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NEW MEANINGS for everyday words. Some North Americans heard the call through cyberspace and the ether hummed. Plutocrat: Disney executive. Carrot: auto rust; pastoral: beyond words (C. Fitoussi). Innovation: pub applause (L. Telencoe). Amputate: cut off the electricity; hundred: fear of Attila (J.J. Meany) Paradigms: 20 cents; paradox: medical partnership (Ralph Carl). Polygon: ex-parrot; octagon: November (Brendan J. O'Byrne).

X-ray: dead fish (P. Thomas). Explain: having had plastic surgery; proteins: Venus & Serena Williams (T.M. O'Grady) Lampoon: device to harpoon lambs; tachometer: device to measure applause on The Jerry Springer Show (B.J. O'Byrne). Extreme: river; extort: slack; exalt: retired sailor (J. Vinnicombe). Dogma: bitch with pups; gruesome: children getting taller (J. Pickin). Parabola: offspinner with the SAS; catastrophe: prizewinning moggy (B. Birchall). Mother: collector of moths (J. Lamper).

Secretary: hiding-place; flower: a river (S. Tomes). Popinjay: a bird has eaten father; prelate: on time (M. Gifford). Isthmus: 25 December (E. Bridgstock). Downpour: drinking-up time; foreign: water butt; forbear: honeypot; forum: sugar cane; formula: mosque; former: bateau; forage: old people's home; forgone: funeral (T. Stone). Farthing: distant object; feedback: vomit; genitalia: the Italian information service; giblets: timeshare in Gibraltar; herbicide: woman next door; herbivore: ex-wife (C. O'Hare).

Billow: debt; citizen: Buddhist town; bambino: parental discipline of baby deer (R.J. Pickles). Beware: apiary fashions (J.A. Kelly). Exceed: young plant; example: successful slimmer (S. Edmundson). Merchant: sea shanty; vestry & pantry: where underwear is stored (C. Dalby). Limelight: underweight fruit (P. Turner). Pretext: blank page stared at by author with writer's block (C. Archer). Parole: father figure; postulate: where the hell's the postman? (M. Flavin). Chassis: Anne; debug: unlovely debutante (N.E. Gough).

Adolescent: stench of stale tobacco in Job Centre; hammock: vegetarian bacon (C. Lee). Impale: devil's brew; multiple: mulled cocktail (F. Rogers). Overtaking: burying live people (M. Higgs). Torpedo: Dartmoor hill-walker; periscope: optical device to view fairies (M. Riggs). Manuscript: what referees read before running on to the pitch at Old Trafford (Tom Gaunt). Diode: Welsh poem; pillage: over 70 (S. Yorston). Preoccupy: squat; autocross: computerised voting system (C. Martin).

Colin O'Hare, Tim Stone and R.J. Pickles win a Chambers Dictionary of Quotations. Three more are offered on 1 June for answers by 26 May to a question so obvious we wonder we never thought of it before. Why did the chicken cross the road? Ideas to Loki. or Creativity, Features, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL. On 25 May: they've won a council seat in the Isle of Sheppey. What happens when the Monster Raving Loonies win their first council?