Creativity

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We begin with a piece of debris from last week's asteroid - received, sadly, just too late to save the world from destruction. Max Beran writes: "I am very sorry to have missed your deadline, but am somewhat astonished that none of your correspondents came up with the obvious solution, well known to geologists since before geology began. The clue is the universally agreed observation that meteorites always fall into craters. So all one needs to do to ensure total and lasting protection is to fill in all the craters that the meteorite could conceivably make use of. It would have nowhere to drop, and would assuredly just go away and find another planet. At least I think so."

Having disposed of the asteroid, we are now left fiddling with Rubik's cubes - which Peter B Thomas says were rubiquitous a few years ago. He thinks they are best now restricted to culinary uses, as a substitute for Oxo or for a twist of lemon. "attach to the back of a Routemaster," he says, "and you have a bus cube."

Bernard Goss remarks on how perceptive WS Gilbert was when he wrote The Gondoliers in 1899: "I would," he says, "like Marco in Act II, 'pass the Rubik on' and, being appreciative of the attraction of the opposite sex, exchange it for 'a pair of rosy lips'." Sandra Humphrey had a similar thought: "Hardcore for bridges crossing the Rubicon".

"Slice and serve as Battenburg cake," says Bruce Birchall, whose other ideas include: using them as a ball in a form of baseball called "Squarers"; spray-paint each side a different colour and pretend you've solved it; install in place of combination locks on safes; build igloos with them - white face outwards - for homeless eskimos, rotate to change the wallpaper; extract cube roots from them. Mollie Caird points out that Rubik cube roots stack more easily on supermarket shelves that carrots and turnips and are also more colourful.

Sian Cole admits that she could not do what she wants with her rubik cube without first dismantling it. Daniel Holloway, however, points out that the individual pieces could be sold as cheap jewellery: "Rubik zirconia". he also suggests painting shorts on them and using them as surrealist Subbuteo figures. They might then, he suggests, make a nice present for the Spurs chairman as Sugar's cubes.

Mike Gifford says they could be used for cerebral fitness in Aerubik clubs. he also points out that by mixing Rubik cubes with Oxo cubes in the right proportions, you can get three-dimensional noughts-and-crosses. Tom Gaunt suggests using all the world's Rubik cubes to build a home for the permanently bewildered.

"Write a biography of Rubik," RJ Pickles advises, "to reveal his cube roots." Nigel Plevin claims that Rubik inspired both the humanist motto "one good turn deserves another" and the song "Twist and Shout". Jock and Renee Dolan say: "Balls for Picasso", though we suspect this may just be gratuitous cubic abuse.

Judith Holmes has a method of using the cube to pick winning numbers on the Lottery. (You start by numbering all the visible squares when it's standing on a flat surface, then add the four concealed corner squares to give the numbers 1 to 49). Alternatively, she says: "I keep mine handy for throwing at the cat."

No prizes for anyone who used the word "pubik". Chambers Dictionary rewards to Max Beran, Mike Gifford and Daniel Holloway.

Next week, we shall be reporting on unusual uses for hyphens. In the meantime, you might like to think about all the things we could do with a Single European Currency. Ideas will be welcome at: Creativity, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL.

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