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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.

The Art in Repartee

This contest is now closed. But enjoy!
(Click here to go directly to the winning entries.)

The idea for this contest was suggested by MLJones@willamette.edu, who wrote to us of an old comic-strip character who went around saying things like "I'm the one who put the bard in bombardment." MLJones's inspiration -- to put the Muse in amusement -- appeals to us; in fact, it puts a bell in our cerebellum! Therefore we've decided to reward MLJones with our ultimate of all prizes, a free book -- which you could say puts the tome in epitome!

Now you can put the gag in engagement by playing along. Simply write a sentence, joke, blurb, advertisement, poem, or snatch of dialog that culminates by putting the "___ " in "___"! For example, MLJones wrote:

"As a music salesman, I noticed that stories about music were getting dated, so I decided to get with the times. Yes -- I'm the one who put the CD in anecdote."

We ourselves have had a similar experience. In one of our recent puzzle diagrams, we noticed that we had included the entries EPEE, FOIL, and CUTLASS. That's when we knew beyond any doubt that we were the ones who had put the swords in crosswords.

We're prepared to have you put the pun in punishment, the laugh in onslaught, and the fun in profundity. To do so, send your "Art in Repartee" entry to puzzles@theatlantic.com. Multiple entries are welcome, but for our convenience pack your entries into one piece of e-mail whenever possible (and please don't use attached files).

As arbiters, we will put the ump in triumph by selecting three winners, each of whom will discover the "now" in "renown" by getting a free book from The Atlantic Monthly.

Introduction to Word Games

Meet your hosts, Cox & Rathvon

Word Games rules

Enter the current Word Games contest .

Archive of past Word Games

Join in the message board fun

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.

"The Art of Repartee" will remain open through Friday, April 4. Winners and full results will be posted on Friday, April 11.

--EC and HR (we put our name in tournaments)

Results of The Art in Repartee

"I couldn't decide between entering your contest or going camping," wrote hot@SOE.Berkeley.Edu. " In the end I decided to do both. I'm the one who put the tent in contest entries."

While hot@SOE.Berkeley.Edu was sending letters from camp, Paypete1st@worldnet.att.net commented: "Snail mail puts the lope into envelope. If you want something with impact, put a swift leg into telegram." And ebbyjake@earthlink.net added that when using snail mail, "we also have to use our Montblanc, and that really puts the pen in expensive." Fortunately, most of our correspondents used e-mail, and they really put the laugh into onslaught with a barrage of entries (which as mie@bellcore.com wrote, "put the yuk in Yukon" -- or as many other contestants commented, "put the antic in the Atlantic").

Frequently duplicated entries told us that Marlon Brando put the fat in the Godfather, Charles Keating put the sin in business, Noah put the ark in park, Fabio put the man in romance, coal miners put the dust in industry, carpoolers put the mob in automobiles, the Russian economy put the rouble in trouble, and fishermen put the eel (and the reel) in creel. Geographical entries were very popular and included the news that Mt. St. Helens put the ash in Washington, that Catholicism put the mass in Massachusetts, and that Midwestern women's-wear companies put the bra in Nebraska.

For sanity's sake, we've had to put the "lessen" into the limitless entries (it's a bit like putting the lop into an encyclopedia). Our trimmed-down list of favorites includes a special Jester's Cap award for guy@research.att.com, who teasingly said to us:

"It was the two of you, whose household food-preparation appliances are so wonderful that they make one break halfway into song, who put the Emily and Henry in semilyrical kitchenry."

The runner-up Jester's Cap goes to JonDelfin@aol.com, who didn't send an official entry but who joked that he himself put the "I" into pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.

A gold wreath (which puts the AU into laurels) goes to each of our three contest winners: ebpoltix@vnii.net, mie@bellcore.com, and BalkyNYC@aol.com! We thank these champs -- and all our other participants -- for putting the ha in challenge, the ho in chortle, and the hee in our cheekbones.

The Winners

My friend the lawyer is nice enough, but he's a real windbag. You might say he puts the gales in legalese.


I captured her heart in January, I proposed in April, we added up the cost of the wedding in July, and we got everything organized in October. We put the win in winter, the ring in spring, the sum in summer, and the all in fall.

From the diary of the Trattoria's cook's assistant:
Monday: Chop the veggies, boil the water, make the spaghetti sauce.
Tuesday: Chop the veggies, boil the water, make the spaghetti sauce.
Wednesday: Chop the veggies, boil the water, make the spaghetti sauce... etc.
It's all in a day's work for the guy who puts the tomato in automaton.

And Our Other Top Favorites

*I work here in alumni affairs, part of the fundraising team at this little school. Yes, I help to put the ducat in education.
*In the town where I live I have a friend who's a builder in residential construction. He's the person who puts the walls in Walla Walla.
*My sneaky lover left me for another woman, breaking my heart. He's definitely the one who put the ache in treachery.

*At a convention of hair-care product manufacturers, a representative of one company was demonstrating a new range of bacon-scented soap. Yes, that company really did put the ham in shampoo.

*We hope that royalties are still being collected by the writer of that inspirational song of yesteryear entitled "Old Soldiers Never Die (They Just Fade Away)," because that lyricist certainly put the sold, old, and die in soldiers.

*If the host in the ghost of your bed & breakfast inn puts ants in the croissants and serves them to the men in the basement, you can expect a demon in the pandemonium that follows.
*Full of ale in the Yale reunion, alumni in the calumniate conspiracy (plotting piracy in the conspiracy as well as evil chant in the penchant for misdeeds), chose Clinton as their chief in the mischief.

*Monet's garden scenes put the aster in masterpiece.
*Jim Bakker put the lie in belief.
*Vain men with too much money put the gain in Rogaine.
*The Mets bullpen puts the lose in closer.
*Watergate put the nix in Nixon.
*Thunder puts the loud in cloudy.
*Lisbon puts the port in imports.
*OJ failed to put the no in Bruno Magli.
*Cult leaders put the fuse to confused people.

*The salesman who used to call clients while on the ski slopes bragged, "I'm the guy who put the telemark in telemarketing."
*The fellow who opened a chain of monster-movie video stores throughout the Greek Islands claimed to be the one who put the Mothra in Samothrace.
*A gangster from Berlin said he put the German in triggerman.
*A confectioner said her rum-laced almond candy put the zip in marzipan.
*Dr. Ruth claimed that she put the sex in sexagenarians.
*It was Bill Gates, of course, who put the OS in Microsoft.
*It was certainly the witty Cyrano who put the wordplay in swordplay.
*Gloria, just as she was dying, said she was the one who put the Swanson in swan song.
*The Kama Sutra salesman from California claimed that he put the lingam in Burlingame.
*The organizers of the Miss Anorexic America pageant are proud to have put the trophy in atrophy.
*Johnny Appleseed's lesser-known cousin Eddie Heatherseed put the erica in America.
*The rabbi at Temple Emanu El Capitan claims to have put the Semite in Yosemite.

*Mom made me eat my vegetables before I could have dessert--so I put the peas in appeasement.
*The blacksmith and his assistants always whistled the "Anvil Chorus" as they worked, putting the opera in cooperation.
*They're finally cracking down on dads who don't pay child support; that's putting the ban in abandonment.
*When the AARP sponsors its annual crowning of Ms. Senior America, it is putting the age in Pageantry.
*Gargantua fed his son great bowls of oatmeal every day, which put the gruel in Pantagruel.
*Cousin Ruth shoveled down the food like there was no tomorrow--had to weigh herself at the truck station; she really put the ton in gluttony.
*My Dad is absolutely the greatest! He puts the pa in nonpareil.
*Did you hear that Clinton's nominated one of the Munchkins for a cabinet post? That would be putting the mini in the Administration.

"The cast in Newcastle complained about the frost in the staff roster, so the manager had to put the heat back in the theater."

*Hard cider packs a wham in New Hampshire.
*Crushed gold-rush dreams put the alas into Alaska.
*I didn't find any silver but I found Oneida in Shoshone, Idaho.
*ESPN broadcasts from Bristol because they splice a lot of tape, thus putting the cut and connect in Connecticut.
*Ever try to get a tan in Montana?
*Many people think Miss Piggy is the biggest ham in North America. (She's also noted for putting the "Moi?" in mademoiselle.)
*I hear Coke and Hershey are getting together. They plan to put cola in chocolate.
*Speaking of the Lincoln bedroom, Clinton certainly put the resident in presidential access.
*When businessmen discuss fantasy baseball in elevators they put the Otis in rotisserie.
*The 1962 Mets gave new meaning to putting the under into flounder.
*Pantyhose help women put the leg in elegance.
*Coeducation put the lasses into classes.
*Consumer society put the garbage can in American.
*Why do women like it when a man buys them chocolate? Because they put a lot of she and her into Hershey.

*I'm so disorganized that I'm never on time. I put the late in discombobulated.
*My mother's always telling me, "Plume your corona!" In fact, she put the nag in anagram. [By the way, that's an anagram of "Clean up your room"]

*I helped employees of a cathouse buy the property outright. In other words, I put the meow in homeowners.
*I originated the "EARN $$$ FAST" bulletin-board message, the "mother ship hidden behind Hale-Bopp" Internet stuff, and the "-gry" question. Yep... I put the post in preposterous.

*This week on Sally Jessy Raphael, we have an obsessive transvestite midget family debating the pros and cons of ebonics against a right-wing snake-handling religious commune. Sally Jessy Raphael: "I put the fun in dysfunctional."

*St. Joan put the arc in warcry.
*Sam Spade put the eyed in surveyed.
*The Three Musketeers put the ouch in touche.
*Agatha Christie put the stab in the constable.
*Chef Boyardee put the gas in the smorgasbord.
*The sesquipedalianist put the big in disambiguations.
*Anton van Leeuwenhoek put the tiny in scrutiny.
*The Doberman pinscher put the tail (and cur) in curtail.
*When Clark gained weight he tired easily, and put the fat (and Gable) in fatigable.
*Miss Piggy's hairdresser put the fur in coiffure.
*And please tell me, WHO put the crow in the microwave?

*Joseph Guillotin: "I put the cut in execution."
*Liberace: "I put the Handel in chandelier."
*Charles Darwin: "Many people have contributed to the dramatic change in scientific thinking, but I alone put the evolution in the revolution."
*Marty Feldman: "I put the ocular in jocularity."

*When discussing the world's finest beaches, God was heard to say, "I'm the one who put the sand in San Diego."
*In an effort to add a little class and elegance to the world of auto racing, I'm the one who put Diana in Indianapolis.
*We avoid that Vietnamese restaurant because word is they're the ones who put the pet in appetizer.

*Alan Greenspan put the "ow" in the Dow.
*Mom put Pop in apoplexy.
*Johnny Carson put urban in Burbank.
*Jules Verne put Nemo in with "sea anemones".
*Dolly Parton put the bra in braggadocio.
*The Spanish put the ole in bolero.
*Paul Bunyan put the ox in a foxhole, but it was a tight fit.
*Some fanatic put a lot into zealot.
*The Japanese put a toy in every Toyota.
*The yak in teriyaki is tasty.
*There is no truth to the rumor that Levi Strauss put ants in pants.
*All right, who put the poo in the cesspool?

*When there's little time left, football coaches put the "onside" into consideration.
*Atlantic City put the bled in gambled.
*Maybe it was Tarzan who put the ape in grapefruit.
*Scratch biscuit makers must have put the itch in kitchen.
*My math teacher put the vision in division.
*Omitting the unessential puts the out in routine.
*Being slow to change puts the kept in skeptical.
*Waiting for your ship to come in puts the port in opportunity.
*The FBI puts the vest in investigate.
*Philosophers put the sage in message.
*I'm not sure who put the miss in my transmission.
*Bridge keepers once put the troll in controlled.
*After Sputnik, NASA put the pace in space.
*In Haiti, they still put the rum in the drum.
*Divided boulevards often put the tree in street.

*While a student in high school biology class, I was appalled at the lack of respect given to the frogs that we dissected. To improve this situation, I decided to outfit my frog with a black suit, a miniature version of the type one would find in any decent funeral home. I therefore became known as the one who put the formal in formaldehyde.
*Shopping in New York used to be a rather mundane experience: vendors selling from pushcarts, dark, cramped shops... nothing to get excited about. That all changed, however, when Mr. Saks opened his famous store. It was spectacular--and shopping became a favorite pastime of New Yorkers and tourists alike. Indeed, by changing the essence of shopping in New York, Mr. Saks was the one who put the haven in Fifth Avenue.

*At the union contract negotiations, I was the one who put the bite in arbiter.
*Sam Lawyer, specializing in contracts for new, creative business, has become expert at putting the vent in venture.
*Edgar Guest is a fine example of one who put the try in poetry.
*My mother spent many hours on the phone with friends and relatives. She really knew how to put the dial in dialogue.
*As I entered the cave and began fighting with winged creatures I realized why the bat is in battle.
*My cousin had 22 children. Seems like he put the sire in desire!
*The organization's conference was for men only--for the part of the human race who put the pants in participants.
*When my subscription arrived at the end of the month I realized who put the late in circulate!

*A woman I know is a shameless punster; all of her jokes and gags are real groaners. She tells folks she puts the "ugh" in laughter.

*Yo mama's so fat, she put the "mum" in "maximum"!

*The new Corvette has a supercharged engine that allows for driving at much greater speeds than in the past. I guess you could say that it put the oomph in 2OOMPH.
*Jane Austen's novels contain many unforgettable female characters; Austen put the lass in classics.
*Some judges have come under attack in recent months for seeming heartless; they put the ice in justice.
*My mother advises people on how to put a "charge" back in their marriage. I guess you could say that she puts the ion in relationships.
*In the movie "Cocktail," Tom Cruise put the art in bartending.
*In order to stem its enormous population growth, China has instituted laws that encourage families to have no more than one child; they put the once in conceive.
*During the '60s, many women's lib promoters discouraged women from dressing in ways that were solely meant to invite attention from men. It is only recently that they admit that women can dress alluringly if they do it to please themselves. I guess you could say that they've put the mini back in feminism.
*When I first heard explanations about the SST and other faster-than-sound traveling airplanes, the science of it interested me the most. It was only after hearing the inventor tell his story that I was finally able to associate a face with this engineering feat. I guess you could say that for me, he put the person in supersonic.
*An ambassador must always keep a diplomatic demeanor; this puts the act in tact.
*Last summer, the Yankees organized an event where a crowd at the Stadium, together with the players, did the latest dance craze between the innings. Yes, they definitely put the arena in the Macarena.
*The Academy Awards seem to elicit an enormous amount of competition within the film industry. You could say that Oscar put the vie in movies.

*Chinese soup-chef marries Italian soup-chef, puts (bird's) nest in minestrone.
*Hate tossing out leftovers? Make dessert, put ort in shortcake.
*Those modern philosophers are Greek to me: Sartre put xis in existentialism.
*Ship's crew needs more fiber; start by getting oats into boatswain.
*He's clumsy as a wildebeest in a hardware store--puts gnu in wingnuts.

*Adam got to name each beast
Of fur and fin and feather.
Then with that old forbidden feast,
They put the get in together.
*Though into his cup a little dust had fluttered,
Knocked loose from all the pesky bombs descending,
He took his customary drink unbending.
And just an understated oath he uttered.
To war the Englishman is not a stranger.
And though he knows he might get dead fast,
He put the tea in steadfast,
While he put the dang in danger.
*With some rhythm and some rhyme and some drawings so sublime
And a simple lexicography,
He put a cat in a hat and the fox in some socks
And put the bib in bibliography.
*Carrottop put the quip in equipment.
*The movie critics put the rave in "Braveheart."
*Michael Jordan put the bat in sabbatical.
*The cardsharp put the ace in place.
*My old English teacher, a pedant if I ever saw one, or maybe he was just a stickler for clear communication, would have insisted that I put these in parentheses.
*Some sadist invented algebra word problems and put them in mathematics.
*The Congressman wanted a fast page so he put the ran in errand.
*By keeping advised of current events, President Clinton tries to put the hip in leadership.
*You put the lime in the aliment and eat it all up.

*I used to work for the Social Services Department, but I quit. I guess you could say I was the one who put the part in Department.
*When Vern, everybody's friend on television, went to work for President Clinton, he immediately became the Vern in Government.
*When my grandson was born, I spent $1,000 on baby furniture. Yes, I put the grand in grandmother.
*We were expecting our second child, but our first was none too thrilled; she wanted a puppy.
She asked resignedly if it would be a "bruver or sisser." We told her either was possible. Yes, we put the sib in possible.
*Emily Post always said a lady, when traveling, should come down the gangplank very daintily, holding onto the arm of the nearest gentlemen. Of course she put the port in comportment.

*The short character in charge put us in custody.

*Looking more like a plastic model than actual food, the dessert was a culinary masterpiece. The chef in a salute to the Pacific Northwest had shaped a marzipan rendering of Mt. Hood, complete with airy puffs of meringue clouds circling the summit. The confectioner boasted, "I'm the one who put edible in incredible."
*When the crustaceans staged a coup d'etat ousting King Neptune from his throne the new head of all the oceans was eager to spread the word of her rise to power. She announced, "I'm the one who put the clam in this proclamation."
*The air was blue around the Marine drill sergeant as he read a raw recruit the riot act. "Don't ever forget," he said in a menacing voice, his face inches away from the terrified rookie, "I'm the one who put the cuss in discussion."

*Put some rye in your Henry/Emily Reuben; it shows you have a deli in your fidelity.
*Put the kill in your skillet with wildlife carcasses from Roadslaughter, Inc.
*Increase the bun in your abundance with the help of Plump Derrieres, Inc.
*Did you know that rain in the brain produces moist tons in the tonsils requiring gin in the noggin?

*With apologies to Henry Higgins, I made a lady out of Gladys.
*I put the King back in Buckingham Palace.
*I made a little extra with Unisex Travel.
*I escaped by bus from an ambush, by train from my restraints, and by plane from the planet.

*I am the man that put the tic in pedantic.
*However, I am also the man that put the antics in pedantics.

*Since there isn't much fun in it, I put the mod in moderation.
*Eventually everyone will realize there is sin in insinuation.

*A pensive lad, Rene was given to ruminating on profound epistemological matters, a practice that irked his Jesuit instructors when he was supposed to be attending to their more mundane subjects. One day in mathematics class, Rene fell into deep cogitation over the question of existence. He began muttering, "I think ... I think ... I think ..." Aiming to bring him out of this reverie, Rene's tutor applied a quick stab with the sharp point of a compass: "Ow! My arm!" The budding philosopher would never forget this painful lesson from his Jesuit master, the one who put the scar in Descartes.

*I, too, am an artist, a painter of cave walls; I put the art in warthog.

*Natural remedies have never worked for me, although many people testify to the effectiveness of such cures. I don't know if it's me or them who put the dense in Goldenseal.

*When I relate well to one or more people, I am the all in alliance.
*When the metal of my character traits shine, I am the tin in continuing.
*When I tour on long trips, I am the Ravel in travel.
*When I speak up to initiate a new creation, I am the vent in adventure.
*When I offer support to ill neighbors, I am the cup in recuperation.

*The religious debate has raged for years and many have fought, but the most famous soldier was no doubt Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the woman who put the anti into transubstantiation!
*They gave us the Colosseum (that is, the one in Rome); they gave us Ovid and Horace and Julius Caesar (that is, Publius Ovidius Naso, Quintus Horatius Flaccus and Gaius Julius); they gave us great expressions like "Let the buyer beware" and "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts (that is, "caveat emptor" and "timeo Danaos et dona ferentes"); yes, folks, it was the Romans who put i.e. into the ancient world.

*Prohibited from visiting Tirana, I wondered who put the ban in Albania.
*The founder of the Bulgarian Home Shopping Network put the lev in television.
*The writer of the health column put the spa in newspaper.
*The grumpy loser put the crab in Scrabble.
*The mom's nationwide restraining order put the dad in Trinidad.
*The Arizona gardeners' association put the hoe in Phoenix.
*The surcharge at the National History Museum put the tax in taxidermy.
*Hoping to become solvent again by selling his Stanley Cup trophy, the retired athlete put the hock in hockey.
*The expert bricklayer put the cement in placement.
*The Hebron brewery puts the ales in Palestine.
*The Exxon Valdez put the oil in turmoil.
*Bagpipes put the din in Edinburgh.
*The haberdasher on the Lower East Side put the hat in Manhattan.
*Competition between the pharmaceutical companies put the race in contraception.
*Henry put the Ford in affordable.
*The sadistic professor put the abuse in syllabuses.
*The pushy insurance salesman put the rude in Prudential.
*The pioneer who broke the sound barrier put the mach in machismo.
*A rewritten version of Macbeth put the crones in Micronesia.
*The real estate slump put the downer in landownership.
*My spouse's willingness to give up her career for my cat put the feline in housewifeliness.
*North Carolina's liberal prostitution laws put the harlot in Charlotte.
*Gossip around the Tabernacle put the Mormon in rumormonger.
*"Chef's Surprise" at the pancake house put the riddle in griddlecakes.
*Matt Groening put the imp in Bart Simpson.
*Cheap alcohol in St. Paul put the sot in Minnesota.
*Hot tea from Biloxi put the sip in Mississippi.
*The electricity generated at the Seabrook nuclear power plant put the amps in New Hampshire.
*The friendly people of Cleveland put the hi in Ohio.
*Providence poets put the ode in Rhode Island.
*Cotton processing put the gin in Virginia.
*A crime wave in Milwaukee put the con and sin in Wisconsin.

*The Fighting Bulldogs' mascot was hungry for a touchdown. He's the mutt who put the alpo in goalpost.
*So I heard there's this guy who just graduated from the School for Scandal. You didn't hear it from me, but he's the guy who put the alum in calumny!
*"Darling," he said, "when I'm with you, I'm walking on air!" "Oh yes," she replied," I'm so high on life when I'm around you." (This exchange brought to you courtesy of the couple who put the ether in together.)

*At Shurtoleve Funeral Home, we put the Fun back in Funeral.

*Since the sixteenth century, many Protestants have pointed out what they consider the "bs" in transubstantiation.

*Although my wife would scathingly deny this, I am the man who put the "tidi" in fastidious.

*As a psychic dedicated to matchmaking among the departed, the seer put the romance in necromancer.

*I would love to have been the one to put verbal in cruciverbalist.

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