Sure, it’s been answered before. But has it been answered with decimal points? When I was reading John’s interview with brand-new contest winner Richard Hine (whose girlfriend is the novelist Amanda Filipacchi, whom I met many moons ago in my other lifetime; I’ll never stop being startled by these coincidences), I wondered anew how many people send in caption entries every week. I’ve heard a few numbers batted around, and I knew it was a few thousand.
Being a Nation-trained fact checker and print journalist packed to the brim with integrity, however, I couldn’t let that kind of imprecision stand. So I went right to the source: cartoon editor Bob Mankoff. His reply was satisfyingly complex: “Through the first 100 caption contests there have been 672,361 entries. So that comes out to an average of 6,723.61 entries per contest. I always find that .61 entry quite funny but incomplete.”
So there you have it: Richard Hine had a lot of competition, and so do you, brave caption-contest entrant. Good luck! If you’re feeling stung by weeks of rejection, soothe yourself by putting a few new spins on a 1933 Thurber cartoon with the irrepressible Radosh gang. I actually think Thurber would have enjoyed reading these.
Hello! I’m Emily Gordon, an editor, critic, copywriter, and pre-web internet nut. Emdashes, born in 2004, spent many years as a New Yorker fan blog. The project garnered some nice compliments and press.
The blog’s now treading the territories of punctuation, publications, movies, design, and other things that stir me.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a brilliant brigade of culture writers, editors, and artists. You can read all about the people who've helped build Emdashes here at “Who We?” (That’s a New Yorker joke. Old habits die hard.)
I welcome submissions, questions, corrections, and ardent, obsessive contributors. I also host occasional book-related contests and giveaways. Questioners and publishers, just email me.
Jennifer Hadley designed the original Emdashes pencil logo, based on a 1943 Dorothy Gray ad.