E.M. – Max – Nicholson asks for silly season letters (it’s August 1931). This, or variants of it, is still a poular competition. It is a curious idea, that there is no political activity to speak of, and that therefore periodicals and newspapers must fill themselves with ridiculous news, but that’s what happens. As Nicholson notes, a good entry here meant not just an individual letter or slection of the same, but a sequence of letters. James Hall and P.S.Nicholson are each commended for sequences that start, in the latter’s case, with a rubber sponge on a toothpick being a good way of clearing the ear, to deafness, to the distance between Birmingham and Walsall,and thence to deaf-and-dumb hikers (I would have liked to have seen this entry, as it sounds better than the winners).
George van Raalte and W.Hodgson Burnet, both generally in the running, snaffle the two guineas and the half-guinea, ahead of Michael, who offers no surname, but is given a special prize of a guinea. (Michael is spoofing motoring magazines.)
For the B contest, Nicholson cites ‘It has been said that every book is in a sense a travel book’ as an insufferable remark, and asks for a set of six in the same mould, citing sources. As might have been guessed by the extra prize doled out in 84A, he isn’t impressed much by the entries, and allows only half-a-guinea to J. Ewing, who doesn’t seem to me to play by the rules (all general platitudes apart from the Tennyson). He rules out ‘Bow-wow’ on the basis that he or she has picked six from Canon Streeter’s Reality, which seems fair enough to me (i.e. choosing from one volume, and if you’d like to try Streeter’s book, it’s here. Streeter was a religious philosopher, a joint founder of ‘The Group’, the pre-war theological think-tank, as it were, and died in 1937 in an air-crash at the age of 62).