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With capitalism collapsing, living standards tumbling and public services crumbling it is time for some Friday fun and distraction. So today I am asking for completion entries. The best contribution wins a fine bottle of wine from my own personal cellar (actually, it’s a cardboard box but you get the idea).   

I was so miserable the other night I bought a National Lottery scratch card. I didn’t win anything but I was intrigued that the card contained six different games. Of course the total odds of winning remain unchanged but I guess it has the psychological effect of making us think we have more chances. So this weekend – on the same principle – there are three ways to win:

Sweets for readers…    

I have in the past written about my irritation at the ways some companies try to exploit their relationships with customers. A minor, but grating, example is the attempt by WH Smith to foist upon me a huge chocolate bar every time I buy a newspaper.  Now, call me an old puritan, but chocolate is not very good for you and so to encourage vulnerable customers (hungry in the morning or energy-sapped after work) to eat a massive bar is to tempt them to sinfulness. What next at the WH Smith till, a gin and tonic, a crack pipe? 

Perhaps, I would be less affronted if there was some attempt to personalise the offer. The other day I bought New Scientist and Prospect (choices which show me to be a sophisticated and complex kind of chap) only to be slighted with the frankly demeaning offer of a 500 gram fruit and nut bar.

So, competition one, is to suggest an appropriate confectionery to match a customer’s choice of newspaper or magazine. Here are a couple of example to inspire you: Sun readers would clearly be most tempted by a Yorkie bar. It is big, bold and obvious and we can almost see it in our mind’s eye resting next to the redtop on the dashboard of a long distance lorry driver. In contrast, FT readers should surely be offered a Toblerone: pricey, sophisticated and making the reassuring association to Swiss bankers.

Unique adjectives…

This is less original but I would still like some more examples for my list. The quest here is for long- established but idiosyncratic (the more idiosyncratic the better) connections between particular nouns and adjectives. Examples include the Corby trouser press which is so often ‘ubiquitous’, a who’s who (as in ‘the gala dinner was a real who’s who’ of the plastics industry’) which is frequently ‘veritable’, and losers (especially British ones) who can be relied on to be ‘plucky’. I’m not sure quite what the criterion is here but you kind of recognise the real thing when you see it.

Counter intuitive combos

It has been said that ‘dog bites man’ is not a story but ‘man bites dog’ would be. On the same basis your chances of media profile rise significantly if you can combine a profession with a surprising attribute. For example, intelligent footballers are almost guaranteed a newspaper column and a slot on Radio 5. Back in the 70s and 80s the press loved right wing trade union leaders like Eric Hammond. A vegan taxi driver would a surely be offered a daytime cooking series on a cable TV. So, given how much people crave celebrity what counter intuitive combos would you suggest to someone searching for media stardom?           

The wine could go to the best single entry or a set of three of a consistently high quality. If you don’t want to enter yourself you can still pop in over the weekend and vote for the best of those who have.

I know it’s all a bit silly but as I travel to Lancashire tomorrow for what looks like a splendid RSA event in Todmorden I must have something to take my mind off the end of the world and the form of West Brom.

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