatures have reached 120F, have been told they can't fly.

    9. Peter Ostrum, who played Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), made no more films and is now a vet in upstate New York.

    10. King George III's madness could be partly explained by arsenic found in a sample of his hair.

    If you spot anything that should be included next week, use the form below to tell us about it. Thanks to Candace in New Jersey, US.

    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
    Did I fall asleep for a whole day last week? Or are you suggesting you work so hard at the BBC that you squeeze eight days' work into seven? (7 days 7 questions, 22 July)

    RE: Question 4 of today's 7 days 7 questions. Technically the correct answer is 'False' as Kirk said "beam me up, Scotty" at least once in the often overlooked Star Trek cartoon. Does knowing this make me too much of a nerd?
    Doug McKerracher,

    Whilet I acknowledge that the content of the article Violent offences top million mark, 21 July, is very serious, I am slightly worried that the police appear to have arrested Superman.
    Ann C,
    Orpington, UK

    Dear Monitor, I couldn't care less about Jude Law or any of his affairs. I didn't click onto the story and don't intend to. However, please feel free to put any news however trivial onto the site as you please. There was lots of coverage of everything else, which I did read, so I'm sure the minute bit of space used for Jude Law was not detrimental to the rest of the site.

    In reply to Anon from Edinburgh's question "what happens when we start to get people picking the wrong types of mushrooms and end up poisioning themselves?" (Monitor letters, Monday): natural selection.

    Am I alone in finding the size of the "enlarged" image for this week'ss caption comp somewhat disappointing?
    Maesteg, South Wales


    Liz Beattie, a retired teacher, is urging the Professional Association of Teachers to delete the word "failure" from its language in dealing with schoolchildren.

    Instead, it should be replaced by "deferred success", she argues, because repeated failure in exams can damage the motivation of pupils and harm their enthusiasm to learn.

    For coming up with such a warm and glossy term, Ms Beattie takes her seat at the top of the linguistics class.

    This week's objective is to think of other equally brilliant terms which could be applied to failures and losers, without harming their self-esteem.

    Your suggestions:

    lower-case grade A
    Maggie, uk

    hidden treasure
    elle, uk

    heteroconventionally-targeted attainment
    Chris R, UK

    Near achievers
    Chris Rayner, UK

    Keen to suggest the most improbable of answers.
    TB, Spain

    Hard of thinking.
    Paul Gitsham, Manchester, UK

    Increasing Improvability (for getting worse)
    Bas, London

    The bar was set too high
    Candace, New Jersey, US

    Maximally sub-optimal.
    Alexander Lewis Jones, UK

    Immeasurable ability
    Derek Behan, Blackburn,Lancs

    As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know. Unfortunately you tend towards the latter. They'll never get past the first sentence to realise that they've failed.
    Martin Hollywood, France

    Stupid = IQ-impaired ?
    HB, UK

    'Successfully unsuccessful' or 'succeeding via an alternative route'
    Keith, South Yorkshire

    Academically Challenged?
    Richard York, UK

    Introverted triumph
    Esther Bucklee, Northwood

    mentally anorexic
    H, England

    Minimally exceptional
    Brian, Kent

    'Analytically non-responsive' for 'hasn't a clue'?
    David Dee, Mozambique

    Hitler didn't lose World War II - he came second.
    Simon Robinson, UK

    Winners in waiting
    Catherine O, UK

    Defeat: 'a successful victoriously-challenged retrograde achievement'
    Kathryn Miles, Wales

    Relaxed attitude to winning.
    Doug, UK

    Realisable promise
    Mark Bohan, Dublin


    Winning entries in this week's ever-popular caption competition, challenging the boundaries of news journalism.

    This week, four of the 1,600 nude folk who took part in artist Spencer Tunick's mass nudity event in Newcastle this week.

    6. Mal, Hessle, UK
    Do you think anyone will notice we only have three shadows ?

    5. Mark Smithson, Leeds
    We can't all be Mr Pink.

    4. Paul Walton, England
    I definitely said "put everything on red", not black.

    3. Paul McWatt, Scotland
    Does my bum look big in this..??

    2. Jim Hewitt, England
    Where's the fog on the Tyne when you need it?

    1. Hal Coyle, US
    Very funny, now beam down our uniforms, Scotty.


    A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
    Today's front pages

    After tracking down the Lord's streaker, the Times is on a roll. Today it's on the trail of the Oompa Loompas from the 1971 film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

    The director Mel Stuart reveals he scoured Europe for 10 actors and only four are still alive.

    Some did not speak English, which is why they did not appear to know all the words to the songs. But they all loved having fun. "They were what you would call party animals," Stuart recalls.

    The lead Oompa Loompa was Rusty Goffe, a British actor who was 21 at the time. Since then he has been in Star Wars and two Harry Potter films.

    Remaining ambitions? "They should give us a chance to do normal parts. I'd love a part in EastEnders," he says.


    Thursday's mini-quiz asked when was the last time the England cricket team beat Australia at Lord's. Sixty-three percent of you can raise your bats to the pavilion after correctly answering that it is 1934. Today's mini-quiz is on the Magazine index.


    It's time for the winning entries in Punorama, our pun-writing competition.

    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 the story that, on a wave of nostalgia for the days of East Germany, a company has started selling cans of exhaust fumes from old Trabant cars. "There used to be so many Trabis in the GDR, the entire country used to smell of them," said the man behind the ruse. "I decided we just had preserve this unique smell for future generations."

    Judges' verdict

    Finding suitable puns was not an easy task, even for the most dedicated followers of Punorama. But there were a few treasures in the pun scrapyard.

    Stephen C of Winchester digs up Herr today, pong tomorrow, Norm Brown from New South Wales adds Deutschland odour alles, which just passes, as does Greenhaus gases contained, from Derek Behan, Blackburn.

    Pretty wiffy bang bang adds Rowan, Shaftesbury, which has a certain naive charm about it.Perfumes from Phil in Bath does too.

    If only the lines between East and West Germany had been drawn differently, then Mike Monk might have been the proud winner of this week's competitions. Bonn Car monoxide shows some ability at punning but none at geography.

    The winner, however, showing once again that simplicity reigns, was Martin Price, UK, with Emission you already.


    Newspapers logo
    A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
    Today's front pages

    Paper Monitor just hasn't got the heart to record all the lame headlines for reports of the death of James Doohan which somehow incorporate the phrase "beam me up", so let's look elsewhere for our riches.

    And the Times has it, with an interview with Michael Angelow, who shot to worldwide fame in 1975 when he became the first person to streak at Lord's.

    He records that after the event, and after being fined £20 by magistrates for outraging public decency, he nervously took a call from his boss, expecting to be hauled over the coals.

    "He told me to report and then said: 'Oh, by the way Michael, I hope you have packed plenty of clothes.'"

    Final words, though, go to the legendary cricket commentator John Arlott, who was in front of the microphone at the time and said, in his distinctive Hampshire burr: "It's a freaker, we've got a freaker down the wicket now. Not very shapely, and it's masculine."


    Wednesday's mini-quiz asked the size of the world's smallest waist. Eighty percent correctly answered that it is 15ins. Today's mini-quiz is on the Magazine index.


    Newspapers logo
    Re: What did Shakespeare sound like?, 20 July. I agree that the new voice of Shakespeare IS completely intelligible if you happen to come from North Carolina, that is, assuming that you were raised in Yorkshire. I think the Globe is on to something here, but a drive 200 miles up the M1 might have saved them a lot of time and effort.
    Raleigh, NC, (ex pat: from York)

    Re: Teachers say no-one should 'fail', 20 July. I presume all my un-published postings which I (and I think you) considered failures, are actually in the "deferred success" category. As this will prove?
    London, UK

    Potter cynic Robert Winder shows just how out of touch he is when he writes: "Those of us who accurately remember the confusion, joy and pain of being 16 will probably look back on our then definition of "overdoing it" as being something slightly stronger than an extra portion of Mrs Weasley's sausages." He obviously doesn't know that among Harry Potter's teenage readership "an extra portion of Mrs Weasley's sausage" is a yoofemism.

    Re: Tuesday's discussion about the story on Jude Law's affair. Although I did click into the article, it was merely because I couldn't believe it merited space on the News Front Page, or the UK front page - I'm with Catherine O - Niger's plight is news, London's suicide bombings are news. Where Jude Law choses to dip his wick should only be relevant to his friends, family and those he is betraying at the time.
    Kate, London
    (Monitor note: Following the huge 510,000 page impressions on Monday, Jude Law was once again the most-read story on Wednesday, with Miller tearful over Law's affair scoring an amazing 630,000.)

    Re: Edward Higgins and "133T-speak" (Monitor letters, Tuesday). In fact it is "1337" speak. It was started by hackers who claimed to be "elite" who instead of writing letters, write the numbers that most closely approximate them in terms of shape. Add in a dash of txt-spk (phonetic shorthand used by text messagers) to throw off anything like correct spelling, and you've got 1337 5P33K. Bo.
    Andy Hewitt,
    London, UK

    1337-speak is commonly found in online games and chatrooms. For example, "w3 0w|\|3d j00!". Anyone using it can be safely ignored.
    Philip Chillag,
    Wigan, England


    A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
    Today's front pages

    Newspapers logo
    The big news from today's papers is that Ann Widdecombe (fresh from her appearance as an agony aunt on BBC Two - see this Magazine interview with her) is the "brilliant new columnist" in the Daily Express. So what does the great lady have to say?

    Violent children? "Perhaps the social services were too busy pursuing parents who smack their children."

    Air conditioning not working on trains? "They belong to the Devil."

    Education standards? "If you want the best for your chldren, don't save up for Eton, just send them to the poorest country you can find."

    Lady Thatcher's tribute to Ted Heath? "In that one generous and dignified statement she showed both her own greatness and why the Conservative party was once great."

    Tans and breast enlargements? "Perhaps we should care less about physical imperfection and more about preserving the health Almighty God has given us."


    Tuesday's Daily Mini-Quiz was one of the closest calls yet. We asked what, according to one survey, was the amount spent on shoes in the lifetime of an average UK woman. 44.3% of you answered that it was £10,300. 45.7% of you answered (correctly, as it turned out) that it was in fact £31,000 - proving once again Magazine readers' unnerving ability to get the right answer. Today's mini-quiz is on the index now.


    Letters logo
    Catherine O made the point in yesterday's Monitor letters that there were better things to think about than Jude Law and his affair. I can see where she are coming from, and personally, I have no interest in the daily lives of celebreties, but the world does go on. The events of the past few weeks cannot be the only things in our mind. No matter what has happened, the news will never stop happening, and should never stop being told.
    Nottingham, England

    (Monitor note: Statistics just in reveal the Jude Law article was the most-read story on the website yesterday, with a huge 510,000 page impressions.)

    Re: No more repeats, promises Grade, 19 July. We've all heard that one before.
    David Dee,
    Maputo Mozambique

    Re: On This Day, 19 July (right). It's good to see that Bob Fleming, of Fast Show fame, is still fondly remembered.
    Mark G,
    Maidenhead, UK

    "133t-speak"? (The answer to Si's Riddle, Monday). Someone please explain. I'm suddenly feeling very old.
    Edward Higgins,

    Regarding How UK's love of mushrooms grew, 18 July, and Exotic recruit for dance group, 18 July, may I be the first to congratulate the editor this week on bringing a smile to aging space cadets everywhere by mentioning Hawkwind twice in two days? I look forward to searching this space for them again over the coming days.
    Nīmes, France

    Whoa! Man! like two of the magic mushroom just like disappeared man! Did you see that too? cool!
    Eric Porter,
    Seattle US

    Erm.. maybe that was just on the low graphics version of the page... *blush*
    Eric Porter,
    Seattle US


    Newspapers logo
    A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
    Today's front pages

    It's been a while since the Paper Monitor got excited about the rise of Sudoku. But we're proud to report that the first Sudoku grand master has now been identified, following a championships pushed by the Independent. So what's he like, this genius of the artform?

    The paper reports: "Edward Billig, 23, the new star in the quiz firmament, is a tall, ursine youth with close-cropped hair and beard, who resembles a Motorhead roadie. He is, in fact, an audio technician who lives in Wapping and works in Fleet Street."

    So what's his secret which enables him to finish six hard puzzles in only twenty-two-and-a-half minutes?

    "You just look at groups of numbers and work out what's missing."



    In Monday's Daily Mini-Quiz, 48% of you answered correctly that scientists had found it was nitrous oxide which made bubbly chocolate taste better. Tuesday's question is on the Magazine now.


    Letters logo
    With the law changing today on Magic Mushrooms (The trip is over, 18 July), it's really the worst thing they can do. Does the government really think this will curb usage? All it will do is push more people to go out to fields and pick them for themselves and what happens when we start to get people picking the wrong types of mushrooms and end up poisioning themselves?

    Your Daily Mini-Quiz invariably has a potentially very interesting story behind it, but quite often I can't find that story, on the BBC site or on the wider web. Today for instance; I would love to know more about gas in chocolate, but can't find any back-story on it! Can you tell me where I can read the story? (Although, obviously not before I answer the question, that'd be cheating....)
    Angharad Beurle - Williams,
    Brixton, London

    After a fortnight of almost indescribable tragedy, in this country and Turkey and Iraq, along with the passing of a political heavyweight last night, I really do not know what to make of the news that yet another jumped-up celebrity has embarked on a regrettable affair (Jude Law admits affair with nanny, 18 July)) or, indeed the BBC News website's decision to give it front page billing.
    Catherine O,
    Maidenhead, UK

    Re: The photo at the top of Brown's first taste of power, 15 July: if ever there was a picture crying out for your "enlarge image" function then that's it!!
    Shoreham-by-Sea, UK

    (Monitor note: Sorry.)


    Every Monday Si sets you a riddle to get your brain working.


    (7) expire and topic (5)
    (7) spray can and well-off (7)
    (5) regarding and tool (7)
    (6) country and add electrons to (6)
    (6) hunk and separate (7)
    (4) anxiety and steadfast (6)
    (9) chewy sweet and common sense (8)
    (6) breadth and interlace (7)

    Send your solution using the form below.

    Your e-mail address
    Town/city and country

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

    Last week's riddle was titled "Tricky Order", and gave you a series of number plates which, it said, should lead you to another. Putting those number plates in age order would have given this pattern:

    A126 WMP
    B261 HBA
    F315 AEU
    H323 TRL
    K35 IPD
    N201 SLA
    P232 TAN
    R25 HTI
    W13 EEE
    X162 NOL
    LN51 UFS

    Reading down the letter columns gives the following words: WHAT IS THE NUMBER PLATE OF PAUL DANIELS". So the solution is MAG1C (the prestidigitator's actual plate).

    The winner is Guy James, the first person from Luanda to win the riddle. His 133T-speak e-mail reads: "U W1LL L1K3 TH4T, N0T 4L0T 8UT U W1LL L1K3 1T...."


    Newspapers logo
    A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
    Today's front pages

    Innovative puns for the art installation which saw 1,700 nude people congregating in Newcastle.

    The man who put the Nudes into Newcastle (Independent)
    Welcome to Nudecastle (Express)
    Nudecastle (Mirror)
    Welcome to Nudecastle Upon Tyne (Sun)
    A Sunday morning stroll in Nudecastle (Mail)
    DTI set to put a limit on liability of auditors (FT)
    (Not sure about the last one.)


    Friday's daily mini-quiz asked which author was runner-up to JK Rowling in the website Amazon's bestselling list in the 10 years since it was launched. Only 4% of you picked correctly. The answer is Spencer Johnson, US author of self-help books such as Who Moved My Cheese and The One Minute Manager. Another daily mini-quiz is on today's Magazine index

  • Send your letters to the Magazine Monitor
    Your e-mail address
    Town/city and country
    Your comment

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

    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


    News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
    UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
    Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
    Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific