Creativity

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The Independent Culture
ANOTHER SHORT column today, as competition results don't begin rolling in until next week. Meanwhile, as economies tumble and presidents live out their finest hours, a study has revealed that 3 per cent of men aged 40-45 still get their mothers to buy their underpants; and the Americans have been having great fun doing their own creative games.

A recent competition run in genteel Long Island asked for limericks employing the words Lewinsky and Kaczynski, and the following gem came top of the heap:

"There once was a gal named Lewinsky

who played on a flute like Stravinsky

'Twas `Hail to the Chief'

On this flute made of beef

That stole the front page from Kaczynski"

It's been a great month for euphemisms, though, hasn't it? The divine Monica is, of course, featuring highly. Apart from the obvious, she has now become representative of recycling: Lewinsky, when used as a verb, has become a euphemism for saving old, stained or otherwise unwearable items of clothing in case they come in useful later.

She is not, of course, alone. Euphemisms I've come across in the past couple of weeks have included "spicy", to describe the feelings of a woman who unexpectedly finds herself in a delicate condition; "Hague", for an ineffectual operator whose only hope of being noticed is to score points off weaker and more ineffectual figures; and "Murdoch", for a member of that huge band of avid Manchester United fans who have never been near Old Trafford.

"Russian", meanwhile, has taken over from the tired old "boracic" to express a state of impecuniousness, as in: "Got enough to buy another round of vodkas, mate?" "Sorry, I'm completely Russian this week." A "Clinton" is someone who contrives to survive in the face of all predictions to the contrary: "He fell into a cesspit and came up smelling of Clinton." And "to Starr" is to make something long-winded and boring out of something nasty, brutal and short.

This week's task: find more modern euphemisms. Entries to: Creativity, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. A Chambers Dictionary to the three most inventive entries.

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