Style Invitational Week 949: An ‘a is to b’ analogy contest, and devilish definitions


(Bob Staake for The Washington Post )
December 9, 2011

Style Invitational is to Style as funny bone is to funny. (Leonard Greenberg, the Style Invitational, 1995)

Greece is to the euro as Keith Moon was to hotel rooms. (Kevin Dopart, TopFive.com, 2011)

Here’s a contest that (in this form) the Invite hasn’t done in 16 years, but one we saw recently on the humor Web site TopFive.com, where the Invitational’s No. 1 ink-getter for the past five years popped up among the winners. We’ve had other analogy contests, but this one is in the classic old-SAT form. This week: Give us an analogy using “a is to b as x is to y.” Here are the Week 133 results and the TopFive results.

Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives two little bottles of oral magic: From Sylvia Betts of Canada, a pocket “Magic Life-Transforming Breathspray” that promises to make you “look and feel Canadian instantly” (it’s peppermint-, not maple-flavored); and from Nan Reiner of the United States, “Really Positive Energy Breathspray” (“made with ‘real’ unicorn juice!”) that “instantly heightens your inner magnetism.” They’re from the same company.

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 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. 19; results published Jan. 8 (Jan. 6 online). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 949” 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. This week’s contest was suggested by Jeff Contompasis. The revised title for next week is by Chris Doyle, just as it was last week when we accidentally ran it a week early; this week’s honorable-mentions subhead is by Kevin Dopart.

Report from Week 946

in which we asked for cynical, or at least wryly funny, definitions of common words or terms, a la the 1911 “Devil’s Dictionary” by Ambrose Bierce:

The winner of the Inker

Hero: Someone who, in a crisis, exceeds our lowest expectations. (Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)

2. Winner of the “Dork” T-shirt spoofing the York candy logo: Music: Songs you listened to in college. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

3. Grammar: The rules of language as spoken by the generation immediately preceding one’s own. (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)

4. Supercommittee: A committee designed by a committee. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Honorable mentions: Column filler.

Standardized test: A precision tool for measuring how well one performs on standardized tests. (Ann Martin, Bracknell, England)

Occupy: To take or fill up space without actually remembering why. (Mike Caslin, Round Hill, Va.)

Heathen: Person who shares 0 to 99 percent of your religious views. (Alan Hochbaum, Marietta, Ga.)

Baby grand: A bulky black and white object that evolves from a musical instrument into a pedestal for children’s photos. (Yuki Henninger, Vienna, Va.)

Lifestyle: The sum of the things that distract us from the fact that we’re going to die someday. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village)

I ndependent: A voter who likes to let people he doesn’t trust narrow down his choices for him. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

N ew Hampshire primary: Whack weeder. (David Genser, Poway, Calif.)

Hajj: It’s Saudi duty time. (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)

Banker: A gambler who preaches thrift. (Dale Hample, Silver Spring)

Like: A verbal comma unwittingly used by the grammatically challenged as a warning not to mate with them. (Judy Blanchard, Novi, Mich.)

Butt: The sole body part that one fears might look too big in a given pair of trousers. (Robert Schechter)

Walk-in closet: A place to store abundant amounts of “nothing to wear.” (Yuki Henninger)

Kardashian: Someone who wouldn’t be caught dead shopping at the Kardashian Kollection at Sears. (Roy Ashley, Washington)

Victory: A military triumph granted by God to the side with the heaviest battalions. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel, Md.)

Scrawny:Thinner than you. Arrogant: Smarter than you. Greedy: Richer than you. (Melissa Balmain)

Plutocrat: Croesus manager. (John O’Byrne, Dublin, sent while on a cruise to the Azores)

Freedom of religion: Freedom of my religion. (Dave Ferry, Key West, Fla.)

Just sayin’: A phrase used by small-minded idiots who believe that they can make stupid, hateful comments without appearing to be small-minded idiots. Just sayin’. (Larry Gray, Union Bridge, Md.)

Pound: What you can gain by eating one snack, or lose by skipping 100 snacks. (Gary Crockett)

Presidential: Possessing the particular combination of qualities required to play a president on television. (Ash Carter, New York, a First Offender)

Two-minute warning: Announcement made 15 minutes before the end of a football game. (Mel Loftus, Alexandria, Va.)

Terps football fan: Someone who sees the glass as half empty or completely, bone-dry empty. (Jeff Hazle, Woodbridge, Va.)

Tithe: Prayola. (Kevin Dopart)

Yard sale: A public airing of your past purchasing mistakes. (David Kleinbard, Jersey City)

Foreign policy: Alienation-building. (David Garratt, Glenn Dale, Md.)

Yoda: A supposedly super-intelligent creature who could not learn to speak proper English in 900 years. (Elden Carnahan)

Kitchen shears:Perfectly weighted, precision-ground scissors used for cutting open bags of brownie mix. (Melissa Balmain)

Tea party: An afternoon gathering of people who enjoy the refreshments being served but don’t want to pay for them. (Chris Doyle)

American: Someone who’s certain of his place in the world but can’t locate it on a map. (Kevin Dopart)

Angst: White people’s blues. (Tom Witte)

Congress: A house divided that most of us can’t stand. (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)

Flat: The tax structure favored by those who believe it should match the shape of the Earth. (Gary Crockett)

Gesundheit: German word meaning “Stay the heck away from me with that cold.” (Robert Schechter)

Guilt: Letting lies dog. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

Cowardice: The “better depart” of valor. (Chris Doyle)

Husband: A retired boyfriend. (Melissa Balmain)

Scandal: What it’s called when a celebrity gets caught doing something everybody else does. (Tom Witte)

Newt: If he’s elected, we’re eft. (Chris Doyle)

Scientology: FaitH that offErs a traiL to comPlete coMprehEnsion of one’s PersonaL naturE And relationShip tothe universeE. (Mike Gips, undisclosed location in Bethesda, Md.)

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: Laugh-baked ideas, or Ha la carte

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