Competitions nos. 95A and 95B: results

Another new judge – Evelyn Irons, who was at the time the women’s fashion editor at the Daily Mail (although she personally eschewed make-up). She was also at the time not only the lover of the judge before last, Vita Sackville West, but also of Olive Rinder, who as an entrant had nearly won Competition 64A some six months earlier. (Irons lived to be 99, from 1900 to 2000, mising her 100th birthday by only two months.) There is a nice account of Irons showing Virginia Woolf around the Mail here.

Irons asks for up to 300 words for a talk likely to be rejected by the BBC (in passing, another of Sackville-West’s lovers, Hilda Matheson, had been head of the BBc Talks department). Some of the parodies, though (Michael Holland is commended) were so good, Irons thinks they’d have got through. She is only really impressed by James Hall, and gives the half-guinea to R. Hartman.


A little overdone at the end?


95B is for a song of hate (max 40 lines!) against a person or persons. Entries, says Irons, fall into three groups – abusive, the curse, and the abusive-cum-curse. ‘Weaver‘ – yet another new name – vents his or her spleen against none other than Seacape (this is the first in this series that is to a lead to a noble tradition of excoriating winners. I know who you are …).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInterestingly, editors, critics and politicians are joined by a fourth group of unpopular characters, as in the runner up, C.P.L.‘s entry – telephone operators.


Oddly enough, I’ve just watched an edition of ‘QI’ that made the point that ‘hiccough’ is a false spelling back-formed from the idea that a ‘hiccup’ (as Anglo-Saxons spelled it) was a cough.

Telephone operator

Not popular (the image is from 1935)



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