In the highly charged atmosphere of spin and counter-spin keeping government circles in a tizzy, ministers cannot be too careful. So education minister David Blunkett was anxious to calm the nerves of university and college heads gathered for a Higher Education Funding Council for England's reception last week. "Just because I'm addressing a large group of people in one room doesn't mean I'm anti-tutorials," he reassured them. So who was it who muttered something about "mixed ability teaching"? And did Brian Fender, chief executive of HEFCE, really add:"This is about the size of a tutorial group anyway"?