Here’s an encore of our 2008 homage to the delightfully diabolical “Gashlycrumb Tinies,” Edward Gorey’s famed spoof on Victorian alphabet primers. Gorey’s collection of couplets, which he wrote and illustrated in 1963, evoke a series of children suffered an A-to-Z variety of awful demises; for the Invite’s, we’re open to a variety of irreverent pairings, like Mae Scanlan’s couplet from Week 757 in the example above. Many of that week’s inking entries were pulled from the news of 2008; that’s one reason we’d like to try it again five years later.
This week: Send us some edgy rhyming alphabet-primer couplets. The pairs are AB, CD, EF, GH, IJ, KL, MN, OP, QR, ST, UV, WX and YZ. Feel free to send couplets for all 13 — as usual, you can send 25 entries in all — but there’s no way your entries will run as a complete set, so make sure the couplets work on their own. Gorey, by the way, spent the last decades of his life on Cape Cod, also home to our own deliciously warped artist, Bob Staake.
Ta-da! We announce an Invite milestone that we hadn’t marked since 2009: With his honorable mention last week, Stephen Dudzik of Olney has finally entered the Style Invitational Hall of Fame with his 500th ink, as only the eighth Loser to join the exclusive club (excluded at many fine establishments!). Of this group, the genial mechanical engineer took the longest to get there; his first ink was in Week 7, almost exactly 20 years ago. Through the contest’s history, Steve has been a mainstay of Loserdom; not only has he hosted a number of holiday parties over the years, but he actually let several Losers attend his wedding to wife Lequan in 2000. (We presume the champagne was issued to them in sippy cups.) Below left, Steve poses at this year’s Flushies awards with this week’s second prize: Doody Darts, in which one tosses Velcroed doody-balls at the fabric board. Donated by Loser Nan Reiner, who’s currently 385 entries away from the Hall of Fame, but gaining ground awfully quickly. (Right on Steve’s heels, however, is Elden Carnahan, another Year 1 veteran, with 495 inks.)
Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln-statue bobblehead that is the Style Invitational’s official trophy. Second place gets the Doody Darts, and the 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 Monday, June 10; results published June 30 (online June 27). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1024” 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 was submitted independently by Kevin Dopart, Chris Doyle, Danielle Nowlin and Jeff Contompasis. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev.
Report from Week 1020
our annual “grandfoals” contest, in which the names of the winning “foals” in Week 1016 were bred to one another — a pun contest in which most of the names were puns themselves: In a contest featuring horses named Urine the Money and I See France, you can imagine how many times we got “Ur a Peein’.”