Lucy Vickery

Cringe benefits

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In Competition No. 3091 you were invited to submit toe-curlingly bad analogies. This is an idea shamelessly pinched from the Washington Post, whose contests have produced the impressively so-bad-they’re good ‘Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze’ (Chuck Smith) and ‘Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever’ (Jennifer Hart). Yours, too, were gloriously cringe--inducing. Laboured, overwrought, banal, tasteless — yet grimly compelling for all that. The winners take a fiver each per analogy printed below.

As the narcotic took effect, Frank felt extremely odd, as if he were sole occupant of a set in a Venn diagram containing men who loved the novels of Barbara Pym and people who sought the reintroduction of bear baiting.

The bare branches of trees struck stark and angular against the pale sky, as if a bunch of swastikas had been haphazardly doodled too close together to be decipherable as swastikas without recourse to this analogy.

That Becky should love him seemed, to Gerald, utterly impossible, like scooping your first lottery jackpot the week after your second.

Adrian Fry

The minister’s speech was as jerky and erratic as if he were shouting the words to amazed onlookers while bouncing on a pogo stick through a minefield.

He broke wind with the menacing thunder of ancestral voices not only prophesying war, but actually launching a poison gas attack to get the hostilities started.

He burst through the front door like a hollow-point bullet exploding through an exit wound.

Chris O’Carroll

The crescent moon was as lovely as a perfectly clipped fingernail on a manicurist’s velvet table top.

He moved with the resolute purpose of a man who had four cups of coffee and now is in desperate search of a public loo.

He was as flexible as a strand of spaghetti that has been boiled five minutes past al dente.

He was as poor as Croesus would have been if he had invested his entire fortune in rotary dial replacement parts in the early 1990s.

Robert Schechter

She was as punctual as an ampersand between two stray nouns lounging against a back-slash.

It was as dark as a coal-scuttle that had been thrice coated with liquorice, soot and a crumbling handful of the Beaune Madonna, and hidden in a pocket of night air as painted by a sable-brush loaded with thick squid intestine.

Bill Greenwell

The body on the floor had so much rigor mortis you could use it as a ramp for getting a wheelbarrow up a step.

His nose was so long he had to lean backwards to stop falling on his face but, if he had fallen on his face, it would have propped him up.

John Beaton

For him, to cook was to write — not in the stylistic conte of the signature dish but in an idiosyncratic cuisine expressed in a language of dysgraphical Joycean density.

W.J. Webster

The House of Commons in full cry resembles the reaction at a pole-dancing bar in Wolverhampton on a wet Thursday night when the customers have just been told that all of the girls have called in sick.

Understanding Brexit is like trying to perform a colonoscopy on a half-tranquillised Bengal tiger at Whipsnade.

Brian Murdoch

His selfie was an exceptional representation of self, like something Rembrandt would have done if he had been so lucky as to own an iPhone.

John O’Byrne

After bursting into tears her weeping subsided like the slow trickle in a recently flushed cistern.

Alan Millard

John Bercow looks as pleased as the cat that not only had the cream but the fruit scone, butter and jam as well.

Katie Mallett

Withered shoots flecked the snow, like snot on the face of a Third World orphan.

Max Ross

The PM is like a jigsaw enthusiast with a challenging puzzle and no picture of the solution to guide her as she tries the remaining pieces over and over in the same spaces while lots of irritating would-be helpers keep suggesting that there may be bits missing.

Alanna Blake

We made love like socks in a tumble dryer, hot, clingy and tangled up in damp underwear.

Ian Barker

The British voted for Brexit with the unthinking enthusiasm of a crowd of lemmings that fling themselves from a cliff, only to realise too late that they are actually wombats.

Derek Robinson

She had the type of fake tan that would be of great service if she ever had to hide in Oak Furniture Land.

Joseph Harrison

No. 3094: that way madness lies

You are invited to submit a ‘Sonnet found in a Deserted Mad House’. Please email (wherever possible) entries to by midday on 10 April.