Dyneley Hussey notes that it’s the anniversary, and asks for birthday odes, which ‘need not be wholly uncritical’ (and are restricted to 24 lines). Not surprisingly, he receives sackloads of effusions. One of the serious complimentary poems is by T.E.Casson, and Hussey says it is ‘just not good enough’. It’s interesting how, I think, the idiom has changed – I suspect Hussey is saying is that it doesn’t quite but oh-so nearly reaches the right standard, not that it’s well below par. Poor old Casson. One wonders if the successive judges have spotted that everyone compliments him, and no-one gives him any guineas. There is an entrant called Old Mole whose puns are so awful that Hussey quotes a few (‘May … your Betts all be placed on the winning dark horse … your Welby ne’er ill be … your Agate well-polished … your Bulletts find targets, your Husseys no shame’) in a sort of mounting horror.
The prizewinners (three, as 52B is a bit of a disaster) are Arthur Oliver, Seacape and Valimus (when Seacape wins, either Valimus or Pibwob almost invariably also win, as if some of the competitions favour the old gang).
52B picks up a news story that a recaptured convict confessed to being ‘hungry and fed up’. Hussey wants three idiomatic oxymorons. He disputes almost all the entries, pausing only to like James Hall’s newsagent who says ‘It’s not in, it’s not out yet’, and giving a prize to Pibwob (so the triumvirate are all together), and a mere commendation to A.E. Watts
It is possible that this is the A.E.Watts who was a Latinist, and translated, amongst other texts, Ovid’s Metamorphoses – with illustrations by Picasso, but this is a very long shot indeed.