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Last Updated: Friday, 5 May 2006, 15:52 GMT 16:52 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)


keyboard keys
10 keyboard keys by Glenn Scott, South Shields

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

1. Each year 300 men are diagnosed with breast cancer.

2. There's a scientific term for holding your breath - it's apnoea.

3. In Bhutan government policy is based on Gross National Happiness; thus most street advertising is banned, as are tobacco and plastic bags.

4. Every 10 minutes of commuting cuts your social involvement by a 10th - so 10 percent fewer family dinners, club meetings and other forms of interaction.

5. In 20 minutes - the time it takes to vote - local councils issue £4,269 worth of speed camera fines.

6. And collect £38,052 in parking ticket fines.

7. Metal detector enthusiasts are referred to as "detectorists"; there are about 30,000 hobbyists in the UK.

8. "Teen chick lit" - a genre which includes the plagiarised novel by the Harvard student Kaavya Viswanathan - boosted sales of juvenile fiction books in the United States by 20 percent from 2004 to 2005.

9. Seven in 10 UK households have digital service to at least one TV set; yet there are still 40m sets still to be converted before the analogue signal is switched off.

10. Thirty-six percent of builders regard themselves as middle-class and 30 percent of bank managers say they are working-class.

[Sources, where stories are not linked - 1: Daily Telegraph, 4 May. 9: Guardian, 5 May. 10: Guardian, 5 May]

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

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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

May I be the first to congratulate Anna Ford on her new role in charge of the Thursday Letters. Thank you for their prompt and surprising publication.

What with all the jolly 'Wii' japes we've been having, I'm still trying to decide if today's sports section headline Joyful Wie makes first men's cut is actually very funny or if my already tenuous grip on maturity has been hopelessly compromised by reading too much Monitor.
Witney, UK

Sorry, but you've done it yourself this time. First Gordon Brown naked, then John Prescott, NOW Nick Robinson. Eugh!
Basil Long,
Newark Notts

Re: Chris R's letter about the Archbishop of York's hoodie. The Spanish inquisition?... I didn't expect that.
Nick Richards,

As a prime instigator of the Transit jokes may I suggest that we now draw a veil across the subject before anyone gets to Coq au vin?
Norwich UK


It's time for the caption competition.

This week, Rebecca Loos - former PA to the Beckhams and reality TV regular - shows her hand at a celebrity poker tournament in London. But what's being said?

6. Colin Nelson, Milton Keynes
"It's not the kind of stud I was thinking of."

5. Steve Kjaer, Bristol
Sven's controversial world cup team selection method.

4. Trevor Briggs, Grays
"They're both red. Should I shout 'snap' now?"

3. Sean Smith, Bucks
Rebecca plays her chest close to her cards.

2. Paul Gitsham, Manchester
"I hear that reckless gambling is a good way to meet prominent sportsmen."

1. Dave Lee, Manchester
Winsome Loosome.


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

It was rather hot on Thursday, apparently. But how ever might the papers illustrate this?

The Daily Mail has a picture of a pretty girl reading a book on the River Cam, alongside a eulogy to summer in England from Roy Hattersley reminiscent of the opening of Cider with Rosie.

The Sun observes "on the south coast beaches were packed with bikini-clad beauties". Surprisingly, the paper resists the temptation to have pics of said beauties. The paper quotes dancers Hannah Beavis and Laura Cresswell, who, strangely, are pictured in the Daily Star. Such a coincidence that both papers should bump into the same lovelies with all of the south coast's beaches to choose from.

There is joy in the Daily Star and Daily Mirror that while we sweltered, tourist spots in Spain were overcast and even rain-sodden.

And most juxtapose their first day of summer news with items on new sunscreen labels that make it clear that nothing offers total protection. It seems every silver lining has a cloud.

Today's great-minds-think-alike prize goes to the Sun and Daily Mirror, who have both christened the new England boss Big Mac.

Few have gone overboard with the appointment of Steve McClaren, partly because even those with but a passing interest in the beautiful game have known this since last Friday. But the Star, never one to curb its enthusiasm, plasters the story across the front, back and middle of the paper.

But fingers generally are crossed.


Thursday's Mini-Quiz marked the forthcoming demise of Footballers' Wives by asking which of these facts about the series was untrue - that it has been condemned by the Archbishop of Canterbury, that Archbishop Desmond Tutu was a fan or that Archbishop John Sentamu had made a guest appearance. The last option was the hoax - but it was only spotted by 18% of readers. Today's mini-question is on the Magazine index now.


Letters logo

Ooooh, what a lovely day. Being Thursday, I wish I was down the pub with Monitor.

The distinction between options two and three in What If: the results is easy. In the former, you are simply reducing the number of people who will probably die; in the latter, you almost guarantee that one person will die (the poor fat man), but the chance of actually stopping the trolley with him is low (he might roll off the line after landing). So there's a significant chance of increasing the number of deaths. People are just inserting real life into the theoretical problem.
Staplehurst, Kent

Can I point out a headline that requires no further reading? In the Science/nature pages, Microscope reveals great detail.

I thought I must be wrong assuming that metal detecting was a hobby for boring old men. Then I read the comments at the end: "My detecting enjoyment is often marred by thoughtless people who ruin the solitude of local parks by playing sport, running and shouting". Who's up for stereotype watch?
Mike Hewer,

I think Kip was right (Wednesday letters) - you know what they say, in vano veritas.
Alex Swanson,
Milton Keynes, UK

Re the We Media event the BBC is hosting - I think you'll find it's spelt "wii" these days (Wednesday letters).
Tim G,
London, UK

The Magazine is a great read - lotsa fun for everyone. But you rarely mention how European Directives are changing the regulatory environment in shareholder transparency. Any particular reason?
David Dee,
Maputo Mozambique

Happy Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you).
Clacton, UK

Christine asked in Tuesday's letters about the code in last Thursday's Paper Monitor. Scattered italics spelt out "monitor code: lawyer cracks da Vinci code judgement code", in reference to this story. There. I've killed the joke by explaining it.

I have faith in you and am entirely confident that you will publish this letter on Thursday.
Nottingham, UK


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

Today's great-minds-think-alike prize goes to the Daily Mail and Daily Express, those bastions of middle-market journalism. Exactly nine days after the foreign prisoners affair broke, their political cartoonists have hit on the humorous potential of the idea that Home Secretary Charles Clarke could be deported.

Elsewhere in the Express there is concern over the fate of the "Muddle Classes". Apparently there are 1.84 million Britons who believe themselves middle-class, despite being in the bottom fifth of the population in terms of "asset wealth". They are dubbed Suburban Asset Lightweights. It's all to do with property prices apparently...

Few of the papers have failed to spot the curious red wristband sported by Tony Blair at Wednesday's Prime Minister's Questions.

Variously described as a nada chedi or Nana Chhadhi, the Lobby's finest were soon onto the meaning of this item. It's dedicated to the Hindu goddess Shakti who symbolises strength. The PM picked it up on a visit to the temple in Neasden. Only the Daily Mirror notices the symbolism of Old Labour red on the leader's wrist.

Cruelness inhabits page three of the Daily Mail.

An unflattering photo of Madonna is blown up to show that the backs of her hands are, well, fairly unflattering. Praise for her "20-something body" gives way to an attack on hands described as "remarkably bony, wrinkled and covered in protruding veins".

Madonna is 47.

Over in the Daily Telegraph there is delight over the appearance of columnist and tousle-haired Tory Boris Johnson in a charity football match. Even this paper has to raise its eyebrows at the MP's eight-minute cameo in the England v Germany "legends" match.

It's likening of him to a "demented combine harvester, tackling like a prop forward" is counter-balanced by the recognition that he provided the only joy on a night where England's veterans showed they are a fair bit paunchier than their German counterparts.


Yesterday's Daily Mini-Quiz asked which are 12- to 15-year-olds more likely to regard as 'true', according to an Ofcom study?

  • Internet content
  • Reality TV
  • Both the same.

Thirty-seven percent of you went for online content - which was the right answer (although, being an online content provider, the Monitor ought to declare an interest at this point). Today's Daily Mini-Quiz is on the Magazine front page.


Letters logo

Regarding the postcode snobbery (Paper Monitor), imagine being the Queen and still having a Slough postcode. Her home address, I believe, is Windsor Castle, Berkshire, SL4 1NG.
Lindsay Stones,
Reading, UK

Re: Brentwatch: Does Paper Monitor today count as a gratuitous use of David Brent? Regardless of the answer, it was a missed opportunity for a photo....
Lester Mak,

Surely the only obvious Magazine vacancy for Anna Ford would be to look after the Thursday letter publications.
Richard Lucas,
Northampton, UK

Sue Lee (Tuesday letters) might at least take heart that in his choice of a red hoodie, the Archbishop of York did look, at a glance, rather like a member of the Spanish Inquisition...
Chris R,
Cambridge, UK

Re: word to describe prune like David Blaine when he comes out of his bowl of water (Tuesday letters). Rumpelstuntskin perhaps?
New Jersey, US

Nicola Judd,
Brisbane, Australia

The What if... story has convinced me never to stand in a group of five people again - it is just too dangerous.
Livonia, MI, Across the Pond

Following on from the Nintendo Wii sniggering (Tuesday letters et al), those plumbed-in water coolers in the office are called "point of use", commonly known as POU water (as opposed to bottled water) and of course the coolers have to comply with the WEEE Directive [EU Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment].

Let's hope that Nintendo can do a bit better than Microsoft in supplying demand for their new consoles, else they may leave people wanting a Wii for months.
York, UK

Surely nothing can beat the South East Asia, Middle East and Western Europe submarine cable - universally abbreviated as SeaMeWe. Watching senior executives say this word in front of puerile Brit journos is quite a sight...

To Kip (Latin van art in Tuesday letters) wouldn't you agree that omnia dicta fortiora si dicta latina?
Steve K,
Fraserburgh, Scotland

Re Link to this item


Ok punners, were you up to standard?

In case you haven't heard, Wayne Rooney, a footballer, has hurt his foot - broken his metatarsal to be precise - which makes him distinctly unlikely to play for England in the coming World Cup.

Rooney's name has been a gift to tabloid sub editors, with plenty of "Roo the day", "I'm Roo-ined" type of puns. Easy money, Paper Monitor pointed out only yesterday. This was your chance to prove your potential by giving us a pun about Wayne's broken foot, or his missing the world cup, which doesn't fall back on a lame "roo" gag.

So how did you do? You were inspired, so that's one good thing to come from the injury.

Tiold not to rely on the "roo" gag, many of you went for the "wayne" one instead. Party off, Wayne! suggested Gareth Jones from Frome and Wayne's World (Cup) on the Wayne was offered by Mark from Guildford, both taking their inspiration from 1992 pop-culture time capsule Wayne's World.

Summing it up precisely was Julie in Reading with It never Wayne's but it pours, Injury Waynes on Rooney's World Cup Parade from Mark in Guildford and O.G.Nash from Doha, Qatar with Chances Wayne for England.

There was a very popular Pygmalion theme running this week with The sprain of Wayne will keep him off the plane from Joy West in Birmingham, The pain for Wayne is mostly good for Spain from Iain Maclean in Scotland and Wayne in Pain May Vainly Board the Plane Colin Nelson in Milton Keynes. Very impressive.

In the miscellaneous corner is Man U don't want to know the pain says Geoff from Wearmouth, Is there a doctor for the Scouse? suggested by Stu Maddison in Ealing, Snap, tackle and hop offered by Graham in Frome and Wayne, Wayne go away, play again another day fromCaroline Brown, Rochester, UK


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

Last week it was goodbye to Anna Ford, friend of the Magazine (a Christmas card from her was the hotly-contested prize in our year-end quiz, 52 weeks 52 questions). But wait, what light from yonder paper breaks? It is the former lunchtime newsreader in the Guardian, having joined the board of Sainsbury's.

Anna, seeing as you¿re in the job market, we'd love you to join the Monitor. Gentle readers, perhaps you can suggest a role for her, using the usual form.

Meanwhile, it has been a quiet few weeks on the formulae front... until today. The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail get aerated about a study of postcode snobbery which - say it with us now - includes a formula to measure the desirability of a neighbourhood.

It seems to be a topic which the Telegraph in particular has spent some time mulling over, calling it the ultimate humiliation to be caught out claiming to live in, say, W11 (Notting Hill) when in fact it's W12 (Shepherd's Bush): "When our deceived friend pops round unexpectedly to say 'hi', we have to hide behind the door and hope they don't hear us breathing."

Nor is this a London affliction.

"Take Slough, say. For some, there is no greater indignity than an SL postcode. When one lives in an exclusive slice of the Chilterns, and one has three cars in the drive, one wants to be as far removed from Slough and its association with The Office's nightmare boss David Brent as possible."

Quite. Methinks the paper doth protest too much?


Tuesday's Mini-Quiz asked how much the dress Kiera wore to the Oscars raised for charity. The most popular answer - £4,300 - was also the correct choice. Well done, people. And apologies to those who tried to vote when it was broke - the technical hitch has been corrected for today's mini-question, on the Magazine index now.


Letters logo
For those of us not in the know, (which might be only me!) could you please say what the code was in last week's Monitor?
Exeter, Devon

Jon (Letters, Monday 1 May) is well behind the curve. The recycling industry has been giggling for years at the Waste Electric and Electronic products Directive.
Ange Hodgson,
Barnsley, UK

It could be worse, the Nintendo Wii could have been called the Puu.

I was so disappointed to read that David Blaine in his human aquarium was going to be fed 'through a tube'. I had assumed it would be sprinkled on the surface so he at least had to work for it. Let's face it, that's the only time anything much happens in an aquarium.
Halifax, Canada

Can someone tell me how prune like David Blaine will be when he comes out of his bowl of water, will we need a new English word to describe it, any suggestions?
Phill Callaway,
sheffield, UK

I passed a lorry belonging to a well-known supplier. someone had written in the dirt. "This isn't just any dirt, this is M&S home-grown organic dirt!"
Kent, UK

Does "Britons want to have fun and make money before having children, a survey finds" (Front page ticker, Tuesday morning) qualify for 10 Things We Already Knew?
Bryn Ford,
Sydney, Australia

Re Britons 'put fun before babies' - doesn't one frequently lead to the other?
Nick B,

Could Magazine Monitor please decide what the date on Monday was? After forgetting to change my watch this week, I'm struggling enough today without the BBC telling me yesterday was the 2nd May......and then changing it's mind and settling on 1st May, until finally switching back and deciding it really was the 2nd May after all...!
Mike Henry,
Reading, UK

Re messages scrawled on vans, if you're going for Latin on your Transit you could try: "Vanitas vanitatvm, omnis vanitas."
Norwich UK

In Dr John defends hoodie-wearing teenagers - was I the only one who clicked on this link and was disappointed to find an archbishop rather than a bearded, voodoo-obsessed blues guitarist?
Sue Lee,
Twickenham, UK

Struggling to finish Philosophy essay for hand-in at 4pm, look to magazine for five minutes of light relief, find article on 'What if you had to take a life to save five?' ... the title (almost to the word) of my essay. Yesterday it was the same with Lisa Jardine's article on the evolution of science, which I had just covered in a maths essay. Are my thoughts somehow being read? Must I be constantly hounded by philosophical conundrums at every turn?
Martha Hampson,

One word for Mr Webb that may change his fortunes even further - plastics. With petrol at record high levels, the stock alone would be a worthwhile investment.
New Jersey, US

It looks like Grandstand isn't the only programme to suffer in the new digital age. Despite its podcast 'Newsnight to go' appears as a headline on the News front page.


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

Two weeks ago to the day, Paper Monitor brought news, via the Times, of the unlikely story of Charles Webb - the man who thought up the story of the Graduate and sold the rights to Hollywood Moguls Inc for very little indeed. Almost 40 years on from the film, Mr Webb, and his wife, Fred, were flat broke and about to be thrown out of their flat, in Hove, East Sussex.

How might the situation resolve itself? Fans of the film will recall how Mr Webb's protagonist, Benjamin Braddock - memorably portrayed by Dustin Hoffman - bundles his beloved Elaine Robinson out of church just as she is about to throw away her life in a loveless marriage. In the real life sequel, the hero of the piece might take the unlikely guise of Rupert Murdoch if today's Times is anything to go by.

Murdoch's well-heeled paper appears to have bailed out Mr Webb by running a three-page extract from his sequel to the Graduate. It's 10 years on and Graduate fans will be hearted to hear that things have, so far, worked out for Ben and Elaine. As for the real Mrs Robinson, immortalised by the late Anne Bancroft, she has been such a pest to her daughter and son-in-law, the Braddocks have obtained a restricted access order to keep her away. Or, in more modern speak: Mrs Robinson's got an Asbo.


Monday's Mini-Quiz challenged readers to say how long it had previously taken Wayne Rooney to recover from a metatarsal injury. The correct answer of 14 weeks was identified by 34% of readers.


Letters logo
To Will Bennett (Friday's letters): postal voting.
London, UK

For the first time ever, I literally laughed out loud (in the office!!) at the 4th best answer. Just as well I handed in my notice 6 hours earlier!
Darren Farr,
Billericay, England

Your "Stuntman tries Empire State leap" story quotes a building official as saying "He wanted to jump off in the worst way". Can someone tell me the best way to jump off the Empire State building ?
Paul Greggor,
London, UK

The best message I've ever spotted on a van was "Tardis in Disguise"

In Cambridge (natch) I once saw a rather decrepit example of a very common make and model of van with "Gloria Mundi" written in the dirt on the back. I thought that was brilliant.

Hee hee. Just got an email from Game stores saying "we want you to have a Wii as soon as possible." What have Nintendo started?

New ship, same unit of measure. This story reports that the new liner Freedom of the Seas is "longer than 37 double-decker buses". As a service to readers, I can tell you that the new ship is as wide as 23 Routemasters. And the surfing pool could be fitted 22 million times in an area the size of Luxembourg.
David Sheppard,
Romford, UK

I must congratulate Pointless Poll for its latest contribution to the flexicon definition of a chill-blaine.

Another all-noun headline in Keith Richards 'tree fall' injury", but weren't you tempted to get the score up to 6 by adding "horror"?
Rob Foreman,
London, UK

Black Sabbath invoking 'devil's music'? Surely thats just Paranoid...
Craig MacKenzie,

Your 'roo' puns in the Paper Monitor suggest you're lacking a bit of imagination, copying the tabloids like that. Are your powers starting to Wayne?
Ray Lashley,
Bristol, UK


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

This Wayne Rooney metatarsal... terrible, terrible business. With the England striker looking distinctly doubtful for the World Cup the papers have good reason to be fretful - just think: the whole tournament without all those "roo" puns. Oh well, make hay while the sun shines and all that. So, today's Mirror offers "Heartbrooken" and "We're all praying for roo" while the Daily Star plumps for "Your country needs roo".

The Sun's in bullish mood. "Think it's all over? It isn't. Striker will help England to glory" it declares. But in the England supporters' handbook, optimism always wins out over such flaky philosophies as medical science. So it was four years ago when David Beckham fell to an identical injury weeks before the 2002 World Cup and papers were full of headlines like "I'll be Beck". Eventually Becks did make the team, but he later admitted he wasn't up to the job.

When they're not busy dreaming up "roo" puns, the tabs are suggesting novel ways for England fans to will on Wayne's Roo-covery (apologies, this is clearly infectious). The Mirror urges us to cross fingers and pray, the Star invokes a mantra and the Sun suggests a "Wayne dance" based on "Native American magic", including one called the "Jumping Jack Lightning Flash", although given the stories elsewhere about Keith Richards falling out of a coconut tree, this Roo-lling Stones hit seems particularly ill-judged.


With David Blaine about to submerge himself for seven days in water, Friday's Pointless Poll on the Magazine home page asked what you would prefer he did instead

  • Float in air
  • Stay off-air
  • Do without air
The final option appeared to excite most readers - chalking up 60% of all responses.

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