A bug in the grub installation script for the installer has been hanging around for a few months undetected but has now been squashed. In my attempt to get grub to acknowlegde a usb keyboard I was installing all sorts of modules like usb, keyboard and a bunch of others hoping to get my keyboard working but to no avail. This was causing grub to hang and not load its menu.
It went unnoticed because most of the time I use qemu to boot installations for testing purposes and grub was loading fine in the VM. It only showed up when installing to a real hard drive or usb stick. Anyway its fixed now...not the usb keybord problem...but the menu hang. Appologies for the inconvience.