Style Invitational Week 1061: Less taste, more fill-in: a partial crossword. Plus sports fictoids.


For Week 1061, form a word out of any Across or Down set of squares and write a novel clue. (Original crossword by Bob Klahn/CrosSynergy)
February 20

38 Across: AIRPIGS: What you’ll see when the Redskins win the Super Bowl.

38 Across: AIRINGS: All you can blow with an e-cigarette.

A couple of months ago, as we’ve done for several years now, we published a filled-in crossword grid by ace constructor Bob Klahn and asked you to supply your own novel clues for words in the puzzle. This week the Empress again seeks novel clues — and novel words as well.


Rosie Ruiz loses the 1981 Marine Corps Marathon, in Seth Tucker’s winning sports fictoid. (Bob Staake for The Washington Post )

The grid pictured here is the solution to the crossword, also by Bob, that was published online last October. Well, not quite like this, of course: We’ve taken out a bunch of the letters so that you can give us a novel clue for any word or phrase in which the remaining letters fit, across or down. The letters don’t have to form a working crossword; just think about individual across or down words. You may use a real word or phrase, or coin a new one. Please give the location of your word (e.g., “14 Down”). The limit is, as usual, 25 entries. You can write more than one entry for a given word; I don’t care. Your clue doesn’t have to be as short as the ones for real crosswords, but they still shouldn’t be more than eight or 10 words. Bob chose this crossword grid, rather than the one we used most recently, because it had more long words, which will allow for more variety in the entries. (See the original words and answers at bit.ly/klahn1061.)

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a wall-size “Spam Through the Years” calendar, depicting month after month of ads and paraphernalia about the famed canned meatish product. While of course that’s a pretty Loserly prize in itself, it also happens to be a calendar from 2003. BUT! It so happens, notes prize donor Kevin Mellema, a 2003 calendar works like a charm in 2014.

Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. 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, if you were born in the 19th century, fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, March 3; results published March 23 (online March 20). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1061” 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. This week’s honorable-mentions subhead is by Dick Barnes; the alternative headline in the “next week’s results” line is by Danielle Nowlin. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev, and click “like” on Style Invitational Ink of the Day at bit.ly/inkofday.

Report from Week 1057

in which we asked for totally bogus sports trivia:

The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial:

Rosie Ruiz’s hopes for winning the 1981 Marine Corps Marathon were dashed by Metro’s weekend track maintenance on the Orange Line. (Seth Tucker, Washington)

2. Winner of the Nose Aerobics Basketball game: The game of pétanque gets its name from the sound of one of its hollow metal balls striking the head of a Frenchman. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

3. After their tragic experience with Lou Gehrig, the New York Yankees passed on a chance to sign Brian Alzheimer. (Larry McClemons, Annandale, Va., a First Offender)

4. Synchronized swimmers are typically fitted with plastic mouth inserts to ensure that their smiles precisely match. (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)

Struck out swinging: honorable mentions

Jim Thorpe excelled at just about every sport he ever attempted, except horseback riding and archery. (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)

Manure collected from stalls at Churchill Downs has been proven to increase lawn growth by 153 percent vs. regular horse poo. (Dave Komornik, Danville, Va.)

Early in their history, the Yankees were frequent losers to their archrivals, the Yankers. (Steve McClemons, Arlington, Va.)

Hockey was named for the primitive phlegm-based ice-resurfacing methods used before the invention of the Zamboni. (Tim Livengood, Columbia, Md.)

After complaints about the water from local taps, Sochi Olympics organizers ordered a shipment of bottled water from West Virginia. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

Richard Petty drove the entire 1973 Daytona 500 with his left turn signal on. (Eric Bennett, Stephens City, Va.)

In a study of 67 athletes who said they gave 110 percent, it was found that they actually gave an average of only 93.2 percent. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park, Md.)

The last man on a four-man bobsled team is called by a German phrase that means “Hey, guys, wait up!” (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

In the Super Bowl, the end zone touchdown celebrations are pre-recorded. (Rob Cohen, Potomac, Md.)

Before a single design was standardized in 1953, NFL referees could choose from a variety of animal prints. (Craig Ruth, Walkersville, Md., a First Offender)

Under the WWE rules, a wrestler can be fined up to $10,000 for sportsmanlike conduct. (Seth Tucker)

Center Kim Jong Un is averaging 40 points per game for the Pyongyang Tigers. (Jack Goldberg, Alexandria, Va., a First Offender)

After the 1938 Race of the Century, stable grooms at Pimlico made a tidy profit selling souvenir “Sea Biscuits.” (Bruce Alter, Fairfax Station, Va.)

At Stanford, cornerback Richard Sherman was suspended for taunting his lab partner: “I’m the only particle physicist at this table! Eat my muons, punk!” (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Yogi Berra said everything he said except “I didn’t say everything I said.” (Ned Andrews, Damascus, Md.)

NBA Hall of Famer Bill Sharman went on to a lucrative career marketing toilet paper. (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

Skeet shooting originated in Holland when musketeers practiced their aim on passing ice skaters (skjuiters in Dutch). (Dudley Thompson, Cary, N.C.)

McKayla Maroney’s mother regretted never warning her that her face might stick that way. (Danielle Nowlin, Woodbridge, Va.)

While Dan Snyder refuses to change the name of his football team, he is considering renaming FedEx Field “the Napoleon Complex.” (Harry Megaw, Fairfax, Va., a First Offender)

“Sochi” is Russian for “Hello, sailor.” (Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.)

Eight current minor-league baseball mascots are in the Witness Protection Program. (Fred Dawson, Beltsville, Md.)

Heath Shuler is the only professional to have been way out of his league on two teams in the Nation’s Capital. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

ESPN has launched a campaign to establish developmental peewee poker leagues in communities across America. (Mike Harbert, Leesburg, Va.)

Betsy Ross created the first jockstrap using one of her old bras. (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)

“Arnold Schwarzenegger” is German for “massive trunk, tiny acorns.” (Tom Witte)

Ice fishing was a Winter Olympic sport until 1956, when all of the medal-winners tested positive for performance-detracting substances. (Ivars Kuskevics, Takoma Park, Md.)

Jim Brown of the Cleveland Browns set the record for rushing by a player with the same name as his team, breaking the one held by Edward Fortyniners. (Steve McClemons)

Basketball was originally played with peach baskets in a barn, but the most radical change was when someone decided to nail the baskets to poles instead of placing them on the ground. (Roger Dalrymple, Gettysburg, Pa.)

In a nod to game-day reality, the official name for the NFL’s holding penalty is being changed to Failure to Get Away With Holding. (William Joyner, Chapel Hill, N.C.)

A team of kinesiologists has determined conclusively that Bo doesn’t know rhythmic gymnastics. (Kevin Jamison, Gaithersburg, Md.)

The real reason the Redskins will never change their team name is a secret merchandising deal with Nike, evidenced by the Swoosh on the Indian’s cheekbone in the logo. (Mike Harbert)

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s first name is pronounced “Marsha.” (Todd DeLap, Fairfax, Va.)

The Utah NBA team name is not supposed to be “the Jazz,” but the “Utah Jazz”—a colloquialism for the music of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. (Danielle Nowlin)

Kids who play soccer in leagues where they don’t keep score grow up to be commies. No, actually, this one is true. (Tom Witte)

Still running — deadline Monday night: our Bob Staake cartoon caption contest. See bit.ly/invite1060.

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: Eastwood Ho! or Three-Zing Circus, a contest for jokes in the form of “Good/bad/ugly.” See bit.ly/invite1058.

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