Five hundred Style Invitational contests ago today, the anonymous Czar had some news to tell. But for a journalist, he sure didn’t get his point across very clearly. His news was that starting with the next week’s contest, Week 536 (Dec. 14, 2003), the Czar would be outta here, replaced by an equally anonymous Empress (I didn’t get named on this page until 2011).
But instead of just telling readers, the Czar offered a contest: He had Bob Staake draw five cartoons, each featuring Bob looking insane, along with something cryptic going on. The contest: Explain what news Bob was trying to communicate. Here are the results. Nobody guessed that the cartoon with Sistine Chapel Adam all alone meant “the Creator has disappeared!” (the Czar was not excessively modest), but as always, there were plenty of funny, better answers, which you can see by enlarging your screen (click the Ctrl and + keys simultaneously).
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.
Anyway, this is the Empress’s 500th column, and Bob is still here to draw us cryptic cartoons, even if we have no earth-shaking news to report today; as far as we know, Jeff Bezos doesn’t have it in for us yet. This week: Explain what news Bob is trying to tell in any of the drawings above.
Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a super double prize: the fabulous “Eat-a-Bug Cookbook,” featuring lavishly illustrated recipes for such dishes as Sweet and Sour Silkworm and Cream of Katydid Soup; as well as, for those who like their bugs ready to eat, a little box of cheddar-flavored Larvets Worm Snax, identified as “genuine insect larva” and looking a lot like mealworms. The Larvets were donated by Bruce Alter.
Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders receive a smelly, tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to
or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Tuesday, Sept. 3 (you may skip laboring on Labor Day); results published Sept. 22 (online Sept. 19). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1035” 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. The subhead for this week’s honorable mentions is by Kevin Dopart; the alternative headline in the “next week’s results” line is by Chris Doyle. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at
Report from Week 1031
in which we asked you to find pertinent words inside other words or names:
The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial:
Ameri“can”: A butt larger than a size 18. (Barbara Turner, Takoma Park, Md.)
Winner of the Holy Crap brand Canadian cereal:
Linke“din”: A thousand .connection requests from people you’ve never heard of. (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)
3 M“ale”: What’s inside a guy after a night of too much drinking; fe“male”: What’s inside a girl after a night of too much drinking. (Lela Martin, Midlothian, Va., a First Offender)