Creativity

SETTING A Creativity competition is rather like writing the introduction to a joke, then relying on someone else to produce the punch line. That at least was my experience at the second Mind Sports Olympiad on Saturday when 25 eager contestants sat down for an event described presumptuously as the "World Creativity Championship".

Having last year set tasks similar to those of The Independent's weekly Creativity competition, I felt that something different was needed this time. So we began by setting competitors the practical task of concocting reasons for being precisely 17 minutes late for an appointment. The other task of the first round was to describe the consequences of finding a sea of chocolate on Mars.

Two or three contestants brightly put one and one together and came up with the excuse that they had gone into shock for 17 minutes after hearing the news about the chocolate on Mars, but the best answer to that question began: "Well, there were 17 of us trapped in an egg-timer..." The most mathematically precise contestant explained it away by mishearing "10.13" for "10.30".

The Martian chocolate brought some poor jokes about Mars Bars, with the more creative contestants veering off into the outer reaches of the Galaxy and the Milky Way. There were also a number of references to fat and spotty aliens.

Round two posed questions in a parody of normal puzzle format:

1. What is the next item in a series beginning G,G,G,G,G,G ?

2. Which of A, E, I , H, O, U is the odd one out?

3. If 179084 is the answer, what was the question?

Nobody, oddly enough, found the intended answers. The first sequence comprises the last letters of the days of the week in German, beginning on Thursday, so the next letter is H. Someone did, however, suggest the answer N, because the sequence is the third letter of every number beginning at 84. The answer to the second question is I because all the others are second letters of days of the week in English. And the third is: "If J times AITKEN equals SLEAZE, what is the value of AITKEN."

In round three, contestants were given the text of six disconnected news stories of the past month and asked to identify the supposed conspiracy that lay behind them all. Linking an illiterate Australian deaf mute murder suspect who knew no sign language with a team of Milwaukee women who have set up a company to remove pet dogs' droppings was no easy feat, but most contestants managed it. One man, however, startled passers-by between rounds when he was heard to shout in dismay: "Oh no, I didn't get the dog shit in".

The final round had a picture from the patent document of an odd item of headgear (in fact a self-doffing hat) and another incomprehensible picture of a naked Japanese bird-catcher to explain.

In all cases, marks were awarded more for quality than quantity of ideas expressed, with original ideas scoring higher than those shared that appeared in several responses. In the end, there was a tie for first place between Bruce Birchall, a regular contributor to this Creativity column, and David Bodycombe, author of The Mammoth Puzzle Carnival (Robinson, pounds 6.99). As there was only one gold medal, the tie was split in favour of Bruce Birchall because of his perfect 25/25 score on round two. A man who can state with conviction that 179084 is the number of cheese-graters in Swindon deserves the title of World Creativity Champion.

Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week