Letter: Hoax on the hoaxers?

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The Independent Online
PRESUMABLY the Joseph Crabtree mentioned by Bryan Bennett of the Crabtree Foundation (letter, 10 April) is he of "Crabtree's Bludgeon", "the fictitious character [created] 44 Christmases ago, as a joke on the literary fraternity" (I quote from A B Sainsbury's supplement to the obituary of Professor R V Jones, printed in the Independent on 24 December 1997).

As an undergraduate in the mid-Fifties, I sat in R V's most illuminating and informative Natural Philosophy lectures at the University of Aberdeen. Particularly enjoyable were his descriptions of practical jokes and hoaxes of which he was aware, and had in some instances perpetrated.

It would be a delightful postscript to R V's practical joking career if Crabtree were real and was in fact R V's hoax on his co-hoaxers, his "cronies at the Athenaeum". Perhaps such "proofs" as the Crabtree Foundation possess would enable a decision to be made between the two versions of the hoax?


Fleet, Hampshire