“He who hath smelt likely dealt this, too, eh?”
A couple of years ago, in Week 848, we broadened your vocabulary — the Style Invitational, after all, is The Post’s go-to source for intellectual edification — with a contest for rhopalic sentences: ones in which each word was one letter longer than the previous one. Four weeks later we turned the process around; that time, the successive words were shorter. Now, Loser Craig Dykstra suggests one more variation: Write a clever passage whose successive words are one letter longer until the middle of the passage, and then become one letter shorter, as in Craig’s 2-3-4-5-6-5-4-3-2 example above —
or vice versa. The passages may be of any length and may be more than one sentence. Compound words joined with hyphens may count as either one or multiple words. A contraction is one word; punctuation doesn’t count as a letter. If the line has an even number of words, the two words in the middle will be of the same length; if it’s an odd number, the longest/shortest word will be right in the middle.
The Style Invitational
The Style Invitational is The Post’s weekly humor/wordplay contest, serving up since 1993 an irreverent mix of highbrow and lowbrow -- haughty and potty -- in genres ranging from neologisms to cartoon captions to elaborate song parodies. A new contest appears at washingtonpost.com/styleinvitational every Friday.
(Bob Staake/For The Washington Post)
Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a genuine copy of Playboy — in braille — which the Library of Congress distributes. It is big and plain white, except for the name and bunny logo on the cover, and it’s one that you do read for the articles — no braille pictures.
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 email@example.com or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Feb. 13; results published March 4 (March 2 online). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 957” 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 Tom Witte; the subhead for this week’s honorable mentions is by Jeff Contompasis. Join the Style Invitational Devotees on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev
Report from Week 953
in which we printed this filled-in crossword grid, by Bob Klahn of the CrosSynergy syndicate, and asked for creative clues to the words and phrases: Some of the words are omitted below, while others get more than one definition. Just as for many challenging crosswords, you have to use mental flexibility to get some of the clues; for example, the clue for ISH requires you to read it as “I ‘sh.’ ” Some of the trickier clues below are explained in brackets, and some clues have links you can click on to put you on the right track. Bob’s actual clues to this crossword included some very clever ones as well; see the list here. .
The winner of the Inker
ADA: Dyslexics Association of America
(Seth Brown, North Adams, Mass.)
Winner of the Tupac and animal-poo decks of cards:
ACADEMY: Last word in the song “My Aca Lies Over the Ocean” (Barbara Turner, Takoma Park, Md.)