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Competition: Show us the darker side of spring (plus: what do you call a group of WAGs?)

1 March 2014

9:30 AM

1 March 2014

9:30 AM

Spectator literary competition No. 2839

The recent call to coin collective nouns for tweeters, hackers, hoodies, WAGs, environmentalists, bankers, MPs and contrarians pulled in a record-breaking entry and there were lots of unfamiliar names in the postbag. Inevitably, there was also a fair amount of repetition: nest/cacophony/outrage/triviality of tweeters came up more than once, as did skulk/huggle/scowl of hoodies; bonus/wad/wunch/trough of bankers; knot/perversity/Hitch of contrarians; vacuum/bling/surgery of WAGs; flood of environmentalists; expense of MPs; to list just a few.

I especially liked Graham Peters’s and John Doran’s ‘thong of WAGs’, Sarah Drury’s ‘concatenation of tweeters’, Poppy McLean’s ‘excess of MPs’, Una McMorran’s ‘mischief of contrarians’, Mike Morrison’s ‘Guardian of environmentalists’, P.C. Parrish’s ‘womengerie of WAGs’, J.R. Johnson’s ‘tawd of WAGs’, David Farrant’s ‘rapacity of bankers’, Tracy Davidson’s ‘virus of hackers’, John MacRitchie’s ‘bristle of contrarians’, Patrick Smith’s ‘sorryority of WAGs’ and John O’Byrne’s ‘s-warm of environmentalists’.

Alan Mercado kindly wrote to inform me that the Times published a selection of readers’ collective nouns for politicians a decade or so ago. His own contribution on that occasion was a ‘dissemblance’; others included ‘a prattle’, and an ‘odium’. For the current comp Mr Mercado offered the excellent ‘bimboism of WAGs’.
The winners below nab a very well-deserved £15 each.

Chris O’Carroll
A thumb of tweeters
A murdoch of hackers
A lurk of hoodies
A trophy of WAGs
A panda of environmentalists
A plunder of bankers
An ego of MPs
An ain’t of contrarians

A.G. Atkinson
A WTF of tweeters
An algorithm of hackers
A scapegoat of hoodies
An ogle of WAGs
A hedgerow of environmentalists
A scrounge of bankers
A recidivism of MPs
A versus of contrarians

Francis Harry
A drivel of tweeters
A nerdstorm of hackers
A provocation of hoodies
A spice of WAGs
A frack of environmentalists
A crisis of bankers
A pander of MPs
A gainsay of contrarians

Douglas G. Brown
A tootle of tweeters
A nerditude of hackers
A hoodlummery of hoodies
A catfight of WAGs
A zealotry of environmentalists
A backstabbery of bankers
A blathering of MPs
An apocalypse of contrarians

Alan Millard
A tedium of tweeters
A cobweb of hackers
A slouch of hoodies
A cackle of WAGs
An idyll of environmentalists
A bonanza of bankers
A smarm of MPs
A concordance of contrarians

W.J. Webster
A compulsive of tweeters
A pry of hackers
A hunch of hoodies
A sideshow of WAGs
A gaiarchy of environmentalists
A fleece of bankers
A glasshouse of MPs
A countershaft of contrarians

Katie Mallett
A babel of tweeters
An intrusion of hackers
An intimidation of hoodies
A vulgarity of WAGs
A turbine of environmentalists
A swindle of bankers
A squirm of politicians
A naysay of contrarians

Clive Mather
A flock of tweeters
A slick of bankers
A snoop of hackers
A menace of hoodies
A handbag of WAGs
A thicket of environmentalists
A gravyboat of MPs
A conflict of contrarians

Brian Murdoch
A polyphony of tweeters
A vermicularity of hackers
A crookery of hoodies
A nonentity of WAGS
A Gaiad of environmentalists
A defecation of bankers
A turpitude of MPs
A mensanguinity of contrarians

G.M. Davis
A racket of tweeters
A paranoia of hackers
A cloister of hoodies
A diet of WAGs
A pulpit of environmentalists
An infestation of bankers
A wallow of MPs
A schism of contrarians

Your next challenge is to submit a poem on the darker side of spring. Please email a maximum of 16 lines to by midday on 12 March.

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