Utter zoo

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In Competition 2371 you were asked to provide rhyming couplets describing imaginary animals, involving eight consecutive letters of the alphabet.

‘The progress of the Unipod,/ As you’d surmise, is rather odd.’ This perhaps unillustratable couplet by Jeremy Lawrence is one of many splendid offerings among the runners-up. Hugh King made me smile with ‘The Umpzov, from remote Siberia,/ Is quite like Eeyore, only drearier.’ And W.J. Webster, Adrian Fry and Bill Greenwell were all in sparkling form. There was a ginormous entry, judging was pleasure mixed with agony, and I confess that sheer caprice played a part in my final decisions. The prizewinners, printed below, get £25 each, and Jill Green’s purely avian octet gains the Cobra Premium beer. Happy Christmas!

The Aardlark changed its name to be

The first bird in the dictionary.
The Bladderbill has bandy legs,
But then it lays enormous eggs.
The Chug is something of a clown,
You’ll see it flying upside down.
The Danderelle is so depressed,
It very seldom leaves its nest.
The Erik sits about and sings;
It doesn’t care, it has no wings.
The Flump’s on the endangered list,
But it’s so dull it won’t be missed.
The Gubbet’s life is rather grim,
It is a duck but cannot swim.
The Harpic is too bad for words,
It preys on all these other birds.
Jill Green

With knife for nose, the Jagster may

Slit envelopes this easy way.
The Klyntz has strawberries for toes:
If swallowed, each at once regrows.
The Lardrop’s seaweed-sprouting hair
Makes fish in admiration stare.
Upon the Mendrum’s shelf-like waist
Books may conveniently be placed.
A lamp projecting from its head,
Assists the Norje to read in bed.
Curved, heat-resistant like a cup,
The Ogby’s paws save washing-up.
The Phurph, a clanking metal sheep,
Counts humans when it cannot sleep.
The Quarrasong, if given chocs,
Rejects them, but consumes the box.
Godfrey Bullard

The Nurge, found only on Corfu,

Stands on its head each day at two.
When scared the Oom emits a cry,
Which shatters any glass nearby.
Few men have seen the Pocalize
Which digs its grave before it dies.
The four-winged Quainjel cannot fly —
Its wings are used for keeping dry.
Pellucid ear-lobes on the Raize
Can, in fierce sunlight, start a blaze.
Sopors have sixteen purple eyes,
For use when hypnotising flies.
The Tett has two heads, sometimes more —
(My grandfather owned one with four).
The Unker, with its armoured tail,
Decapitates small birds like quail.
Juliet Scott

The Ah-ha lives on sauerkraut;

A yawn can turn it inside out.
Whenever Breadwells drop their toast,
The buttered side lands uppermost.
The Crested Oblong Darters wish
Their acronym was fowl, not fish.
The Dolichocephalic Drongs
Keep whistling rather lowbrow songs.
The Escoffs gorge on Camembert:
They all believe in laissez-faire.
The Fibbers buzz round Crete like flies,
Dispensing Melton Mowbray pies.
The Gumb-Gumbs keep their teeth in jars
And cannot quite pwonounce their Rs.
The Huff is gauzy, light as air,
And yet, somehow, you know it’s there.
Keith Norman

The Bojest nestles in its roost,

Devouring fudge and reading Proust,
While Chummaroos prefer to sleep
Beneath the dashboard of a jeep,
And Dynamockas prowl the air,
With grinning beaks and stiffened hair.
The Elci, on the other hand,
Live metres deep beneath the sand.
Ferocious Fraxels bare their teeth,
Consume their prey and send a wreath.
The portly Grinnell, though, is placid,
Being eternally on acid,
And Lesser-Crested Hoobis play
The tunes that chase the blues away.
The Swedish Idem has no face,
Yet runs at an Olympic pace.
G. M. Davis

Ashaboks resemble whales

With purple fluorescent tails.
The Bimblette twitters constantly
And bathes in lukewarm Earl Grey tea.
The Crooker feeds on shrimps — parboiled —
And much prefers his bedding soiled.
Dingledellers don’t climb trees
Because their feet sprout from their knees.
Egglebeggles soon take fright;
Their bark is far worse than their bite.
The Fronklemooter’s keen to please;
He trains a troupe of circus fleas.
The Grotprop has a pointed nose
That’s used to clean between its toes.
The Hemanhoman yearns to breed
With humankind, so please take heed.
Rosemary Fisher

No. 2374: Useless info

Do you know the largest number of votes cast for a chimpanzee in an election, or that in Idaho it is illegal to fish on a camel’s back? You are invited to supply ten pieces of invented useless information to clutter our minds. Maximum 120 words. Entries to ‘Competition No. 2374’ by 6 January.