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## 3rd December 2007

We take a light hearted look at Christmas past and present in Surrey and Sussex. There may not be chocolate behind every window, but with a Christmas pie, a gypsy carol and a cake you could spoil the ambassador with, there's plenty to enjoy.

In 2005 the brilliant boffins of the University of Surrey  came up with a unique formula. Forget e=mc2, they have discovered that p=sX gives you the best bang at Christmas!

Funded by Tesco supermarket, the research decided it was not size that mattered but technique....

As cracker fillings get better and more desirable, people get more competitive as they pull.

Dr Paul Stevenson from UniS said: "When it comes to ensuring you win the cracker pull – the answer is simple:

P = the "probability" - between 1 where you have no chance of winning and 10 for certainty that you will win the pull…

J = the "jerk factor" - The ratio of how much you are pulling compared to your opponent. This ranges between 1 where you are keeping dead still - where as your opponent is doing all the active pulling, through to 10, the reverse situation, when you are tugging hard.

The "Jerk Factor" demonstrated by Frank

T = the "twist factor" - This again ranges between 1 and 10. 1 means you are not twisting your end of the cracker away from the cracker body, and 10 is for the extreme situation when you twist your end to be right angles to the body of the cracker.

Ny and No = the total number of times you and your opponent respectively have won when pulling crackers.

S = the "stare factor" - It takes into account how good you are in a psychological battle with your opponent. Rate yourself from 0 if you are useless to 10 if you would always be able to stare them out!

"If you have been drinking you had better hope that your opponent has too!"

Dr Paul Stevenson, UniS

A = the number of units of alcohol you have drunk compared to your opponent. - If you have drunk less or the same you can set A to 0.

Dr Stevenson continues; "The real trick is to let the opponent do most of the work, twisting and weakening the bonds at his end of the cracker - whilst your pull remains straight.

"Cracker pulling is a psychological battle too and this is factored into the equation. As is the likelihood that you or your opponent may have had a tipple or two… "

last updated: 23/11/07