The plot so far: two infinitely intelligent Martians (IIMs) have missed their stop on a number 19 bus, owing to a philosophical misunderstanding. Walking back, they play "Finchley Central", a game for gentlemen in which the first to say "Finchley Central" wins. Now read on:

Adam Goring says that our two Martians could not play Finchley Central at all, for if they were gentlemen, as the rules specify, they would not have missed their bus stop since one would have pushed the button for the other.

Matthew Bowden insists that the Instellar Council for Political Correctness demands the use of the terms "gentlething" and "gentlemartianly". He says that Martians know nothing of buses and tubes because commuters on Mars ride "little bicycle-like things with legs".

Duncan Bull's Martians play an advanced version of FC Futures beginning Windsor Parkside, Tilbury East and South Weald, before getting bored and flying to Singapore to get jobs with Barings. Peter Bostock's Martians have a heated debate about whether to include Mornington Crescent which is currently closed for rebuilding.

Ian Grundy says the two IIMs are gay and were, as he suspected, cruising on the number 19. "Accordingly the game will start with the first saying with pride 'Queen's Park'. The second replies, with a twinkle, 'Cockfosters'. The first, now sure of his ground, asks: 'Finchley Central?', the stop nearest his home. And they both win."

In Mark Walmsley's version they end up playing "I spy with my middle eye" instead, while Hereward Eccles has them playing "I qrx with my little qrxvli".

The winning entry, however, comes from Miss J Hawke, who analyses various possibilities: 1. The first Martian spends the rest of his life thinking about move one; 2. Both gentlebeings try to lose and the game goes on for decades; 3. The first Martian explodes, a caddish ruse leaving hard- to-remove stains; 4. A violent debate ensues on the existential reality of Finchley Central. They set off together, hoping to change to the Northern Line at Embankment, but spend the rest of eternity debating philosophy on the Circle Line.