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The Fourth of July

This contest is now closed. But enjoy!

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

People who spend a lot of time knee-deep in wordplay (or waist-deep, or in our case earlobe-deep), may be aware that The Fourth of July is equivalent to the letter "Y."


Because "Y" is the *fourth letter* of the word *July*! (You really had to ask?)

Now, to celebrate the Fourth of July, we'd like you to write a sentence (poem, quip, ad, blurb, whatever) in which every word contains a "Y" *in a different position*! That is, one word should have a "Y" first (like "you" or "yolks"), one word should have a "Y" second (like "dyslexic" or "cyanide"), one word should have a "Y" third (like "thyroid" or "Egyptians"), etc. The sentence may have as many words as you like, and the "Y" positions (first, second, third, etc.) may be in mixed order. But each "Y" position should be represented just once. For example:

My cryogenic yams stay tasty.

Here we have words in which "Y" comes first ("yams"), second ("my"), third ("cryogenic"), fourth ("stay"), and fifth ("tasty"). See, it doesn't matter how long the words themselves are. But if we added a word with a "Y" in the seventh position ("flamboyant" or "sideways"), we'd also need to add a word with a "Y" in the sixth position ("hungry" or "taxpayers"), to make our list inclusive. And again, no two words should have a "Y" in the same position (e.g., no "cryogenic bayberries, say," in which "Y" occupies the third position repeatedly).

Okay, got it? All this is to celebrate the power of "Y." To play, simply send your creation to CoxRathvon by e-mail. Senders of the three most creative and/or funny sentences will each receive 5 free AOL hours and a free book from the Atlantic Monthly. Multiple entries are fine, but for our convenience bundle them into one piece of e-mail whenever possible (and please don't send attached files).

The Fourth of July will remain open through Friday, July 12. Winners and results will be posted at the Atlantic on Friday, July 19.

Try playing today, you hysterical monkeys!

--EC and HR, those "Y's guys"

Fourth of July Results

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

Hooray! You zany guys truly displayed hysterical jocosity!

That's our "Y"s way of saying that you rose to the occasion and handled a tough assignment quite admirably. We didn't require that your sentence have its "Y"s in numerically successive positions (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. in strictly ascending order), but several of you embraced the extra challenge with happy results. Here are two examples:



Why play?

Reply: lunacy; victory (possibly); obstinacy...

Ultimately: opportunity!


Yams by May stay mealy, granny?

Yes, my boy, only moldy turkey Tuesday.


Certain words were bound to crop up often. Among them, "wordplay" and "crazy" appeared as frequently as any (perhaps those words belong together?). Phrases like "oy vey" and "yours truly" proved very handy indeed, but apparently they were discovered by only a handful of eagle-eyed entrants. Proper names also helped some people steer their way through the thickets of "Y" words; the players who saw "Cy Young" and "Danny Quayle" (taking a minor liberty there) undoubtedly made life easier for themselves.

As our regular players know, we're drawn to entries featuring high humor; but we also salute ambition and hard work. In rewarding both wit and daring, we have placed our laurel wreaths this time on Ottomic for the most sublime absurdity; on hmitch@ix.netcom.com for a combination of casual drollery and smoothness; and on Leroy2001 for tackling a titan (a 14-word entry) and wrestling it to the mat with surprising alacrity. Congratulations Ottomic, hmitch, and Leroy2001!

***The Winners***

Crazy yellow styrofoam motorcycle-riding gargoyles defy my sobriety. (Ottomic)

Only you, Gabby Hayes, properly personify my cowboy fantasy. (hmitch@ix.netcom.com)


You play every day--

Tuesday wholeheartedly,

Wednesday indefatigably,

Friday mindlessly,

by Saturday exhaustedly.


**And Other Top Favorites***

Hey, lady, your cyanide's ready! (Reluft)

Always buy young turkeys; they're usually cyanide-free. (ShedPot)

Hardly anyone plays my Steinway tolerably. Yours truly, Shirley. (ShedPot)

Yelstin's policy: always say "nyet" very clearly. (Rickwins)

My fifty tiny yams may satisfy hungry Chernomyrdin. (Rickwins)

Pray, Fyodor, carry Tolstoy's toy yellow canary. (Rickwins)

Itinerary: Chechnya, Chernobyl? Oy vey, you're crazy! Safety's colossally iffy! (Rickwins)

Insurmountably mighty deity;

Symbolic democracy intermediary;

Yields any castaway individuality, opportunity, coequality:

Lady Liberty.


Naturally nonsolitary;

Primary incendiary catalyst;

My scarcity yields many asphyxiations:



Bloodthirsty revolutionary enjoys employing military artillery, spying, destroying tyrants. Yearns trustworthy lady counterspy. (ISAIAHS)

Cockeyed wordplayers say they usually enjoy your dynamite tomfoolery immensely. (woontner@comteck.com)

Many foolhardy young guys enjoy celerity by motorcycling wildly. (woontner@comteck.com)

You'd enjoy zany panegyrics displaying typical cryptic, cockamamy gobbledygook. (woontner@comteck.com)

You'll really enjoy July's gay pyrotechnic displays. (woontner@comteck.com)

My raunchy attorney says, "You'll marry sexy beauty!" (woontner@comteck.com)

My contrary clergyman says, "You'll marry saintly lady!" (woontner@comteck.com)

Emily, you're my psyche's only lovely fantasy. (woontner@comteck.com)

Tony's eyes unequivocally, unwaveringly display "yes," every anniversary. "Ironically," secretary slowly says, "contrary!" (ASpates)

Thirty Yetis play any Debussy symphony badly. (BSouris)

Yvonne, my sly foxy filly, kindly reanalyze unlikely matrimony. (LeonardJK)

Yes, my wry, spry, pachyderm. (Lawlss)

Amy yawned, eyeing generally savvy Charity's absurdly ugly pinkeye. (SrAlice)

Youthful, ladylike loyalists lipsynched lengthy lachrymal lyrics lethally. (SrAlice)

Loony typists rarely, lawfully, buy yellow crayons nowadays. (SrAlice)

(Headline from an old Boston News-Note)

"Yorktown Victory! Dauntlessly Army's Revolutionary Infantry Rebelliously Dynamites Dizzy Regulatory Royal Authority Policy."


Family conservatively annoyed, yard privacy unintentionally underplayed; recently, Cypress Bayou's rediscovery irresponsibly, conclusively buoyed 'touridiocy.' (cyprebel@prysm.net)

May my obviously noteworthy wordplay satisfy Emily's undying yearning Friday. (djwixted@facstaff.wisc.edu)

Voyeuristic university faculty furtively eye sorority honeys yielding fashionably sexy finery. (djwixted@facstaff.wisc.edu)

Danny Quayle eyes Presidency longingly, yet Marilyn may conceivably satisfy majority. (djwixted@facstaff.wisc.edu)

My boy, many enjoy eerily uncanny Polonsky's ingenuity, creativity.


Historically, Cy Young skillfully redeployed curvy volleys, flying extremely erratically, defying gravity. (SMPolonsky)

Katydids typically fly every Sunday yet daintily hippety-hop Wednesdays. (LTelles336)

Abby says, "Early calamity primarily yields unruly dysfunctional progeny." (anderton@atlcom.net)

Young platypi playing Jeopardy constantly terrify my extremely shy granny. (anderton@atlcom.net)

Directly by lusty Lady Chatterley, humbly lay eternally yearning Portnoy. (anderton@atlcom.net)

Mary, generously apply yourself by excessively paying granny's celebrity charity promptly! (S Pip)

Bumpy testimony by many may easily terrify young attorney. (Bcc211)

Your typical ponytail may possibly terrify filly easily. (Bcc211)

Buying yogurt sways my hungry belly. (Bcc211)

"Hillary, my baby, any leeway sexually?" yelled Billy. (RH Schnell)

Dyspeptic yachtsmen employ any handy buoy. (RH Schnell)

Every walleyed wallaby may type buoyant yarns. (RH Schnell)

Balky young cygnets fly away warily. (RH Schnell)

Dyspeptic yachtsmen say, "Ahoy, Matey!" slowly. (RH Schnell)

Ye myopic Wordplayers flay every key awfully slowly. (SavWmson)

Surprisingly, young Cyclops continually conveyed absolutely encyclopedic ophthalmology savvy, adroitly displaying spyglass inventory. (SavWmson)

Your dye may gray today! ( MaryHerher)

Happily flying osprey innocently, ingenuously, summarily eyes stingray, jellyfish; yummy prey! (MARGB0316)

"Yikes, hurry, Baby Turkey's identifying underlying cycling




(Elmo opoly)

You, boy? Stay my energy? Biologically unlikely. Obviously Bamby's appealingly, gorgeously healthy. (Mypoet)

My yellow daytimer okays everything weekly, monthly. (BeckSam)

Y'all okay my ninety-six paychecks every Saturday, Wednesday, semiweekly, semimonthly? (BeckSam)


Penny's wealthy.

Judy: physician.

Yvette's lovely.

Bye, monogamy!

(Karen Ariz)

Why recycle today? Simply, ecology eyes your advocacy admirably!


You--by sly bodysnatching, empty-headed shoddy mummery, flummery, chicanery--wrongfully, obstinately transmogrify. (gail.koontz@quancon.com)

Lonely, wooly yak, crying. Wily lynx destroying forestry. (Archan2900)

Flamboyant Yiddish jury analyzes Jeopardy Fridays, oy vay! (Archan2900)

Ivy, hyacinth, chrysanthemum, yucca, peony...lovely, flowery--flummery. (Archan2900)

Yikes! Why play rummy by Sunday? (Archan2900)

Yellow lily displayed by cheery entry way. (Archan2900)

Freaky, dyspeptic coyotes stay yodeling daily. (Cybermimi)

You, my sly sexy honey, surely dignify maturity--admirably, graciously, exquisitely, capriciously, titillatingly, noncommittally, unceremoniously. (DECzzzzzzz)

Weary yodelers eye any braying donkeys crossly. (Booksie2)

You're really playing psychological cybergames ... fabulously, radically, ingeniously, superbly wacky! (Phylwriter)

Hey, yesterday my mommy played taxpayers lottery. (TDaughe785)

By yodeling, fey satyrs slay flamboyant apathy. (SultanaSB)

Yellow mynas crying "very funny monkey." (Stormi25)

My very shy stinky Aunty yapped. (AJaco11965)

Hey... your outty... my inny! (LGriff6045)

Terry typed my many yuks! (MOTTSV)

Agreeably, you're dying; try dewy, tasty, fruity, almondy guernseys! (Stuck NJ)

Myopic Ypsilanti psychologists pray really closely. (SamsBooks)

Your stormy cyberspace playground storybooks rhymed goofily.



By yours....

Years fly by.

"Only yesterday...", Cy says.

Why spray my yellow dory?

"Harry, you've dyed!", Mary says lately.

Yes, hyenas prey every seventy, eighty days.

"Emily, your wordplay's very uncanny!", PayPete1st hyperbolized openly.

You play my way happily, every Sunday, four-fifty promptly.

Astronomy assembly fluency: "Syzygy, yoyo, Syzygy!"

"Syzygy!", yoyo sprays lisplessly.

(By Yours Very Truly, PayPete1st)

By early July, your wordplay supply destroys any mendacity! (Ottomic)

Why worry your lawyer by employing seventy Paraguayans illegally? (Ottomic)

By employing pygmy psychotic clairvoyants, you play "tripoly" deviously! (Ottomic)

Wednesday's payday, yet twenty toady sycophants play Monopoly Tuesdays. (Ottomic)

Yesterday Dylan says Gary mollycoddled Stacey Tuesday jauntily. (AEA@ix.netcom.com)

You're my guy--stay every Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday--eternally.


Yvonne, by many lucky ways, partly portrays eternity. (ErnieBBCDS)

Many funny monkeys yodel by day. (Nythe)

Say "Granny," you angry gyrating ladybug! (Piguet)

Thy crafty play destroys my ingenuity -- slowly, yet steadily.

(JC Rose)

My youthful graying granny strays; larceny pays. (MsSleuth2)

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