John O'Leary, editor of the THES, has replied to my open letter:
Dear Mr Holmes
Thank you for your email about our world rankings. As you have raised a number of detailed points, I have forwarded it to QS for their comments. I will get back to you as soon as those have arrived but I suspect that may be early in the New Year, since a lot of UK companies have an extended Christmas break.
The Times Higher Education Supplement
If nothing else, perhaps we will find out how long an extended christmas break is.