Style Conversational Week 1065: It’s March Madness in Loserdom, but just because it’s March


Jeff Contompasis — today’s winner — displays his skill with the Nose Aerobics Basketball he won in Week 1057, surely impressing the other diners at the respectable restaurant. (M.K. Phillips/M.K. Phillips)
March 20, 2014

We, of course, aren’t about to restrict our madness to a mere twelfth of the year. But it was happily fortuitous that Jeff Contompasis got to show off Loserly flair for Nose Aerobics Basketball last Sunday’s Loser brunch. I think we can agree that this fine prize, which Jeff won with this second-place entry in Week 1057, works far better with Jeff than it did with the Empress. And yes, Jeff did quickly master shaking his head just so, so that the “basketball” would land in the basket (three-second video).

The brunch, by the way, was great fun, drawing 22 Losers old and new and the occasional long-suffering governess/or. And our April and May gatherings are special events — see the section farther down the page for info about the April 6 brunch and the May 10 Flushies awards extravaganza (well, at least a vaganza).

Ou the double: The Week 1065 (aka Week 1066 minus 1) contest

Once you clear away the frippery about the Norman Conquest and the Latin/Anglo-Saxon language twinning, we have a fairly standard wordplay contest for Week 1065. I predict that I’ll welcome a wide variety of “A-and-B” phrases, as long as the altered version makes clear what it’s a play on. There should be lots of room for creativity and humor in both the descriptions and the choice of phrases themselves.

The Style Incompletional*: The results of the Week 1061 partial crossword

(*A “noink” alternative headline by Kevin Dopart)

The same could be said for the results of Week 1061: The combinations of letters and blanks invited both clever made-up words and phrases, and clever descriptions of existing ones — and the Empress received many, many examples of both. I couldn’t do a scientific count of the entries this week, but 2,000 would be a conservative estimate: far more people than usual sent the maximum of 25 entries, and I heard from nearly 200 people. I’ll say it now: There were many clever entries that didn’t get ink this week; if yours didn’t, it is because life stinks. Also, I don’t like you.

I judged the contest very systematically: I searched through my combined file of all the entries word by word, usually by clue number. (If you didn’t give the clue number, as I’d asked in the directions, you’re out of luck this week.) This way, I would see various formats that people used in their entries: 12 Down, 12-down 12D, etc., and even those that used the heading DOWN and then listed only 12, 19, 27, etc. Then I could easily compare the various entries and check for duplication. Still, there’s a chance with this many entries that I missed noticing that a certain entry was sent by two people; let me know if yours had identical wording. (I didn’t find out the authors’ names this week until the entries were already on the page — and not till last night for the numerous entries I added for the online Invite.)

It’s hard to top Nose Aerobics Basketball, but I think that Jeff Contompasis will still welcome the Inkin’ Memorial — I believe it’s “only” his second, but he won five Inkers before that (the Bobble-Linc started in Week 966) . Jeff always does well in our crossword contests, and usually gives clues that would work well in actual crosswords, as in this week’s winning definition of “caste” as “role of a lifetime,” and his honorable mention for “seance” (“it may lead to spirited discussion”). Jeff also is very good at clues that turn out to be about the letters in the word, rather than its meaning; his non-inking entries included the excellent “ASH: What it takes to go from being merely fly to truly flashy.”

Another Invite ink-hog, Frank Osen, picks up the 13-year-old “Spam Through the Ages” calendar for his ninth ink “above the fold” since his debut in just Week 938, with 72 blots of ink in all. But it’s a trip straight to the top (or almost-top) for total newcomer Rebecca Reed, who wins her choice of Whole Fools Grossery Bag or Loser Mug, along with her FirStink for her first ink; Rebecca was one of three First Offenders to get ink this week. And Rob Huffman, in fourth place and a regular denizen of the above-the-fold zone, gets Ink No. 74.

With Malitz toward . . . The favorite this week of Sunday Style Editor David Malitz was Yuki Henninger’s “Clingager.”

In 7 days, I don’t know what you’re going to do with yourself

That’s because there won’t be a new contest next weekend. And that’s because, four weeks after that, I’ll be on an eight-day vacation out of the country, So next week’s Invitational will be full of the no doubt wondrous results of the Week 1062 news-poetry contest, and the weekend of April 23-26 will feature various fabulous entries from previous contests that hitherto have been cruelly robbed of ink.

And in a very few weeks, you’ll have to turn some pages

Print -Post readers will, anyway. Sometime in April, the Sunday paper’s Arts section and Sunday Style section will be combined — recombined, actually — into a single broadsheet (full-size paper) section probably to be called Arts & Style. And I was delighted to see that the Invite will have just about as much room as we have on the back page of Sunday Style. This time, though, it will be on an inside page, next to the crossword, and will take up the whole left half of the page, top to bottom. Lonngtime Invite fans might remember that this was the format of the Invite for many years, such as this page from 2005 . But the plan this time is for the results to run side by side with the week’s new contest, so readers — and of course you winners and Losers — can see the inking entries right away. (I’m not sure what the order will be in the online version.) The prototype, which I just saw on Tuesday, is still being tweaked, but I’m very happy with the work of Visuals Editor David Griffin, a longtime Invite reader.

The April almost-Foolish Loser Brunch: April 6

Loser Community Godfather Elden Carnahan has moved the April brunch from the second weekend to the first, which will let us break bread, juice glasses, etc., with some visiting out-of-towners: Catherine Harmon, a popular member of the Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook, will be up from South Carolina, and longtime Invite fan and occasional Loser Michael Kilby will be visiting from Germany! So come on out on Sunday, April 6, to Grevey’s pub, very close to the Beltway at the Route 50 exit in Northern Virginia. Currently it’s set for noon, but Elden might move it earlier if he learns that Grevey’s displays too much of its identity as a noisy sports bar by 12 o’clock. RSVP to Elden here, and he’ll keep you apprised of the correct hour. I plan to be there and it would be great to meet new people as well as see the regulars.

And the Flushies: May 10

If you’re on the Invitational weekly notification list, you’ll be getting an invitation to the Losers’ annual luncheon and award “ceremony,” some of which consists of lobbing rolls of toilet paper across the room. But the Flushies are a lot of fun, and a wonderful time to Meet the Parentheses. It’ll be once again at the Holiday Inn right at the Beltway at Route 1, north of College Park, Md., with plenty of free parking. There’s a nice buffet lunch, a cash bar, and perfectly free entertainment of Loser-penned song parodies.

Square NOT: The unprintables of Week 1061

As usual, please don’t read these if you have any sense of propriety.

19 Across: UNHO: To dismount from a prostitute (Lawrence McGuire)
60 Across: SNATCHICE Telltale sign of frigidity (Jim Lubell)
62 Across: NUTWORKER : A dog cleaning himself (Warren Tanabe)
2 Down: WELNUT: Lance Armstrong’s other one. (Seth Tucker)
12 Down: THISHOLE: Picky prostitute pronouncement. (Kevin Dopart)
31 Down: FLUT: A coquette with follow-through. (Kevin Dopart)

36 Down: ORTHODIX: Circumcised members. (Tom Witte)

And I’m not even spelling this one out:
16 Across (C--TE): Mrs. Kinte of “Roots.” (Elden Carnahan)

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