Battle of the Rock Legends!

This week, Washington hosted a revival of everyone's favorite Cold War rivalry. Edward R. Murrow vs. Joe McCarthy? No way, man: Beatles vs. Stones! Mick, Keef and the boys swept into MCI Center Monday, while Sir Paul hit the stage last night. (Too late for today's paper. Look for the review tomorrow.) We put them eyeball to eyeball to see which side blinked first.

THE ROLLING STONES -- PAUL MCCARTNEY

Age: 61 (average) -- 63

Highest face-value ticket price: $403 -- $253

Time to sell-out: 20-25 minutes -- 20-25 minutes

Scalper price, best available seats, day of show: $8,620 (front row) -- $1,995 (10th row)

First-week sales of new album: 129,000 -- 91,500

Younger bird: Mick's gal pal L'Wren Scott, model-turned-stylist; age reports vary from 38 to 41 -- Wife Heather Mills, model-turned-land mine-activist; age 37

Year knighted: Mick, 2003 (other lads still waiting) -- 1997

Latest controversy: Anti-Bush song "Sweet Neo Con," and not singing it in D.C. -- Sell-out ads for Fidelity

See It Then

"Good Night, and Good Luck" -- the new film by George Clooney (left, with Robert Downey Jr. and David Strathairn) about broadcaster Edward R. Murrow that opened Friday -- has been lauded for its attention to 1950s detail: those neckties, those typewriters and all that cigarette smoke. But can you spot the anachronism in this publicity still? (See answer at bottom.)

You Be the Gossip!

A tipster informs you that the "SEXY mystery man!" pictured with Katie Couric outside a New York restaurant in the Oct. 10 National Enquirer is local boy Jimmy Reyes, fortysomething president of the Washington branch of his family's sprawling beer distributor network and ex-fiance of hottie commentator Laura Ingraham. But Reyes won't return your calls to confirm! Do you:

a) Park outside his house with a telephoto lens and a copy of the tab?

b) Place sniveling calls to his friends asking them to swing by a supermarket checkout line, open to page 40 and get back to you please?

c) Google-stalk him for hours, comparing the mystery guy's bone structure and hairline with all known images of Reyes?

Next question! With deadline looming and no insight into their relationship, do you:

a) Inform readers you won't invade their privacy further?

b) Note that, whatever's going on here, Fortune magazine (huh?) reports that Couric is dating landscape painter Stephen Hannock?

c) Blur the issue by quoting a guy in the office: "Man, I gotta get me a beer distributorship"?

Readers Tell Us

A live chat flashback! From Wednesday, Oct. 5, around noon . . .

Gaithersburg, Md.: We haven't heard anything about Tom Cruise lately.

That's good, isn't it!

The Reliable Source: Ooh, whoops, I think you probably just jinxed us . . .

Little did we know! A mere four hours later, the news came burning across the wires that the notoriously toothy publicity magnet -- who indeed had mercifully receded from our consciousness in recent weeks -- has gotten his adorable starlet fiancee Katie Holmes pregnant. (No word yet on when she's due . . . we're estimating just before his "Mission: Impossible 3" opening in May.)

Gaithersburg, we hold you responsible! You uttered the forbidden words and conjured these evil spirits from the ether. The blizzard of TomKat images descending on the newsstands, the next round of Oprah couch-jumping -- it's all on your head!

We can always try to make the best of it by gambling on the baby's name, though. PinnacleSports.com is placing the most favorable odds (30 to 1) on focus-group-friendly picks like Jacob, Michael, Emily or Madison; very long odds (150 to 1) on Pacey, Dawson, Nicole or Brooke. Got a better idea? Send it to reliablesource@washpost.com. And forget the L. Ron Cruise joke -- it's so over already.

Answer: Bottled spring water -- very rare in the three-martini era, and airbrushed out of the studio handout after this early version appeared in the New York Times two weeks ago.