Lucy Vickery

Competition winners: Clerihews on Spectator contributors

Competition winners: Clerihews on Spectator contributors
‘Evelyn Waugh’/ Rhymes with ‘Bernard Shaw’/ So why ‘Shavian’,/ But not ‘Wavian? Credit: David Steen/ANL/Shutterstock
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In Competition No. 3145, to mark the 10,000th issue of The Spectator, you were invited to submit clerihews (two couplets, AABB, metrically clunky, laconic and humorous in tone) on the magazine’s contributors.

My predecessor Jaspistos was a popular subject. Clerihews should contain biographical truth and D.A. Prince assures me that the incident described in her entry, a pre--internet judge’s worst nightmare, really did happen. If indeed it did, Jaspistos was not alone; entries to a New Statesman comp once flew out of the judge’s bicycle basket down High Holborn, and were lost for ever. Commendations go to G.N. Crockford, Nick Syrett, Sid Field, Robin Gilbert, Jeremy Carlisle and Peter Greystone, but now seems a fitting time to thank you all, compers present and past, for your witty, erudite and technically accomplished submissions over the years. The winners earn £8 per clerihew printed.

Kingsley Amis

had many fans who may miss

him terribly, but at least they can hearten

to know we still have Martin.
Auberon Waugh

is hard to adore,

but it takes no effort to revel in


Robert Schechter
Mary, as in ‘Dear Mary’,

Is not hairy,

And could probably advise the nation

On posh methods of depilation.
Our own Wordsworth, Dot,

Is obviously not

Indifferent to a word’s origin,

So she knows a porringer’s not for putting porridge in.

Hugh King
Jeffrey Bernard,

Finding sobriety very hard,

Got legless

More literally than most Coach & Horses reg’lars.

Adrian Fry
Mr Johnson, whom we all call Boris,

Studied Tacitus, Virgil and Horace,

But now, in these dark days of Covid,

He reads Ovid.

David Silverman
Alice Thomas Ellis

Knew exactly where hell is —

Where Satan touches his forelock

To Archbishop Derek Worlock.

Bill Greenwell
Auberon Waugh

Thought his given name rather a bore.

‘Perhaps my parents suffered from Shakespeare mania,

But I feel a right Titania.’

Brian Allgar
Bernard Levin

First got his engine revvin’

In this very paper

As Taper.

W.J. Webster

once suffered a terrible loss

by leaving all the entries sent in by us

on a London bus.

D.A. Prince
Rod Liddle

Can play woke folk like a fiddle,

And he’s not a person who shrinks

From saying what the man on the Clapham omnibus thinks.
Noel Petty

Had the grace of a gazelle on the Serengeti.

Again and again he dominated competitions

With brilliant submissions.

Frank McDonald
Jaspistos (alias James Michie)

Set competitions that were tricky,

But winning one utterly dispelled the blues

(And in those happy days the top prize was booze.)

George Simmers
Dear Mary

As a dinner companion would be quite scary.

One would worry about being thought an oik

Using the wrong knife and foik.

Max Ross

Knows a high-life lark. He

Packed his cocaine

And headed for the plane.

Graham Greene
Judged Shirley Temple on the silver screen

More than age-appropriately cute.

Her studio filed suit.

Chris O’Carroll
Rod Liddle

Possesses a griddle

To cook the mincemeat

He makes of the liberal elite.
‘Evelyn Waugh’

Rhymes with ‘Bernard Shaw’.

So why ‘Shavian’,

But not ‘Wavian’?

Basil Ransome-Davies
The hardest crosswords were those

Set by Dumpynose.

I don’t know if it’s a her or a him,

Only that it’s an anagram of ‘pseudonym’.

Brian Murdoch

No. 3148: selfie

Some famous painters are thought to have slipped small self-portraits into their other work. What if a well-known novelist had done the same with an added minor character? You are invited to submit the resulting extract (up to 150 words and please specify author). Email entries to by midday on 6 May. NB. We are un-able to accept postal entries for the time being.