The Style Conversational
The Style Conversational
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Week 951: Saying double; and the NOEListic Tours de Fours of Week 947

By the E, Pat Myers

Happy Choose-a-Holiday, everyone! I’m keeping it short here so we can all finish our shopping, cleaning up our latke mess, flying our spaghettis ...

This week we run a neologism contest — well, not a neologism contest exactly; let’s call it a definition contest — the same week we run the results of another one. I did that almost every four weeks for a while a few years ago; we’re actually not as heavy on the neologisms these days as we were for a time.

I think Week 951 has lots of possibilities — especially since I took up Kevin Dopart on his suggestion that the “doubled” words can be homophones of each other, i.e., spelled differently but prounounced the same. It’s going to be a judgment call in some cases to determine whether the pronunciations are really the same (or close enough to work as a joke); I do try to honor all regional dialects, such as a British poem that rhymes “four” and “Arkansas.” But don’t try something like “ice” and “eyes.”

Once again, we’ll surely get many, many definitions for the same double words, including ones with the same general idea. So make sure to make the defs and clever and funny as you can.


As with virtually every neologism contest we’ve run in the past almost-19 years, there were lots of funny, pithy and of course clever results in our eighth Tour de Fours contest, this time themed for the holiday with the letter block N-O-E-L (or any of its permutations). We got a nice big response on this contest, with lots of both new and regular entrants, and many people who sent the maximum of 25 entries.

There were of course many entries about Christmas, but also we had a lot about Jay Leno, melons, the Muppet Elmo, loneliness, and oleo.

This week’s Inker goes to an ingeniously clever wordplay – and a unique one in this contest – by local newbie Loser Eric Fritz (aka Ferric Zit in the Losers’ stats pages This is Eric’s first Inker and indeed only his third ink in all since his debut in Week 938; I’m expecting a lot more from Eric before very long.

The three runners-up are already familiar names in the Invite world; here’s an idea of how familiar: At this past Sunday’s Loser Brunch in Northern Virginia, we were visited in the restaurant by a man and his 9-year-old son who are essentially fans of The Style Invitational. When I told young Cole Pryzby that Jeff Contompasis had given me a certain silly object, Cole intoned in awe: “Jeff Contompasis OF ASHBURN?” We will swell the crania of our runners-up no further, except to say that their respective ink totals now swell to, in order, 1,354, 220, and 54 (okay the last one has kind of a life), with “above-the-fold” winnings of 176, 22 and 12 blots of ink. So just let me know if you want a mug or a shirt, guys.

One entry among the honorable mentions violated the rules, I know: Howard Walderman’s “Ole Nam River” (Mekong Delta Blues), was a three-word term, and I’d said it had to be one or two words. Yeah, but it was really good. And I didn’t notice until late in the game — no doubt because the term was so short that it was definitely in the spirit of the contest. So by imperial fiat, Howard gets a magnet.

Sunday Style editor Lynn Medford loved this week’s results. As she said in an e-mail to me today — which she, typically, wrote entirely in the subject line — “Noels are great!! All winners. My fave, and I cannot explain why: Non-Elvis. Just made me laugh.” So congratulations to Lois Douthitt for making Lynn do her Haw! thing.


EL NO, we wouldn’t give ink to stuff like this:

Camel nose: Well, it’s sure not a toe under that tent (Kevin Dopart).
Porno elbow: A repetitive-motion injury. (Kevin Dopart; Tom Witte)
Conelingus: Eating ice cream lasciviously. (Peter Metrinko; Roy Ashley)
And I guess the Scarletest Letter this week goes to:
Malenog: Semen. (Tom Witte)


For the first time since he started at The Post more than three years ago, I finally had the opportunity to sit down and talk face to face with the executive editor of The Washington Post, Marcus Brauchli. While I knew that the esteemed Mr. B. read the Invitational, I’d figured that it was purely out of a sense of duty, to rule on the propriety of entries — for one thing, he’s famously opposed to crude language appearing in the paper; his rule against using the word “crap” may be the best-known example.

But as I found out over a 45-minute coffee break this past Tuesday, it turns out that Marcus is an actual fan of the Invite! He was delighted with the results of last week’s edible-art contest, and especially enjoys the limericks. And he was even happier to find about the amazing scope of the Invitational — not just as a contest, but as a basis for a whole community: the standings, the brunches; the Flushies awards; Losernet; the Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook; and of course The Style Conversational. (Of course, there are a few things he’d probably be happier NOT to know about.)

But the happiest moment during our chat was when he came out and said this (and said later that yes, I could quote him): “You can count me among the fans of The Style Invitational. You can count on doing it as long as I’m here.” And he’s here to stay.


This year’s Loser Party host, Dion Black, is still waiting for a bunch of RSVPs to the annual Holiday-of-Your-Choice party at his and Jen’s house in the District. It’s early evening (6 to 10) Saturday, Jan. 14; RSVP to Dion at I’ll be there for sure. No, Brauchli’s not invited.

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