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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.


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

The idea for this contest was suggested by toddm@ott.net, who is hereby awarded his choice of a book from The Atlantic Monthly's online store or a T-shirt (in black or white) featuring a surfing Poseidon.

Toddm@ott.net asks us to imagine that we are on the judging panel of a spelling-bee contest, but that we are in such a devilish mood that whenever a contestant asks us to read a sentence containing the word to be spelled, we reply with a sentence in which the keyword could legitimately be either of two homophones. For example, toddm@ott.net proffers:

"The farmer's market featured an enormous expanse of bins containing Indian corn, and I wandered aimlessly through this ___ for nearly an hour."

Which is the answer -- MAIZE or MAZE? The sentence is archly constructed so that either might do. Here are two more of toddm@ott.net's examples, the first accommodating either COMPLEMENT or COMPLIMENT, the second accommodating either METAL or METTLE:

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 self-conscious shipbuilder tried to recruit extremely sycophantic sailors to ___ her newly designed destroyer."

"The undersized and timorous knight, armed only with an aluminum sword, lacked the adequate ___ to face the ferocious dragon."

In imitation of toddm@ott.net, we've tried to concoct an example or two of our own:

At the circus sideshow, a nude lady emerged with a grizzly on a chain, but we looked away because we didn't want to see her ___.

We sternly warned the circus clown not to light the fuse while we were inside the cannon, but he did it anyway -- and it really made us ___ !

In the first example, we're not sure whether BARE or BEAR is correct, and in the second case it's a tossup between SORE and SOAR.

Now it's your turn. See if you can forge a sentence in which either of two homophones would arguably fit, thereby flummoxing a potential spelling-bee contestant. Indicate your answer in the mailing, as CoxRathvon cannot claim to be infallible solvers. We'll judge for the artful ambiguity of the context and for the overall humor of the creation.

Mail your entry to puzzles@theatlantic.com. Multiple entries are welcome, but for our convenience load your entries into one piece of e-mail whenever possible, and please don't use attached files. Senders of our three favorite entries will have their choice of prizes: a free book from the Atlantic's online store, or the T-shirt with the surfing Poseidon pictured on the back.

Bee-Whiched will remain open through Friday, June 13. Winners and full results will be posted on Friday, June 20.

--EC and HR

Results of Bee-Whiched

This final installment in our series of word-game contests invited verbal slapstick, and we certainly received our share of homophonic pun-ishment. Some all-time classics inevitably turned up, with bakers NEEDING/KNEADING dough, cooks running out of TIME/THYME, princesses having a bad NIGHT/KNIGHT, doctors requiring a lot of PATIENCE/PATIENTS, Marines being rotten to the CORE/CORPS, and strange markets selling BIZARRE/BAZAAR items. Contestant djwixted@facstaff.wisc.edu reminded us of another classic pun, writing:

Here's a line that our local Dairy Queen had on its marquee one day when I was a kid: "Seven days without a DQ burger makes one ___." (WEEK/WEAK)

Some contestants submitted entries with multiple parts, and others pulled out all the punnery stops. Worthy of honorable mention is homophonic gagster paypete1st@worldnet.att.net, who wrote:

People complained when the reserves pulled out of Erie, but they left ___. (IRREGARDLESS/ERIE GUARD-LESS)

Our three top favorites came from cmatthews@sjmercury.com, rmaluft@mercury.eau.net, and dmonson@direct.ca. These punsters will each be awarded their choice of a free book from our online store or a T-shirt (in black or white) with a surfing Poseidon on the back. Congratulations, winners! And thanks, everyone, for this and many other games of friendly wordplay fun!

The Winners

When gossip finally led to the landlady's arrest for murdering her tenants and scattering parts of their bodies around town, her only comment was, "Well, that's what comes of spreading ___." (ROOMERS/RUMORS) (cmatthews@sjmercury.com)

Ever the perfectionist, Anthony Quinn, when playing the fisherman in "The Old Man and the Sea," personally made sure his understudy's lines were ___. (TAUGHT/TAUT) (rmaluft@mercury.eau.net)

I love your old worn-out jacket covered with all those slogans, but I can't read the ___ at the end of the sleeves. (FRAYS/PHRASE) (dmonson@direct.ca)

And Our Other Top Favorites

The bicycle salesman had broken his ankle and was, alas, unable to ___ his wares. (PEDAL/PEDDLE) (Linda_Pistilli@hud.gov)

When the glazier was sent to the hospital room to check the cracked window, he told the patient in the body cast, " I've come to feel your ___." (PANE/PAIN) The foal had a small and raspy whinny, but that was because he was a little ___. (HORSE/HOARSE) When the cattlemen's association sponsored a track and field competition, followed by a barbecue, the commemorative T-shirt read, "We loved the ___." (MEAT/MEET) The desperate manager advised his out-of-condition boxer to keep his legs moving, lead with his right, and when all else failed, remember to ___. (FEINT/FAINT) Sign over the librarian's desk: No talking ___. (ALLOWED/ALOUD) When the proposal was made to locate the governor's mansion in Albany, New Yorkers said, "That's a ___ idea." (CAPITAL/CAPITOL) (nshack@webspun.com)

While baking, I dropped a stick of margarine on the wooden tile floor, and when my neighbor slipped and fell, I said "It must have been the ___." (PARKAY/PARQUET) At dinner that evening, my husband commented that my flaming vegetable pie tasted so good, it just couldn't be ___. (BEAT/BEET) But my kids wouldn't eat the burnt beet pie because it was ___. (CHARRED/CHARD) I told them all to be be quiet and pass the pie because I wanted a little ___. (PIECE/PEACE) My family scoffed when I had a divine inspiration I'd get rich selling my "Beets Brule," but after I made my first million, they had to admit I made quite a ___. (PROFIT/PROPHET) On my tour of the U.K., Charles invited me to cook at Buckingham Palace, and naturally, I took photos so I could show everyone the ___. (PRINTS/PRINCE) Now I've decided I'm going to try a new path to vegetable fame and fortune, and this time I'll choose a different ___. (ROOT/ROUTE) (Wyldingham@aol.com)

My chronically runny-nosed friend, who staunchly opposes all independent emirates, was bothered by ___ on his trip around the world. (CATARRH/QATAR) The ___ salesman said, "The classical music section is right over there," as he smoothed his pencil-thin mustache and spread another handful of Brylcreem on his hair. (CD/SEEDY) (fheaney@dcdu.com)

To earn an A in "Sewing with Burlap", you really have to know the ___ material. (COARSE/COURSE) The Arab's opulence was obvious from his ___ clothing. (CHIC/SHEIK) "___ here," read the first instruction on the trigonometry placement exam. (COSIGN/COSINE) The researcher's report showed data on the political ___. (GRAFT/GRAPHED) Pink satin was perfect for her gown, yet the debutante appeared even more charming with ___ on either side. (BEAUX/BOWS) I witnessed the attack on the castle and saw the queen's robe torn and the king's ___ under the horses' feet. (THRONE/THROWN) My sofa was repaired, but I was surprised to find an item on the bill for upholstery ___. (TACKS/TAX) The ailing king of the doves sensed an imminent ___. (COO/COUP) The food service concession on the orbiting space station was looking for someone to ___ tables. (WAIT, WEIGHT) The veterinarian had a great deal of trouble getting his dog to ___. (HEAL/HEEL) The corner of Ninth and Broad attracts a lot of the homeless because of its reputation for having a ___ area for sleeping. (GRATE/GREAT) The mess in my garage made it difficult for me to find my garden ___. (HOES/HOSE) The Ennui Society elected a new chairman of the ___. (BOARD/BORED) Nothing can compare to picnicking on a French hillside and savoring the ___. (BREEZE/BRIES) The French-speaking province of Lilliput created their own constitution which began "___ the people...." (OUI/WE/WEE) (Robert1919@aol.com)

The Belly Dancer was popular with sailors because she understood ___ maneuvers. (NAVEL/NAVAL) When told he was fired, the aquarium keeper let out a big ___. (WAIL/WHALE) Br'er Fox likes to ___ away his time. (WILE/WHILE) Water leaking through wallboard is usually a ___ problem. (CEILING/SEALING) The two couples decided to engage in ___ play. (FORE/FOUR ) The trucker was always irritated at an inspection station, it was the ___ that bothered him. (WAIT/WEIGHT ) Pablo and Jose waited for a signal from Pilar to join her in the Church Tower, but neither responded to the chiming because they didn't know for whom the ___ was tolling. (BELL/BELLE ) (Pun Bud@aol.com)

Mary couldn't stop pacing while waiting on customers at the office supply store, even though they just wanted her ___. (STATIONARY/STATIONERY) Dateline London: Eccentric ornithologist travels to foreign land to teach ___ English. (PIDGIN/PIGEON) Sealing the deal over a nice cup of darjeeling, Tiger Woods agreed to endorse a new line of imported ___. (TEES/TEAS) The eight chicken farmers jumped in their rowing shell and put their ___ up in front. (COCKS/COX.) The serving girl was confused by the prince's come-hither looks as he waved his empty goblet. She wasn't sure if she was ___ ___ for him. (TOO POOR/TO POUR)

Prior to the marine auction, I went to inspect the ___ ___ boats. (FOR SALE/FOUR SAIL) The San Diego chicken really cried when the opposing infielder got the closing out by diving into the dugout for the catch. You should have seen that ___ ___. (FOWL BAWL/FOUL BALL) (LeonardJK@aol.com)

Emily and Henry hit Bonnie in the face with a rhubarb pie and then disappeared into the night, leaving Bonnie feeling terribly ___. (DESERTED/DESSERTED) After the kitchen fire had been extinguished, the family had dinner; unfortunately, the lettuce was ___, causing Emily not to enjoy the Salad. (CHARD/CHARRED) Arriving late, Senator Kennedy slipped on a banana peel and fell in a heap, resulting in a ____ break in the midst of the subcommittee's intense discussion. (HUMERUS/HUMOROUS) As they looked at the recreation of the Greek temple on Rodeo Drive while a freak ice storm was occurring, Emily and Henry were astonished by the very unusual ___. (FREEZE/FRIEZE) Wanting to buy his girlfriend a gift that she was sure to appreciate, Bugs Bunny decided that something on the order of twenty-four ___ would be about right. (CARROTS/CARATS) Despite the repressive restrictions in force against all of the fine arts, students in Kabul often gathered secretly to listen to ___ music. (BANNED/BAND) When asked by her co-workers whether they should bring a gift to her birthday party, Mary replied, "You should know that all I'm interested in is your ___." (PRESENTS/PRESENCE) Although many residents of the Lower East Side made most of their purchases from pushcarts in the neighborhood, Marvin decded to buy some note cards at a ___ store. (STATIONARY/STATIONERY) (rickp@ormutual.com)

If you think that mutt made strange sounds as a pup, you should hear him ___. (GROWN/GROAN) In his latest promotional campaign, the manager of City Tent and Awning told his crew to ___ the entire area. (CANVAS/CANVASS) (rmaluft@mercury.eau.net)

When asked by a Health Department official to describe the mess he saw on the slaughterhouse floor, the USDA inspector replied, "It was just ___." (AWFUL/OFFAL) Knowing that more guests would mean more gifts, the materialistic bride-to-be ended each invitation with "I look forward to your ___ at my wedding." (PRESENCE/PRESENTS) Throughout the centuries, the Buddhist herdsmen of Peru have followed their___ religiously. (LAMAS/LLAMAS) "Lobotomy is ___ ___ of mind." (HAVING PEACE/HALVING PIECE) (djwixted@facstaff.wisc.edu)

One item contributed was a picture of a pretty, kimono-clad girl; it bore the inscription: "___ in Japan". (MADE/MAID) Another donation was a decorative granite block; it was a ___ paperweight. (GNEISS/NICE) On the way to the church our car broke down. I desperately tried to find some ___ to help us resume our journey. (SUCCOR/SUCKER) When we finally got to the church, we asked an usher for directions. He misunderstood us and sent us to the ___ where we interrupted a wedding. (RITE/RIGHT) (woontner@comteck.com)

Nearing the end of his sentence, the convicted Wall Street wizard, feeling both oddly safe in his spartan confinement but not quite penitent for his overzealous trading misdeeds, feared and anticipated his release, nightly dreaming of his long cherished hard ___. (SELL/CELL) (CKANDO@ftc.gov)

After Jimmy swallowed a live earthworm, he sat waiting with ___ breath to see if he'd get sick. (BATED/BAITED) The catfish ___ while contemplating a baited hook. (MUSE/MEWS) (joan_christman@reyrey.com)

After my train whizzed by vista after vista with hundreds of sheep grazing in fields of flowers, I couldn't help wondering how many ___ I had seen. (PHLOX/FLOCKS) Upon being shown a uniquely sculptured piece of so-called granite, a geologist remarked to his colleague "You know that's really ___." (NICE/GNEISS) (jazzpiano@earthlink.net)

During a recent trip to Qatar, Bill Clinton went to McDonald's and ordered fries with a ___. (SHEIK/SHAKE) Upon hearing of the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg, the reverend ___ the ___. (TOLD BELLE/TOLLED BELL) I was excited about the broiled spinach until I found out it was ___. (CHARD/CHARRED) (barocas@colorado.edu)

Although he perfected his comic routines on the mainland, his best audiences were in the ___. (ISLES/AISLES) Geoffrey is working as an ___ in our yearbook division. (ANNALIST/ANALYST) If you want those ashes, you'll have to ___ them. (EARN/URN) (dmonson@direct.ca)

Cheating on a test can put honorable students in conflict with their ___. (PRINCIPLES/PRINCIPALS) There was a discussion on rec.puzzles concerning the magnifying glass boxed with the Oxford English Dictionary. "The OED is sold with a ___ magnifying glass." (COMPLEMENTARY/COMPLIMENTARY) Dorothy and Toto found to their horror that tornadoes really could ___ a house. (RAISE/RAZE) (Diogenes@mail.tds.net)

The rude swine who devised this dull game is a ___. (BOOR/BOAR/BORE) (rmyoung@ix.netcom.com)

No one could decide which ___ to give the Best-Dressed Actress award to: Whitney or Anjelica. (HOUSTON/HUSTON) Scrambling for cover amid the chaos caused by the rebel forces' attack and the "coincidental" breakout of the zoo animals, I stumbled into the face of a hostile ___! (GORILLA/GUERRILLA) The 99-year old filthy-rich recluse, who had been unseen and unheard for 75 years, shocked the modern world with her lavish ___ , reappearing at her great-great-granddaughter's first birthday party in a monster truck full of toys! (PRESENCE/PRESENTS) (medwards@paulweiss.com)

The steward refused to swallow the harsh ___ of the petulant cabernet peddler. (WINE/WHINE) Before the golfer finished drinking the iced, brewed beverage he dropped his ___ on the cart path. (TEA/TEE) The embarrassed news anchor was bright red, but he nor the television monitor was appropriately ___. (FAZED/PHASED)

Her eyes were wide with longing as she peered into the Dunkin' Donuts box and ate the last doughnut ___. (HOLE/WHOLE) (cbeem@public.lib.ci.clearwater.fl.us)

Two sets of French fathers pick fruit as I admire the ___. (PAIRS/PEARS/PERES) The theater critic noted that the satire, with great lines spread among the entire cast, was filled with ___. (PARITY/PARODY) Legends tell us that a weakness of the carnivorous vampire is a ___. (STAKE/STEAK) (toml@ilj.org)

Billy, under strict orders not to play near the abandoned building down the street, disobeyed. The property was littered with broken window glass and Billy tripped and fell on his rear end, which was penetrated by splinters of glass. For seven days Billy sat on this ___ ___, afraid to tell his parents. (PANE-FULL/PAINFUL, TAIL/TALE). (ShedPot@aol.com)

One gruelingly intense month into the year-long diet regimen, the overwhelmed patient concluded she could not stand the ___. (WAIT/WEIGHT) (aborrell@watsonguptill.com)

To crack open the walnuts, several officers foolishly pounded them with hand grenades, scattering the ___ everywhere. (KERNELS/COLONELS) (ScotFields@aol.com)

Our theft of raw gold from the mine site was a fiasco because, as we jumped into the getaway boat, we dropped the ___. (OAR, ORE) I can't budge this huge box!" I exclaimed. "Of course not," the office supply warehouse clerk replied, "it's ___." (STATIONERY, STATIONARY). You have to listen carefully for a ___ when you cruise the coast spotting marine mammals. (WHALE, WAIL) Those overweight Arab women are pretty ___. (INTENSE/IN TENTS) (imcgowan@shepmill.com)

Remembering the Mongol leader's reputation for chicanery, Marco Polo approached the palace of the ___ warily. (CON/KHAN) Because the champion angler instructed his pupils to cast their lines where the river runs through narrow chasms, they called him the "___ King." (FISHER/FISSURE) Upon discovering the deadly virus carried by Surinamese toads, the herpetologist contemplated how best to protect the ___. (PIPAL/PEOPLE) When I asked him whether we ought to climb the steep hill, he started up the incline and, in ___ , said, "Yes." (ASSENT/ASCENT) (djunger@d.imap.itd.umich.edu)

My wife is a fine cook, plus a great algebra teacher, she is quite famous for her ___. (PI/PIE) In his free time, my son in college hunts deer and sells the meat. He says the ___ helps him with his expenses. (DOE/DOUGH) When I was in my cabin on the ship I got sick. Someone told me once I got to the ___ I'd feel better. (DOCK, DOC) Betty Crocker was a ___ child. (FLOWER/FLOUR) The tightrope walker gently took a step at a time and always wore diamond-laced slippers. The spectators always would stare in awe at the tightrope walker's ___. (FEET/FEAT) My uncle developed a strange vulgar habit. He would only cuss when he'd eat chicken. The doctor said he has seen this happen in some cases. Too much chicken can produce a ___ mouth. (FOUL/FOWL) (ccoach@indiana.net)

As Sir Galahad lifted the sacred chalice, the bottom fell out. He had indeed found the ___ Grail. (HOLY/HOLEY) She dumped him because of all their lousy dates--after all, ___ and dining does get tiresome after a while. (WINING/WHINING) The stink bomb tossed at the standup comics' convention quickly emptied the place out; when the smoke cleared, not a ___ of them remained. (WHIT/WIT)

The tired playgoers decided to bypass the new production of "Othello" despite the good reviews; having just returned from a long trip, they didn't feel like seeing any ___ of Venice. (MOOR/MORE) The Net-surfing bandits always ended an operation by clearing out the ___. (CASH/CACHE) (defrost@ix.netcom.com)

The cast, after the scene in the forest, took their ____. (BOUGHS/BOWS) The sweep got stuck in a cold chimney, which collapsed. He came down with the ___. (FLUE/FLU) The class took a field trip to a meat processing plant, but what they saw was just ___. (OFFAL/AWFUL) The stress of having his beloved pet bunny die caused a man to go bald--he was very upset about losing his ___. (HARE/HAIR) At the urban renewal site, contractors were simultaneously tearing down and erecting. It was interesting to watch them ___ all those buildings. (RAZING/RAISING) (hoglund@whitman.edu)

The hotel regrets that you do not find your rooms satisfactory; I will send up our ___ manager right away. (SUITE/SWEET) (eshertz@access.digex.net)

Some people, asked what they thought had caused the recent flooding in our valley, pointed to a concrete wall in the distance and said it was this ___ thing. (DAM/DAMN) When I phoned my friend yesterday we mainly talked about the weather and our upcomimg exams, and we both agreed that the ___ was sickening. (POURING/PORING) With his own car Chris would have made it to his grad ceremony in time; but as his car was at a garage for repair, he needed ___to get there. (OURS/HOURS) I always had wanted to know how ships really worked, and now I finally was going to ___. (SEE/SEA) It is not unusual for golf players at the British open to meet at a ___. (TEE/TEA) Our garden hose was damaged yesterday, and I couldn't get to the ___ without getting wet. (LEAK/LEEK) I'd really like to know whether her collapse was due to a serious illness or whether it was one of her usual ___. (FAINTS/FEINTS) At the last meeting of our vegetarian's circle all my friends agreed that what I had served for dinner was not ___. (MEAT/MEET) A recent survey of Statistics Canada revealed that many people like to read and eat at the same time, and that their favorites are ___. (SERIALS/CEREALS) (juenger@cs.ubc.ca)

"Lizards have a very strong heartbeat which can be faintly heard anywhere on their body," said Mr. Johnson, beginning a story. "Come listen to this ___." (TALE/TAIL) (wetzel@math.binghamton.edu)

The mathematics professor, lamenting his students' lackadaisical approach to trigonometry, sighed, "It's a ___ of the times." (SIGN/SINE) When the Pequod with its crew went down, Ishmael remembered, a great ___ came up from the sea. (WAIL/WHALE) (Alan.R.Schned@Hitchcock.ORG)

Everybody was in shock when the hair stylist ___. (DIED/DYED) The boating store had its best ___ ever. (SAIL/SALE) The nudist defended himself by citing his Constitutional right to ___ arms. (BARE/BEAR) That the obstetrician's services were needed on the train was an accident of ___. (BERTH/BIRTH) There is nothing worse for a performer than an audience of drunks and their ___. (BOOS/BOOZE) The founder of the Ennui Society was named chairman of the ___. (BOARD/BORED) The gardener brought his ___. (HOES/HOSE) After the sniper attack at the symphony softball game, there were no men left on ___. (BASE/BASS) I thought that the penny I was looking for would have belonged to a man, but I detected the ___ of a woman. (CENT/SCENT) The swanky hoteliers' convention tended to attract the ___ crowd. (IN/INN) The anonymous donation to the geology museum was certainly ___. (GNEISS/NICE) The dieters vowed to let nothing go to ___. (WAIST/WASTE) Even in his will, the pretentious practical joker put on ___. (AIRS/HEIRS) I was curious about the Navy, so I went to ___. (SEA/SEE) British golfers' favorite hour is ___ time. (TEA/TEE) The Spanish monarch loves air travel. The ___ in Spain stays mainly in the ___. (RAIN/REIGN, PLAIN/PLANE) The fickle, big-haired girl collected ___. (BEAUS/BOWS) I learned that the antelopes were coming when I heard the ___. (GNUS/NEWS) There was a lot of equestrian paraphernalia at the ___ shower. (BRIDAL/BRIDLE) The elderly rabbit farmer had many gray ___. (HAIRS/HARES) Getting your driver's license is a ___ of passage. (RIGHT/RITE) The prison warden, who was also an Amway salesman, gave the new prisoner the hard ___. (CELL/SELL) Kennebunkport was George Bush's ___ vacation spot. (MAIN/MAINE) I choked on my dessert and decided to sue, so I hired an attorney who specializes in ___. (TORTES/TORTS) The percussionist was very good at analyzing ___. (CYMBALS/SYMBOLS) Beaver rallying cry: "River be ___!" (DAMMED/DAMNED) We watched Groucho's movies and listened to Beatles music in our course on Marx and ___. (LENIN/LENNON) Absent the fungus, the story had no ___. (MORAL/MOREL) The fare is ___ at the Rancid Chicken Diner. (FOUL/FOWL) The fowl is ___ at the Rancid Chicken Diner. (FAIR/FARE) Whether zookeeping or golfing, I just couldn't get my mind off the ___. (LINKS/LYNX) The Turkish soldier refused to eat cottage cheese, because he didn't trust the ___. (CURDS/KURDS) The sheep robber was caught on the ___. (LAM/LAMB) The auto mechanic decided to give me a ___. (BRAKE/BREAK) "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" is a Frost ___. (RHYME/RIME) The people at Boeing are just ___ folks. (PLAIN/PLANE) The cat in northern Scandinavia always had a ___ to sit on. (LAP/LAPP) They won't stay at friendly hotels, because they're ___ people. (HOSTEL/HOSTILE) The vendor at the Arab market resented how I haggled and told me to take a ___. (HAIK/HIKE) The story of the Christmastime murders of southern women doing their laundry was entitled "___ ___ ___." (SLAY BELLES WRINGING/SLEIGH BELLS RINGING) We were very careful with our rooftop garden, but somehow, it sprang a ___. (LEAK/LEEK) The postmen get together for ___ bonding. (MAIL/MALE) Gallup and Harris are ___ opposites. (POLAR/POLLER) I like hot fudge sauce, but never on ___. (SUNDAES/SUNDAYS) Wheaties near the body suggested that police look for a ___ killer. (CEREAL/SERIAL) The astronomer made a claim about a well-known star, but it wasn't ___. (SERIOUS/SIRIUS) The editor inserted a ___ in the recipe. (CARET/CARROT) When told his design for a stadium was too grandiose, the architect shed a ___. (TEAR/TIER) (mie@bellcore.com)

Kentucky Fried Chicken, looking to expand into the area of low-fat dining alternatives, has begun selling popcorn. Their new motto is, "Look for the ___." (COLONEL/KERNEL) My friend, a Jewish security expert, recently returned from two weeks in Scotland where she was searching for ___. (LOX/LOCKS/LOCHS) The thief broke into the music store and stole the ___. (LOOT/LUTE) Little Bo Peep grew tired of the daily search for her lost sheep and decided to keep them in the garden area close to her house. Since she no longer had to spend her days tracking down her wayward herd, Bo decided to take up the hobby of flower gardening. Now every morning Bo Peep goes out to tend her ___. (FLOCKS/PHLOX) The celebration of the royal wedding progressed well into the night. As he stumbled outside to await his ride home one inebriated nobleman, attracted by the bright lights, made his way to the theater district and sat down below one of the brightly illuminated theater signs to await his car. The driver, unfamiliar with both the nobleman and the area, was instructed to look for a well-lit ___. (MARQUEE/MARQUIS) As anyone who has ever lived in the area can tell you, life is different in Montana. Since golf courses are often placed in areas ideal for hunting, most golfers carry a hunting rifle in their golf bag and when the opportunity presents itself combine their two favorite pastimes. Recently one such sportsman got lost and had to stop for directions asking, "Which way to the ___." (LINKS/LYNX) Little Bo Peep had recently take up the study of trees since she was out in the woods every day anyway searching for her elusive flock. Late one day she had rounded up all but one of her missing herd and had located all the trees except one that were listed in her Field Guide to Trees. She happened upon a friendly woodsman and told him of her predicament. The woodsman nodded towards the nearby forest and said, "You'll find the ____ beside the ___. (EWE/YEW) (bonniet@ormutual.com)

After fourteen atrocities, the murderer's modus operandi remained the same: A dead body covered with Rice Crispies. He was known as "The ___ Killer." (SERIAL/CEREAL) She was small, slender with doe like eyes. "Oh, my ___ ," he whispered. (DEAR/DEER) She was wearing a small hat, made of animal skin, so he bent over and kissed the ___ on her head. (HARE/HAIR) "Be still my ___" she murmured, thinking how magnificent and stag-like he was. (HEART/HART) He wanted to take her out to see the magnificent wild animals he had collected, but she came close to him and said sexily "Let's play ___." (AROUND/ A ROUND) So he took her out to the ___. (LINKS/LYNX). The heir to the throne was a bonny baby, small and round, but he cried a lot. He was known as the Prince of ___ and sometimes the Royal ___. (WALES/WAILS, BAWL/BALL). When the creator of Tarzan wrote about Pellucidar and other Earth-core stories, was it Edgar Rice ___? (BURROUGHS/BURROWS) (BHPVD@aol.com)

The senator was recalled due to ___convictions in his ___ files. (CAPITAL/CAPITOL, PAST/PASSED) The cobbler was asked how many shoes he had ___ by a well ___ fellow patient. (SOLED/SOLD, HEALED/HEELED) The trucker explained that he was early because he had had no ___. (BREAKS/BRAKES) The weekend reporter sailed through the newscasts while the anchor was ___. (AWAY/AWEIGH). At the Oktoberfest the sauerkraut was very good, even though I had been expecting the ___. (WURST/WORST) In a billiard hall life can be pretty rough at the wrong end of the ___. (QUEUE/CUE) Do you know if they ever got detective Sam ___? (SPADE/SPAYED) When overcome by thoughts of sin the princess visited the ___. (NAVE/KNAVE) "Cupid, draw back your ___..." (BOW/BEAU) (paypete1st@worldnet.att.net)

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