Like the products of his American peers Buchwald and Baker--or of certain Monty Python scriveners--Punch writer Coren's parodies and news-item takeoffs vary widely in quality and effect. Often the reader must meet the wildly flapping silliness in a state of happy idiocy or the humor misses the mark; after shrieking with merriment for the first few pages, one may glower through the rest as sober as a hanging judge. Among the parodies of fluctuating whammy are: ""Oedipus Bruce,"" set in Australia (""I've been trying to poke me flaming eyes out, Norm. I can't seem to get the flaming range""); a ""Domestic Drama"" credited to John Osborne (""So I say to im, wod you min, bad? You min good/bad in the metaphysical sense, you bleeding ponce?""); ""The King and We"" (""Shall we strike?/ POM! POM! POM!""); some low jollies (one is a giggle at gay New York policemen), and a few true highs--such as the imaginary invention of the adze in cavemen times: ""Bloody stroll on, he's only gone and got himself an adze!"" But the prize of the collection is the tale of what can happen if you rattle a compositor with tardy copy--as did one Charles Dodgson: "" 'Twas chilly, and the slimy roads/ Did shine and shimmer in the rain. . . ."" An occasional inspired item, plus many that drag--for the more cerebral of the Flying Circus crowd and a few cheerily besotted Anglophiles.