Competition - Win a bottle of champagne

No 3576 Set by John Buckman

Bill Giles and the BBC weathermen have come up with a nice little number at the public's expense for travelling round the world in the guise of The Weather Show. We asked you what other groups might come up with something similar.

Report by Ms de Meaner

It was with a sad heart that I rejected many worthy callings (butchers, college finance officers, firefighters) and allowed a rather inward-looking entry into the winners' box, namely compers from the NS. But, my darlings, it was pretty funny. £15 to the winners; an hon mensh to Frank Dunnill; and the bottle goes to N Syrett .

Humour knows no bounds. It is proposed that a Global Comp Challenge (to be sponsored by the British Council or the National Lottery) will be paid on an annual basis. The challenge will comprise a 20-bout series of competitive word games to be held in various international locations renowned for their understanding of wit and their appreciation of fun. The 30 qualifying members of the travelling player-team will be those listed in the 1998 New Statesman Winners' League Table (team captain: Will Bellenger). The following is part of a suggested 40-day itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive in Bali. R&R and some team workouts (punning and anagrams). Banquet sponsored by Ms de Meaner.

Day 2: Tour of local sights with some fanciful definitions and meaningless phrases. A warm-up game of parodies with local magazine comp winners.

Days 3-4: Free time.

Day 5: Onward connection to Gulf of Mexico. Stopover in New Orleans. "Verbal Fun Night" in the French Quarter with Louisiana Lips and the Perverse Versifiers.

Day 6: Private settings/reports around the pool. Late-night S&M (satire and mockery).

Day 7: Free time.

Day 8: Onward connection to Yukon. Games of wit and parodying with local chapter of Malapropism Club. Champagne sponsored by Tesco (MC: Ian Birchall).

Day 9: Private musings (MC: Basil Ransome-Davies).

Days 10-11: Free time.

Day 12: Arrive Tokyo. Appearance in Tamagamey TV (epigrams and haikus). Reception at British Embassy, followed by knees-up at Irish Embassy.

Days 13-15: Free time.

Day 16: Arrive Honolulu. Sonnet quarter-final.

The itinerary can be extended or altered to suit local circumstances and competitive conditions. First option on bidding rights has been granted to Channel 5.

John O'Byrne

As Ofsted inspectors, it is vital that we maintain, encourage and improve standards. At our recent conference in the London Guildhall, we concluded that we must seek to ensure the standard of our own standardisation by (1) comparing our standards with the standards of other educational systems and establishments; and (2) comparing our educational standards with standards in other industries - such as, for instance, the tour operator trade. Tour operators are very like teachers. They have a constant turnover of clients to inculcate into new ways, new mores, new cultures. They must maintain tight daily schedules. And they must deal efficiently with the vital bureaucracy which ensures the smooth operation of any organisation. They also like a good holiday! But, joking apart, we plan to monitor key interface preparation and remediation by differential outcomes in a strategically selected sequence of hotels beginning with Bali, moving on to the Maldives, and investigating Rio de Janeiro. Only then will we begin to have a measure of our measurements. We will feedback on the quality assurance of meals and staffing and establish a reliably factorised quotient by which teacher performance may be managed more efficiently still.

Will Bellenger

"He's a tricky devil," said the brigadier commanding 7 Airborne Brigade, "your Johnny Bali Islander."

"Horrible what they do to tortoises, horrible," chimed in his intelligence sergeant.

The chief of defence staff sighed. "But an invasion, gentlemen? Surely an over-reaction?"

"Basic human rights abuses, sir," said the brigadier. "Some of those beach hotels charge the equivalent of £7.25 for a gin and tonic." The CDS blanched.

"And you should see these intelligence reports." He laid a pile of bright pamphlets on the table.

"But surely these are tourist brochures?"

"Propaganda, sir," said the sergeant, "designed to lure unsuspecting Britons into batik shirts and straw hats."

The CDS sighed. "And the Seychelles?"

"Guano, sir, and cinnamon. We take them for granted, of course. But if a hostile government takes power, well, I wouldn't like to answer for the consequences."

"And remember what happened to Mad Mike Hoare, sir."

The CDS brightened. "Ah yes, good chap. So, we need a codeword."

"Op Garden of Eden, sir," said the brigadier. "We plan a two-pronged operation with 3 Para staging a diversionary assault on Tahiti."

"And the Foreign Office view?" The CDS looked up to see his juniors staring at him, bemused.

"Forgive me gentlemen, I've been overdoing it."

N Syrett

No 3577 Set by June P Langfield

Villains such as Flashman often arouse more interest than the hero. We would like extracts by 20 May (max 200 words) in the style of the original book, with your favourite villain as the central character.