Independent Pursuits: Creativity

NICHOLAS E Gough's single-letter alterations of familiar phrases produced plenty of creative juice, even if some of you were a little, well, creative with the rules. RA Carter gave us Sino Qua Non (the best takeaway in town) and Habeas Carpus (I have a complaint to make). Clinton continues to inspire: Peter Thomas's classical education produced Red Ipsa Loquitor (your lipstick is smudged, Monica) and David Marks picked up A Berry's theme of two weeks ago, giving us "A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a poke". Politically, Patrick Daunt's l'Amour party (adulation, adulation, adulation) made a pleasant change from the popular Blair de Lune (moonshine) and Martin Hurst's Bin de Siecle makes a perfect repository for millennium issues.

Philip Marlow favoured Men Culpa (kneejerk feminism), a phrase that also occurred to Mrs SM Stone, for "Help! I'm pregnant!" I also like her A Snitch in Time (grass before the fuzz bust you), Past Faster (Gandhi) and Pash Master (Valentino). Pat Gould come up with Habeas Dorpus (possessing an "animal" draught-excluder) and Adult Lovies (cinematic "fine art"). (She also takes issue with Len Clarke's Willie Waggledagger, claiming that the only sobriquet to which Shakespeare would answer was Tremble Arrow.)

Bruce Birchall introduces us to his Darby and Moan club, where "embittered old widowers meet to grumble about how terrible their lives have become since, exhausted by a life of slave labour servicing them, their wives have passed on to a better place". A touch of the old Men Culpas, I think, Bruce?

Paul Turner gives us Abdominal Snowman (unpleasant internal discomfort caused by use of proscribed substances) and John Riley, Salle a Danger (where English beef is served). Alex Harley inhabits that famous retirement home for dodgy priests, "Abode With Me" and recommends "A Pull a Day" for vegetarian sexaholics. Mary Flavin suggests Cul De Sag for a face- lift (and Tom Gaunt, Cul De Sack for the loss of a dead-end job), and In Fragrante Delicto (to come up smelling of roses). Duncan Bull's Yax Britannica is a fine description of Lady Thatcher's overseas lecture tours.

Finally, Steph and Paul give us Bone with the Wind, a soon-to-be popular phrase for scattering the ashes of a loved one.

Copies of Chambers to Mary Flavin, Alex Harley and Pat Gould. This week: new examples, please, of cockney rhyming slang. Send to Creativity, The Independent, Features, 18th Floor, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. The top two, or three if anyone has won one for suggesting the week's theme, will win a copy of Chambers Dictionary. Results two weeks from today.

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