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David Benedict on theatre


Iain Gale on exhibitions


On the box

A Manchester GP earlier this week was warning that excessive viewing of sport on TV this summer might lead to an epidemic of a condition to which there is no known cure: mad couch disease. It seems that some viewers may be afflicted by it already - if the BBC2 viewing figues for the week ending 5 May are anything to go by. Viewers were keeping that pizza-delivery man busy and hunkering down on the sofa in front of the San Marino Grand Prix (5.04m viewers), the World Snooker championships (4.86m), and the Badminton Horse Trials (3.29m) - all of which made the channel's Top 10 that week. And that's long before the mid-summer madness of Euro 96, Test cricket, Wimbledon and the Olympics ...

James Rampton on comedy

James Rampton on comedy


Appropriate anagrams: who are the following:


Here's a beastly puzzle:


East-West's bidding barrage hustled North-South too high on this deal. It looks the simplest thing to defeat 6! but the defenders lost all the advantage they had gained in the bidding and more when they muddled the defence.

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Garry Kasparov's place at the top of the world rankings, a position he has held for the past 12 years, must be under threat after his defeat by Vladimir Kramnik in the sixth round of the Dos Hermanas tournament in Seville. Kramnik is currently ranked equal with Kasparov, but the manner of his victory suggests that he may be poised to overtake.

Week in week out

Today In 1669 Samuel Pepys stopped writing his diary; unlike most of us, who give up on 5 January, he had kept it for over nine years. The first TV panel game was Spelling Bee, a six-a-side quiz presented by Freddie Grisewood in 1938; later came Tactile Bee, Tasting Bee and Musical Bee.

Site unseen: Sir Sidney Waterlow, Highgate, London

The recent and continuing fiasco over Railtrack's inability to produce accurate railway timetables must have had one man at least spinning in his grave. Sir Sidney Waterlow made his fortune by printing tickets and timetables for Victorian travellers.

Pick of the week


Ring leader

At Thaxted's Morris Ring Meeting, more than 180 dancers from 20 clubs perform some of the male ceremonial dances of England. The only Ring meeting to be held in the same place every year, the men are bussed out to sites in various East Anglian villages and end up with a "mass dance" in Thaxted.

Men behaving madly

Why do Morris dancers in Essex wear condoms on their heads? And are Morris women anatomically incorrect? Pull the other one, says Anthony Clavane

week in week out

Today The first Eurovision Song Contest was held in 1956; it was won not by Ireland but by Switzerland.
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