Style Invitational Week 1071: A pair of threes — same abbreviation, different meanings


BFS stands for both the Basketball Federation of Slovenia and Belfast International Airport. See our new Pair of Threes contest, Week 1071. (Bob Staake for The Washington Post/staake)
May 8

BFS: Basketball Federation of Slovenia and Belfast International Airport (the IATA code): You don’t want to be caught traveling in either one.

ABC: African Black Coalition and Aerial Bundled Cable: Both aim to bring power to the people.

This week’s contest comes courtesy of Loser Forever Elden Carnahan, also known as the Keeper of the Loser Stats on his Web site, nrars.org. Elden alerted the Empress to a Wikipedia page containing — of course it does! — nothing but thousands of three-letter combinations. Actually, each combination on the page, covering AAA through DZZ, is a link to a list of words and abbreviations represented by those three letters. Elden’s idea is this: Choose two or three entities represented by a single three-letter combination on this page — find it at bit.ly/3letterabs — and say how they are alike or different, as in Elden’s own examples above. The entity could be something abbreviated by the three letters, as above, or it can be a three-letter word or name: “ADS” or “ads,” say. And it doesn’t have to be mentioned in the Wikipedia link, as long as it’s real. But the three letters must fall between AAA and DZZ.

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a fabulously icky back scratcher consisting of a genuine baby alligator foot, complete with scales and claws, impaled on a stick. Driven up from Florida in the car of Loser Nan Reiner.


Well, it’s not as creepy as getting your back scratched by a LIVE alligator foot: This week’s second prize. (Pat Myers/The Washington Post)

Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet, either the Po’ Wit Laureate or Puns of Steel. First Offenders receive a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to losers@washpost.com or, if you were born in the 19th century, fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, May 19; results published June 8 (online June 5). No more than 25 entries per entrant per contest. Include “Week 1071” in your e-mail subject line or it might be ignored as spam. Include your real name, postal address and phone number with your entry. See contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/InvRules. The subhead for this week’s results is by Chris Doyle; the honorable-mentions subhead is by Mark Raffman; the alternative headline in the "next week’s results” line was submitted by both Brad Alexander and Tom Witte. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev, and click “like” on Style Invitational Ink of the Day at bit.ly/inkofday.

The Style Conversational The Empress’s weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. Especially if you plan to enter, check it out at wapo.st/styleconv .

Get thee to a punnery: The results of Week 1067’s change-a-quote contest

In Week 1067, we asked you to change a well-known quote slightly and then attribute it to someone else. The Invite did this contest once before, back in 1998; while a number of fake quotemakers from Week 251 were a lot more famous then than now — Terry Nichols, Cecil Jacobson, Harry Helmsley, even Dan Quayle — others got ink both then and now: perennial Invite fodder Donald Trump, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Bobbitt and, of course, Bill Clinton.

 Among the funny quotes submitted too often for individual credit: “If at first you don’t succeed, pry, pry again” — Barbara Walters, the NSA, Wolf Blitzer, etc.; “You had me at Jello” — Bill Cosby; “Show me the hunny” — Winnie the Pooh. The Empress was ready to give ink to one entry when she realized that it didn’t fit the contest because it didn’t attribute the altered quote to someone else: kudos but no magnet to Mike Gips for “I did not hate sex with that woman” — Bill Clinton.

 Not getting the joke? See the online version of the Invitational at bit.ly/invite1071 for links to many of the original quotes in this week’s results, and the people doing the quoting.

THE WINNER OF THE INKIN’ MEMORIAL

“If you like your wealth care plan, you’ll be able to keep your wealth care plan.” — The GOP (Nan Reiner, Alexandria, Va.)

2nd place and Pest World, the set of Russian-style nesting dolls with household critters painted on them:

“Frankly, Madea don’t give a damn.” Tyler Perry (Doug Frank, Crosby, Tex.)

3rd place:

“Rooghzmeeb.” — John Travolta’s audition for the “Citizen Kane” remake (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

4th place:

“Take, my wife, please!” — Bob McDonnell (Nan Reiner)

BARTLETT’S SPARES: HONORABLE MENTIONS

“All men are cheated equal.” P.T. Barnum (Craig Dysktra, Centreville, Va.)

“I’m the kin of the world!” — Adam (Danielle Nowlin, Woodbridge, Va.)

“I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can do that.” — Stephen Colbert (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

“Thou shalt not admit adultery.” — Bill Clinton (Brad Alexander, Wanneroo, Australia)

“Let meth entertain you.”Vince Gilligan (Nan Reiner)

“Eat two, Brute!” — Brutus’s mother (Rob Cohen, Potomac, Md.)

“Don’t taste me, bro!” — former friend of Jeffrey Dahmer (Bruce Carlson, Alexandria, Va.)

“The rug really tied the groom together” — Joan Rivers commenting on Elton John’s wedding toupee (Steven Steele Cawman, Poughquag, N.Y.; Warren Tanabe, Annapolis, Md.)

“I have no god in this fight” — the family dog (Susan Collins, Charlottesville, Va.)

“I’ll be Bach.” — Peter Schickele (Todd DeLap, Fairfax, Va.)

“First, do no ham.” — Moses (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

“The best things in life are me.” — Kanye West/Donald Trump (Danielle Nowlin; Jim Stiles, Rockville, Md.)

“Omission accomplished!”Rose Mary Woods (Bruce Carlson)

“There are no second acts in American livers.” — O’Neill, Faulkner, Hemingway et al. (Lawrence McGuire)

“Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this ton of pork.” — the U.S. Congress (Miriam Nadel, Vienna, Va.)

“L’état, c’est Ma’s.” — Prince Charles (John O’Byrne, Dublin)

“A thing of beauty is a job forever.” — Cher (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)

“It’s like making candy from a baby.” — Jonathan Swift (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crow.” Johnny Depp (Chris Doyle)

“Mission accompliced!” — Dick Cheney (Frank Osen)

“Here’s licking at you, kid.”Miley Cyrus (Jim Stiles)

“I feel the need — the need for seed!” “Octomom” Nadya Suleman (Sandra Hull, Arlington, Va.)

“There’s no business like ho business” — Heidi Fleiss (Seth Tucker, Washington)

“And we’ve lived Harper Lee ever after.” — J.P. Lippincott and Co., publisher of “To Kill a Mockingbird” [at least until Lippincott was bought out in 1978] (Mae Scanlan, Washington)

“Killjoy was here.” — Women’s Christian Temperance Union (Mae Scanlan)

“After all, tomorrow is another dad.” — Elizabeth Taylor’s offspring (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

“We strut and fret our hora upon the stage.” — the cast of “Fiddler on the Roof” (Phil Frankenfeld, Washington)

“And what is so rare as a day in tune?” — Joe Cocker (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)

“Four scores were seven years ago . . . ” — the Redskins/Capitals/D.C. United (Tom Panther, Springfield, Va.; Nan Reiner; Paul Burnham, Gainesville, Va., respectively)

“Fourscore and seven gears ago . . . ” — Rube Goldberg (Emily Auerswald, Annapolis, a First Offender)

“Mrs. Bobbitt, you’re trying to reduce me.” — Mr. Bobbitt (Eric Bennett, Stephens City, Va.

“We’re going through a period of conspicuous uncoupling.” — Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin (Frank Osen)

“All my children, except one, grow up.” — George H.W. Bush (George Randels, Port Townsend, Wash., a First Offender)

“Blonde. Lame blonde.” — the Human Barbie (Konrad Schwoerke, Durham, N.C.)

“There’s a stocker born every minute.” — Sam Walton (Doug Frank)

“One good fern deserves another.” — Zach Galifianakis (Dave Silberstein, College Park)

“That which does not kill us makes us stranger.”Gary Busey (David Clayton, Alexandria, a First Offender)

“Long time no she.” — Chaz Bono (Chris Doyle)

“Plus ça change, plus c’est les mêmes shows.” — Washington Post TV critic Hank Stuever (Kathy El-Assal, Middleton, Wis.)

“You are my part’s desire.” — Bill Clinton to various ladies (Nan Reiner)

“Well, here’s another fine miss you’ve got me into.” — Casanova (John O’Byrne; Kelly Ronayne, Alexandria, Va.)

And Last: “You’re gonna need a better quote.” — The Empress (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Still running — deadline Monday night: Our “grandfoals” contest: See bit.ly/invite1070.

Next week’s results: An Iffy Proposition, or Jest Suppose, our contest in which you get to state what your first act would be if you were a particular powerful person. See bit.ly/invite1068.

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