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VANITY PLATES
(10/6/95-10/20/95)

This contest is now closed. But enjoy!

(Click here to go directly to the winning entries.)

TThis word-game contest was suggested by Ravensegg@aol.com, who is hereby rewarded with 5 free AOL hours courtesy of The Atlantic Monthly. Thanks and congratulations, Ravensegg!

Now, most of us have seen (or ourselves perpetrated) license plates with personal names, mottos, or quips on them. Typically such a "vanity" license plate uses no more than seven symbols (capital letters and/or digits) to express its sentiment.

In this contest, we want you to concoct a vanity license plate for some famous person who lived before the advent of automobiles. Pick a real person whose fame was earned *before* the 20th Century, and imagine what 7-figure license plate might have been appended to that person's horse, burro, buggy, stagecoach, or chariot.

We imagine, for example, that EATCAKE might have been the license plate of Marie Antoinette. And we fancy that EARS2U might have been the license plate of painter Vincent Van Gogh.

Remember, your license plate must have seven or fewer capital letters and/or digits. You may leave a space between wordsbut the blank space counts as one of your seven units! Hence the Macedonian conqueror Alexander might have had a license plate reading: THE GR8.

Okay, you may now use poetic license--but don't be too licentious!

--EC and HR



VANITY PLATES Contest Results

(All names without @ symbols are AOL screen names.)

It's too bad Shakespeare didn't drive a truck, because folks like you could have forged some nifty license plates for him. According to contestants JHFrancis and Kttylttr, the author of *Hamlet* would have gone rolling around with THEBARD on his vanity plate. MoonPool fancied the plate would have read PLAYBOY, and ShedPot suggested NOBACON. But almost a score of you opted for some version of 2BRNT2B.

Contestants too numerous to mention also suggested variations of TOP TEN for Moses, 2 BY 2 for Noah, 82BRUTE for Caesar, H20LOO for Napoleon, NO1PREZ for George Washington, 4SCORE7 for Abe Lincoln, 1BYLAND or 2 BY C for Paul Revere, CAN U C for Francis Scott Key, P NUTZ for George Washington Carver, NEVRMOR for Edgar Allen Poe, 6 WIVES for Henry VIII, GRAVIT8 for Sir Isaac Newton, ICSTARS for Galileo, ICGERMS for Pasteur, I THINK or ERGO IM for Descartes, and all sorts of ringing and buzzing for Alexander Graham Bell, including ITS4YOU (GamblnLady), UCALLME (HeartRing), and 1ONHOLD (LadyExec1). Of the many plates for Alexandre Dumas alluding to his Musketeers' motto, our favorite was 14LNL41 from StefSpad, who added that the plate would have been "on his Peugeot, of course." And of the handful of rather cryptic plates, we best liked HOROBOD for Robin Hood (because it's "rob" inside "hood," see?) from RDH9995, and RICHRAD for Ben Franklin (because it's a poor "Richard," see?) from G8ly.

For fun, we've selected 40 of the license plates we think are guessable (including a few belonging to figures of questionable historical authenticity) and we've listed them below in roughly historical order as puzzles to be solved. We've posted the solutions as "Vanity Plate Answers" in our "Puzzles and Word Games" folder on the Atlantic Monthly's message board. After those 40, the rest of our favorite entries are listed in no special order with the plates' owners shown.

But first, our top three favorites. These examples of poetic license come from DHyman, Kttylttr, and DaleRobert, each of whom will receive 5 free AOL hours, plus a book of his or her choice from the Atlantic Monthly's online store. Congratulations, DHyman, Kttylttr, and DaleRobert!

***The Winning Plates***

PLATE O: Plato (DHyman)

APPULL: Sir Isaac Newton (Kttylttr)

DOTS ME: Samuel Morse (DaleRobert)


***The 40-Plate Quiz***

1. SHY1RIB (LostnAustn)

2. 8ABITE (SMaroon188)

3. UNABEL (Unhunk)

4. GNUS2ME (LostnAustn)

5. CPARTER (HollyAggie)

6. WHALEB8 (Greenguy1)

7. IBNACL (September; variations by SqueezePly, Unhunk, RDH9995)

8. BOYKING (Stilwillin)

9. HEMLOCK (BobCork, TDarsey)

10. EUREKA (DaleRobert)

11. ASP4ME (SMaroon188)

12. LENDEAR (Rickwins)

13. TOP HUN (JHFrancis, var. by Dr1s)

14. XCALIBR (VPJ)

15. UNREADY (RDH9995)

16. BAREBAK (Thelinster, One2BemUp, JMccart797)

17. INFERNO (JHFrancis)

18. PRESS 1 (Glemward, Degas 23)

19. EARTHSO (JackLaGrow)

20. 2BYOUNG (JET919)

21. SUNKING (BBumpas)

22. K8DGR8 (Jltrent, DHyman)

23. US DAD (DaleRobert, One2BemUp)

24. KITEZAP (Pampamoose)

25. 8THPRES (HeartRing)

26. GRAYFOX (ADStark)

27. STONWAL (LadyExec1)

28. COONCAP (JHFrancis, JJBMD)

29. TEXDAD (MizTrish)

30. GO WEST (DaleRobert)

31. OFF2LBA (Ikedad)

32. ODE2JOY (MarksCS)

33. SYMPHON (GamblnLady, September, Alamano)

34. IVANHOE (HeartRing)

35. MY MOBY (BobCork)

36. 7 GABLES (Camkat, Rickwins)

37. GOLDBUG (OakCal)

38. DOTDASH (Camkat, Joan of OR)

39. 2CITIES (Rickwins, MarksCS)

40. 40WAX (Marjan44, StilWillin, LauretteA, KnKreader, TONY WARDS; var. by DailyMc)



***And Other Favorites***


24EDEN: Adam & Eve (Mnussbaum)

IM4EVE: Adam (danh1)

HVABITE: Eve (Beccas123)

IH8ABEL: Cain (danh1)

NOMOBRO: Cain (SMaroon188, Mnussbaum)

RED SEA: Moses (JET919)

EXODUS1: Moses (JHFrancis)

2 2 OLD: Methuselah (SMaroon188)

1 ROCK: King David (BobCork)

BA BY: Solomon (Mnussbaum)

YZ GUY: Solomon (Capt Merf, var. Glemward)

ISUFFER: Job (Sueswa)

YME GOD: Job (GamblnLady, RDH9995)

KICK ME: Job (SqueezePly, TNach)

HAIRCUT: Delilah (Mnussbaum)

BDHRDAY: Samson (Beccas123)

GDHRDAY: Delilah (Beccas123)

SNITCH: Judas (MJH12656)

DEDHEAD: Salome (Perdenales)

7 VEILS: Salome (ShedPot, Mnussbaum)

IC ALL: Homer (DHCioffi)

ILUVMOM: Oedipus (JJBMD; var. DHCioffi, SMaroon188)

RGO NOT: Jason (Cualtzin)

1KSHIPS: Helen of Troy (HVACENG)

PLAYDOH: Plato (Alamano)

YRUHERE: Plato (GlryB2God)

KNOSELF: Socrates (DaleRobert)

Y, Y NOT, Y ASK Y: Plato, Socrates, Aristotle (GamblnLady)

EZ4U2SA: Demosthenes (Jltrent)

BOYANTC: Archimedes (DailyMc)

YINYANG: Lao-tzu (DaleRobert, DailyMc)

GR8 2MB: Tutankhamen (ShedPot)

TUMREZ: Tutankhamen (Pikap54)

PYRAMID: Ramses (HYPERBUNNY)

QNADNIL: Cleopatra (JHFrancis)

QT: Cleopatra (Roman30760)

ASPSRIN: Cleopatra (Perdenales)

ASPGASP: Cleopatra (Kttylttr)

NO ASPS: Cleopatra (IvanGarou)

ALLHAIL: Julius Caesar (The CIRCE, var. by VCRogers)

FIDL DD: Nero (GamblnLady, var. MJH12656, LadyExec1)

IPLAY4U: Nero (September)

HUNNY: Attila (JHFrancis)

HUNGRY1: Attila (Roman30760)

PO10T8: Genghis Khan (Glemward, UMBLU)

O TABLE: King Arthur (LWrig63)

4PROFIT: Nostradamus (Alamano)

4SIGHT: Nostradamus (DBurch4368, var. by MJH12656)

PREDIX: Nostradamus (Perdenales)

IC4WARD: Nostradamus (RDH9995, var. by CBraley29)

X WIVES: Henry VIII (Perdenales)

HEADSUP: Henry VIII (Kttylttr, Sarah Lyon)

HEDSOFF: Henry VIII (JHFrancis)

NEXT: Henry VIII (BBumpas)

NECKST: Henry VIII (MoonPool)

MIDLIFE: Henry VIII (GlryB2God)

8S 1ST: Catherine of Aragon (JHFrancis)

2 OF 8: Anne Boleyn (SqueezePly)

WE RULE: Queen Victoria (Scusa)

NAKED 1: Lady Godiva (BobCork)

TOPLESS: Lady Godiva (JJBMD)

NOPEEKN: Lady Godiva (DaleRobert)

L ETAT: Louis XIV (RDH9995)

GO EAST: Marco Polo (Herman23)

NOODLER: Marco Polo (Kttylttr)

4SAIL: Christopher Columbus (Alamano, CBraley29)

ROUNDER: Christopher Columbus (Kttylttr)

ITS RND: Christopher Columbus (JHFrancis)

NOTFLAT: Christopher Columbus (Mnussbaum)

O: Christopher Columbus (Daasek)

LANDHO: Columbus (Scusa)

TOINDIA: Christopher Columbus (DaleRobert)

IWUZ1ST: Leif Ericson (GamblnLady)

ROUNDER: Magellan (OakCal)

2B20AGN: Ponce DeLeon (IvanGarou)

ILOVENY: Peter Minuit (TONYWARDS)

MYPARTY: George Washington (Alamano)

WIGSRUS: George Washington (Alamano)

WOOD2TH: George Washington (HollyAggie)

H8 2LIE: George Washington (Jltrent, var. by Daasek)

DEL XER: George Washington (OakCal)

1STLADY: Martha Washington (HeartRing)

T PARTY: Samuel Adams (VCRogers)

RA IL: Abe Lincoln (Ravensegg)

LETEMGO: Abe Lincoln (Alamano)

2BFREE: Abe Lincoln (Kathy spa)

HONEST: Abe Lincoln (ADStark)

MDNTRDR: Paul Revere (Pikap54)

GIDDYAP: Paul Revere (ShedPot)

GOFLYKT: Ben Franklin (GlryB2God, var. by PTmom)

HOT KEY: Ben Franklin (BobCork)

BIFOCLZ: Ben Franklin (Pikap54)

LECTRIC: Ben Franklin (HollyAggie)

CHARGIT: Ben Franklin (SMaroon188)

SHOCKME: Ben Franklin (Ceejayyy, var. by HollyAggie)

LIGHTME: Ben Franklin (HeartRing)

ZAPPED: Ben FRanklin (Alamano; var. by LadyExec1, CYN109, JMKOlsen)

HISTRNG: Ben Franklin (MoonPool)

ALMANAC: Ben Franklin (ADStark)

SEWGOOD: Betsy Ross (Alamano)

SEWWHAT: Betsy Ross (Greenguy1)

NEEDLES: Betsy Ross (Ceejayyy)

FLGMKR-Betsy Ross (Pikap54)

RIGHTER: James Madison (Ravensegg)

2DIE4: Nathan Hale (RHorton508)

I SPYED: Nathan Hale (LadyExec1)

GR8OR8R: Patrick Henry (UM BLU)

T TAXER: George III (Nice25M)

TR8OR: Benedict Arnold (Perdenales, TONY WARDS, RDH9995)

FIGHTON: John Paul Jones (JHFrancis)

NE14GIN: Ulysses S. Grant (RHorton508)

TRAVLR: Robert E. Lee (Pikap54)

CHARGE: General Pickett At Gettysburg (BobCork)

BEAR4ME: Davy Crockett (Gardenia)

LDYGUYD: Sacajawea (LadyExec1)

IMA SAP: Johnny Appleseed (LdyKmelion)

OK: Wyatt Earp (Daasek)

COLT 45: Wyatt Earp (JJBMD)

HOTSHOT: Annie Oakley (DBurch4368)

WORDMAN: Noah Webster (DaleRobert)

MISPELL: Noah Webster (Mnussbaum)

ACDC: Thomas Edison (Virg1wolfe)

GET LIT: Thomas Edison (MOONWRITE)

TURN ON: Edison (Degas3)

1STAID: Clara Barton (LadyExec1)

COWNOTI: Mrs. O'Leary (LostnAustn)

WEFLY4U: Wright Brothers (JJBMD)

NOBOOZE: Carry Nation (DaleRobert)

USUCKRU: P.T. Barnum (JHFrancis)

AX2GRND: Lizzie Borden (Lorinmn)

EGOIST: Sigmund Freud (OakCal)

DREAMN: Sigmund Freud (GlryB2God)

UR KUKU: Sigmund Freud (danh1)

A: Nathaniel Hawthorne (Greenguy1)

A PLUS: Nathaniel Hawthorne (OakCal)

RED A: Nathaniel Hawthorne (MarksCS)

RAVNMAD: Edgar Allen Poe (DHCioffi)

MOMSTER: Mary Shelley (VCRogers)

COMPOZ: Chopin (Alamano)

POINTER: Georges Seurat (Greenguy1)

9BIG1S: Beethoven (Cove22)

CLEFDEF: Beethoven (Kttylttr)

DDD DUM: Beethoven (GamblnLady, YCLEPT2; var. by Camkat, SybilleT)

6INRULR: Napoleon (Alamano)

FE DUKE: Wellington (VCRogers)

ERLKING: Schubert (HeartRing)

PRODIGY: Mozart (MJH12656)

123 123: Johann Strauss (Camkat, RDH9995)

PAIN4U: Marquis de Sade (MJH12656, RHorton508, Lorinmn)

IHURTU: Marquis de Sade (DaleRobert)

TURPI2D: Marquis de Sade (G8ly)

H3ASO4: Lucretia Borgia (G8ly)

STRYCH9: Lucretia Borgia (RDH9995)

BLT MAN: Earl of Sandwich (JConcan)

NO MAYO: Earl of Sandwich (G8ly)

ANDEGGS: Francis Bacon (OakCal)

COT 10: Eli Whitney (KIMR900)

AU NOSE: Tycho Brahe (Dwezzl)

ITROT8S: Copernicus (Cove22)

SUNCNTR: Copernicus (JHFrancis)

ICALQL8: Isaac Newton (WA Medic)

ICUFALL: Isaac Newton (Alamano)

ICSTARS: Galileo (RHorton508, VenusD25, ASpates)

STARMAN: Galileo (MizTrish, Kttylttr, Evenstar99)

IZONSKY: Galileo (PTmom)

SUNSPOT: Galileo (OakCal)

8COMETS: Caroline Lucretia Herschel (HeartRing)

VACCIN8: Louis Pasteur (RDH9995)

DADTDT: Samuel Morse (Pikap54)

AM N FM: Marconi (MOONWRITE)

STEAMED: James Watt (DaleRobert, LdyExec1)

SMOKIN: Sir Walter Raleigh (Stilwillin)

AAPEABB: Gregor Mendel (Stilwillin)

I GRO: Gregor Mendel (MizTrish)

FOTOMAN: Daguerre (Cove22)

APE2MAN: Charles Darwin (Natalie Klauck)

IEVOLVE: Charles Darwin (JET919)

FITISIT: Charles Darwin (JHFrancis)

NOGERMS: Joseph Lister (JHFrancis)

S A 4 U: Ralph Waldo Emerson (Cove22)

O CYCLE: Richard Wagner (FantomLady)

LMNTARY: Arthur Conan Doyle (Greenguy1)

DR J: Samuel Johnson (Obfusco)

20K LGS: Jules Verne (MarksCS)

WAR PPP: Tolstoy (MarksCS)

GR8SCOT: Robert Burns (Jltrent)

LORE8: Alfred Lord Tennyson (Jltrent)

FLYBUZZ: Emily Dickinson (Rickwins)

MOORGAL: Emily Bronte (Rickwins)

KA BOOM: Alfred Nobel (danh1)

SAWRITR: Montaigne (DaleRobert)

MADMONK: Rasputin (DaleRobert)

CMYWAX: Madame Tussaud (Camkat)

AUTODFE: Torquemada (MIDIMil)


Copyright © 1995 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.