Back to previous page


Post Most

Style Invitational Week 1009: What’s in a name, plus the winning super- (and not-so-super-) heroes

By ,

Rick Santorum: It’s a crisis! Am I crass? I’m not. Man ’n’ man is tantamount to man ’n’ mutt. To man ’n’ cat. To man ’n’ rat. To man ’n’ trout! TO MAN ’n’ STORK!!! ICK! (Daniel Mauer)

As the Empress continued to dip into the archives to dig up classics for the Invite’s 20th-anniversary retrospective — look here in two weeks — she couldn’t wait to give another go to this contest, one that yielded some of our best results ever in both Week 341 (2002) and Week 617 (2005). [See the results of those contests here.]: Write something about some person, real or fictional, using only the letters in the person’s name, as in the example above from 2005 (yes, Santorum has been very good to the ’Vite for many years). You might use the person’s middle name if the person uses it himself, or a woman’s maiden name along with her married name, or “Jr.,” or, ahem, “III,” but not a title or description along with the name. Obviously, it’s less impressive to come up with something from a long, long name. You don’t have to use all the letters, and you may use any letter in the name as often as you like. Really long passages have to be worth the space; you don’t get brownie points just for generating a zillion ho-hum words.

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln-statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a fabulous coin purse made from a genuine Australian cane toad. Donated by not-yet-a-Loser Marilyn London.

Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for “My Cup Punneth Over” mug or the ardently desired Grossery Bag (“Almost Valuable Player”). Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders receive a smelly, tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to losers@washpost.com or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday night, Feb. 25; results published March 17 (online March 14). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1009” 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/inviterules. The subhead for this week’s honorable mentions is by Tom Witte; the alternative headline in the “next week’s results” line is by Beverley Sharp. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev.

Report from Week 1006

in which we asked you to come up with a novel superhero (or not-so-superhero):

The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial

The Green Intern: Wields extraordinary powers to embarrass and screw up while performing ordinary tasks. (Michael Reinemer, Annandale, Va.)

2. Winner of the Tiny Kung Fu Fighter figure: Stuporman: Activates his Bore-Ring to render criminals unconscious. So why isn’t he heading the Justice Department instead of State? (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

3. Taximan: Can magically hail a cab anytime, in any weather, in any neighborhood — and he’s black. (Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.)

4. Swap Thing: Possesses the power to take a dusty, moldy art box and turn it into a dusty, moldy fly rod. (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

Not so cape-able: honorable mentions

Alablaster: The world’s most powerful PR agent, he can whitewash even a Lindsay Lohan-caliber screw-up. (Christopher Lamora, Guatemala City)

The Amazing Shlärftäg has the power to put together Ikea furniture in a single attempt without losing any pieces. (Steve Goldsmith, Springfield, Va., a First Offender)

Wonkella: She swoops down to identify, frame and analyze public policy problems and create solutions that are always Pareto-optimal and that square values with perfect reflective equilibrium! (Phil Frankenfeld, Washington)

The Peequalizer: Magically changes stadium men’s rooms to ladies’ rooms when the lines are ridiculously disproportionate. (Dottie Gray, Alexandria, Va., a First Offender)

The Trumpeter: Able to (1) blow his own horn, (2) start tall buildings with a single check and (3) stop traffic with his hair. (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)

Bleeperman: Faster than a speeding bull---t! (Larry Yungk, Arlington, Va.)

The DeweyDecimalators: Five battle-hardened, cynical librarians known as the Order of the Shelves guard the Houses of Knowledge against the sons and daughters of Chaos. (Lawrence McGuire)

Mag Neat-o: Can remove the shipping label from a publication without ruining the cover! (Dion Black, Washington)

The Scarlet Taper: He rescues government servants from the curses of efficiency and effectiveness. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

The Flesh: His body transforms simple carbohydrates to harness the awesome force of gravity, powering his struggle to free South Beach from the nefarious Dr. Atkins and his sinister Glycemic Index. (Dudley Thompson, Cary, N.C.)

Eneman: Fleet of, well, ’tain’t feet. (Christopher Larsen, Richmond, Calif.)

SuperScalper: Has the magical ability to get more than face value for Wizards tickets. (Roy Ashley, Washington)

The Applicator: Able to administer an entire dose of hemorrhoid cream into the “affected area” without smearing. (Larry Gray, Union Bridge, Md.)

COMMAndo: Assuring life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by adding serial commas to all sentences lacking them. Then he’ll smile, wave to his fans, and fly off into the vasty blue. (John Shea, Philadelphia)

Irony Man: His Snarc-Reactor-powered suit enables him to effortlessly combat the forces of evil, as soon as he’s finished watching this episode of “Portlandia.” (Andrew Heyman, Chicago, a First Offender)

Miss D’Opportunity: Whispers perfect ripostes in the ears of the just-dissed — too late, of course. (Jeff Brechlin, Eagan, Minn.)

Hit and Missus: A crime-fighting couple able to defeat a few bad guys occasionally. (Konrad Schwoerke, Chapel Hill, N.C.)

Aqua Velva Man: Lives in the ocean and hangs out with fish because women don’t want anything to do with him. (David Genser, Poway, Calif.)

Karma Man: Comes around and bites you in the butt. (Christopher Larsen)

The Prim Reaper: She doesn’t look life-threatening, but . . . (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge, Va.)

Impotento: Don’t even try to [mess] with him! (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)

Mr. Who: Mysterious adventurer who travels through time saving civilizations and correcting cosmic imbalances, but is still working on his dissertation. (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)

Reply-All Man: Able to infuriate dozens with the press of a single finger. (John Glenn, Tyler, Tex.)

Wonder Womb-Man: Has the unfailing ability to spot a woman who happens to have a bit of belly fat, and then ask her “So, when are you due?” (Dion Black)

Yoda Berra: Stymies evildoers by speaking in twisted syntax AND twisted logic: “Over not is it over is it until.” (Gary Crockett)

Scantily Clad Woman: Who cares what her powers are? Just buy the comic, fanboy. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

Yo-Mama: She doesn’t have any superpowers, but she’s had all the superheroes. (Ward Kay, Vienna, Va.)

Supermensch: No powers, to be honest; just a really nice guy. Criminals just give up to be in his company. (Larry Gray)

Visit the online discussion group The Style Conversational, in which the Empress discusses today’s new contest and results along with news about the Loser Community — and you can vote for your favorite among the inking entries, since you no doubt figured the Empress chose the wrong winner. If you’d like an e-mail notification each week when the Invitational and Conversational are posted online, write to the Empress at losers@washpost.com (note that in the subject line) and she’ll add you to the mailing list. And on Facebook, join the far more lively group Style Invitational Devotees and chime in.

Next week’s results: Clue Us In, or Cross Your Har, our Week 1007 backward-crossword contest, in which we gave you a filled-in grid and you got to come up with creative clues.

Still running — deadline Monday night — is our contest to rearrange the words in a movie title. See bit.ly/invite1008.

© The Washington Post Company