Style Invitational Week 946: Another round of Bierce — a snarky-definition contest


(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
November 18, 2011

Bore: A person who talks when you want him to listen. (Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary,” 1911)
Singer-songwriter: Anyone who owns a guitar. (Frank Mullen III, The Style Invitational, 2002)


Now in the public domain and available online in its entirety at bitly.com/biercedictionary, Ambrose Bierce’s “Devil’s Dictionary” is a marvelous showcase of the author’s unceasingly cynical wit. One hundred years later, it’s time to add some biting, or at least wry, definitions of our own, as the Greater Loser Community did in the same contest almost a decade ago (read the results here). This week: Write a clever definition of a word, name or multi-word term. (The definition should refer to the actual meaning of the word, rather than a misreading of it, such as “coffee — one who is coughed on”; that’s a different contest.)

Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a fine gray T-shirt playing on the York (Peppermint Pattie) candy logo. Donated right off the back of Loser Dudley Thompson at this year’s Flushies, the Losers’ annual award “banquet.”

Other runners-up win their choice of a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt or yearned-for Loser Mug. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders get 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, Nov. 28; results published Dec. 11 (Dec. 9 online) — just a three-week turnaround this week. No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 946” in your e-mail subject line or it may be ignored as spam. Include your real name, postal address and phone number with your entry. See contest rules and guidelines at washingtonpost.com/styleinvitational. The revised title for next week is by Jeff Contompasis; this week’s honorable-mentions subhead is by Drew Bennett.

Still going on: Laugh-Baked Ideas: The Invitational’s edible-art contest!

The deadline is Nov. 28 to submit your clever gingerbread dioramas and other food-as-humor. See the contest rules here.

Report from Week 942

in which we asked you to supply an idea for a Style Invitational contest that’s so ridiculously restrictive, there would be only one good entry (yours). As predicted, this turned into a groaner-pun-fest — consider yourself warned. By the way, perhaps we’re wrong about some of these proposed contests: Maybe there is a funnier answer out there in one of the categories below. Tell it to us and you’ll win a magnet.

The winner of the Inker

A contest to come up with a name for an older-adult swim diaper. Winner: Deep Ends. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

2. Winner of the deck of cards with various insects pictured on them: A contest to coin a term for the parents of your live-in lover: Sin-laws. (Mark Richardson, Washington)

3. A contest to title a bean casserole cookbook for church and synagogue dinners. Winner: Tooteronomy. (Elwood Fitzner, Valley City, N.D.)

4. A contest to create lines that would have appeared under the Republican candidates’ high school yearbook pictures: Winner: Rick Perry as Most Likely to Secede. (Ward Kay, Vienna, Va.)

One-hit unders: Honorable mentions

A contest to find the best term for the havoc that can be wreaked from a toddler’s car seat. Winner: Minivandalism. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

A contest to name an upbeat sequel to “Les Miserables.” Winner: “Less Miserables.” (Cathy Lamaze, North Potomac, Md.)

A contest to name the mucous-membrane inflammations suffered by France’s Sun King. Winner: Louis Catarrhs. (Mae Scanlan, Washington)

A contest to coin a term for yawning showily as a snide indication that someone is boring. Winner: Snarkolepsy. (Nandini Lal, Bethesda, Md.)

A contest to name Siberia’s answer to Hooters: Winner: Bodacious Tatars. (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)

A contest to come up with a term for a Redskins running back traded because he’s lost a step. Winner: Portoise. (David Garratt, Glenn Dale, Md.)

A contest to name a medical profession specializing in removing one’s foot from one’s mouth. Winner: Bidentistry. (David Garratt)

A contest to name a magazine that features weird old people. Winner: AARPers Bizarre. (Judy Blanchard, Novi, Mich.)

A contest to name the parasite you might get from dining at an Italian restaurant: Pizzeria. (Barry Kistler, St. James, Md., a First Offender)

A contest to change one letter in a national landmark and describe the result. Winner: Mount Tushmore: The 60-foot buttocks of four presidents. (Joe Neff, Warrington, Pa.)

A contest to provide a name for the solicitation of Style Invitational contest ideas. Winner: Crudesourcing. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

And last: A contest to describe Style Invitational entrants’ reaction to a contest requiring them to rearrange the letters A-C-P-R into a four-letter word printable in The Post: CARP. (Christopher Lamora, Guatemala City)

Visit the online discussion group The Style Conversational, where 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: Ask Backwards XXIX, or Ask Backwards XXX (as eagle-eyed Loser Jeff Contompasis noted)

EDIBLE ART: DEADLINE NOV. 28!

You still have another week to enter

the Style Invitational Laugh-Baked Ideas contest for gingerbread and other humorous food creations. See wapo.st/invite1113for details and rules.

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