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“We did find out [that], for all your skills as a diplomat, … there was an incident in your past that you caused a bit of a scandal,” Mr. Sagal said.

“Oh God, which one?” the ambassador said.

Mr. Sagal found his opening.

“You go through them, and I’ll tell you the one I was thinking of,” he said.

The actual scandal was more of a diplomatic prank. In his previous assignment as British ambassador in Paris, Mr. Westmacott served his French guests British cheese at embassy receptions.

“I used to have a bit of fun by showing my French friends that there are great British cheeses,” he said. “I did not often expose them to great British red wine.”

Yes, there is such a thing.

As for the quiz on what aspiring politicians did in school, Mr. Westmacott correctly guessed that corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff was disqualified in a race for an eighth-grade student council seat for buying votes and that a sixth-grader in New Jersey sought political advice from Gov. Chris Christie in a race for student council president.

So, a listener in suburban Maryland has a British ambassador to thank for Mr. Kasell’s mellow voice on his answering machine.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or e-mail The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.