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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.

Acronymic Turkeys

This contest is now closed. But enjoy!

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

The idea for this contest was suggested by EZWriterMJ, who is hereby awarded a butterball turkey stuffed with 5 Free AOL hours courtesy of The Atlantic Monthly. (Well, okay, we don't actually have the turkey -- but we do have the hours, which we're giving away while they're still warm; after AOL's new pricing plan begins on December 1, we may have to find some new prizes for you wordplay whizzes.)

EZWriterMJ has been speculating about Thanksgiving in the homes of sundry famous people. The idea is to describe Thanksgiving in a phrase, sentence, mini-tale, or poem whose first letters, taken in order, spell out the name of the famous person. As an example of such an acronymic Thanksgiving, here's what might have happened in the home of Edgar Allan Poe:

Everyone delightedly gobbled a raven. Annabel Lee left alone. Nurses provided opium entertainments.

Or, for a modern-day acronym, here's a description of Thanksgiving in the home of Madonna:

Millionairess, after dining, organizes naughtiness: nudity abounds.

We have no doubt that you can think of lots more! So mail your Thanksgiving acronym to CoxRathvon (for non-AOL players, that's puzzles@theatlantic.com). Multiple entries are welcome, but for our convenience pack your acronyms into one piece of e-mail whenever possible (and please don't use attached files). Senders of our three favorite entries will each receive 5 free AOL hours (where applicable) and a free book from The Atlantic Monthly.

Acronymic Turkeys will remain open through Friday, November 29. Winners and results will be posted at The Atlantic on Friday, December 6.

--EC and HR

PS: This is a minor point, but we'd prefer that you *not* capitalize every word in your acronymic message. In other words, please capitalize only as the standard rules of writing would dictate, as in the examples above. That way, each message will read normally and its acronymic nature will be less obvious. Thanks!

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    Results of Acronymic Turkeys

    Our final AOL-based contest inspired a big, hot serving of turkey-flavored entries. In these acronymic Thanksgiving messages, the most popular subjects seemed to be Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, and Martha Stewart--in that order. (We won't speculate on the meaning, if any, of these choices.) But a number of you also picked on your puzzle hosts for acronymic satire. The following entries are representative:

    Cryptic obliquity xperts announce new dinner recreation: Anagram "Thanksgiving," harvesting verbs or nouns. (agnes@interpath.com)

    Having everywhere now raked, you realize angrily: Turkey has vacated! Oh, never agitate nerve, dammit! Everything mushes in (like yogurt coagulating), on xenophobe. (hyatt@aimnet.com)

    Writing fluid acronyms is always a tough assignment, and we were impressed by the number of excellent efforts in this contest. In choosing our winners we favored aptness, elegance, and smooth syntax--but of course we're always suckers for a good laugh, too. We admiringly salute our three top favorite contestants: agnes@interpath.com, Robert1919, and CleveJMA! Each of these acronymic champs will receive a free book courtesy of The Atlantic Monthly. Thanks, everyone! And now for the feast:

    ***The Winners***

    Arlo Guthrie: "Alice's Restaurant" lends our gathering uplifting tradition--his recording is eternal.

    Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky: In grand opera room, for your own delight, our renowned orchestra's very interesting cuisine: He serves turkey roast and vegetables in nicely seasoned Kievan yogurt.
    (Robert 1919)

    Stephen King: Slithering turkey eats pet hamster, emerges, now kills innocent neighbor girl.

    ***And Other Top Favorites***

    Alice B. Toklas: After lunching in, couple eats brownies. "Took one kilo, love?" asks Stein.

    Adelle Davis: Assembled dieters, expecting long life, energy, down a vitamin-infused soup.

    Mae West: Man and egregious woman enjoy spicy thyme.

    White House Thanksgivings:


    William Jefferson Clinton: When issues linger long into a meal, just eat famous food earlier, remembering some only nibble Chelsea's leftovers if nobody turns off newscasts.

    5 years ago:

    George Herbert Walker Bush: Guests entered. Outside, reporters gathered earlier. Humorous entertainers roamed between each reserved table. When at last kitchens emptied, reporters bagged up some ham.

    10 years ago:

    Ronald Wilson Reagan: Republicans only: Not any lifelong Democrats were inside. Lights shone on Nancy. Ronnie entered; all guests ate nicely.

    about 18 years ago:

    James Earl Carter: Jimmy, Anwar, Menachem entered separately. Each acknowledged Rosalyn. Luscious chicken and rolls--they eat ravenously.

    And the first one:

    The Pilgrims: Total harmony, even peace, inspired long greetings. Rather ingenious--making supper.

    Martha Stewart: Made "Almond Roasted Truffle Hearts Alfredo." Some Thanksgiving! Everyone wanted a regular turkey!

    Donald Trump: Donated over nineteen animated, low-flying dirigibles to revamp unexciting Macy's Parade.

    James T. Kirk: Jury-rigged a meal, enterprisingly serving tribble knockwurst, inviting recalcitrant Klingons.

    Santa Claus: Started acting noticeably tense after Comet led a union strike.

    Doctor Kevorkian: Distraught over carved turkeys oppressively roasting, kindly euthanist offered respectful killings, injecting anesthetic neurotoxins.

    Bill Gates: Billionaire invites laptop lovers, gives attention to executive sweets.

    Saddam Hussein: Seeking a desert dessert, a man hides under shifting sands, eating Iraqi nourishment.

    HAL: Has android leftovers.

    Socks: Sips only catnip, ketchup, succotash.

    Heidi Fleiss: "Hostess" enjoys intimate dining in fabled luxury, entertaining invitees, sans solicitors.

    Shaquille O'Neal: Steak, hamburgers and quaffs, unless illustrious Lakers lose embarrassingly. Only, nobody eats at Lakertime!

    The Wicked Witch of the West: This hag embroils warmed-up ice cold kidney entrails, diced with imitation tenderized cat heads. Oz fertilizes the harvest. "Everybody want eats?" said Toto.

    Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev: Mighty international kibitzer hosts an international lunch. Serves everyone rutabagas, gravy, eggplants, yams. Every vegetable is chilled. Host gobbles onions, roast breast and cranberries... he's eating voraciously.

    Boris Yeltsin: Borscht over Russian imitation stew? Yams eaten last? Too salty! I nyet!

    Ebenezer Scrooge: Echo: Bah! Ever nefarious, egocentric zealot enters room. Senses Christmas ruse. Only octogenarians get even.

    Mao Tse-Tung: Mayo and onions top Szechwan entrees; tofu uncooked... not good.

    Boutros Boutros-Ghali: "Bankroll our UN turkey roasts, or starve! Bankroll our UN turkey roasts, or starve!" Global handouts are like income.

    Clint Eastwood: Cinema luminary is noted turkey, everybody assumes so. Turkey wins Oscar: Outstanding Director.

    William Jefferson Clinton: Willie invites left-wing legislators, inhales a marijuana joint. Eats French fries, even raw stuffing, often nibbles cranberries Loves ingesting nutritious tablespoons of nachos.

    General H. "Stormin'" Norman Schwarzkopf: Gallantly eager non-coms enter Riyadh airbase looking healthy. Scud terror on rise. Men identify needs. Norm's operations rekindle morale and Navy service chow. However, war and reinforcements zap Kuwait, offending patriotic fighters.

    Timothy Leary: Treats include marijuana over turkey. His yams: Like endless acid rock years.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger: Action reel! No old ladies! Dashing, swashbuckling celluloid hero was a robot zapper. Everyone noshes equally, good guys, even ruffians.

    Salvador Dali: Surreal appetizer (lettuce, venison and dark olives ravigote) dinner afterward left indigestion.

    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: A lone emigre kneads sourdough all night. Dissidents reject some offerings, like zucchini; hearty eaters nosh interminably, though swearing yogurt's nutritious.

    The cast of "Seinfeld": "Two helpings each!" Costanza and Seinfeld think. "Only fair!" Sorry, Elaine? Immense Newman frantically eats last drumstick.

    William Howard Taft: Wearing incredibly large longjohns, in ambled Mr. HUGE, obviously wanting a revised diet that allowed FAT turkey.

    Boris Yeltsin: Bragging over recovery, inpatient spurns yogurt entree, laments turkey substitute, inveighs "Nyet!"

    Leona Helmsley: Law evader of note announced hotel edict: leghorns must stop laying egg yolks.

    Shirley Temple: Sweet Hollywood ingenue readily left early yesterday to eat my prized lollipop entree.

    Al Gore: Affable legislator gnaws on Republican entrails.

    Martha Stewart: Masterminding arrangements rewards the hostess as she torments every woman and ruins Thanksgiving!

    Prince Charles: Puritans' relatives, in new controversy, eat crow harboring a royal liability -- Elizabeth's son.

    Bob Dole: Bland oatmeal biscuits. (Depressed over lost election.)

    Tipper Gore: Taking in poor, penitent ex rappers guarantees open rejoicing everyday.

    Ralph Nader: Ralph ate little, per his newest article damning everything rich.

    Jane Brody: Jane ate nothing eggy, buttery, rich, or decadently yummy.

    Chelsea Clinton: Child has eaten lentils, stuffed eggplant, apple cake. List includes no turkey. Omnivore? Not!

    T. S. Eliot: Turkey stuffing enchants literary icon; odes typed.

    Doc Severinson: Dishing out cranberry sauce, entertainer volunteers enchanting rendition -- interesting Nutcracker Suite -- orchestrated nicely.

    Mort Walker (creator of Beetle Bailey, Sgt. Snorkel, et al, and one-time record holder in marathon profanity contest): Meters out roast turkey with Army's longest-known expletive recital.

    Big Bird: Bought in grocery. Baked in roaster. Delicious.

    William Bradford: While Indians lithely leapt in ardent merriment, beer regularly allotted, delighted feasting old religious deacons.

    Elder Brewster: Eschewing lascivious deportment eschatologically reverent Bible readers, ever wise, sought truly emancipated religion.

    Massasoit: "Much apple sauce!" said a sachem of Indian tribes.

    Squanto: Sensing questions unanswered, a native taught others.

    Priscilla Mullens: Praying righteously, inspiring sacred covenants, incredibly leading legions abroad, many unknown ladies launched England's new settlement.

    Greta Garbo: Glamorous recluse eats turkey alone, giggling and rebelliously burping openly.

    Robert Frost: Rivers overflowed, but everyone roasted their fowls. Rivers only stop turkeys.

    Shakespeare: Sneaketh he around Kingdom eating such paltry everlastingly abhorrent refuse effacingly.

    Bob Dole: Blue over burning dinner, yet liking atmospheric nuances.

    MarthaStewart: Multilayered appetizers, rotisseried turkey. Harpsichord accompanist. Scintillating tales, elevated wisdom against rarefied tableaux.

    Twiggy: Turkey with imaginary gravy. Gelatin. Yogurt.
    (BabsG XADA)

    The vampire Lestat: "Turkey," he explodes. "Vat a mess. Please, I require engorged livers. Even simple tailors are tastier." Charles Dickens: Catered holidays are realistically, largely extravagant splurges. Dining in cook's kitchen enhances net savings.

    Betty Ford: Baste each tom turkey, Yukon fortifies one's revelry delightfully.

    Drew Barrymore: Dancing raw, each writhing behind another reminder: Rambunctious youths make oldsters rather envious.

    Gustave Flaubert: Guests usually stayed to analyze various encounters. Few loudly admitted understanding Bovary. Evangelists roared, "Tramp!"

    Henry David Thoreau: Harvest ensued naturally, required yearly devotion. Avid virtual idealists donated turkey. Only rural enthusiasts attended undaunted.

    Mark Twain: Missourians ate real Kentucky turkey with all itinerant newcomers.

    E.E. Cummings: eating early caused uncomfortable moaning many insisted "no giblet servings."

    E.E. Cummings: eagerly eating culturally ubiquitous morsels: meat ingested now gone sleep

    E.E. Cummings: Erroneously eschewing capitals, unconventionalist misses meals in Nashville, Guatemala, Sacramento.

    Rainer Maria Rilke: Reluctantly, angels in November entertain. Romantic man admires radiant incorporeals and raucously, incessantly lauds knishes: "Excellent!"

    Ross Perot: Richness of splendid surroundings, poultry event reminiscent of Texan.

    Anne Rice: All needed nerve eating. Regarded it chilling eve.

    O.J. Simpson: Oh, Justice! Supping in mansion, pretending sadness over Nicole.

    Mike Tyson: Marked indigestion knowing Evander's turkey, yams sweeter, "one-two" nastier.

    David Duke: Deserted after very innocuous dinner, delivered unpalatable Klan epilogue.

    Walt Whitman: We all laughed terribly, when his incredible turkey made abrupt noises.

    Sid Caesar: Someone instantly devoured cranberries, and everyone screamed and ranted.

    The Artist Formerly Known as Prince: Thanksgiving here eccentric. Androgynous romantic tearfully intones, "Solemn thanks for our riches -- Minneapolis estate." Repast -- lavender yams, kiwi nectar, orchid wine. Now artist sings "Purple Rain" in no clothes. Eeech!
    (Dea Eos)

    Jerry Seinfeld: Jerry eats rum raisin yams... says Elaine is not funny eating leftover drumsticks.

    Joe Montana: Joe overate every morsel, onfield... now touchdowns are not available.

    Dan Marino: Did a neat Miami athlete really ingest November onions?

    Isaac Newton: It seems an apple cobbler never ever whacked the old noggin!

    Ted Kennedy: Turkey eating does keep each November nominee extremely distended, yearly.

    Martha Stewart: Made a rich turkey, had all settings truly elegant, warmed another raspberry torte.

    Xavier Cugat: Xylophones and vibes imitate ethnic rhythms, creating undulating gyrations at Thanksgiving.

    Bela Lugosi: Beware!... each legendary appearance lampoons ugly ghouls ominously stuffing innards!

    Luciano Pavarotti: Let us celebrate Indians and note old Pilgrims... all voices are really operatic turkeys trilling incessantly.

    Barney: Bet ancient reptiles never eat yams!

    Ronald Reagan: Rough old nuts and local dressing require executive actions, generally after nap.

    Cleopatra: Come. Let's emote over poultry and tempt royal asp.

    Socks: Slurp over cold kitten snacks.

    D.B. Cooper: Drop booty. Climb out of plane. Escape reality.

    PayPete1st: Punkins and yams, peas, expensive taters, espresso, 1 succulent turkey.

    Sharon Stone: Scrumptious handfuls await! Raisins or nuts. Sadist takes only nuts, enmasse!

    Mickey Mouse: Many individual cheese-eaters kept endlessly yapping mainly of unsightly sliced Edam!

    Oprah Winfrey: Often people reflect about Halloween, while individuals now feast real edible yummies.

    Bob Dole: Being ousted by Democrats, only left eating.

    Ross Perot: Relatives of Sly Stallone, probably eat ruffian, orthodox turkey.

    Michael Jordan: Mincemeat, ice cream, ham, and eight lollipops. Jelly on rolls -- diet after November.
    (Joon R)

    Bill Clinton: Bill is late. Look, Cook Louise is nixing turkey! Oh no!

    Bob Dole: Boy oh boy! Dinner's on losing egomaniac!

    Jay Leno: Just a yam; lamb. Enough! No overages!

    Barbra Streisand: Buy a roast beef, roast a stuffed turkey; remember, every invitation said "All night dining."

    Stephen King: Strangling turkey echoes, posthumous holiday eats; never killing innocents, numbing guaranteed!
    (Callie Rae)

    Marquis de Sade: Mildewed artichokes, rancid quisenberries, uncooked Italian sausage delight elderly sadist -- after deflowering editors.

    Betty Rubble: Before everyone takes turns yelling, really undoing baking brownies, let's eat.

    Fred Flintstone: Frankly, Rubble eats dessert first, like it's not too safe to overlook nifty edibles.

    Cal Ripken: Consecutively and loyally, repasts impeccable pleased kin. Eat now!

    Bob Dole: Bring Own Booze. Drumsticks Offered. Late Evening.

    Albert Einstein: A little birdie eagerly reports truth: Einstein is normal. Stuffs turkey, eats indulgently, naps.

    Cher: Chastity happily eats roaster.

    President Clinton: President re-elected. Senate issues decree: eat no turkey. Clinton loves it! New Thanksgiving offering: Newt.

    George Washington: General eats of roasted goose. Eating wearies all. Some hide in noteworthy garden to orate noisily.

    Martha Stewart: Meticulously arranged raffia tickles hostess annoyingly. Salad tongs (ersatz wood) arrange radicchio totem.

    Ringo Starr: Roasting in new, garish oven, singer's turkey's aroma reeks righteously.

    O.J. Simpson: Obliging jury stops in. "More pie?" suggests Orenthal, nicely.

    Rush Limbaugh: Rarely underfed show host languishes in malaise before applying usual gluttonous habits. (MaterEtur)

    Ronald Reagan: Ronnie only needs a light dinner. Rest easy after governing America, Nancy.

    John Travolta: Just one holiday nap to rest a very overindulged little tummy ache!

    Bill Clinton: Brings in lovely lady. Conversation lusty including no talk of nation.

    David Letterman: David, after voraciously ingesting drink, left, exiting to the east room moronically, and napped.

    Shari Lewis: She had a roast imported lamb -- evidently was imposter sock.

    Adam: Ate damned apple -- mortal.

    Noah: Noshed on ark's hull.

    Agatha Christie: A grim and terrifying holiday: after crime happened, regional inspector supped, then interrogated everyone.

    David Duchovny: Dark and very intriguing dinner date under cloak had organ valves; not yours.

    Hiawatha: Heroic Indians and white Anglos try harmony again.

    Dennis Rodman: Dancing extremely naughtily, nana ices-out stuffing. Running over Dennis, Madonna arrives nude.

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