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UPS AND DOWNS
(3/22/96 - 4/5/96)

This contest is now closed. But enjoy!

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

The idea for this word game was suggested by BobCork, whose AOL account is hereby serviced with a 5-hour fuel injection courtesy of The Atlantic Monthly.

BobCork wants to see creative writing in which the words go up and down, each word being one letter longer than the preceding word--up to a point at which the sequence reverses and each word becomes one letter shorter than the last. For example:

When three hungry stooges unwisely attempted swallowing illuminated firecrackers, pyrotechnic intestinal paroxysms followed quickly, making... light meal?

That sentence went from a 4-letter word up to a 12-letter word and then back down to a 4-letter one. But we're not imposing any restrictions on the number of words you use or the initial direction you take. You may go from 1 to 4 and back ("I do not want tea or T") or you may go from 5 to 1 and back ("Larry Fine has no C in his name, Curly"). You may start anywhere, so long as you finish on a word of the same length as the starter. Got it?

Writers of the three Ups And Downs entries making us say "Wow!" or "Hee-Haw!" the loudest will each receive a free book from The Atlantic store and 5 free AOL hours (if they are AOL members).

We will continue accepting "Ups and Downs" entries through Friday, April 5. Results and winners will be posted at The Atlantic on Friday, April 12.

--EC and HR

P.S. Have you heard a good joke lately? Do you have a favorite anagram, pun, or Tom Swifty? Are you good at inventing Acronyms? Visit our new Word Games and Puzzles message board on America Online (KEYWORD: ATLANTIC) and make your laughing mark! (You could be rewarded with free AOL hours by our smiling, beguiling board manager, popularly known as Raviac!)



UPS AND DOWNS Contest Results

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

"Are free hours online worth pain? Yes!"

Such was the opinion of contestant WCunion, who braved the constraints of our tough Ups And Downs contest with a rising and falling entry. The task was indeed daunting, and several correspondents eased the pain with entries either jokey or rule-bending. Our favorite of the jokey ones came from jens@west.net, who presented a diva doing her warm-up exercises as follows:

"Do ree meee faaaa sooooo laaaaaa teeeeeee doooooooo teeeeeee laaaaaa sooooo faaaa meee ree do."

As for the rule-bending, several correspondents effectively performed the "wave," writing sentences in which words moved up and down in length without strictly ending at the size of the starting word. A lovely example of this "wave" motion came from Chachoo2:

"Shy fair sweet maiden, shall nary thy good heart wander?"

When all was said and done (or to give you the long and short of it), we were most enchanted by OberOber, SMPolonsky, and Hunny3, who challenged themselves with lengthy, complex sentences and managed to keep their wits. We roundly applaud these players of the prose accordion, especially Hunny3, who in one entry extended herself to a word of 17 letters--the longest in any composition. It's no stretch of the imagination to say that we're impressed!

The Winners
Commemorate, countrymen, neglected aviatrix poetess, Mother Goose (honk!); she is a ma who made truly heroic strides, changing childhood literature irrevocably! (OberOber)

No one acts alone. Motion ripples, complete strangers resonating, irrevocably transforming. Unpredictable--nevertheless, inescapable. Isolation's untenable--everyone, realize simple truth: They are We. (SMPolonsky)

Extraordinarily understandable, magnificently computerized, streamlined technology obligates talented writers online, every free day, to now pass poems, create amusing acronyms, fabricate interwoven palindromes, representing calculatingly unconventional keensightedness! (Hunny3)

And Our Other Favorites
I am low down until orally infused caffeine blessedly stimulates incremental intercranial fibrillations, euphorically heightening perception, alertness, physical ability---COFFEE PERKS; thus too do I. (BarbPoet)

To win free hours weekly, excited Atlantic Monthly puzzle board pals pun on. (Sheldon321)

I do not shun games. Lively puzzles intrigue, stimulate brainwaves. Gleefully absorbed, pencils nearby, games, thus, can do I. (Lawlss)

We can walk among Egypt's ancient, mystical, crumbling mausoleums; doubtless pharaohs' dormant ghosts still wait for us. (3034@compuserve.com)

I do not want these fiddle players learning Hungarian Rhapsodies, Bartholomew, particularly paraphrased composites entwining Northern Italian/German gypsy lore: Got it, B? (Ravensegg)

"We had some words," spewed Webster, savagely cursing Mister Roget. "Thea saw us." (SavWmson)

If you want weird, wildly cryptic verbiage, defying sanity tests, just ask me--but when sense counts, beloved Atlantic teasers, employ other nuts--not me. (Ismite)

I do not hide these simple riddles,
feigning obscurity throughout.
Therefore, evidence abounds
within every word. One is "I".
So, you will count, please, letters,
noticing numerical sequencing
manifesting augmentation
supervening diminution,
returning doggedly towards closure,
within rules that ask if I, or any poet,
could create logical, coherent monologue,
conforming development consistently
(structurewise), nevertheless,
originating meaningful, stylistic
notation, validly ending clues
with but an "I".
(MattWard)

I'd not want those filthy parrots strewing excrement everywhere, splattering appliances, furniture, clothing, bedding, dishes, baby's food and me. (woontner@comteck.com )

The time comes--moment, moments, memories--uniting lovely years into one. (Ginseng880)

The Moon, aloft before sunrise, welcomes, betwixt double cusps, this day. (BettySte)

We saw that comet bright, beneath Arcturus, amongst Bootes' stars ever sky hi'! (BettySte)

Let them serve feasts tastily prepared featuring dandelions, buffalofish, hollandaised Chateaubriand, accompanying raspberries, grapefruit, escargots, truffles finally ending haply with pie. (BettySte)

Generationally, approximately vociferating, innumerable multitudes perceived rambling turning trails twist down and up for many miles across streams coursing alongside blossoming countryside blackberries crossbreeding rambunctiously. (BettySte)

The dogs growl toward mailmen uneasily, unhappily delivering unimportant, cumbersome, expensive (embossed) overdue postal cards each day. (JMA1006)

One jerk, Steve Forbes, dropped millions demanding nomination, frightening conservative Republicans -- candidates Alexander, Buchanan, Senator Philip Gramm, Dole, etc. (JMA1006)

O ye sly gods: bring myriad bizarre verbiage streaking unerringly earthward, striking hopeful inkers below--such one as I. (OberOber)

If you want peace, forget silence. Vocalize affection powerfully; communicate emphatically philanthropic understandings, warmheartedly surrendering cooperative veiwpoints, forsaking violence. Exhibit warmth, trust. Don't let go. (Larissa88)

Quadrennially, presidential campaigners manipulate reportage, although average voters doubt that any of the fake "facts" reveal follies shocking bluenosed hypocrites' superficial self-centered sensibilities. (ShedPot)

"If you can't treat valued friends politely," inveighed flamboyant Congressman Throckmorton, "legislation eventually requiring kindness follows, unless folks vote for me." (ShedPot)

Oh boy, this game's mighty complex; anyway, here's mine now, OK? (SMPolonsky)

O, to fly! Grow wings, ignore gravity, breezily pirouette heavenward, superceding infiniteness inconceivable--subsequently, imagination gratefully fulfilled, politely descend--softer, finer than air am I! (SMPolonsky)

We see love never before noticed, discover sweetness previously unperceived, over-treasure inexhaustible underestimated insignificances--rainbow-chasers, dream-watchers, cloud-hoppers, tree-huggers, dew-sippers, sea-gazers, emperors, tinkers, slaves: poets, only are we. (SMPolonsky)

Am now busy doing down and up. (Hunny3)

Note: Super family arrived, desiring enjoyable activities involving sunshine...puzzles taking lower seat! (Hunny3)

Freud said his id was very cocky! (Hunny3)

Twins have two oval heads! (Hunny3)

Clinton thinks votes will win it, but Dole wants entire command! (Hunny3)

My new maid, daily, solves sixteen anagrams shortly before doing wash for me. (Hunny3)

I've most truly lauded Cryptic puzzlers solving obtuse, shady hazy ones! (Hunny3)

My Mom says beans, salads, sprouts, broccoli. asparagus, artichokes, cauliflower, (disgusting, tasteless, unsavory veggies ), assure lithe body for me. (Hunny3)

My new fine hobby covers digging, planting, harrowing, sprinkling, cultivating immeasurable infinitesimal bougainvillaea, conspicuously appreciating resplendent, delightful, vermilion, feathery, Florida posies which just pop up! (Hunny3)

My new cute, hairy spouse, married recently obviously, abominates exceedingly unharmonious, argumentative, overemphasized, straightforward, pre-revolutionary misunderstandings, unsatisfactorily reconnoitered...understandably, outstandingly appropriates stimulating osculation, energetic embraces, amiable smiles, quiet love for us. (Hunny3)

Instantaneously, impressionable, unforgettable, pleasureable, significant Springtime, childhood memories include butter cream eggs, for me, and cute white Easter bunnies bringing chocolate jellybeans, perpetually contributing unprecedented, superabounding overstimulation. (Hunny3)

Feeling stress? Strip down, get in the bath, float rubber duckies! (KayRashun)

When beauty queens began flying from hotel windows, the headlines screamed: Just today beauty pageant sponsors, otherwise inevitably predictable, surprisingly defenestrated unattractive contestants, flagrantly foregoing official contest bylaws, doing harm. (LeonardJK)

When a friend expressed disbelief that I would not venture outside while people were still driving noxious automobiles, I haughtily replied: I go out when every person outside bicycles forthwith throughout picturesque, breathtaking Mississippi, preserving naturally pristine, quality oxygen; picky thou say am I? (LeonardJK)

O'er high peaks frigid, blowing, blinding, snowbound caribous drifted toward their home, bed. (Nithene)

I, at the peak, stand higher, prouder, better--abler than you am I. (Nithene)

Four birds coming calling, arousing raucous crying dying down. (Nithene)

I do not want green eggs and hm. I do not want them all, do I? (Mztlplx)

Computer problem angers young lady bad; hard drive thrown, someone screamed "Quickly summon guard! Dial 911!" (Chachoo2)

A me not seen among others fancies selfhood through images, never asks "Who am I?" (LShip16214)

Can Dole. Perot will run. (SlatonABIG)

I am not just shyly trying, sitting solitary, foolishly, feverishly, considering experimental brainstorming; wholeheartedly contrarywise, championship hereinafter deservedly, obviously, saunters towards myself - hence, this win (do I?)! (Anoobus)

I do oft love, after eighty, erotica arranged precisely, Rubenesque neomadonnas fortuitously supplanting bewitching, anonymous, faceless teenage models, laden with age as I. (LShip16214)

I do not want wider boards getting specific treatment, especially considering coarseness variables assigned small pieces; fewer than one or "a." (MNoble4284)

The wise happy dwarfs clowned, cavorted zealously, developing unconscious, meditational necessities. Repeatedly breathing dilatory, sleekly, allows short rest now. (Lily O V)

Too many tunas almost taste good. All tuna lived toward Egypt near the Nile river. Rivers tamed blue and pink tunas, though. Alien tuna are cool tuna. (Moondog666)

I am the nice male's vision because exciting, inspiring, motivating, stimulating, voluptuous, energetic, arousing females always rouse love/sex in U. (TERPS93)

Up the ante after noting glances casually revealing cautious, nervous gaming chums "dare" you to. (Harfo)

You only watch reruns because personal computers sometime require repose, peace, time off. (Stephie144)

"Ah, can that dream depict private desire, fiery love, bid he"? (KSnider637)

The dark raven haired teacher inspired otherwise indolent classes, making happy boys ace. (Angeliq107)

Peter Piper's peppery pickling procedure prevents Pauper's Plague pinch. (Joyss2)

Eventually extending employee elation enhances emanating enterprise. (Joyss2)

If you want music, listen closely: purchase Hootie's latest tunes. Play the CD! (Clamj1000)

"Others often then ask, so I do the next thing always, which some say, 'No, I do see then could people query Jimi, now, or I? Oh say, that could happen!" (HoyleB)

I am Hal, that knows inward undoing superbly unrewards artistic AOLers--thine art's for an I. (AlsoBrent)

I go out each night paying dollars, watching thrilling basketball champions. Boozed-up, excited people cheer loud for Dr. J. (BClown1997)


Copyright © 1996 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.