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Last Updated: Friday, 25 August 2006, 17:06 GMT 18:06 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)


Soy fishies
10 soy sauce fishies by Petra Hildebrandt, Hamburg, Germany

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

1. Trap-jaw ants have been recorded closing their jaws at 66 mph, the fastest known speed for an animal moving its body parts.

2. Caprice's surname is Bourret.

3. There is only one cheddar cheese maker in Cheddar, even though cheddar is the most popular hard cheese in the English-speaking world.

4. Cartoon cat Tom smoked roll-ups. But a scene showing him rolling his own cigarette, only using one hand, is to be cut from screenings on children's television.

5. For every 10 successful attempts to climb Mount Everest there is one fatality, says a report from a medical journal.

6. Cows can have regional accents, says a professor of phonetics, after studying cattle in Somerset

7. Cups of tea can be healthier than water, according to some nutritionists.

8. Despite the iPod's success, Apple has had to pay Creative for use of its patented technology.

9. There are 300,000 people aged 90 or over in the UK.

10. A million guitars were sold in the UK last year, more than double the number sold five years ago.

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, of London.

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
Poor Pluto. What helpful mnemonic are we to use now that "my very easy method, just set up nine planets" is no longer accurate?
Matt, Horsham

At least my mnemonic still works: My Very Early Morning Jam Sandwiches Usually Nauseate (People).
Helena, Birmingham

It is strange how all the landmarks mentioned are man-made. I would have thought maybe Ben Nevis or the white cliffs of Dover would count as pretty significant landmarks to many more people.
Colin Main, Berkhamsted, UK

Stig's caption is taken from a famous quote and it's driving me mad who originally said it.
James Hayward, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
The Monitor: It was Mrs Merton to Debbie McGee re Paul Daniels

Douglas Barder (Paper Monitor)? Type that into Google and you get the message: "Did you mean Douglas Bader?" Well quite, did they?
Keith, Guildford

Howard of Bakewell, you ask if they have Genoa cake in Genoa (Thursday letters). Shouldn't you be eating Bakewell tart, in that case?
Fi, Glos

In answer to Alex Dewson's bafflement over how to pronounce Miu Miu (Thursday letters), there is a very well-known French actress by the name of Miou-Miou. I don't know how to pronounce that either.
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales

Bye Helen (Thursday letters). Good luck with the teaching and stay in touch!
Steve Short, Chorleywood


This week, on a tour of South Africa, Conservative Party leader David Cameron meets former president Nelson Mandela.

Cast your vote for the best entry using the box below.

1. "You already know me. This is Nelson. He's from Africa."
Peter G, Hounslow, England

2. "I thought you said Nissan Main Dealer. Sorry, I should have worn a tie."
Dave B, Stevenage

Which is the best caption?
Peter G
Dave B
Sean Smith
2884 Votes Cast
3. So Mr Cameron, what first attracted you to the idea of being photographed with the Nobel Laureate, international statesmen and former president, Nelson Mandela?
Stig, London

4. "My swimming trunks aren't a patch on this."
Ian, London

5. "I can never get the hang of those 'Magic Eye' images... is it a dinosaur?"
Sean Smith, Bucks

6. "He's got a pen. I want a pen. Where's my pen?"
Cayley, Santiago

Your e-mail address
Town/city and country
Your caption

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


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A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

How difficult life must be for today's adventuring schoolboy, what with fears about obesity and the like.

First, the news that those pesky girls who were assumed to be good for nothing better than plaiting each others' hair in assembly, have been keenly swotting away on the quiet. The latest GCSE results may show boys to be narrowing the gap with girls, but there's still a significant lag. And, besides, what credibility is there in passing an exam, which, as today's Daily Telegraph suggests, is "almost impossible to fail"?

Then there's this messy business about Pluto. Known to generations of short-trousered lads as the outermost planet in our solar system, it turns out Pluto is not actually a planet, but a "dwarf planet", no more distinguished than dozens of other lumps of rock flying around outer space. Indeed, the Guardian seems to cast Pluto as an under-performing celestial body: "Astronomers expel Pluto from the planetary club".

And then there's this unsettling spat that tarnishes those heroic Boy's Own tales of Jerry's defeat at the hands of our boys in World War II. Yesterday's Paper Monitor highlighted the fall-out between the RAF and the Navy, after a spot of historical revisionism shifted much of the credit for defeating the Nazis from the former to the latter. One veteran of the Battle of Britain suggested the Navy were good for little more than shooting at their own side. (Today's Telegraph letters page is buzzing with impassioned responses, from assorted air vice-marshals etc.)

That's the pot calling kettle black, judging by today's Daily Express which demands to know: "Was Douglas Barder shot down by his own men?"



Thursday's Daily Mini-Quiz asked who had a cat called Miu Miu? The answer: Holly Willoughby. The popular consensus, however, went with Lulu, who garnered 45% of votes. Today's DMQ is, as ever, on the Magazine index.


Letters logo

Regarding today's Daily Mini-Quiz, my bafflement at who is this Holly Willoughby is matched only by my interest in her choice of name for her cat: Miu Miu. I've always wondered how to pronounce the name of this fashion house - is it: meow meow, or mew mew or something else entirely?
Alex Dewson, Edinburgh

As I sit down to a cup of tea and a slice of Genoa cake, I find myself once again pondering this eternal question: "Do they have Genoa cake in Genoa?"
Howard, Bakewell

Now that Pluto is no longer classified as a planet, I bet Nasa are a bit annoyed as their $700m New Horizons probe, which won't reach it until about 2016, is now going to a planet that doesn't exist.
Colin, Kendal

3 interlinked stories:
"Nearly 600,000" new EU migrants
Followed by:
UK population breaks through 60m
This naturally leads to:
First-time buyers "need 29,000"
Basil Long, Newark Notts

I liked the way Dickie mentioned the confusion over the ambiguity of Newcastle before signing his location as NY (Wednesday letters). Is that New York near Whitley Bay or New York near Boston (in the Shire of Lincoln)? Sounds like a new game for Ms. Cabbages to play...
Andy Elms, Brizzle, Brizzlecestersostershire

There are also 15 versions of Newcastle/New Castle in the US. I had friends in the one in Delaware. The original Dallas is in Morayshire, Scotland, a farming village of about a hundred people, several hundred sheep and cows (who baa and moo in something called Doric) and zillions of neeps (who generally remain silent).
Carol, Portugal

Doesn't anyone else think it's suspicious that MM *chooses* which letters to publish about the gender/ identity thing? Or whether to print them at all? A conspiracy theory worthy of an Express Monday front cover!
Laura Drane, Mancunia, UK

I'm leaving my office job today to start a new career in teacher training. Bye Monitor, bye everyone.
Helen, London


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A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Paper Monitor has a guilty secret: in the morning rush, it mistakenly picked up two copies of the Daily Telegraph from the newsagent while paying for just one. Perhaps it should confess all to the DT's aforementioned new agony aunt, er, dilemmas arbiter, Lesley Garner.

Not that the suits at Canary Wharf would have time for such matters, since the house journal of the officer class finds itself rather more obsessed with the theory put about in the latest issue of History Today that it was not, as is so often supposed, the RAF who turned Britain's fortunes in the darkest days of World War II, rather the Navy.

The Telegraph throws all its firepower at the story, and stirs up a hornets' nest of resentment among octogenarian RAF veterans, who are clearly insulted by this spot of historical revisionism. "This is all baloney," says one 88-year-old former Spitfire pilot who shot down 13 German planes during the Battle of Britain. "...believe you me, the Navy would not have trusted their battleships to have been in range of German bombers. They did not like any planes - they shot at anything in the sky, including our own fighters."

Gulp. Bang goes the myth of a united front against the Nazis.

The Daily Mail meanwhile continues its campaign of publishing less-than-flattering pictures of Cherie Blair, although not exactly stooping to say as much. Today's is of the prime minister's swimsuit-clad wife standing on the prow of her holiday yacht, with some spurious comparison to Kate Winslet in Titantic.

The message is clear: attention all shipping - sort out your public relations.



Yesterday the DMQ asked when did the David Frost-Richard Nixon interviews take place. The answer - 1977. Readers scraped in with 45% voting for that year, compared to 43% for 1975.


Letters logo

RE: Seasides. This map captions Newcastle as being in Northern Ireland. I should think the Magpie football nation as well as Geordies in general would be miffed at that assertion. Am I the only person to have noticed this?
Dickie, NY,
Monitor note: You're not the only one, and there is more than one Newcastle in the UK.

Re: a minister for fitness appointed. Surely a minister for Silly walks by any other name.
Phil B-C, London

I write this under duress from my colleagues to explain why Judy Cabbages introduced herself in such a way (Tuesday letters); it is because I introduced myself thus: "I'm Dr Joanne, of statistics". (There! You guys happy now!)
Joanne, Middlesbrough, UK

In response to Helen's letter about what the Express used to print on Mondays (Tuesday letters), it's obvious. They used to run stories about how Elvis didn't actually die, but instead had beaten up the Loch Ness monster, and had then joined the likes of Amelia Earhart, mountaineer George Malory and the crew of the Marie Celeste on a rocket ship to the moon - their goal being to expose the 1969 landings as a fake.
Phil, Angus, Scotland

Paper Monitor seems to have found the cause for the Express headlines. The sub-editor has been searching Google as well and therefore assumes the story is an exclusive. This happens every Sunday night due to the weekend excesses affecting the editorial staff.
Dave, Glasgow Uni

Re the Monitor's gender: Who else spotted a (surprisingly glamorous) member of the Magazine team on BBC Breakfast this morning (video can be seen on this article)? A long-haired female, no less. The plot thickens.
Suz, Southend


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

The two passengers removed from a flight from Malaga because of the worries of other travellers featured on the front page of the Daily Mirror.

The paper had tracked down the two innocent travellers, Sohail Ashraf and Khurram Zeb, who put their side of this tale of our troubled times. The two Manchester students, believed by other passengers to be speaking "Arabic", said they were talking Urdu.

But, according to the young men, what had really sparked the fear of another passenger was when they said their trip from Manchester to Malaga had been a daytrip.

Students going on daytrips to Spain? That's another tale of our restless times.

The Mirror also featured what must be one of the government appointments most likely to end in an embarrassing photograph.

Caroline Flint is now the minister responsible for fitness, which will mean she will have to throw a photographic exclusion zone around herself whenever she's in the proximity of beers, burgers or anything chunkier than tofu.

The prize for strangest picture story of the day was won easily by the Daily Mail, with a double-page colour spread showing dogs dressed up as famous and historical characters, including Napoleon, Mr Spock and Dracula.

And headline of the day? The Sun scoops the prize with a story about all the hi-tech computer equipment inside a police car. "The iPlod".


The rules are as simple as could be: we pick a story in the news, you come up with a punning headline.

This week's story was about paramedics who used lassoes to round up a truckload of pigs running loose on the M6 after they escaped in a crash.

Warwickshire and Northamptonshire air ambulance was asked to help capture the pigs after they got loose on the southbound carriageway near Rugby, Warwickshire.

"This was probably our weirdest job ever, I never thought I'd be part of a pig rodeo," said pilot Neil Parkinson.

So, how did you punsters do? Well, there were some very, very popular themes.

Popular theme number 1: Pork catchings sent in by Norm Brown in Branxton, Oz, Collette in London, Nigel Greensitt in Salford and Philip in Brussels - among many others.

Popular theme number 2: Pork Chopper offered by Neil Franklin in Southampton, Sheldon in Manchester and Gerard Krupa in Coventry - among many others.

Popular theme number 3: Accident? Emergency? Dial SWINE SWINE SWINE! was sent in by Naomi Perilli in West Sussex, while Phil in Derby and Thomas Steuart-Feilding in Bristol had very similar offerings.

Those going it alone include Nick Jones in Dorking with A winch in time saves swine, Ringing home the bacon from Brian Ritchie in Oxford, ...and this little piggy went neenah neenah all the way home from Steve in Nuneaton and Frying Doctors from DS in Bromley.

And an honourable mention goes to Catriona Smith in Birmingham for Ride 'em Sow-boy, Rebecca Plumb in London for A twitch with twine saves swine and Simon Rooke in Nottingham for No noose is good news for pigs.




Tuesday's Daily Mini-Quiz asked for the original name of Tom the cartoon cat. A purring 67% identified it as Jasper. Today's DMQ is on the Magazine index.


Letters logo

Nice to see that the "most emailed story" is the one with the word "SEX" in big neon letters.
Robin, Edinburgh

The truth at last! Paper Monitor is not a woman, but a camp man. Read today's column again and imagine it in a Julian Clary type accent. "Goodness, how tardy," "moistened towelette" and catty comments about catsuits are all stand out moments. And possibly a knowing look at the bit about "ball tampering"...
Robin, Edinburgh

How come it costs more to send a package domestically than to New Zealand, asks Duncan (Monday letters). Good question. How come it costs 4p a minute peak local rate to telephone someone within a 50-mile radius but 3p a minute to call the other side of the world? One of life's little mysteries, I suppose.
Peter, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

If I write "Via Calais" on my small light packet, am I entitled to pay the lower rate?

This question suddenly dawned on me, and it's haunted me ever since - what did the Express do on Mondays before Princess Diana died (Monday's Paper Monitor)?
Helen Bourne, York, UK

May I point out that Who What Why? is not a regular feature but a frequent one.
Basil Long, Newark Notts

I'm having a ball at the Edinburgh Arts Festival. I've seen Sean Connery and Sigourney Weaver but even better, I met someone famous: "...and I'm Judy Cabbages BSc SSc," she introduced herself. !!! "...Bronze Swimming Certificate, Silver Swimming Certificate... I'm working on my PhD now." I wonder what it could be?
Joanne, Middlesbrough, UK


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

Goodness, how tardy!

Struck dumb by the cornucopia of goodies in the papers today, Paper Monitor has had to spend the morning lying in a darkened room with a moistened towelette to soothe its fevered brow.

Refreshed and recovered, it's time to share and delight in the abundance:

  • How to cheat at cricket, by the Daily Telegraph indulging in a spot of ball tampering
  • How much more - or less - than you everyone else in the UK earns, thanks to a pay league table in Daily Mail ("the one government statistic everyone will want to read")
  • And quite possibly the most engagingly pitched column ever - it's in G2 and the headline asks: "If you had to have a drink with either John Reid or Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary, who would you choose?"

Give us a minute, huh?

And the nation's leader, Tony Blair, is snapped with his shirt off on his hols. But perhaps by way of consolation, the Mail prints a photo of a young filly paid to look gorgeous looking equally rough (although with fewer lumps).

It snaps model Elizabeth Jagger in her mother's cast-off yellow catsuit. That's right, not just a catsuit, but a YELLOW catsuit. Ill-advised, is Paper Monitor's verdict.



Monday's Daily Mini-Quiz asked how much it would now cost to post an A4-size letter. A convincing 66% identified it as 44p. Today's DMQ is on the Magazine index.


Letters logo
Following today's price changes for postage I was just wondering if anyone had noticed that it is now cheaper to send a small light packet (under 100g) anywhere in the world by surface mail for 71p compared with 84p for the same item second class in the UK? How is it more cost effective to deliver an item in New Zealand than it is to deliver the same item in the UK?
Duncan Brown, Sandside, Cumbria

Can someone explain to me how you can tamper with something that is being hit at full force by a willow branch?
Lucy, Manchester

Fear of the Unknown really made me think. One line in particular, "How did not wearing flip-flops become a danger sign?" stood out. Can you imagine what would have happened if they were wearing flip flops with socks? A quick trip to Guantanamo?
James Paterson, Manchester

Re: Ad Breakdown. Magners adverts seem to be the only reliable way of knowing what season it is. They're trying to convince the public that it is cooling in the summer (fair enough), heartening in Autumn (well...), enlivening in the Spring (depends how many you have), and warming in the winter (over ice? That's just stupid). But with the climate the way it is, it's the only way to tell these days.
Robin, Edinburgh

Following my mate's encounter with the Hamiltons last week, I have just returned from Edinburgh myself, where Christine brushed past me in the street as I got caught in a sudden downpour. Even the opening of an umbrella proves irresistible.
Mike, Newcastle upon Tyne

Ah! A wet Monday morning in leafy Cheshire, and life is good knowing that sanity has been restored to the world with the Daily Express returning to their Diana coverage.
Tony Doyle, Holmes Chapel


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

It's a rare occurrence when cricket makes the leap from the sports pages to the front page, prompting an unseemly scramble among headline writers not normally accustomed to thinking about the real beautiful game.

After a spat between players and umpires led to England winning the fourth Test, which sub scores a six - and which are out for a duck?

"IT'S JUST NOT CRICKET!" - the Independent
"JUST NOT CRICKET" - Daily Express
"WRECKING BALL" - Daily Mail
"CRICKET CHAOS: AFTER TWO WALKOUTS AND A BALL-TAMPERING ROW, ENGLAND WIN TEST" - the Guardian (also an example of an all-you-need-to-know headline)

And the Daily Telegraph, surely the natural home of sparkling cricket coverage? "TEST AWARDED TO ENGLAND AFTER ROW OVER BALL TAMPERING." Yeah, thanks for that.

What of the tabloids, where crafting cunningly punning sports headlines are the stock in trade? The Sun has "FIASKO". Laboured, is Paper Monitor's verdict. But bow down and worship the Daily Mirror, which has "TAMPER TANTRUM". Gold dust.

And it's a Monday, so there's a Diana front page splash in the Express: DIANA DEATH 'WAS NOT AN ACCIDENT'.

PM seems to recall reading that exact same headline before. But tapping the phrase into the paper's online search engine draws a blank - it pulls up not one article containing "Diana", "death" and "not an accident". Which is odd. The same result - that is, nada - comes from using the might of Google's "search current site" function.

Suspicious? Well, it seems only apt.



Friday's Daily Mini-Quiz asked how to reduce work-related stress. A relaxed 48% of readers correctly suggested letting out a scream. Today's DMQ is on the Magazine index.

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