Creativity Loki

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PUZZLED READERS, wondering what the challenge was last week, need to know that the instructions were inadvertently omitted. Whoops! So you have another week to do it in, and the challenge is restated below. Only Susan Tomes e-mailed me to ask what was missing, but now you all know my address is Loki.Valhalla@bt internet.com, you could do that too!

Another gremlin delayed your New Year Resolutions mail, so instead we seek feedback on suggested challenges. Please feel free to explain why some kinds of task appeal but others do not. If music be the food of love, what feeds your Creativity? Share this self-knowledge, and we will play on and give you excess of it. No prizes though, just for casting a vote.

The traditional "think of unusual uses for..." task was popular, with Post Office rubber bands, collapsible umbrellas, earwax, cold compresses, sausage rolls, a wet Wednesday afternoon, yesterday's idols, General Pinochet, virtual pets, black squares in crosswords, an integrated transport policy and unwanted Christmas presents all having their advocates.

Literary tasks proposed included devising rude nicknames for famous people or irreverent acronyms for organisations; or writing a whole novella in one sentence, or more improbable EastEnders storylines, or caustic one- line play reviews; or making up new words with their dictionary definitions, or revealing what it was the actress said to the bishop; or clumsy instructions for foreign goods in appalling English.

Miscellaneous ideas involved inventing a religion, nominating Seven Wonders of the Modern World, and quotations Oscar Wilde might yet write for the next edition of Chambers Dictionary of Quotations.

Scientific topics envisaged were strange inventions for Tomorrow's World, redesigning the human body, and what to do when the aliens land in Aylesbury (duck?). And there were imaginative "What If...?" scenarios, exploring the consequences if "cannabis were legalised tomorrow", "money grew on trees", "lead could be turned into gold" and "immortality proved possible". And it is an "Explore the Consequences" challenge we restate for this week's competition (the first four words got dropped on the cutting-room floor): Imagine the unforeseen consequences of a "leap second" being added at midnight on 31 December. We know the last minute of 1998 was 61 seconds long; that all the major clocks in the world stopped for exactly one second; that time stood still; and there were seven radio pips not six - but what else happened? or could have happened?

Write to Creativity. The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL by 14 January for publication on 19 January. Three prizes of Chambers Dictionary of Quotations for the most imaginative.

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