Competition

Win vouchers to spend at any Tesco store

Competition No 3773

Set by John O'Byrne, 17 March

In the spirit of Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary, you were asked for definitions of 11 expressions of our choice.

Report by Ms de Meaner

"Such fun!" was the message sent by quite a few of you. A mega postbag. Hon menshes to James Mortelman ("Axis of evil: Any countries that tell the US to 'swivel on it'"), John O'Byrne, Rosemary MacKenzie, Tom Donnelly and Michael Birt. The winners get £20. The overall winner is Jack Walsh, who also gets the Tesco vouchers.

Opposition: An ineffective cough linctus.

Axis of evil: A conglomeration of states, replete with oil and bereft of burgers.

Democracy: Entry deleted (see Focus group).

Public interest: Voyeur's varnish.

Socialism: Baggage discarded by climbers en route to the summit.

Privatisation: A bio-social programme for the generation of obese felines.

Open society: Badgering.

Culture: The penicillin of the masses.

Public service: An open-air mass (free at the point of delivery).

Terrorist: A satisfied arms customer.

Market economy: A social programme designed to ensure the triumph of capital over compassion.

Jack Walsh

Opposition: The bloody French.

Axis of evil: Any attempt by smaller countries to emulate America's arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.

Democracy: An elective dictatorship tempered by apathy.

Public interest: The state's rationale for secrets and lies.

Socialism: A bloodthirsty, savage doctrine of equality, mutual aid and peace.

Privatisation: The magical conversion of tax revenues into executive salaries, share options and dividends.

Open society: One with long drinking hours and the disposable income to support them.

Culture: The daydreams of the educated.

Public service: Unworldly altruism, as in "we're not running a public service here, you know".

Terrorist: Tomorrow's negotiator.

Market economy: One that fell off the back of a lorry.

G M Davis

Opposition: A person or party with views that are wrong.

Axis of evil: Countries that do not allow McDonald's, Starbucks or American military bases.

Democracy: A system whereby the public elects leaders, and the leaders do as they like.

Public interest: A term used to exclude the public from geographical sites or information where it is in the government's interest to keep them out.

Socialism: A system whereby high-earning leaders make hard-working moderate earners give money to the poor.

Privatisation: The sale of publicly owned services to foreigners.

Open society: A society where money can buy anything.

Culture: Traditions used to excuse all kinds of strange behaviour.

Public service: An intention to provide a service to the public, somewhere, some time.

Terrorist: Anyone in possession of castor oil beans.

Market economy: A system whereby the Chancellor's Budget rests on the quantity of baked beans sold.

Katie Mallett

Opposition: Feeling so strongly about an issue that you are even prepared to miss double maths and history in order to go down the park with your mates.

Axis of evil: A few countries that the Americans have heard of.

Democracy: The absolute right of every individual to have his or her views ignored by the government.

Public interest: (1) Issues that the public has a need and a right to know about, such as Ulrika Jonsson's sex life. (2) Anything that sells newspapers. (3) Military secrets broadcast to the world 24 hours a day.

Socialism: Egalitarian world-view held by those who believe it might get them elected.

Privatisation: Transferring inefficient public services into the hands of inefficient private companies in order to identify someone else to blame.

Open society: One in which the government is totally transparent about what it wants you to know.

Culture: A shared heritage or set of values, the rich diversity of which we should celebrate and encourage in all its wonderful variety so that we don't make the mistake of actually believing in anything specific.

Public service: Any service for which you pay taxes in order to wait four hours for a 34-page application form to complete, to see if you are eligible to receive it.

Terrorist: (1) President-elect. (2) A word of Turkish derivation meaning someone who likes to hear the sound of their own language and live in their own country.

Market economy: Saving money by buying rotten fruit or produce.

David Silverman

No 3776 Set by Carl Maxim

We want criticism of famous works of art by obviously ignorant people who understand nothing of their subject.

Max 200 words by 18 April (to appear in issue dated 28 April). E-mail: comp@newstatesman.co.uk

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