Style Invitational Week 1050: Love the tiny tail stain — an anagram contest; plus bank heads


The latest Style Invitational Grossery Bag, one of two Loser prizes for future third- and fourth-place finishers. (Slogan by Tom Witte; design by Bob Staake for The Washington Post )
December 12, 2013

“I, George Walker Bush, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” . . .

Anagrams to:
“We, Karl Rove and G.W. Bush, do solemnly swear that we’ll faithfully disinfect this here tainted office of President and, to the best of our ability, update the effete Constitution to help us to get elected next time. Yes, sir.” (Chris Doyle, Week 554)

For those not yet into the mind-set, today’s headline is an anagram of The Style Invitational, and just as it did in 2004, it introduces an anagram contest. Even back then, anagram-generating software was readily available online, but while it would (and still will) give you a list of useful words, it doesn’t supply the gobs of creativity and cleverness needed to get ink in this contest, not to mention acing it the way Incredible Loser Chris Doyle did in the 178-character entry above.

Good thing the Empress still has all those gobs to turn to: This week: Create an anagram — a text with the letters rearranged — of any text (except merely someone’s name), of any length, referring to something or someone in the news. You must use every letter in your original exactly once; in other words, think of your text as a pile of Scrabble tiles; then rearrange all those tiles, while adding no others. (You may add any punctuation or capitalization you like.) In fact, for passages of just a few words, you can do just fine with your Scrabble set. But it’s also fine to use such free programs as Anagram Artist by one-time Loser Mike Keith or, for lines of no more than 30 characters, Anagram Genius. And before you send in your entry, I highly recommend you use Anagrammy.com’s easy Anagram Checker, which will tell you if you’ve left out a letter or added a stray one.

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives, commensurate with the effort required for this contest, a leather coin sack — er, sac — made from the scrotum of a kangaroo. Donated to us by Style Invitational Devotee Chris Hansen, who brought it back from Australia. (We gave one of these out before, but it seems that a pair would be fitting.)

Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired Grossery Bag, possibly the new model shown today. 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 fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Dec. 23; results published Jan. 12 (online Jan. 9). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1051” 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 honorable mentions is by William Kennard; the alternative headline in the “next week’s results” line is by Jeff Contompasis. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group — new members get their names anagrammed as a welcome — on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev, and click “like” on Style Invitational Ink of the Day at bit.ly/inkofday.

It’s Grossery Bag 2.0

Pictured above is a mockup of the latest Style Invitational Grossery Bag, one of two Loser prizes for future third- and fourth-place finishers; the slogan is by Hall of Fame Loser Tom Witte, the design for the logo spoof by Bob Staake. We’re just about out of Bag 1.0, “Almost Valuable Player,” Melissa Balmain’s winning entry in 2011 for the bag-slogan contest; Tom’s idea was a runner-up. As opposed to the current cheapo “non-woven polyester,” this bag will be a nice Whole Foodsy cotton.

Report from Week 1047

our perennial “Bank Shots” contest, in which we asked you to find an actual headline, then write a “bank head” that reinterprets the headline or comments wryly on it. This year, however, we opened it up to headlines in any publication, not just The Post; we got heads from everything from the Times of London to the Deming (N.M.) Headlight.

The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial

Actual headline: Parent pressures gay son to change
Bank head: ‘What nice young man would look twice at you in that ratty old sweatshirt?’ mother wonders (Danielle Nowlin, Woodbridge, Va.)

2. Winner of the old copy of Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s 1830 novel “Paul Clifford,” whose opening line is “It was a dark and stormy night”:
Metro to stay open late for Redskins
Honkies, coloreds file discrimination complaint (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)

3. Accepting a medal for the movement
New potty-training ceremony takes self-esteem trend too far, some say (Michael Jacobs, Columbia, Md.)

4. Typhoon survivors await aid in Philippines — in pictures
Disaster victims to receive photos of food and medicine (Brian Allgar, Paris)

Outer banks: honorable mentions

Arkansas offers tourists a much-needed escape
Thousands accept, flee back to home states (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

Bulger begins serving life term
Sentence for wearing too-tight pants is called too severe (Roy Ashley, Washington)

Boys face more danger than girls in womb
Unless womb is in China or India (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Good health, good luck . . . and a lot of horrible losses
‘At least we have 1 out of 3,’ Washington fans console themselves (Steve Honley, Washington)

Katrina. Hitler. Enough.
Kanye, Kim reveal other baby names on their shortlist (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

About 1 million expected to leave Washington area for Thanksgiving
Exactly 535 won’t be welcomed back (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

John Boehner must act on immigration now
But can he find a country that will receive him? (Brad Alexander, Wanneroo, Australia)

FCC will consider allowing cellphone calls on planes
FAA will consider new Dulles departure route right over FCC building (Jonathan Hardis, Gaithersburg, Md.)

Obama health fix creates confusion
President’s physicians have second thoughts on treating his head cold with heroin (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

‘We just . . . had the best time’
Male, female Marine Corps Marathon champs modestly explain why they won (Mae Scanlan, Washington)

Man charged with 4 armed robberies
Fugitive Hindu deity accused of holding up liquor stores (Elden Carnahan, Laurel, Md.; Dave Zarrow, Reston, Va.)

How does a Secret Service bullet get left behind?
‘I don’t know; I was aiming for his right buttock,’ agent says (Roy Ashley)

Media focus on speed has a price: accuracy
Bank Head Goes Here (Gregory Koch, Storrs, Conn.)

A senator’s lonely quest to embarrass Congress
Step 1: Explain concept of embarrassment (Gary Crockett)

Russia pursues performance artist who nailed himself to Red Square in protest
Man ‘amazingly elusive’ for someone fastened to ground (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)

Yellen is poised to win GOP support
McConnell also favors screamin’, holdin’ of breath; Boehner opts for cryin’ (Michael Greene, Alexandria, Va.)

Ted Turner wants to go to heaven
Clarifies: ‘No rush’ (Madeleine Begun Kane, New York)

A big paycheck matters less than you think
Publishers Clearing House to end signature photo-ops (Pam Sweeney, Burlington, Mass.)

Bank jobs fall out of favor
Jewelry stores are easier targets, robbers say (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)

Appeals court rules in favor of Johns Hopkins
Opinion: Public will ‘just have to deal with the S’ (Elden Carnahan; John Shea, Philadelphia)

Saxons topple Bruins
Atholstaf, Ethelred killeth manye bear (Barbara Turner, Takoma Park, Md.)

Three American men put romance at the heart of it
Three out of 140 million sounds about right, U.S. ladies say (Brendan Beary)

Tiny things hurt the Hoyas
Low machismo affects players’ morale; coach bans photographers from locker room (Michael Greene; Brendan Beary; Jeff Shirley, Richmond)

House panel questions flier screens
Senate should not design airplanes, committee concludes after disastrous pressure drop (Barbara Turner)

Next-generation tablets
Placebos accidentally enter birth control pills’ supply chain (Brendan Beary)

Carolina hangs on to win in a controversial finish
Civil War reenactment at Ft. Sumter goes badly awry (Steve Honley)

D.C. mayor weds same-sex couple at city hall
Threesome heads off to honeymoon in undisclosed location (Nan Reiner, Alexandria, Va.)

Health law fracas leaves Congress in limbo
Lawmakers bend over backward to see how low they can go (Mark Raffman)

Athletes can be bullies long after middle school
Long-term career opportunities available for young teens (Bruce Alter, Fairfax Station, Va.)

Federal agency says it will consider pinto abalone for endangered species listing
Rare snail explodes when bumped from behind (Mike Gips)

Incognito attempts to recoup lost pay
‘We can’t write you checks if you won’t tell us your names,’ say exasperated employers (Malcolm Fleschner, Palo Alto, Calif.)

How does all this work?
Pilot’s question prompts copilot to abort takeoff (Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)

Great Odin’s raven! That’s a lot of red ink, Newseum!
Random word generator super fun for writing headlines, WaPo staffers say (Danielle Nowlin)

And last: It’s time to raise D.C.’s minimum wage
SI Losers demand two magnets for honorable mentions (Roy Ashley)

Still running — deadline Monday night: your chance to enter any of the previous year’s contests. See bit.ly/invite1050.

See the Empress’s online column The Style Conversational (published late Thursday), 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, sign up here or 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 there.

Next week’s results: Ask Backwards, or Carnac Knowledge, our perennial contest in which we supply a list of answers and you supply the questions, a la Johnny Carson’s Carnac the Magnificent. See bit.ly/invite1048.

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