Creativity

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What to do with all the letters a and A we receive from readers who cannot spell "Independent"? WJ Ingles says: "Get rid of them completely. There is no need for them. They use up positions on typewriters, which other symbols seem to be crying out to fill." Unfortunately his letter never reached us as it was addressed to "Cretivity" at "1 Cnd Squre, Cnry Whrf". Mary Greenall, on the other hand, advises keeping A but scrapping the other 25 letters to simplify school reading lessons and ensure that everyone gets A grades in their A-levels. "Alphabet soup for the fussy gastronome," says Nicholas E Gough.

AJ Brewer finds a misplaced "a" offensive, but thinks that an "A" out of place should be a capital offence. He also advises us to ignore anyone who suggests A for 'orses. "There is no way an 'orse without an 'ead could heat the stuff." Talking of which, Miss EM Hammond wants to prise apart the tops of "A"s and sell them to people who have dropped their aitches. Despite this, Luela Palmer insists on saying: "A is for 'orses," adding that "AA is for roadside repairs, AAA is for university entrance, and aaaaaa is for doctors to look down throats."

Geoffrey Langley imagines that we have already used up our surplus "A"s in catering for "Aanonymous" and all the aaaaatishoos in our recent creative sneezing column. Peter Hook says: "I don't know about all these 'a's, but I know a guy who can supply you with all the 'e's you need."

"Send them to places suffering a bad spell of wether," says Steve Martindale. "Easy," say John and Margaret Grisbrooke, "Sell 'em to the French for their independance and correspondance." John and Wendy Denison, however, want to sell them to the US "to revive their impoverished diphthongs". Or, they say, you could use them as inoculation against a-fever. John Weir suggests arranging an exchange between people who cannot spell "independent" and those who can't spell "separate". Judith Holmes uses the hook on the top of a little "a" to hang it on a Christmas tree. Norman Foster uses the same hook to turn "a"s into earrings or ski-lifts, while "A"s make good electricity pylons or artists' easels.

Bob Horrocks has some investment advice: "Sort your little 'a's into sets and put big 'A's on top of each set. You will then have capital-a- sed on your a-sets. Collect all the 'x's left over from the election and combine with the 'a's to set up a tool-making firm," says Lyndon Thomas. Hazel Laitner reminds us that compilers of Yellow Pages keeps lots of "A"s in stock for Aardvark minicabs and Aabacus plumbers to take pole place in the phone book.

Michael Rubinstein inverts a capital A to make an adequate chair, which would go quite well with Maguy Higgs's table formed from two "A"s joined by a hyphen. "Without A you can't make Anything," she points out. Sian Cole's orgaaahsmic contribution has "a"s substituted for the vowels in its rude words. Anfartanataly, at's stall anprantabla.

Thanks to all who contributed to this indefinite article. Prizes to EM Hammond, Lyndon Thomas and Nicholas E Gough. Next week, things to do with used ballot boxes. Meanwhile, we seek uses for former MPs. Ideas will be welcome at: Creativity, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Chambers 21st Dictionary for those we like best.

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