Silly Questions: Tennis theory becomes a Bohr

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The Independent Culture
WHICH profession causes the most sadness? According to R J Pickles, it's radio disc jockeys, 'with their banal chat, meaningless and often rhetorical questions.'

Pornographers and God were also suggested, but the definitive answer is Mark Walmsley's: 'From personal experience, crossword and chess problem-setters take some beating, but there is a special place in hell for the writers of computer instruction manuals, where they atone for the misery they bring to the world by spending eternity writing users' guides for bottle-openers and tea cosies.'

Why are boring American tennis players more boring than boring Swedish tennis players? Stuart Cockerill blames 'the Bohr effect, named after a dull Danish physicist and football fan.

'An American tennis player is more boring than a Swede when the former is in the viewer's line of sight, but the equation complements itself when the latter ambles into view, destroying the wave-form function and unleashing a top-spin volley down the tramlines.'

R J Pickles thinks it is simply a question of language: 'Americans' on-court expletives are understandable, whereas Swedish curses provide for a certain amount of stimulating conjecture.'

Why are so many men called Stuart Cockerill? Peter Perryman seeks a grant to research his theory that 'Stuart Cockerill' is an anagram of 'William Hartston'.

R J Pickles believes there is only one Stuart Cockerill, whose 'ubiquity through divergent intellectual endea

vour, rivals God's omnipresence,' and several readers have pointed out that it is not a good name for a woman.

A Mr Stuart Cockerill, however, refers us to the 'much-loved hermaphrodite, the medieval bishop of Bingley St Uart, who, according to legend, rid the North Yorkshire moors of snakes.'

This week's problems: Is there a difference in flavour between pink and white marshmallows? (Richard Welch). Why do they have frosted glass on aircraft toilet windows? (Tom Gaunt). Why don't you see the Mexican wave at chess tournaments? (S Cockerill). Since every tennis match is won by the person who takes the last point, why do they bother playing the rest of them? (B O'Riley). Answers and more questions to the usual address, please.