Let me begin with a declaration of disinterest. The esteemed editor of International Psychogeriatrics commissioned this article after reading my letter to Another Journal (Philpot, 2003) in which I called for a moratorium on all clock-drawing test (CDT) research. It seemed to me that an awful lot of effort was being put into a fairly trivial issue and that researchers' time might be better spent. That much effort is being expended cannot be denied. Using the search words ‘clock drawing’, MEDLINE currently lists 177 publications, 91 since the turn of the century. The first reference to this specific form of drawing test comes in 1983 (Goodglass and Kaplan), and the first paper on validation is that of Shulman et al. (1986).