Cicadas vs. the Rolling Stones: While they both regularly come out of hibernation, the cicadas are noisier.
●A Ferrari Gran Turismo
●A 23-year-old Geo Prizm
●The Dowager Countess
●The new “Great Gatsby”
● Eggplant parmigiana
●The Rolling Stones
●A house-size sinkhole
●An overactive bladder
●A vacation in Pyongyang
●A solar-powered butter churn
●A rash in the shape of Lake Huron
●The National Zucchini Fair
●A giant whoopee cushion
It’s our perennial contest — one we hadn’t done in a year — in which we supply a random list of items, and you explain how any two of them are alike or different. And it really is a random list: The Empress came up with a few (including the Prizm, the wheels of choice of her mother-in-law), and called upon the Loser Community to shout out suggestions (such as the bladder) on the Style Invitational Devotees page on Facebook.
Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln-statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a giant whoopee cushion — deflated, it’s the size of a jumbo pizza — that makes a commensurate noise. Modeled here by the far-from-giant posterior of Theresa Kowal, a six-time Loser and an extremely good sport, who volunteered for the photo shoot at last weekend’s Flushies, the Losers’ annual awards “banquet.” Donated by Nan Reiner.
Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired Grossery Bag. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Tuesday, May 28; results published June 16 (online June 13). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1022” 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 Kevin Dopart; the alternative headline for the “Next week’s contest” results is by Beverley Sharp. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev.
Oops! In last week’s results of our contest for “univocalic” headlines — ones that contained only one of the letters A, E, I, O and U throughout — we let an illegal one slip silently in, so to speak: “Mitt’s Witticism: ‘I Win, Since I’m Still Rich’ ” didn’t have just I’s in it; even after the mistake was pointed out, the Empress had to read it twice to find the disqualifying letter.
Still running — deadline Monday night — is our contest to make new words from sets of ScrabbleGrams letters. See bit.ly/invite1021.
in which we gave you a list of nifty-sounding words coined by contestants in previous neologism contests, and asked you to supply funnier definitions than their authors had sent in.
Troglodate: When he asks if you like clubbing, get the details first. (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)
2. Winner of the “Not Everything Is Flat in Nebraska” T-shirt: Neuternet: It’s best accessed with the EUNUCHS operating system. (Chris Doyle, Kihei, Hawaii)
3. Voldemart: Wal-Mart rebrands for a more positive image. (Tim Livengood, Columbia, Md.)
4. Whombat: A grammarsupial that’s rapidly going extinct. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
Troglodate: His “man cave” is a man cave. (Thomas Calhoun, Bethesda, Md., a First Offender)
Bleedership: The ability to wring the last drop out of your employees. (Pie Snelson, Silver Spring, Md.)
Snafood: What happens when your waiter insists on “memorizing” six meal orders at your table. (Tom Panther, Springfield, Va.)
Testosteroni: Pasta eaten over the kitchen sink and washed down with beer. (Dixon Wragg, Santa Rosa, Calif.)
Testosteroni: The new side-dish mix from the makers of Manwich. (Sally Stokes, Silver Spring, Md., who got her only previous ink 13 years ago)
Testosteroni: The specialty topping at that new pizza place, Papa Johnson’s. (William Kennard, Arlington, Va.)
Smartyr: One who conspicuously doesn’t say, “I told you so,” having perfected the skills of eye-rolling and the irritated sigh. (Pam Sweeney, Burlington, Mass.)
Appology: What Lee offered Grant after their four-year misunderstanding. (Rob Huffman)
Scabinet: A Republican president’s pool of potential nominees for labor secretary. (Mark Eckenwiler, Washington)
Foxic waste: The dramatic physical decline of a once-attractive person. “Did you see that picture of Val Kilmer in the National Enquirer? What a foxic waste!” (Dan O’Day, Alexandria, Va.)
Fedative: Powerful sleep aid manufactured in Washington. “Stop tossing and turning and reach for the Federal Register — now formulated with actuarial tables and 10-year budgetary scoring horizons!” (Michael Reinemer, Annandale, Va.)
Dreamergency: Trying to spend just one more minute with Beyonce before you wake up. (Rob Huffman)
Dreamergency: To an ambulance chaser, it’s a two-bus crash. (Dixon Wragg)
Farticle: What you get when journalists talk out of their other end. “Did you see that farticle in the Drudge Report?” (Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)
Farticle: Phenomenon whose origins are rarely accounted for; generally thought tied to dark matter. (Will Murtha, Washington, a First Offender)
Farticle: The elementary building block of a puon. (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)
Humgram: Type of telegram offered by your mama. And your mama’s mama. (Dixon Wragg)
Humgram: A voice message in which mumbles are substituted for embarrassing words: “Ms. Smith, your husband was found at the mmm with a hmmn, several ummms and a hmhm, and you can pick him up at the station.” (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)
Investicide: Making a killing in the market — your own. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)
Investicide: “Hmm, this e-mail says owl pellet coffee is the next big thing . . .” (Martin Bancroft, Issaquah, Wash.)
Dollege: “Dear Parent: Now that you’ve acquired Felicity, Addie or Samantha, it’s time for your family to start planning her dollege experience! You’ll be happy to learn that American Girl has counselors and financing plans available . . .” (Frank Osen)
Dollege: Barbie’s latest play set comes complete with a sock for its dorm room doorknob, beer bong and morning-after pills. (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)
Whombat: Abbott and Costello’s DH. (Pam Sweeney)
Zomba: Aerobics for the post-aerobic. (Rob Huffman)
Zomba: A device that randomly wanders the floor looking for brains. The one they use on the Senate floor has been wandering for quite some time. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)
Obviass: Any posterior that is face-level on an escalator. (Jeff Brechlin, Eagan, Minn.)
Tattool: A celebrity’s name engraved on an intimate area. “I was going for a Kim Kardashian tattool, but I only had room for a Lil’ Kim.” (Frank Osen)
Tattool: Any writing instrument in the hands of a 3-year-old. (Melissa Balmain)
Pinhibition: The practice of looking all around you to see who’s nearby before beginning your ATM transaction. (Christopher Lamora, Guatemala City)
Agreeorist: An expert witness who is happy to testify for either the prosecution or the defense. (Chris Doyle)
Geriair: Empty space in the seat of an old person’s hitched-up pants. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
Geriair: If you pull Grandpa’s finger, you’ll find out exactly what it is. (Danielle Nowlin, Woodbridge, Va.)
Vermine: It’s rat fur, the new guilt-free fashion trend. (Phyllis Reinhard, East Fallowfield, Pa.)
See the Empress’s online column The Style Conversational (posted late Thursday afternoon), in which she 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 email@example.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: What a Turnoff, or Laughed to Their Own Devices, our Week 1019 contest for what to do during Screen-Free Week.