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19 January 2014

The NS Competition No 4307

By New Statesman

Set by Leonora Casement

We asked you for customs celebrating the life of a 20th- or 21st-century poet or novelist.

This week’s winners

Fabulous. The winners get £30, with the Tesco vouchers going, in addition, to David Silverman. An hon mensh to Adrian Fry for J D Salinger Day. This week, we publish the long-awaited Top 20 for 2013. The only worry was what to do with compers who enter under different names and whether we should add together the total amounts. We chose not to, although certain compers may be interested to learn that Rob Stuart’s position would have been seventh rather than joint seventh (if we added his winnings under his pseudonym) and Brian Allgar would have come fifth, not sixth.

Virginia Woolf Week

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In Virginia Woolf Week, aficionados throw a dinner party inviting all their Facebook friends, old flames, current flames, lovers, ex-partners, assorted eccentrics and weirdos, prime ministers and members of the cabinet. Guests are expected to cross-dress and, if possible, assume the persona of the opposite sex.

Events are held at coastal locations and guests debate in a circular fashion, giving reasons not to view the local lighthouse, avoiding any trace of a hint that this might be a sexual symbol or euphemism of any kind. The object of the exercise is to talk for as long as possible using only gender stereotypes. The game concludes when one of the participants finally cracks and, no longer able to bear the tension (sexual or otherwise) and interminable, aimless conversation, screams, jumps up and sticks on Abba Gold, or storms out, exclaiming: “Stuff this, you lot! I’m going to the bloody lighthouse.”

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David Silverman

Dan Brown Day

Thanks to Dan Brown, intelligence agencies across the world were able to follow a sequence of clues encoded in the 1974 Rupert Bear annual and foil a centuries-old Rotarian plot to instal a clone of Genghis Khan as pope. As a result, the UN has decided to hold an annual worldwide Dan Brown Day to celebrate the great man and his works, so that his contribution to world peace might be remembered in perpetuity.

Festivities will be organised in every major city, each beginning with a “most tortuous simile” contest, followed by a fancy dress parade (choose from: “poorly researched historical figure”, “unconvincing academic”, “clichéd scientist”, “sinister clergyman” or “woman”) and culminating in the mass burning of all history books, atlases and scientific tracts that contradict the Brown canon. (This could take a while.)

Rob Stuart

T S Eliot Day

T S Eliot Day will begin with luncheon at the Cannon Street Hotel. As usual, the meal will consist of the following: dripping blood our only drink; the bloody flesh our only food (although for the non-carnivorous, we also offer the starfish, the horseshoe crab and the whale’s backbone). If you’re truly squeamish, there will be tea and cakes and ices, while for those bent on introspection about their lives, coffee spoons will be supplied.

This will be followed by a cocktail party at a bar on Lower Thames Street. Gentlemen should wear morning coats with white flannel trousers and neckties should be rich but modest. Ladies are expected to have a good conversational knowledge of Michelangelo.

To end, there will be fireworks on the gloomy hills of London: Hampstead and Clerkenwell, Camden and Putney, Highgate, Primrose and Ludgate.

Brian Allgar

The next challenge

No 4310 By J Seery

Elbridge Thomas Gerry was US vice-president under James Madison. He was the namesake of the term “gerrymandering”, a process by which electoral districts are drawn with the aim of aiding the party in power. We want further shenanigans or moves named after current politicians. For example, a “gove”: a scarcely resistible wish to hit someone who is irrepressibly cheerful, even if you agree with his politics/what he is saying.

Max ten goes by 6 February

comp@newstatesman.co.uk