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Investigation

Competitionrss

Prose poem

27 September 2014

In Competition No. 2866 you were invited to pick a well-known poem and write a short story with the same title using the poem’s opening and closing lines to begin… Read more

Selfie

20 September 2014

In Competition No. 2865 you were invited to compose a poet’s elegy for him or herself. This challenge took you down a path trod by poor Chidiock Tichborne, who wrote… Read more

Hidden benefits

13 September 2014

In Competition No. 2864 you were invited to submit an imaginary feature from a newspaper’s health pages extolling the benefits to wellbeing of something traditionally thought to be bad for… Read more

Rhyme time

6 September 2014

In Competition No. 2863 you were invited to recast a well-known nursery rhyme in the style of a well-known author. The entry was evenly split between prose and poetry but… Read more

Dark thoughts

30 August 2014

In Competition No. 2862 you were invited to submit a poetic preview of when the lights go out. Submissions were impressively varied this week, and kept me thoroughly entertained. Honourable… Read more

Tourist misinformation

23 August 2014

In Competition No. 2861 you were invited to submit misleading snippets of advice for British tourists travelling abroad. A previous invitation to unleash a tide of misinformation on unsuspecting foreign… Read more

Pet sounds

16 August 2014

In Competition No. 2860 you were invited to submit a short ode on the death of a pet in unusual circumstances. I was prompted to set this challenge by Thomas… Read more

Voter repellent

9 August 2014

In Competition No. 2859 you were invited to submit an offputting party political broadcast by the Tories, Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens or Ukip. Basil Ransome-Davies wasn’t alone in… Read more

Hidden talent

2 August 2014

In Competition No. 2858 you were invited to imagine that a well-known figure from 20th-century history was a secret poet and to submit a recently discovered example of their versifying.… Read more

Spinning Jenny

26 July 2014

In Competition No. 2857 you were invited to take the first line of Leigh Hunt’s mini rondeau ‘Jenny Kissed me’, substitute another word for ‘kissed’ and continue for up to… Read more

Soccer lesson

19 July 2014

In Competition No. 2856 you were invited to recruit a well-known author of your choice to give Phil Neville a masterclass in the art of football commentary. After his commentary… Read more

milk

Dead-end job

12 July 2014

In Competition No. 2855 you were invited to compose an elegy for an endangered profession. Estate agents, travel agents, publishers, record company executives; all have seen their livelihoods put in… Read more

Fresh food

5 July 2014

In Competition No. 2854 you were invited to invent a title for a new cookery book, with a fresh angle, and supply a publisher’s blurb. When it comes to the… Read more

Ground work

28 June 2014

In Competition No. 2853 you were asked to incorporate the following words (they are real geological terms) into a piece of plausible and entertaining prose so that they acquire a… Read more

Unlikely champion

21 June 2014

In Competition No. 2852 you were invited to step into the shoes of a well-known writer of your choice and submit a poem or piece of prose in praise or… Read more

Paxmanic

14 June 2014

In Competition No. 2851 you were invited to mark Jeremy Paxman’s departure from Newsnight by supplying an extract from an interview with a politician or statesman in which the interviewer… Read more

Proverbial

7 June 2014

In Competition No. 2850 you were invited to invent proverbs that sound profound but have no meaning. This was an extremely popular competition, which attracted an enormous entry. It was… Read more

Lines on the Beeb

31 May 2014

In Competition No. 2849 you were invited to submit a poem in praise or dispraise of the BBC. The entry felt a bit flat this week and you seemed to… Read more

Scottish question

24 May 2014

In Competition No. 2848 you were invited to submit a poem commenting on Scottish independence in the style of William Topaz McGonagall. McGonagallesque long lines leave me space only to… Read more

Double celebration

17 May 2014

In Competition No. 2847 you were invited to submit a poem celebrating a famous duo. You wheeled out a colourful cast of pairings. Ray Kelley sang the praises of Flanders… Read more

The write stuff

10 May 2014

In Competition No. 2846 you were invited to invent the six rules for writing of a well-known author of your choice. Honourable mentions go to Hugh King, whose Revd W.A.… Read more

I’m a non-believer

3 May 2014

In Competition No. 2845 you were invited to provide a hymn for atheists. This excellent, and topical, competition was suggested by John Whitworth, in response to the growth of organised… Read more

Inconsequential

26 April 2014

In Competition No. 2844 you were invited to provide an extract from either a gripping thriller or a bodice-ripping romance containing half a dozen pieces of inconsequential information. I can… Read more

Poet’s choice

19 April 2014

In Competition No. 2843 you were given a list of poets’ surnames — motion, bridges, wilde, gray, cope, hood, burns and browning — and asked to incorporate them into a… Read more

Putdownable

12 April 2014

In Competition 2842 you were invited to compose the most off-putting book blurb that you could muster. There’s just space to say that I don’t think I’ll be rushing out… Read more