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Gags Ordered: The Cartoon Caption Contest Winners

Pablo Helguera

After 11 days and more than 500 submissions, we proudly unveil a winner (and several honorable mentions) in our very first classical cartoon caption contest. Congratulations to Gregory Curnow from central Massachusetts, who remembered that hippos not only excel at the violin, but also have a habit of snorting.

"I just tried to put myself in the shoes of a judge in one of those blind symphony orchestra auditions," Curnow said when asked how he came up with his winning caption. We'll send him a new NPR Music tote bag and coffee mug for his efforts.

The captions for Pablo Helguera's cartoon tended to fall into a few general categories. There were the Stradivarius jokes, like Gene Geist's "Hmmmm... It's hard to tell, but I think that the warm, subtle tones suggest that the first one was the Stradivarius." Then there were many odiferous submissions, such as Joe Rod's "While I can't name that tune, I think I might be able to place that smell." Quite a few were weight-oriented, like Bonner Armbruster's "Nice tone, but a little heavy on the bottom end." And folks couldn't resist throwing in a few viola jokes.

Below is our "Honorable Mentions" list. Thanks to all who played along in our contest. Don't forget, we have a classical cartoon each Friday at noon on this blog. You never know when we'll ask for your captioning help again.

"I've changed my mind, I'll take the firing squad." (Tollak Ollestad)

"I just can't put my finger on it. Maybe it's the room." (William Mankin)

"Can I hear the Elephant again?" (Tom Lawery)

"Well, it sounds like 'The Orange Blossom Special,' but the foot-tapping was so loud I can't be absolutely sure." (Billy Waldo)

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tom Huizenga is a producer for NPR Music. He contributes a wide range of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and is the classical music reviewer for All Things Considered. He appears regularly on NPR Music podcasts and founded NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence in 2010.