You did the bizz. Now we give the fizz

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The Independent Online
PRECISELY two-thirds of the 96 readers who entered the champagne slogan competition in my article about compers (26 March) correctly reported the native American name for the lake in Massachusetts which, translated, means: 'You fish on your side: I fish on my side; nobody fish in the middle'.

No, John Buckley of Denbigh, it is not Complan. It is: Chargoggagoggmauchuaggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. We did tell you to look it up.

All the entrants correctly guessed the other two tie-breaker questions: the first letter of the alphabet is indeed 'A' and the first name of the Queen of England is 'Elizabeth'. Well done.

Some indication of the rise in stress levels caused by the Lake Chargoggawhatsit teaser (we accepted a shorter version given by some sources) came in a letter from Margaret Boland of Welwyn Garden City. She wrote: 'I can't believe, as a student loaded down with work, that I spent so much time looking for the answer . . . Please, please, please put me out of my misery and tell me.'

We sent Mrs Boland a photocopy of page 278 of Encylopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, volume 29 (1986) which, under 'United States of America / Massachusetts', gives the name in full.

The slogan competition proved that first thoughts are best. The first postcards received bore the most pithy slogans. But none equalled the instant response of Steve Walker, co-editor of Competitors Companion, who, when told the lead-in line, 'The Independent should give me some bubbly because . . .', came up with 'both add sparkle to my life'. No internal rhyme, but it hits the spot.

Mrs J Clarke of Haywards Heath was wide of the mark with, 'You're both sparkling not still, with licence to thrill'. One for the slogan surgery, I think, Mrs C. Others got bogged down with the pun 'sham pain' (champagne).

In the end, my judges, a panel of company bigwigs, despite objection by a small but vociferous minority (me), chose as winner of the one-bottle 'apt and original' slogan: 'I've done the quiz, I've earned the fizz', from L B Sharman of Hailsham, East Sussex. Well, this is not the first slogan practically to demand a prize and get one. This won a Rover in a NatWest competition: 'My money is safe and interest not mean / Tie break right - a new Rover in green'.

The Independent judges were on the verge of sending champagne by courier to John Samson of Edinburgh, author of 'The Independent's praises are sung / By this homeless orphan in an iron lung'. Such quintessential obsequiousness and perfect rhyme could only have come from one who had deeply imbibed the lessons in my article. However, in view of his condition, we reconsidered.

The two-bottle prize for the corniest slogan goes to 'The paper with the most / Deserves a champagne toast' from Mrs J Fisher of Grantham. Again, a winning line in flattery. Mentions both product and prize. Not only rhymes but also scans. Straight out of the How to Win textbook. Sheer corn.

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