USES FOR inside-out umbrellas, wind-whisked away. Zach Marky's girlfriend is convinced they are alien spacecraft, with the Millennium Dome the mother ship. Zach wonders if it is pet umbrellas that are really inside out, those in the wild being in the natural state of umbrelladom(e), but rescues and re-homes them anyway. Bra for Amazonian Madonna, portable spittoon, DIY-enthusiast's dust-catcher (Nigel Plevin). Lacrosse stick, baseball glove, rowing megaphone (Tony Banks). Ice-sweeper in curling, icing a cake, Iceni chariot-wheel spikes (Bo Garcia).

Nottinghamians suggest: Personal-space-preserver in rush-hour crush; hang on phone wires as weather vanes; stuff down chimneys, handle protruding, as barn owl perches (Ms C Penn). Drop-in centre for spiders, garden cloche to force rhubarb, campfire multiple muffin-toaster (Eric Dunkley). Post- Goose-Fair litter spike, lace loom, wind-assisted Raleigh bicycle wheel, (Clair Hubble). Saturday Fight and Sunday Mourning (Ellen Sally Doe). Arrows for The Rainbow (Dee Ayshe Lorentz).

Line with pubic hair to make symbolic love nest (Jane Reeves); place on cranium, be a Teletubby (Len Clarke); as preventive collar to treat chronic nose-pickers (Bill Palmer). Monty Pylon in Lilliput, badminton shuttlecock in Brobdingnag, runner-bean frame in Hanging Gardens of Babylon (Annie Bissett). Wind-generators in millennial collapse of public services (Pat Gould). To protect ozone layer from CFC (Susan Tomes).

Transport to and from MaryPoppinsLand, cf Amsterdam's white bicycle scheme (Tony McCoy O'Grady). Wendy wigwam, garden clothes-drier, abacus for base- 8 maths (Bruce Birchall), bird bath, waterproof poncho, transportable New Age font (James A Kelly). Junior crop-circle-maker, novelty lampshade, make join-the-dot puzzles (Simon Daniels); waterproof covers for traffic cones, brushes for chimney sweeps, parachutes for Kamikaze pilots, (Colin O'Hare).

Prop for Singin' in the Rain, starring Yllek Eneg (Colin Archer) As an Etuhcarap, to ferry passengers to hovering aircraft; for inverted snobs; accessory for Worzel Gummidge's summer outfit; vessel for Edward Lear's Jumblies (Mike Gifford). To hide a streaker's naughty bits, catch Pennies from Heaven (Andrew Duncan). Integrated float and hook for pike- and shark- fishing (Xavier Sunnov). To trap an escaped budgerigar (Harry Karstens). Art gallery exhibit to win Turner Prize (Paul Turner).

Messrs Daniels, O'Hare, Palmer and Sunnov win Chambers Dictionary of Quotations. Your next challenge: new acronyms for old, thus BBC = Bland, Boring, Cosy. Write to Creativity, Features, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL; e-mail to by 25 February. Three prizes of Chambers (one for suggesting the challenge) tba on 2 March. Next week: apt punishments for perpetrators of unwanted inventions.

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