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Conundrum that tipped Louis over the edge

letters

I've just returned to UK, seen the past few AJs and, as always, turned first to Louis Hellman.

It's a pity his Iraqi 'cradle snatching?' (AJ 17.4.03) omits the intermediate image: the one which shows much of the goodies being removed to the British Museum, etc.

Mind you, as we say to all inferior Middle Eastern types, not excluding the Greeks who want Lord Elgin's trophies back, after we've stolen them we look after them so much better than you.

But what occasioned old Louis' bile the previous week (Letters, AJ 10.4.03) is beyond me. I innocently sent an entry to the competition 'to spot the four changes in the Garkau cowshed' (to quote Astragal), and the AJ saw fit to publish it as a letter (though omitting my dedication to Peter Blundell Jones).

I called the competition an 'awful conundrum', incomprehensibly offending poor Louis. Sure enough, as PBJ calmly explained, of the five changes I spotted, two were actually made to the fabric, which means, as Mr Cleverclogs Hellman spotted, I only got three of the doctored changes correct.

Before my Easter break, I thanked the AJ for what I called the undeserved bottle of bubbly. Sad if Astragal's weekly riddles are not just an innocent few moments of fun, but a chance for Old Hellman to vent his spleen at readers' guesses when, of course, he knows better.

John McKean, via email

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