22 NOVEMBER 1997

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'It's nothing too serious. He's got media burn.' T he British government expressed its support for American action against Iraq, the first nation to do so among its allies in...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 0171-405

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1706; Telex 27124; Fax 0171-242 0603 SADDAM HUSSAIN, EUROPHILE T he fog of war may obscure the battle- field, but not the alliances that lie behind it. A whiff of cordite...

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Why that interview with Mr Humphrys will be seen to have done the trick SION SIMON T he extremist wing of the Blairite prae- torian guard is saying that the Formula One fiasco...

Bruce Anderson is away.

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RORY BREMNER E ver since I started my Channel 4 show, I've tried to make sure the carica- tures and sketches are hacked up with facts. Anyone watching John Bird and John For-...

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Don't worry, Al. I'm on the case FRANK JOHNSON A an Clark is in hot water again. As an opening sentence that would have earned me a rebuke from the succession of gnarled...

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Some people are about to fear Mr Al Fayed no longer STEPHEN GLOVER ing a book about Mohamed Al Fayed. Aft er the deaths of his son, Dodi, and Diana, Princess of Wales this...

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The really interesting thing about the statistics is not that so few many, but that so many still do. Alice Thomson says it might be to do with our biology IT IS a truth...

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Cutting the legal alcohol limit, says John Dodd, will destroy our rural heritage without saving any lives LAST Sunday morning I did as I always do. I drove to one of my...

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As Mr Blair appoints a drugs tsar, Philip Hoare argues there was more substance abuse and immorality three-quarters of a century ago WHEN Wilfred Owen stopped off in Lon- don...

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Andrew Gimson on a flood of new books arguing that the Bundesrepublik has gone wrong Berlin EAST Germans can remember the exhila- rating days when they threw out Erich...

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Mind your language

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`ONE of the most agreeable things about our Cathedral library', writes the learned Dr P.R. Newman from York Minister, 'is that it has never been subjected to peri- odic...

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Toby Young on why even he, a Briton, succumbed to America's anti-alcohol terror New York WHEN I first moved to the West Village I noticed an unusual amount of activity in the...

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As Napoleonic anniversaries loom, Douglas Johnson says the new Prix Goncourt winner won't make it easier to glorify the Emperor Paris `NAPOLEON is the idol of the uneducat-...

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How to save yourself 51 trips to the library .

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. or over £41 on The Spectator If you're forced to share The Spectator with fellow students, then you'll know how difficult it can be to track a copy down. Now you can save...

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Maurice Saatchi reviews the Nuffield election study, and from his own knowledge sheds his own light on Labour's big campaign scare FOR Labour readers, The British General...

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Daniel Pipes rejects the standard view that Jerusalem is as sacred to Muslims as to Jews AS JEWS and Muslims begin to square off in serious fashion on the issue of Jerusalem,...


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The Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize is awarded annually to the writer best able to describe a visit to a foreign place or peo- ple. The award will not be for travel writing in the...

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Down on the counter

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WATERLOO is the hinge of the action in Vanity Fair, and Thackeray, writing 30 years later, is at pains to get his details right. So when old Mr Sedley is down on his luck and...


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Stand by for take-off and fasten your seat belts here's how to land in the soup CHRISTOPHER FILDES S oup never seems to appear on my plas- tic tray from British Airways. I...

Fish and chips

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SIR HENRY Wood was once found staring at a fishmonger's slab and saying: 'That reminds me — I should be at the Queen's Hall.' Conductors at Covent Garden know the feeling....

The fudge box

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A KINDLY reader pleads in mitigation for Hugh Dalton, the Chancellor who 50 years ago (as I was saying last week) leaked his budget and lost his job. It was all a misun-...

Old pony, new tricks

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TO SEE what happens when a business runs scared of its brand, study the moral tale of Laura Ashley. Ann Iverson, who was hired at great expense to revive its fortunes, has now...

Recycled paper

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I REMEMBER likening Vickers and Rolls- Royce Motors to two dukes falling upstairs out of Annabel's, propping one another up. Their merger has stumbled onwards, until now. P&O's...

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Heidegger, creative obsession and the Salute Church in Venice PAUL JOHNSON L st Friday I attended a brilliant lecture at the Royal Institute of Philosophy given by Michael...

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Young popinjays

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Sir: Precocious young Tapers and Tadpoles can be pardoned for preferring the bright lights to the dusty backrooms of party offices (`The rise of the politocracy', 15 November)....

More cash questions

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Sir: Mr Mike Al Cole has been uncharac- teristically quiet recently. I thought he must be busy finishing his new book, Famous Last Words. Or was he inadvertently locked in the...

LETTERS Trial and error

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Sir: I hope that Mark Steyn (`The appeal Louise lost', 15 November) will accept that many of us here regarded the conduct of those occupants of a pub in Louise Wood- ward's home...

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Sinatra deserves better

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Sir: I hope that Philip Hensher's incisive review of Michael Freedland's execrable LETTERS biography of Frank Sinatra (Books, 15 November) will save some readers from wasting...

Idle speculation

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Sir: I have only just seen Bruce Anderson's comment on what he calls my 'extraordi- nary intervention', 'inviting Gordon Brown to repudiate his pledge on a referendum' on EMU...

Guardian of the truth

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Sir: Three cheers for Paul Johnson (And another thing, 15 November). I was a reporter in the London office of the (then) Manchester Guardian during the immediate post-war years,...

Sir: Mr Cole suggests (Letters, 15 Novem- ber) that the

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evidence of a Harrods `securi- ty officer of good character and long ser- vice', among others, is enough to incrimi- nate Mr Hamilton. No doubt this employee was, at least, of...

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Isaiah's charity

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Sir: It is natural that the rethinking of repu- tations begins in death. That of Diana, Princess of Wales unaccountably soars while Isaiah Berlin is brought down to earth by...

Open letters

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Sir: Bruce Anderson is right to identify the Financial Times as an advocate of the euro, but quite wrong in his other remarks about the paper (Politics, 15 November). Our let-...

Sir: It was the late Frank Zappa who char- acterised

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the conductors of interviews with rock 'n' roll stars as 'people who can't write presenting people who can't talk to people who can't read'. As to Sinatra being 'surely the one...

Tuneful twitchers

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Sir: It was unwise of Michael Portillo (Books, 15 November) to assume that just because the John Major Cabinet was divid- ed ideologically between bird-watchers and opera buffs,...

Rory encore Sir: Rory Bremner. Excellent discovery. Keep him on.

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Peter Gingold peter@pgingold.demon.co.uk

Sir: Why do you give a biography of Frank Sinatra,

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one of the great icons of American show business, to someone to review when he is so ignorant of American show busi- ness as not to know what 'second banana' means? The top...

Not the whole picture

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Sir: Having opened promisingly with a rejection of discredited historical interpre- tations from Marxism onwards, it is disap- pointing that Richard West exhumes anoth- er, Old...

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William Boyd

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An odd year for me of intermittent reading (a novel was being written) still managed to produce some rare treats. Jamie MacKendrick won the Forward Poetry Prize for his third...

Peter Levi

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The best book all round and the most rereadable, the fireside friend, is James Lees-Milne's Ancient as the Hills, Diaries 1973-74, but William Dalrymple's travel book is the...


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Books of the Year A further selection of the best and worst books of the year, chosen by some of our regular contributors John Fowles I thought one novel this year thoroughly...

Andrew Barrow

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I have had the curious privilege this year of having two excellent books dedicated to me, and though it would be churlish not to mention Hugh Massingberd's Daily Telegraph Third...

Andro Linklater

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Jim Crace's Quarantine (Viking, £16.99) was by a country mile the best fiction I read this year. Not since the death of Angela Carter has an English novelist succeeded in...

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HERMES PARIS INVITE YOU TO AN EXHIBITION OF CARTOONS from Wednesday 3rd December to Friday 12th December 1997 at Hermes 155 New Bond Street, London W1 (Opening hours...

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Juliet Townsend

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Anyone who enjoys the minutiae of life in the past will have great fun exploring Restoration London by Liza Picard (Weidenfeld, £20) which ranges 'from Poverty to Pets, from...

Samuel Brittan

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The books I read for pleasure are rarely those first published in the past year — if only because I do a lot of my reading on trains and therefore find the more lightweight...

D. J. Taylor

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My series of annual puffs for succeeding volumes of Pierre Coustillas, Paul F. Matheisen and Arthur C. Young's magisterial edition of The Collected Letters of George Gissing...


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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 ACCESS/V1SA/AMEX/SWITCH...

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Rupert Christiansen

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John Banville's ventriloquistic imperson- ation of a Bluntian art historian in The Untouchable (Picador, £15.99) is a tour de force. For the real thing, I then turned to the...

Allan Mallinson

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I have lived with successive volumes of the Marquess of Anglesey's History of the British Cavalry for a quarter of a century. Each has been an entertaining revelation, none more...

Richard Lamb

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I found Nigel Nicolson's Long Life (Weidenfeld, £20) fascinating. I belong to the same generation, and his colourful description of the ups and downs of his public and family...

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Peter J. M. Wayne

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Hidden Agendas: Politics, Law and Disorder (Hamish Hamilton, £20), Derek Lewis's insider account of his ill-fated time as Director General of the Prison Service, is a must for...

Anthony Blond

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Dictionaries like the OED, encyclopaedias like the 1926 Britannica and guide- books like the Routards are my favourite reading. The Routards guides, many in English, now cover...

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Frank Johnson

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For someone, like me, whose interests include opera and politics this has been an exceptional year, at least for books about these art forms. One book combined both: Opera and...

Sheridan Morley

The Spectator

Another vintage year for indiscreet diaries from Roy Strong (The Roy Strong Diaries, Weidenfeld, £20) to Colin Clark (Younger Brother, Younger Son, HarperCollins, £19.99). For...

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John Grigg

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Anyone interested in the perennial troubles of Ireland will find Oliver Knox's Rebels & Informers (John Murray, £20) enlightening as well as racy and enjoyable. The book...

Oleg Gordievsky

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One of the most sensational books to have reached the British readership this last year was the document compilation 'Verona: Soviet Espionage and the American Response,...

Bruce Anderson

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Any new novel by Allan Massie is an eager- ly awaited event. This year, there have been not one, but two. Antony (Sceptre, £16.99) is not quite as good as Augustus, and Shadows...

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Working and partly living

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John Bayley NOTORIOUS: THE LIFE OF INGRID BERGMAN by Donald Spoto HarperCollins, £19.99, pp.474 S omerset Maugham's The Constant Wife was always a sturdy drawing-room comedy,...

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All put down in black and white

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Raymond Carr 1910: THE BLACK AND THE WHITE edited by Roger Sawyer Pimlico, £12.50, pp. 400 I n 1911 Sir Roger Casement was a much admired humanitarian reformer. As a con- sul...

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

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That side of paradise

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Andrew Barrow THE SPICE ISLANDS VOYAGE by Tim Severin Little, Brown, £20, pp. 267 J udging by the titles of some of his earli- er works, none of which I have read, Tim Severin...

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A demonstration of the truth

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Simon Courtauld WHEN THE COUNTRY WENT TO TOWN by Duff Hart-Davis Excellent Press, £12, pp. 150 B efore they vote on 28 November, on the second reading of Michael Foster's Bill...

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Smiler with a knife

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Byron Rogers YOUNGER BROTHER, YOUNGER SON by Colin Clark HarperCollins, £19.99, pp. 236 T his is an extraordinary book. 'My name is Colin,' I blurted out. 'Col Clark.' It...

Clerihew Corner

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Said Dylan Thomas to Stephen Spender, 'Bop, it's high time you went on a bender. Get acquainted with the hard stuff It makes bards tough.' James Michie

Let's outface the music and dance

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Patrick Carnegy THE AESTHETICS OF MUSIC by Roger Scruton Clarendon, f35, pp. 530 L eibniz, as Roger Scruton remarks, made 'a few obscure and interesting remarks' about music....

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Silent voices of dissent John Parry on the damaging but curiously quiet dispute between Equity and television advertisers Ac tors are not naturally people who believe in...

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Georges de La Tour (Grand Palais, Paris, till 26 January 1998) Master of light Andrew Lambirth G eorges de La Tour (1593-1652) worked all his life in Lorraine, north-east-...

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Playful images

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Martin Gayford wanders round some London art galleries A rtistic reputations don't just rise, or fall, for good and all, Over the years, they soar and flop like a graph of the...

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Fashionable flotsam

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David Lee is outraged by the 20th John Moores Liverpool exhibition I f the organisers were being cruelly hon- est they might have subtitled this collection `47 pictures in...

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Nicholas Hawksmoor and the Replanning of Oxford (RIBA Heinz Gallery, till 20 December, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, from 27 January until 13 April) Dreaming of Italy Alan Powers...

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A long j ourney Mark Steyn J ean-Jacques Annaud's Seven Years in Tibet was not actually filmed in Tibet but, on the other hand, it does last seven years. At the end, when...

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Falstaff (Coliseum) Raging into old age Michael Tanner E NO's new production of Falstaff is a collaboration with Opera North, so I must have seen it before, though much of it...

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The Nutcracker (English National Ballet, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton) Christmas surprise Giannandrea Poesio I have loathed The Nutcracker since I was cast as a...

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Caravan (Bush) Dear Brutus (King's Head) Seaside shenanigans Sheridan Morley W ith pub theatres across London under economic threat as never before, even under the last...

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Feet of clay Michael Vestey T o those who, with dismay, saw succes- sive Tory scandals unfold before the last election, the sight of a Labour government squirming in the same...

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In a class of its own Alan Judd A man I know lives within walking dis- tance of a station that connects him swiftly to his office, but he chooses to drive to a more distant...


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Oxford polymath Simon Hoggart T here was a scene in the latest Inspector Morse, Death Is Now My Neighbour (ITV), in which Morse and Lewis are having a drink. The detective...

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The turf

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Ups and downs of a freelance Robin Oakley The soft-spoken man from Co. Kildare with the lived-in face and the smiling eyes is one of the most popular figures in the...

High life

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Remembering Jimmy Taki A funny thing happened on my way to St John's for Sir James Goldsmith's memo- rial service. Going up the steps I ran into a sweet young thing. Jimmy was...

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Country life

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Bad taste Leanda de Lisle They say you don't notice a well-dressed person's clothes. Perhaps the same is true of a well-dressed house. You should think `What a nice room' not...

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Long shot Andrew Robson IRONICALLY one of the most enjoyable times at bridge can be when you are almost (but not quite) certain to lose. This is not masochism; rather, it...

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HAVING dealt last week with one of the current grand

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battalions of London restau- rants — the Conran empire — it is refresh- ing to turn to two highly individual chefs, each doing his own thing in different parts of town....

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Bringing out the old favourites Auberon Waugh F or Corney & Barrow's Christmas offer, which averages £6.48 the bottle on the mixed case, against £7.32 last year, I have had...


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c/o Corney & Barrow Limited 12 Helmet Row, London EC1V 3QJ Tel: 0171 251 4051 Fax: 0171 608 13 73 White La Combe de Grinou 1996, Price No. Value AC Bergerac 12 boss...

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Old guard Raymond Keene ONE of the stalwarts of the English team at Lucerne (see last week's report) was grandmaster Jon Speelman, at 41 the old- est member of the main team....


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• I I MILE OF COMPETITION i RA SISGLE 44LT SCOTCH WHISKS Anagrammatics Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2009 you were invited to make an anagram of any one line of a...

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Solution to 1335: Wrong 'uns

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'G 2 E R 3 M A 4 N 'S I °L V 7 E R 8 R %L'F Al 2 GOODADV I CE t "SLOWWO A 1 6 N L I T E A' 1 1.INICI E g E op EN= AN 2 /E S iiAT T Er Y 22 A a 2 11....

CROSSWORD 1338: Fingered by Doc

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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 8 December, with two runners-up prizes of £20 (or, for UK...

No. 2012: Music hall

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`My old man's a dustman, he wears a dust- man's hat', goes the old song. Substituting another wage-earner for 'dustman' and, if you like, 'old woman' for 'old man', please...

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`A senile dementia' Simon Barnes IT WAS one of those terrible blows that only time can deliver. Bob Dylan, I read, plays golf. And yet the sun still rises in the east, the...


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Q. A friend of mine, a distinguished achiev- er in his field, recently gave a talk on art to some sixth-formers at a smart public school. I was present at the event. After his...