Nation of old chestnuts

October 8, 2004

Oxford University Press defied cynics by getting all 60 volumes of its Dictionary of National Biography out on schedule last week - a launch date set optimistically in 1992. Speaking at last week's London launch, Keith Thomas, chair of the supervisory committee, revealed that he had run a cliche search on the collection. Thirty of the subjects turned out to be "countrymen at heart", while 71 "did not suffer fools gladly".

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