15 NOVEMBER 1997

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The Spectator

The British character M r Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said in a speech to the Con- federation of British Industry that he sought a consensus in the nation in...

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SPECTAT THE OR The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL

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Telephone: 0171-405 1706; Telex 27124; Fax 0171-242 0603 TIME TO CHOOSE H ere it comes, one of those hard choices Tony Blair talks about. The United States is inching towards...

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How the Europhiles plan to dumb down the debate BRUCE ANDERSON T he director-general's plot is unravel- ling. Adair Turner, the DG of the CBI, is determined to throw his...

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RORY BREMNER M y hopes of a weekend lie-in were shattered last week when a friend told me he was taking part in the London to Brighton veteran car rally, and would I see him off...

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The difference between Mr Blair and Mr Brown MATTHEW PARRIS As with country, so with party: he is not dismissive of the political tradition which made him. A Scot, he has come...

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Mr Blair may want to be President of Britain, is tougher than he thinks SINCE the general election in May, there have been 86 diyisions in the House of Commons. The Prime...

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Second opinion

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IN MY youth, now long-lost, thank God, I had a teacher who admired Bernard Shaw to the point of idolatry. He even adopted as his own Shaw's estimate of Shakespeare, as expressed...

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Mark Steyn says American parents are 'nuts' to employ Britons like Miss Woodward New Hampshire I HAPPENED to be at Gate 132 at Newark airport when Louise Woodward received her...

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. . . Betty Boothroyd tells Petronella Wyatt. She's talking about those new Labour women MPs WE HAVE read a great deal about the number of new women who have recently become...

Mind your language

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YOU KNOW how it is when people start spelling out their names with 'T for Tommy, 0 for orange', and so on. I find this very confusing. A parallel case is the increasing habit of...

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Michael Tanner thinks that some of the eulogies of the newly deceased philosopher have been excessive `OUR greatest thinker — straddling a ter- rible century' ran the headline...


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How to save yourself 51 trips to the library . . or over £41 on The Spectator If you're forced to share The Spectator with fellow students, then you'll know how difficult it...

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SUM Simon reveals the internal New Labour politics behind the government's Formula One U-turn ORDINARILY, there are no prizes for spotting which of Tony Blair and rank Dobson...

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Stephen Bates on why Belgium is a good place in which to be a murderer Brussels THE stately matrons of Brussels hug themselves a little tighter and clutch their snappy...

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Alice Miles opens a door on the cross party partying of the new political class IT WAS a week after John Major called the general election and Parliament had just been...

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Is nice Mr Rusbridger becoming Britain's Porkie-in-Chief? PAUL JOHNSON y wife Marigold says, 'Do you have to go on about that nice Mr Rusbridger?' The answer is: yes — duty...

Classifieds — pages 68-70

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. . . a seamless mind

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MICHAEL thought seamlessly when so many of his contemporaries were keeping their ideas in watertight compartments. Up at Oxford, he had met the chief of the Washugga tribe, who...


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The Chancellor with a song in his heart and a hole in his pocket CHRISTOPHER FILDES T he new Labour Chancellor took up his work with, as he told us, a song in his heart. He...

Impresario with . . .

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I WENT to lunch with Michael Von Clemm in the Mayfair town house he had colonised for Merrill Lynch. French win- dows opened out onto a lawn and the catering was by the Roux...

Formula Two

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MY racing correspondent, Captain Thread- needle, writes: Plans are afoot or ahoof in Portman Square, secretive headquarters of the Jockey Club, to have horse-racing reclassified...

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Simply wrong

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Sir: Sorry, dear Spectator, but you've really got it all wrong about Messina (Leader, 8 November). In 1955, ten years after the war, both France and West Germany were still...

That man again!

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Sir: Many a New Labour fellow-traveller or apparatchik is a Widmerpool (Letters, 8 November), but, because the law has not been clarified, it might be libellous to name them....

A social(ist) disaster

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Sir: In his very clear review of the life of Lord Callaghan, covering two pages of your edition of 8 November (Books), Alan Watkins omits a point which might be con- sidered of...

LETTERS Defender of the Faith

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Sir: I was surprised to learn that Britain is `an artificial creation of four nations initial- ly cemented together by the Protestant reli- gion, the Empire and war'...

Sir: R.H.A. Winchester writes (Letters, 8 November) that he does

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not recognise any Widmerpools within the HAC of today. This is of course correct. Real Widmer- pools are to be found only in the regular Army, and then only in the Guards and...

Sir: Ideally today's Widmerpool candidate served as an officer in

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the second world war, became a Labour MP, thence to the Lords, is by nature a blusterer and a verbal bully, and, for me, the one man who fits this description is Denis Healey....

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A good Speaker

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Sir: When Robert Rhodes James castigated at length those of us who paid tribute to the life of Viscount Tonypandy (Not as nice as all that', 18 October), I was moved to com-...

Sir: Unattractive but vain, pompous, opin- ionated rather than knowledgeable,

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defer- ential to power and politically correct atti- tudes, who are the modern Widmerpools? Surely, almost to a man, the bishops of the Church of England. Revd Anthony Hammond...


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Sir: Now Bernie Ecclestone has had his money back, can Labour voters have their manifesto commitment back too? If the tobacco companies and their friends haven't paid for this...

The sober truth

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Sir: Friendship is a fine thing but the 'cer- tain amount of alcohol' Alistair Cooke (Letters, 1 November) says he drank with Mr and Mrs Neil Hamilton 'over many hours' seems to...

Malice in high places

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Sir: The letters written in support of Nicholas Soames (6 November) were pre- dictable. I had hoped that someone would write recalling his verbal onslaught on Diana, Princess...

Come clean

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Sir: I notice with regret that E-Mail addresses are now being appended to some of the letters in your correspondence col- umn. Please may I make a plea that full addresses be...

Sir: I would like to make it clear at the

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out- set that I do not approve of this Widmer- pool business. But a friend of mine has asked me to point out that the Widmerpool to end all Widmerpools is Richard Bran- son. Mrs...

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Why Mr Murdoch's price war is a war on quality STEPHEN GLOVER I have been asking myself again why Rupert Murdoch's price war is wrong. The question arises because three peers...

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James Lees-Milne

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If I were more learned in theology I would probably choose A. N. Wilson's Paul, the Mind of the Apostle (Sinclair - Stevenson, £17.99) as my first book of the year. It is...


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Books of the Year The best and worst books of the year, chosen by some of our regular contributors Bevis Hillier Suppose Fred Astaire had agreed to teach a beginner how to...

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Jane Gardam

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The most impressive book I've read this year is Simon Schama's Landscape and Memory (Fontana Press, £16.99) which is a series of journeys through space and time examining the...

Deborah Devonshire

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The first was sent to me to review. It was a wretched volume on that most dreary of subjects, class. It was repetitive, dull, inaccurate and a thundering bore, so I sent it...

Anita Brookner

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The best English novels of the year were undoubtedly John Banville's The Untouch- able (Picador, £15.99) and Ian McEwan's Enduring Love (Cape, £15.99), both seri- ous, clever...

Philip Hensher

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A bumper year for fine biographies of artists; Calvin Tomkins on Duchamp (Chatto, £25), Jenny Uglow on Hogarth (Faber, £25) and Ian Gibson's tactful, scrupulous life of that old...

Jonathan Cecil

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I read two excellent — wildly different autobiographies: Frank Muir's — mellow, hilarious, at times nicely astringent (A Kentish Lad, Bantam, £16.99) — and Stephen Fry's painful...

Penelope Fitzgerald

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In The Scholar Gypsy (John Murray, £16) Anthony Sampson tracks down the lives of his grandfather, the respected first librarian of Liverpool University and great authority on...

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Alan Watkins

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In a period when television creates largely spurious 'constitutional experts', it is a pleasure to welcome books by two real ones: Rodney Brazier's Ministers of the Crown (OUP,...

Paul Johnson

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The handsome paperback edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musi- cians edited by Stanley Sadie in 20 volumes (Grove £350) has given me great pleasure this year. I...

Carole Angier

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For the second year in a row (and probably much longer, but my memory doesn't go back that far), not one of my Best Books of the Year is English. That must mean some Best...

Raymond Carr

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I like books which deal with great events and great topics. Such a great topic is the theme of Richard Fletcher's The Conver- sion of Europe: From Paganism to Christian- ity,...

Francis King

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The best novel to come my way was Santa Evita (Anchor, £6.99) by the Argentinian Tomas Eloy Martinez — a superb reinven- tion of the life and, more importantly, the afterlife of...

Nicholas Harman

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Patrick O'Brian's The Yellow Admiral (HarperCollins, £6.99), perfect for bed- time, drove me back addicted to earlier books in his learned, cranky saga. Orlando Figes' A...

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Something less than Frank

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Philip Hensher ALL THE WAY: A BIOGRAPHY OF FRANK SINATRA by Michael Freedland Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 438 W hoever it was who remarked that music journalism is largely produced by...


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RATES 12 Months 6 Months UK 0 £93.00 0 £47.00 Europe (airmail) U £104.00 0 £52.00 USA Airspeed U US$151 ❑ US$76 Rest of Airmail 0 £115.00 0 £58.00 World Airspeed . CI £107.00 0...

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From Salisbury to Southampton

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Felix Pryor THE GENIUS OF SHAKESPEARE by Jonathan Bate Picador, £20, pp. 336 I was reading an interesting manuscript the other day. It was a diary of someone as yet...

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The myths of Old Labour

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John Vincent FIFTY YEARS ON by Roy Hattersley Little, Brown, £20, pp. 404 F or most of my life the answer to any charge that Labour no longer bred states- men has been: look at...


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All the books reviewed here are available from THE SPECTATOR BOOKSHOP Telephone: 0541 557288 Facsimile: 0541 557225 We accept payment by credit card ACCESSNISA/AMEX/SWITCH or...

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Order, counter- order, disorder

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Caroline Moore WAIT TILL I TELL YOU by Candia McWilliam Bloomsbury, £14.99, pp. 244 T he short stories in Wait Till I Tell You are, as the jacket flap tells us, 'bonded ... by...

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Any advance on a thousand?

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Nicholas Harman QUESTIONING THE MILLENNIUM by Stephen Jay Gould Cape, £12.99, pp. 190 I t's one of those known facts, isn't it, that millenniums are significant? For instance...

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Patience on a monument

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Sophia Watson A PERFECT WIFE by Cristina Odone Orion, 116.99, pp. 217 A government is in its sleaze-ridden death throes, the opposition is lying in wait, preparing for its own...

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All the stage's a world

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Michael Portillo OPERA AND POLITICS by John Bokina Yale, L17.50, pp. 264 W hen I picked up this excellent book by John Bokina, I mistakenly thought it was called Politics and...

Most can manage God

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Digby Anderson DOES CHRISTIANITY CAUSE WAR? by David Martin Clarendon Press, £30, pp. 226 D avid Martin wants 'to discuss a ques- tion which is actually asked'. Professor...

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Collapse of stout party

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Simon Boyd REQUIEM FOR A FAMILY BUSINESS by Jonathan Guinness Macmillan, £20, pp. 390 J onathan Guinness sat on the board of the Guinness company from 1961 when he was 31 until...

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The number that never stops

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Thomas Blaikie THE JOY OF PI by David Blatner Penguin, £12.99, pp. 124 E ven those, like myself, largely befuddled by maths at school will remem- ber that moment of initiation...

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Navarino's conflict of cultures Images of literature and art played a crucial role in this naval battle, writes David Crane F rom the sound of things lunch at the Karalis...

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Exhibitions 1

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Wake or celebration? Martin Gayford T his, or possibly next, year marks the 500th anniversary of Hans Holbein's birth. It isn't quite clear whether he was born in 1497 or...

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Exhibitions 2

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Jane Joseph: Drawn in Place (Morley Gallery, till 27 November) Matthew Radford: New Paintings (Todd Gallery, till 29 November) Shades of grey and urban life Andrew Lambirth...

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Le Comte Ory Die Entfiihrung aus dem Serail (Glyndebourne Touring Opera, Norwich) Ménage a trois Michael Tanner T o anyone who isn't in the thick of London's operatic...

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The hard sell Susan Moore Here, 12 Picasso paintings sold for $164 million. The star lot was The Dream' of 1932, an ecstatically sensual portrait of the artist's 22-year-old...

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Grass (The Place) Naked passion Giannandrea Poesio striking feature of Javier de Frutos's choreography is his distinctive movement vocabulary that encompasses and, at the same...

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Theatre 1

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Tongue of a Bird (Almeida) Into the Woods (Haymarket, Leicester) Henry V (Barbican) In the clouds Sheridan Morley I have always been uneasy about plays in which people flap...

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Theatre 2

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Beckett Shorts (The Other Place, Stratford) Dark moments James Treadwell D uring the interval between the two miniature trilogies that comprise this pro- duction, an elderly...

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Theatre 3

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A vision made real Douglas Johnson T his is drama that encircles a story. But it is drama without a plot. The story is that of a man who has hired a woman to spend several...

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GI Jane (15, selected cinemas) Close shave Mark Steyn S he's back and this time she's still angry. In the old days at MGM, they used to keep a calendar in the office with...

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Stick around Ursula Buchan H ow important it is for humanity always to make a virtue out of necessity. Now that affordable, highly-skilled profes- sional gardening help is as...


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Dumbed down or is it up? Michael Vestey I hesitate to call a programme a dog, as we have two of these animals at home. Flo- rence and Wilfred be their names, and as I write...

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The coma service Marcus Berkmann J eremy, thank you very much,' said Gavin Esler. 'We'll obviously come back to you later.' Of course we will, because on BBC News 24 that's...

James Delingpole is away.

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The turf

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Brave little battler Robin Oakley A picture sometimes tells you several times more than a thousand words. The image of Singspiel hobbling from the Hol- lywood Park track in...

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Country life

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Shooting times Leanda de Lisle 0 ur brown labrador Pepsi isn't a very enthusiastic gun dog. He lolls by Peter as pheasant rain down around them. You half expect him to start...

High life

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Wild stories Taki a Kennedy-hater par excellence, I never thought I'd see the day when I would come to the defence of 'Camelot', but then I never figured on anyone as immoral...

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The full monty Andrew Robson A GRAND SLAM is worth bidding at Rubber bridge if the odds are two to one in your favour. North, Harry Dalmeny, must have rated his chances as...

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TODAY'S restaurant trade seems to have passed into the hands

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of the empire- builders, headed by Sir Terence Conran and Marco Pierre White, and of these the greatest appears unequivocally to be Sir Terence. Already he has a dozen restau-...

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Top heavy Raymond Keene AFTER RECENT TRIUMPHS, such as winning the European Team Championship, the England side suffered an unpleasant reverse at the World Team Championship...


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COMPETITION ISLE OF I J SISLIE WELT SCOTCH %Flat URA j si tj ,,,, ,,, 13 ,,,, (. 1- , i Updated pilgrims Jaspistos IN COMPETITION No. 2008 you were invited to supply, in...

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No. 2011: Victorian values

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I have just read a spoof poem which in style, sentiment and subject-matter is quintessentially and risibly Victorian. You are invited to supply such a poem (maxi- mum 16 lines)....

Solution to 1334: Well, well

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aki a . t EIREICIr acne Ellarlein Lag Bonn EMI Ertori .0mo E 3 E A T . le CI Clallialla ..13 a An I as 111 E El CI i] 13 2t n I .11131:1 uninIMINIE1311/CIMEI...

CROSSWORD 1337: 1337 by Dumpynose

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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's Late Bottled Vintage 1991 Port for the first correct solution opened on 1 December, with two runners-up prizes of £20 (or, for UK...

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Q. A friend of mine is a very witty writer but her conversational potential is hampered, in my view, by an irritating personal habit. When she is reaching the punch line of an...


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World Cup frenzy Simon Barnes IT IS the sportswriter's vanity to attend the biggest events, and I wasn't at the opening match of the World Cup in 1990 when the holders...