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Enjoy a biweekly test of verbal tomfoolery. WWW fame is at stake! Confused? Read all about Word Games in this brief introduction. Brought to you by Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon, the creators of The Atlantic Puzzler.


Jingle All the Way

This contest is now closed. But enjoy!

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




We hate to be the ones to make this grinchy observation, but the holiday season, once a celebration of spiritual purity, has become commercialized. You hadn't noticed? Well, our friendly correspondent Guy Jacobson (guy@research.att.com) has noticed. He hints that the roads leading to his local mall are lined with rhyming placards in the style of those old Burma Shave jingles.

In case you don't remember (or were born too late), Burma Shave signs used to be spaced out along a highway with each sign providing one line of a quatrain. For example:

BEN MET ANNA
MADE A HIT
NEGLECTED BEARD
BEN-ANNA SPLIT
BURMA SHAVE

Now, according to Guy (whom The Atlantic Monthly rewards with a free book for bringing this notion to our attention), other advertisers may be following suit. Here are three signs Guy has conveyed to us:

TAKE A TURN
BEHIND THE WHEEL
IT'S NOT YOUR FATHER'S
OLDSMOBILE

IS YOUR COACH
A LITTLE DRY?
WHEN YOU WIN
ANOINT THE GUY
GATORADE

CRYSTAL WATERS
BLUE AND CLEAR
CARIBBEAN?
NO, MY DEAR
TIDY BOWL

In this contest, we'd like you to invent a similar roadside jingle. You may exploit familiar real-life products as Guy has done above, but -- lest this whole affair turn into an actual sell-a-thon -- we'd be happy to have you invent fictional products around which a pun or joke might be perpetrated:

REMEMBER WHAT
THE BARKEEP SAID
WITH SUDSMAN BEER
YOU GET A HEAD

SAM AND DAVE
AND NAT KING COLE
HAD LOTS OF HEART, BUT
WE HAVE SOLE
FLEISCHMAN'S FISH

Get the idea? Okay, start ringing those jingle bells, and mail your poem to puzzles@theatlantic.com. Multiple entries are acceptable, but for our convenience pack your jingles into one piece of e-mail whenever possible (and please don't use attached files). Senders of our three favorite jingles will each receive a traffic-stopping ticker-tape parade down Madison Avenue -- either that, or a free book courtesy of The Atlantic Monthly.

Jingle All the Way will remain open through Friday, January 3. (We're running this contest an extra week to give everyone a holiday break). Winners and full results will be posted on Friday, January 10.

--EC and HR




  • Suggest a contest for your fellow wordplay lovers. If we can use or adapt your idea, we'll bestow upon you any book from The Atlantic Store.

  • Read a short introduction to Word Games .

  • Read a list of Word Games rules.

  • Meet Cox & Rathvon, your Word Games hosts.

  • Check out other past Word Games contests.

  • Enter the current Word Games contest .


    Jingle All the Way Results

    Your game hosts thank

    Each male and female

    Who filled our box

    With punning e-mail

    -- Cox and Rathvon

    But to get the proper effect of that jingle -- and the ones below from our contest -- you probably should put each line on its own placard and space them out at the side of a highway somewhere, and then drive past them at about 60 miles per hour. That's the way the old Burma Shave advertising jingles worked. And at least one of our contestants yearned for a return to those originals:

    Skip the puzzles

    Quit the yak

    We just want those

    Red signs back

    (PinFamily)

    PinFamily added a couple of actual Burma Shave rhymes, as you'll see below. Other contestants submitted jingles for real-life products, but some of our favorite rhymes were for made-up items (perhaps these ads will inspire someone to market them!).

    After cruising past the various billboards in this contest several times, we stopped and starred our three favorites--by Mary@surfsouth.com, LeonardJK, and Birdsinger. To these clever masters of the ad-verse, we offer our thanks and congratulations! So without further ado, let's rev up our engines and take a tour of these wry turnpike rhymes!

    ***The Winners***

    Balding early?

    Don't despair

    Something new

    Is in the hair.

    Rogaine

    (Mary@surfsouth.com)

    Aitch tee tee pee

    Colon slash slash

    you.really.can

    make.quick.cash

    WEBSCAMS.COM

    (LeonardJK)

    Sir Galahad

    Took a bite.

    It locked his jaw.

    Silent knight.

    Betty Botter Better Peanut Butter

    (Birdsinger)

    ***And Our Other Top Favorites***

    Stick your nose

    Way up higher.

    You're smarter than

    The average flyer.

    Arrogant Airlines

    (markglas@sas.upenn.edu)

    Ghana's grand,

    But we're just jolly:

    We've got rid of

    Boutros-Ghali.

    The new U.N.

    (markglas@sas.upenn.edu)

    Settle here,

    We'll give you cash.

    But don't hide bombs,

    In your trash.

    West Bank Real Estate

    (markglas@sas.upenn.edu)

    Tummy pain

    upsetting you?

    Take a dose

    of Elmer's glue.

    (ShedPot)

    Save our forests

    >from abuse;

    buy a poly-

    ester spruce.

    Ersatz Trees, Inc.

    (ShedPot)

    Roller blades

    you ought to try;

    have some fun

    before you die.

    Dinky's Rink

    (ShedPot)

    Don't encourage

    molar moss;

    daily use your

    dental floss.

    Phil Ament D.D.S.

    (ShedPot)

    Pita topping

    taste like pumice?

    try our New York

    Deli hummus.

    (ShedPot)

    It was a big enough

    Computer--so you thought.

    You got it home,

    And now it's not.

    Microsoft

    (smbush@dcaccess.com)

    He bought the car* because

    Good-breeding it exuded.

    *Cool clothes and British

    Accent not included.

    Lexus Infiniti

    (smbush@dcaccess.com)

    The mother labored

    To refine the youth.

    Oh, see him now--

    A slob, uncouth.

    Carl's Jr.

    (smbush@dcaccess.com)

    Why learn English?

    You are much too dumb.

    Good luck living

    As a bum.

    Hooked on Ebonics

    (smbush@dcaccess.com)

    News flew quickly

    On the briny

    That Popeye's head

    Became un-shiny.

    ROGAINE

    (rickp@ormutual.com)

    The sun seems bright,

    The stars aligned...

    All Ken's troubles

    Are left behind.

    PREPARATION H

    (rickp@ormutual.com)

    Bill's Windows broke,

    He saw the light

    And so he took

    A better byte.

    APPLE COMPUTER

    (rickp@ormutual.com)

    Don't let your

    Program be hamstrung

    Get help from an

    Insider's tongue.

    PACKWOOD LOBBYING SERVICES

    (rickp@ormutual.com)

    Throats raw and red,

    A cold in you head,

    Eustachians in strife

    My station in life

    Dr. James Nelson

    Ear, Nose and Throat

    (UnclMoose@aol.com)

    Hark, the Herald

    Tribune chants:

    "Come to Joe's

    for coats and pants."

    While the Daily

    News replies,

    "Come to Pop's

    for better buys."

    All together,

    let us run

    to get our Christmas

    shopping done.

    (Charlezzzz)

    Oops, Hades

    Soft and slack

    Men, ladies

    Yuletide snack

    Nordic Track

    (mball@world.std.com)

    Tickle me,

    I'll tickle you.

    I bet they're workin'

    On Elmo II!

    (Robmur)

    If instead of his nose

    Rudolph glowed from the tail,

    We might hire him

    To deliver the mail.

    USPS

    (Robmur)

    When your dinner

    Is not so fine,

    Just have some more

    Blueberry wine.

    E & J Gallo

    (Robmur)

    Low on dough?

    That's no surprise.

    Try some of ours

    And watch it rise

    Pillsbury

    (Robmur)

    One frog croaks "Bud"

    Another does "Weis"

    A third utters "Er"

    And everyone buys.

    A. Busch

    (Robmur)

    Tho' Death may wield

    His morbid sickle

    Be glad you peeled

    A Pearson's Pickle

    (john-c@blueox.ccbr.umn.edu)

    When you are sick

    Of all the hype

    Get Bubblin' Lite

    It's just your type.

    (Mypoet)

    Let that glass

    Now hit your lip

    When Beef Eater's served

    It's time to sip.

    (Mypoet)

    Who's cruising down

    The Info Highway,

    Flaming all:

    You'll do it my way

    Microsoft

    (mabarker@sprynet.com)

    Don't be fooled

    By Imitations

    The bourgeoisie

    Have limitations

    Grey Poupon

    (Mary@surfsouth.com)

    Want your kid

    To be a whiz

    When you ask him

    What it is?

    Encyclopedia Britannica

    (Mary@surfsouth.com)

    If you're feeling

    Stiff and sore

    Don't complain

    You'll be a bore.

    Ben-Gay

    (Mary@surfsouth.com)

    Have some drinks

    Crash some cars

    Spend some time

    Behind our bars

    HIGHWAY PATROL

    (LeonardJK)

    Come to where

    It's nice and hot

    With same sex friend

    To tie the knot

    HAWAII

    (LeonardJK)

    Ewe too kan

    Lurn too rede

    Inn sicks weaks

    Inn blaising spead

    HOOKED ON FONIX

    (LeonardJK)

    Bubble bubble

    Radiator trouble

    Prepare ye soon

    For winter gloom

    PRESTONE

    (LeonardJK)

    Shoosh and glide

    Down the hill

    But save some cash

    To pay our bill

    ASPEN ORTHOPEDICS

    (LeonardJK)

    Poor orphan Holly

    Was amazed.

    So many gifts:

    Happy Holly, dazed.

    Annie's Children's Christmas Fund

    (Birdsinger)

    Baby Ellie

    Jumped and fell.

    Tried again-

    The first "No," El.

    Children's Safety Council

    (Birdsinger)

    Chris and Mary

    Lived at Pa's

    But at Yuledtide

    Mary, Chris--Ma's.

    Share the Kids Support Group

    (Birdsinger)

    Horse got caught

    In printing press.

    Stamped with tidings:

    "Mare - egress - mess."

    SPCA

    (Birdsinger)

    Fed a horse

    In excess.

    She chomped my hand.

    Mare - "Eek"; wrist- mess.

    Santa's Stables

    (Birdsinger)

    A miracle

    Obstetrical-

    Babies

    Symmetrical.

    Your Local Fertility Clinic - Multiples Now Half Price

    (Birdsinger)

    In Tibet, the

    Dalai Lama

    Ran out of Lipton's:

    Melodrama.

    (Birdsinger)

    A YoYo is

    The Swellest.

    Not the toy,

    The cellist.

    Metro Symphony Orchestra, featuring YoYo Ma on cello.

    (Birdsinger)

    Buy a U S

    Saving's Bond

    And help support

    The Pentagon.

    A public service announcement by the American Tool Corp.,

    where screwdrivers are now only $450.

    (Birdsinger)

    He got the job.

    Was overjoyed.

    Shook boss's hand.

    Now unemployed.

    Pineapple Hand Lotion

    (Birdsinger)

    If subject is

    Schizophrenic,

    And only one side's

    Photogenic,

    Not to worry.

    It's no trouble.

    We'll take his portrait

    On the double.

    Bipolar Photo Studio

    (Birdsinger)

    On this road

    Elizabeth

    Eschewed

    Fast food.

    She starved to death.

    She should have chewed our Big Mac.

    (Birdsinger)

    Stressed out gnu,

    Needed cheer.

    Soothing music.

    Happy gnu ear.

    KSOF Radio Station

    (Birdsinger)

    In the puddle children play;

    Here's how they construe it:

    Mud pies! Such a dirty job

    But someone's got to do it.

    Muckraker's Detergent

    (n2a2f3gv@coastalnet.com)

    All you'll get from Santa?

    A jolly ho ho ho.

    What you'll get from Megatoys?

    A chance to win

    Tickle Me Elmo.

    (dotger@atd.com)

    Hold on tight

    It won't be long

    I've launched the Schwepps

    Major Tom

    (nirmalg@synergycc.com)

    Prison factories?

    Don't be mad

    You got cheap toys

    You should be glad

    People's Republic of China

    (ray@scribbledyne.com)

    Body odor embarrasses

    When friends are near

    So it's time that you

    protect your rear

    End Zone

    (Unhunk)

    Tidy Bowl?

    It Cannot Be

    The signs lead to

    This company

    Burma Shave

    (PinFamily)

    The time has gone

    The stubble's grown

    On many youths

    Who need to own

    Burma Shave

    (PinFamily)

    "Born too late!"

    The young man said

    "I'm forced to use

    Brand X instead"

    Burma Shave

    (PinFamily)


    Copyright © 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.