28 OCTOBER 2000

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'I'm not sure of his working-class background, but he'll be less controversial than Mike Martin.' A ter 11 divisions of the House, the Commons elected as its Speaker Mr Michael...

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The Spectator, 56 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LL Telephone: 020-7405 1706; Fax 020-7242 0603 GIVE US THE MONEY T he skiing brochure lands on the mat. It all looks so good....

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F ew politicians of any party feel com- fortable with soldiers these days. Malcolm Rifkind was a disastrous defence secretary, Michael Portillo only marginally less so. Geoff...

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A chronicle of negotiations between a spider and a fly BRUCE ANDERSON P addy Ashdown has never been much of a thinker. When he speaks, there is a note of tension in his voice...

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They strutted and fretted their hour upon the stage and now are seen at literary lunches MATTHEW PARRIS W elcome to the Hotel California, except that it was not California but...

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There is no schools apartheid across the Channel. Rachel Johnson says the middle classes on the Continent cannot understand why we risk ruin to pay for our children's...

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David Marsh on the national rivalries that bedevil the single currency WIM DUISENBERG, the gaffe-prone pres- ident of the European Central Bank, is a man who displays...

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Second opinion

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IT is hardly surprising, I suppose, that in my job you cease to believe in the possi- bility of innocence, or even of common decency. So it was a pleasant change indeed to...

Edward Chancellor

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A tale of two banks PITY 'Dim Wim' Duisenberg. He is 'stun- ningly incompetent' according to a senior economist at Goldman Sachs. By contrast, Alan Greenspan at the Federal...

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John Laughland says Saddam Hussein inspires terror in Iraq but loyalty too — thanks to the Anglo-American sanctions IT was with a troupe of Ukrainian folk- dancers that I...

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Banned wagon

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A weekly survey of the things our rulers want to prohibit THOSE following the investigation into the Hatfield rail crash have been sur- prised to learn that trains were allowed...


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Philip Delves Broughton on how his relatives in Burma have been terrorised and impoverished by the military regime BY the time the last of my grandmother's four sisters died...

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Michael Fitzpatrick on how GPs are getting patients to talk about their sex lives, as part of a programme of social engineering THE weather is getting colder, and there are...

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Mark Seddon reports that Shaun Woodward is not finding New Labour a comfortable berth IN addition to George Orwell's stapler raffled once a year to raise funds for his old...

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the grip of a child-seat terror. How long before it reaches Britain? Washington, DC On a rainy morning here not long ago, my wife was waved down by six armed police officers at...

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Harry Mount finds out why Peter Stringfellow, 60-year-old lap-dance god, backs William Hague, apostle of freedom AT first glance, Peter Stringfellow's 60th birthday...

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Michael Heath

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People all over the world want good British because of our limp-wristed government IN the next day or two plenty of time will be spent on naming and shaming the BSE culprits,...

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James King says the charity commissioners have no real idea what constitutes a religion — and we are the losers SPARE some change, guy? Money for the blind, anyone? The...

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There are not enough morons to vote Gore into the White House, says Mark Steyn, so get ready for President Bush New Hampshire A week and a half to go in a race the US media say...

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Mind your language

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`OH!' I said semi-voluntarily. `What the devil's wrong with you?' asked my husband sympathetically. `I've just come across a German word used by Lord Acton. It's in this,' I...

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Hard news, soft porn and the feeble-minded hypocrisy of the News of the World STEPHEN GLOVER A nother Sunday, another News of the World, another fallen worthy. I realised when...

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LETTERS Kosovar rights

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From Mr Agron Loxha Sir: I read Tom Walker's article (`Give the Serbs their Kosovo', 14 October) with inter- est, though he does seem a little selective as to his facts. One...

My country and I

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From Mr Randhir Singh Bains Sir: Your leading article (21 October) right- ly criticises the Runnymede Trust report on British identity. The report is not only divi- sive but...

Wilson in the Corridor

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From Mr John Cole Sir: Christopher Fildes modestly recalls his own rejection by Richard Fry, City editor of the Manchester Guardian (City and Subur- ban, 7 October), and...

Confessions of a cyclist

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From Mr John van der Pas Sir: As one of those `horrible Europeans' who was born and raised in the Nether- lands and has thousands of bicycle miles under his belt, I may be...

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Henry and the Pope

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From Mr David Foster Sir: Charles FitzGerald (Letters, 21 Octo- ber) says 'with respect' that Melanie Phillips seems ignorant of history in that our monarchs since Henry VIII...

Playing for Pinter

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From Mr Sheridan Morley Sir: I'm not convinced that your regular critics should usurp readers' space here by bickering among themselves, but in honour of Pinter's 70th birthday...

High Irish principle

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From Mr Barry Cusack Sir: Mr Andrew Roberts (Letters, 7 Octo- ber) makes a ringing defence of Salisbury's stance on Irish Home Rule, but in doing so perpetrates, partly by...

From Mr Callum Fisken Sir: Hurrah for James Bartholomew's hard-

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hitting piece on the dangers to civilisation of errant cyclists! This is just the sort of investigative reportage we demand from The Spectator. May I humbly suggest that he now...

Art of the confessional

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From Mr Ross Wilson Sir: Mark Steyn and Taki are your best writ- ers because they are prepared to reveal their vulnerable sides. Their intense, almost baroque hatred of the...

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Careless and clothesless

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From Pamela Glanville Sir: Reading about Susan Crosland's deba- cle with Porfirio Rubirosa (Letters, 21 October), I was horrified to learn that beds at the Savoy were left...

22 into 11 won't go

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From Mr David Benda Sir: If my memory has not yet completely suc- cumbed to Alzheimer's, in mid-July this year `Parliament is hopelessly antiquated, but it helps tourism.' a...

Taki's 'friend'

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From Mr Timothy York Sir: Taki's reference to his 'friend' Tommy Madigan, the great Aussie boxer (High life, 30 September), suggests this friendship was not on a first-name...

Sugaring poverty's pill

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From Mr Ivan Hewett Sir: It's a shame Paul Johnson, in his col- umn on the 'Tsar of the homeless' (And another thing, 14 October), didn't quote Dr Johnson's magnificent defence...

Arbiter of poetry

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From Mr Michael Horovitz Sir: Pace Philip Hensher (Letters, 21 Octo- ber), my letter of the previous week did not recall 'a lot of aimless free verse about apple trees'; only...

Great White Queen

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From Mr Edward Fitsall Sir: I am delighted that Stephen Glover supposes that Peter Mandelson 'may still, one day be foreign secretary' (Media stud- ies, 21 October). I cannot...

Not my cup of tea

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From Mr Simon Courtauld Sir: Having continued, in conversation over the years and once or twice in these pages, to call Bodmin Road railway station Bod- min Road since its...

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An autumn leaf is a technicolour version of a human life in decay PAUL JOHNSON F rustrated by the rain, I spent much of the weekend collecting spectacular autumn leaves and...

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DIARY 2001

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£15 Plain £16 Initialled The Spectator 2001 Diary, bound in soft red goatskin leather, is now available at the same price as last year. Laid out with a whole week to view,...

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Washing one's mother's linen David Gilmour THE VICEROY'S DAUGHTERS: THE LIVES OF THE CURZON SISTERS by Anne de Courcy Weidenfeld, £20, pp. 421 T he lives of Lady Irene, Lady...

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Who wants to be a millionaire? I do

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Sion Simon THE UNCONVENTIONAL MINISTER by Geoffrey Robinson Penguin, £16.99, pp. 256 I t must be odd being as notoriously gen- erous as Geoffrey Robinson. By which I don't...

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The sea-dog with a loud bark

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William Waldegrave COCHRANE: THE LIFE AND EXPLOITS OF A FIGHTING CAPTAIN by Robert Harvey Constable, £16.99, pp. 332 F ame, in which he was much interested, has treated Thomas...

Mister Nice Guy

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Hugh Massingberd THE MEASURE OF A MAN by Sidney Poitier Simon & Schuster, £16.99, pp. 256 S idney Poitier's handsome face, gentle strength and transparent decency in such...

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Many brands on offer, some of them poisonous

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Peter Vansittart ON IDENTITY by Amin Maalouf, translated by Barbara Bray Harvill, £6.99, pp. 133 T he British sigh over identity lost, threatened, or imaginary: in the...

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That was the question

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What ho, Blowers!

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P. J. Kavanagh A THIRST FOR LIFE by Henry Blofeld Hodder, £18.99, pp. 421 I found this a delightful book, boring in parts because too long (too many diary jot- tings about...

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The thoughts behind the smiles

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Roy Kerridge THINK AFRICAN by Jack Sislian Nova Science Publishers Inc USA, £30.50, pp. 94, obtainable from Gazelle Book Services, Falcon House, Lancaster M y never-ending...

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Small is beautiful

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John Grigg OLD FRIENDS AND MODERN INSTANCES by Nicholas Henderson Profile, £14.99, pp. 212 S it Nicholas Henderson is the only man to have been British ambassador to both...

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A butterfly upon a wheel

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John Jolliffe AMPHIBIOUS THINGS: THE LIFE OF LORD HERVEY by Lucy Moore Viking, £20, pp. 376 L ord Hervey is most widely known for the vitriolic hatred which he inspired in...

Murder by a tapeworm

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Geoffrey Wheatcroft A MOUTHFUL OF BROKEN GLASS by Henk van Woerden, translated by Dan Jacobson Granta, £12.99, pp. 176 I n 1966 one of the most dramatic assassi- nations took...

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Overtaken by time

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John de Falbe JORWERD: THE DEATH OF THE VILLAGE IN LATE 20TH-CENTURY EUROPE by Geert Mak, translated from the Dutch by Ann Kelland Harvill, £12, pp. 269 O nce in a while one...

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The humanising of Hitler

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Norman Lebrecht I t is not often that you feel the tectonic plates of history moving beneath your feet, but a seismic shift is taking place in our grasp of the greatest moral...

le,-, c ' 4 : # SPECTATOR BOOK OF THE WEEK Cochrane by Robert Harvey

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This is an account of the life and adventures of the daring seaman Thomas Cochrane, who rose from midshipman to admiral and was called 'the sea wolf' by Napoleon. His exploits...

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Exhibitionism a bad habit

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Evelyn Joll THE EPHEMERAL MUSEUM by Francis Haskell Yale, L16.95, pp. 200 W hen Francis Haskell died, widely mourned, in January, he was working on the final stages of this...

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No Distances

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There are no distances I will not cross to find you. No paths that will not blister beneath the steady feet of my desire. No journey that will not melt under the tireless shadow...

Lost middle-class souls

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Charlotte Moore N ow, her face and body were all that was to be seen, and the soul was not visible at all.' Helen Simpson prefaces her third collection of short stories with...

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Is the balloon going down?

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Edward Heathcoat Amory BRANSON by Tom Bower Fourth Estate, £17.99, pp. 384 R ichard Branson, I suspect, feels very hard done by at the moment. Mere months ago, he thought he...

Readership Survey Thank you to those of you who have

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replied to our survey. Those of you who have not responded, please remember your entry could win a hamper, from Lobster.co.uk if you do. We look forward to hearing from you....

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Our island story

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Raymond Carr A HISTORY OF BRITAIN by Simon Schama BBC, f25, pp. 416 W once learnt our history by reading books as active collaborators with the his- torian, turning the printed...

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ticklish question David Caute `COMMUNAZIS': FBI SURVEILLANCE OF GERMAN EMIGRE WRITERS by Alexander Stephan, translated by Jan van Heurck Yale, £20, pp. 384 ong before the Red...

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Acts of collective rudeness Michael Henderson deplores the behaviour of audiences in New York W by are London audiences the best in the world? And why are those in New York...

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The Hidden God (Villa Medici, Rome, till 28 January 2001) Religious revival Martin Gayford F amously, asked what in his opinion were the consequences of the French Rev-...

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Madame Melville (Vaudeville) Napoleon (Shaftesbury) Sleazy but seductive Sheridan Morley A the Vaudeville in a curiously French week, Madame Melville is The Graduate for...

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Rewarding collaboration Robin Holloway A month rich in Radio Three features — they include four witty interval talks by Christopher Ricks on words, attitudes, usages; Dennis...

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Gwen Verdon remembered Mark Steyn O ne of the saddest things about film is the talents it can't accommodate. Gwen Verdon was visiting her daughter Nicole Fosse in Woodstock,...

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Tristan und Isolde (Royal Opera House) Moments of merit Michael Tanner I wonder how much difference there was between the first and second performances of Tristan und Isolde...

An exhibition, Putting Pen To Paper: prints and drawings by

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Beardsley and others, is being shown at the Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow, until 10 February 2001. The display presents a selection of works from the Hunterian's collections...

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Musical fusion Stuart Nicholson C urrently it's fashionable for every self- respecting politician to blame the Sixties for the nation's perceived moral decline. The decade...

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In praise of Chaucer Michael Vestey T here has been a feast of Geoffrey Chaucer this week on Radios Three and Four to mark the 600th anniversary of his death on 25 October...


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Swan Lake (Royal Opera House) Saved by the Prince Giannandrea Poesio G ore Vidal maintained that hell is `having to watch the second act of Swan Lake over and over'....

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False notes Simon Hoggart T wo big new drama series have just begun. The Sins (BBC 1) is supposed to be the British Sopranos, and North Square has been called the Ally McBeal...

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I've been converted Alan Judd P utting your money where your mouth is may be uncommon among motoring cor- respondents but last month I cracked open my cobwebbed wallet in...

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The turf

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Loyalty rewarded Robin Oakley Y ou take road directions from an Irishman with caution. I met a chap this week who had been motoring around the Emerald Isle. He was puzzled...

High life

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Foundation studies Taki hen Aristotle Onassis died in 1975, he left half his estate to his only living child, Christina, and the other half to a foundation named after his...

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Na life

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Poetic justice Jeremy Clarke L ast Sunday morning I woke up on a trolley in the casualty department at the Bristol Royal Infirmary. I had on the same dark suit, black tie and...

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Country life

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Something for everyone Leanda de Lisle I t was raining and muddy underfoot as we arrived at the Newark Antiques Fair perfect conditions for my shopping spree. The weather...

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Singular life

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Tart talk Petronella Wyatt I t was nearly freezing outside but the woman was wearing a bikini decorated with gaudy stars and stripes which clung to her breasts like the paint...


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Turning point Susanna Gross LAST WEEKEND, I played in Stage 1 of the England Women's Trials. Playing intensively over a two-day period always leaves me feeling uncomfortably...

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Robert Hardman

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THOSE who follow the so-called style gurus will know that, just as scented candles are the new chocolate and black is the new brown (or is it the other way round?), so Vietnam...

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Blair-bashing Jaspistos IN COMPETITION NO. 2159 you were invited to write a verse lampoon on Tony Blair. This invitation elicited enough poetic Semtex to blow up not only No....

Rdbeq The Ultimate Islay Malt.

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CHESS Rdbeq www.ardbes.corn Chamber music Raymond Keene THERE was not much thud and blunder in the second week of the World Chess Championship in Hammersmith. Play qui-...

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No. 2162: The People's choice

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Recently, in a singularly silly poll of over 15,000 people, the following words were among the candidates to be the nation's favourite: serendipity, muggle, compassion, laconic,...

CROSSWORD 1487: Name for ship by Doc

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A first prize of £30 and a bottle of Graham's award-winning, Late- Bottled Vintage Port for the first correct solution opened on 13 November, with two runners-up prizes of £20...

Solution to 1484: A lory (anagram)?

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alrin 3 E nierF R ‘ E (mama r naicemeisnare . . mieranciru mien A cruse", D km T H nen denoAe an T Epirs . an Res name wri 2-1- E ma . ni a , nermarinri T dri 0 111 1, 11...

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Loyal to the last Simon Barnes SUPPOSE Taki were to move to the New Statesman because the Statesman gave him More money. How would readers of The Spectator feel? Would you...


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Dear Mary.. . Q. My regular dining companion annoys me intensely by eating the feta cheese and olives out of Greek salads. These happen to be my favourites as well, and I have...