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The following passage contains the names of several people who made the headlines in the past year. Each name occurs in anagram form with its letters jumbled to form two or more complete, consecutive words.

To increase the perplexity, we shall not divulge how many names are hidden. A prize of the new Chambers-Larousse Desktop Encyclopedia will be awarded to the reader who successfully unjumbles the highest number of them.

Entries to: Perplexity, the Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL to arrive by 10 January.

And may we wish a perplexing and profitable Christmas to you all.

"Only I can thrill the electorate sufficiently!" shouted the member for Bonking-on-the-side.

"Let's elect him. He's male," added a supporter. "He's a cool, limp liar," said another. "And anyway the voters can't stand his accent on air."

"Listen, you brainy lot," said an elder statesman of the party. "I pose him no threat. Lace my shoes together if you think I'm going to run, but what you're saying is mob triviality gone mad."

"We all know your policy," said another. "It's chuck in job, run for bank."

"Come now," said the ex-Minister. "There's an old Chinese saying: `he who joins mops cleans fastest,' so let's join our mops together before the two wings of this great party find themselves forced to soberly sit in the marital dock."

"A divorce, you think? Very topical! But the Chinese also say `he who closes a mine, opens a sewer of vileness'. The road to real power's blackmail, I say."

"I've never seen a worse mastery of politics. Follow you and we'll all end in jail."

"I see no clink," said the other, "but perhaps we'd do best to opt neither for me, too vivid, nor risk lazy him."

9 December competition:

Answers: Grapefruit (figure + trap), pineapple (nipple + ape), watermelon (lower + meant).

Winner: Loraine Atherton (Cleveleys, Lancs.)