The Style Invitational
The Style Invitational
By the Empress

Style Invitational Week 984: (A)nother (b)rilliant (c)ontest — (d)o (e)nter

Bob Staake for The Washington Post

A badly coiffed Donald egomaniacally fired God. (Mary Lou French, Eveleth, Minn.)

None of presidential quality running, sadly. (Shirley Grossman, McLean)

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.

Archive

The contest is, as obvious from the examples above, to write something whose words begin with consecutive letters of the alphabet. What’s not obvious is that those examples are honorable mentions from the last time we ran this contest — in the election season of 2004. Fortunately for the Invite, Donald Trump’s ego lives on; we could publish a pretty hefty anthology of Trump jokes from the Invitational’s almost two decades of existence. This time around, the Empress is going to be more flexible: You may go backward in the alphabet, and you also may include “a,” “and” and/or “the” out of order in your entry. You may use compound words as either one or two words to suit your purposes. And you may continue from Z on to A and then B, or from A to Z and then Y.

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a classic 18-inch-long rubber chicken (“made of rubber”), the plucked kind with the stretched-out neck, perfectly appropriate for various vaudeville gags but probably not for political dinners. Donated by Loser Phil Frankenfeld.

Other runners-up win their choice of a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt, a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders get a smelly, tree-shaped air “freshener” (Fir Stink for their first ink). E-mail entries to losers@washpost.com or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Aug. 27; results published Sept. 16 (online Sept. 14). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 984” 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/inviterules. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev. The alternative headline for the “next week’s results” line is by Jeff Contompasis.

More honorable mentions from Weeks 967 and 974

The Empress is off on holiday touring her domain this week, so here’s a chance to share some more results of two especially fruitful recent contests: In Week 967 we asked you to overlap two names or phrases into a new term; Week 974 asked for limericks about particular movies, literature or TV shows.

From Week 967

Bottle cap and gown: Many a graduate’s attire. (Pam Sweeney, Burlington, Mass.)

Mobile home on the range: A tepee. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

Nuclear Winter Games: They feature the three-legged marathon. (Barbara Turner, Takoma Park, Md.)

Tube-topsy-turvy: Wardrobe malfunction. (Pie Snelson, Silver Spring, Md.)

Virgin Atlantickle Me Elmo: TSA-speak for a passenger who actually enjoys body searches. (Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)

Bite the dust bunny: To be done in by a lover’s angry spouse after you’re discovered hiding under the bed. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va..)

Cheez Whiz-kid: Someone who can recite all 29 ingredients of the stuff. (Heather Spence, New York, a First Offender)

Donner party favors: Gift bags of finger food. (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.; Jeff Hazle, Woodbridge, Va.)

Housing bubble wrap: It’s no fun at all when it pops. (David Genser, Poway, Calif.)

Nuclear winternet dating: Armageddonsome.com. (Nan Reiner, Alexandria, Va.)

Fettucine Alfredonut holes: New from Paula Deen. (Melissa Balmain)

Shotgun marriage of convenience: Mitt Romney and the NRA. (Nan Reiner)

Rock-and-roly-poly: A reunion concert of ’60s bands. (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)

Murphy’s Law of Gravity: What goes up will come down at the worst possible time and place. (Christopher Lamora, Guatemala City)

Village idiot box: TV in a sports bar. (Mel Loftus, Alexandria, Va.)

Double dutch treat: Skipping your half of the check. (J.D. Berry, Springfield, Va.)

From Week 974

To the pessimists, “Alien’s” gore-acts
Are as scary as Thneeds to the Lorax.
But the optimists say,
“Count your blessings each day
That no creature bursts out of your thorax.” (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Fanny Hill was a woman of pleasure
Whose memoirs I always will treasure
For giving such joy
To a curious boy
Of 15 in his room at his leisure. (Chris Doyle)

A Graduate, lacking ambition,
Was approached with a bold proposition.
Mrs. R. was the one
Who proved learning is fun,
And she thoughtfully waived the tuition. (Beverley Sharp)

“The Hunt for Red October”
Captain Ramius fled and was slandered,
But he stuck to his plan, never pandered
In this movie of note
That surpasses “Das Boot”
As the new cinematic sub standard.
(Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

“The Music Man”
Our young ingenue, lovely Marian,
Was a pretty but prim town librarian.
She dreamt of a mate
Who’d be dashing but straight,
But she fell for a con man from Gary, IN.
(Kel Nagel, Salisbury, Md., a First Offender)

Sweeney Todd”
It’s a barber’s and baker’s deceit
In the way they prepared things to eat:
Though their living was tough,
They got by well enough
With a system for making ends meat.
(Kevin Dopart, Washington)

Still running — deadline Monday night — is our Week 983 “Limerixicon IX” contest.
See wapo.st/inv983 .

No Style Conversational this week, because even Empresses get to be shut up once in a while. Usually, though, in The Style Conversational 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. This is really the place to ask the Empress questions and meet the Losers.

Next week’s results: Week, 981, Feeling Testy,or HR de HR HR, a contest asking for funny questions that might be on a qualification exam for a particular job.

 
Read what others are saying