Winner of CRISPR backronym contest

We just ran a CRISPR backronym contest here at the Niche blog.

What were we looking for in terms of CRISPR backronyms?

We were hoping to see backronyms that were in a sense clever explanations using the letters C, R, I, S, P, R for what CRISPR might “really” stand for if it weren’t Clustered, Regularly, Interspace…you know, the official meaning.

We received 58 entries, which were evaluated by the judges: Ben Zimmer, Antonio Regalado, and I. We each scored them separately and then added up the total score. It was a fun process that elicited many chuckles.CRISPR winner

We even got one entry by email to Antonio from the ever sardonic George Church, who wrote it on the day that Clapper called gene editing a WMD. George wrote, “Clustered Raptor Intercontinental Shocking Pan-drone Raygun.” I love it.

The winning backronym was Catchy Rubric Is Sure Progress Requirement.

It was submitted by Michael Le Page who wins global fame and “fortune” in the form of a $50 prize from me.

Congratulations. He submitted it on Twitter using the #CRISPRback hash tag.

There were so many good submission that we awarded two honorable mentions as well:

  • Characteristically Reticent Investigators Suddenly Preach Revolution! came from Eric J. Perkins.
  • Custom Recombinant Incisions Surrounding Patterned Repetitions was submitted by Manny Katz.

I hope everyone had a good time with this contest and thanks to all who entered as well as Ben and Antonio for being judges.

Enter Fun CRISPR Backronym Contest: $50 Prize

CRISPR backronym contestUpdate: you can also enter our contest on Twitter using the hashtag #CRISPRback.

Do you like contests, words, science, and cash?

Enter our new contest.

It’s a backronym contest for CRISPR.

The author of the best backronym will win a $50 prize paid by me and fame of course as the winner.

The judges will be WSJ columnist Ben Zimmer, Senior Editor at MIT Tech Review Antonio Regalado, and myself.

A backronym is like an acronym, but flipped around in the sense that you choose words to fit the existing letters that together make up an existing acronym word. For more backronym background check out Ben’s recent excellent piece on CRISPR.

Wikipedia lists some funny examples including NASA’s COLBERT treadmill and Arby’s creating “Amerca’s Roast Beef, Yes Sir!” after it already had the name Arby’s, chosen for some other reason.

CRISPR is already an acronym for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats.

But that’s a mouthful, not very fun and tough to try to remember.

So what if CRISPR didn’t really stand for those complicated words “Clustered…etc etc”? What if each word of CRISPR was memorable and together they made some interested meaning?

In that spirit, make a backronym for CRISPR by choosing clever new words for C, R, I, S, P, and R.

For instance, as a backronym CRISPR could stand for one of these:

  • Creative Reinterpretations In Scientific Public Relations
  • Can Researchers Initiate Sane Patent Rules

Update: Or it could be something more scientific.

Fire away by sending your CRISPR backronyms to me at or leaving them here on this blog post as a comment. The backronym entries must be original and not offensive.

The deadline is a week from today on February 16th at midnight pacific time.