Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Curiouser and curiouser

There was a time when The Age published brain teasers on its comics page, but as the paper has fired Bristow, who would have made a superior editor, the riddles now sometimes appear on the front page, as is the case today.

The paper has wrapped itself in an extra sheet with headlines at the top, as you might expect. Below that, however, is the facsimile of a diagonal tear and the words "Always Curious", the paper's promotional slogan. (Truth in advertising indeed; there are few enterprises more curious than The Age)

Curiousity certainly seemed warranted, as there was no way of knowing what journalistic heroism was contained inside. Less open to question, perhaps, is an assertion emailed some months ago to the Billabong by a professional journalist who, at that point, had yet to be tapped on the shoulder, handed a cheque and told to get lost.

"The word I hear is that [CEO Greg] Hywood gets a $3 million bonus if Fairfax is sold," the correspondent whispered.

No credence was invested in that tip at the time, but after seeing this morning's rag, well, you just have to wonder.


  1. Only $3 million? A cursory look at today's letters pages shows the usual climate change hysteria, attacks on Mr Abbott, emotional tributes to Ms Gillard, and support for the Sarah Hanson-Young open-arms policy for boat persons. No letters from normal people are published anymore, so this organ would appear to be of value only to those who wish to apprise themselves of the current thinking of naive socialist undergraduates. Is that a viable commercial venture? I think not.

  2. An extra sheet? Yay! Double-quilted Fairfax papers sounds like an excellent idea.

  3. I presume, Professor, you purchase The Age on a "know your enemy " basis ?
    Or do you pick it up for free from some street waste bin?

  4. "There was a time when The Age published brain teasers on its comics page"

    Murgatroyd's Mind-stretchers, one of Graham Perkins's innovations circa 1967, which helped to sharpen my mathematical baby teeth in happier days.

    And check this out; they'd never publish *that* puzzle today, but there's more intellectual challenge in it (once you've recovered from the shock of its misogyny, of course) than in an entire issue of The (modern) Age:,1476588

    1. Peter, what a wonderful link. I have had so much fun looking through the years. Thank you.

      I laughed when I stumbled across the sentiments of V Clingan's letter to the editor titled 'Labour Loyalties' (Labor?), dated August 3 1938, in the Age's Sydney sister. Eerily relevant to todays Labor Party, considering the recent behaviour of the caucus.
      (Not sure how to link a zoomed area so it’s the 3rd frame, 2nd page, 1st column, 2nd last article).

  5. The Old and Unimproved DaveJuly 4, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    Being a member of Team Fairfax isn't a job, it's a pathology.

  6. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.July 4, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    Those goings on at Fairfax are odd, aren't they Prof?

    That enterprise consists of the most curious of curious riddles you can think of wrapped in the most enigmatic sheet of enigma you could possibly find.

    No other way to explain it.