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The Style Invitational

Week 572: The Limerixicon

Sunday, August 22, 2004; Page D02

In my youth, the church candles I'd light.

To the pastor I was always polite.

I looked solemn each minute


(Bob Staake - For The Washington Post)

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But my heart wasn't in it.

I was more of an acolyte lite.

This week's contest salutes -- and perhaps joins in -- the bizarrely ambitious project of Chris J. Strolin of Belleville, Ill., to compile limericks featuring every last word in the dictionary. Chris has a Web site called OEDILF.com, which now officially stands for "The Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick Form." The OEDILF currently contains more than 600 limericks, by Chris (including the one above) and many other contributors -- but all the words he's included so far begin with aa-, ab-, ac- or ad-. (Chris is not a man in a rush; he fully expects the project to take generations.) For this contest, supply a limerick based on any word in the dictionary (except proper nouns) beginning with ai-through ar-. (Don't worry, there are hundreds of words to choose from even in a standard desktop dictionary.) The limerick can define the word, or simply illustrate its meaning. Losers who e-mail their entries will receive details on how to submit them to Chris's site as well. As always, the Empress is partial to exact rhymes and good meter; no, "now" does not rhyme with "renown"; "week" does not rhyme with "tweaks." The lighter the verse, the stricter the rules here.

First-prize winner receives the Inker, the official Style Invitational Trophy. First runner-up wins both an alligator-claw back scratcher, donated by Kevin Cuddihy of Fairfax, and an alligator-head letter opener donated by somebody. Other runners-up win the coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt. Honorable mentions get one of the lusted-after Style Invitational Magnets. One prize per entrant per week. Send your entries by e-mail to losers@washpost.com or by fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Aug. 30. Put the week number in the subject line of your e-mail, or it risks being ignored as spam. Include your name, postal address and phone number with your entry. Contests are judged on the basis of humor and originality. All entries become the property of The Washington Post. Entries may be edited for taste or content. Results will be published Sept. 19. No purchase required for entry. Employees of The Washington Post, and their immediate relatives, are not eligible for prizes. Pseudonymous entries will be disqualified. The revised title for next week's contest was sent in by Tom Witte of Montgomery Village and also by Stephen Dudzik of Olney. The idea for this week's contest came from Seth Brown of North Adams, Mass.

Report from Week 568, in which we asked for plays on book titles. The Empress specifically permitted groaner puns, and groaner puns are what you delivered, in enormous quantity and to a breathtaking extent -- breathtaking in the way that a kidney stone is breathtaking.

Consider yourself warned.

D Fourth Runner-Up: What did Sophocles ask his suspiciously fat dog?

Et a Puss, Rex? (Ken Gallant, Little Rock)

D Third Runner-Up: How's your wife's Spanish?

Lame Is Her "Habla" (Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

D Second Runner-Up: Who was the model for the Mona Lisa?

The Da Vinci Coed (Andy Bassett, New Plymouth, New Zealand)

D First Runner-Up, the winner of a pair of shot glasses from the Hard Rock Cafe of Singapore:

What's the definition of success for a crash test dummy?

Vroom! The Belt Holds (Chris Doyle)

D And the winner of the Inker: Did you hear that the school system demanded a PC

version of the Harper Lee novel?

Tickle a Mockingbird. (Wayne Rodgers, Springfield)

D And a Library of Honorable Mentions:

There's a new chain of fitness centers:

Ab Salon, Ab Salon (Deb Parrish, Fairfax Station)

What category did Mrs. Reagan get on

celebrity trivia night?

Nancy Drew Mysteries (Dave Prevar,

Annapolis)

Who leads your list of supermodels?

I, Claudia (Russell Beland, Springfield)

What was Buckwheat's terse review of "Shrek"?

Donkey Otay (Jon Reiser, Hilton, N.Y.)

What was the original title for "Gilligan's

Island"?

The Odd Asea (Joseph Romm, Washington)

What's Joe Theismann's memoir called?

QB VII (Greg Arnold, Herndon)

E.B. White wrote three classic children's books, but his "Elements of Style" co-author, William Strunk Jr., wrote just one:

Horton Hears a Whom. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

How did James Joyce tell off his critics?

You Wussies. (Jonathan Kaye, Washington)

What did the Bolsheviks call the proletariat, the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia?

The Three Moscow Tiers (Richard

Lempert, Arlington)

How did the famous Mr. Universe commute from Prince William County?

Atlas Slugged. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

When Dad's on the stump, Barbara's an alert listener. What's Jenna?

One Sis Noddin' Off. (Chris Doyle)

What do you get when you cut your finger while slicing your pastrami sandwich?

The Scarlet Pumpernickel (Ben Schwalb, Severna Park)

What did the police use to take the Bobbitt member to the hospital?

Peter Pan. (Jon Reiser)

What command did the bloodthirsty king give to his jouster?

Tenderize the Knight! (Deb Parrish)

What do you get when you leave the top down on your Plymouth during a storm on the Puget?

The Sound in the Fury. (Russ Beland)

What's it called when your kid takes back the Elvis record you bought him?

The Return of the King (Andrea Rowan, Potomac)

What's that new Evel Knievel bio?

Of Human Bandage. (Tom Witte,

Montgomery Village)

Did you hear about the monks who've

started working as dogcatchers?

The Brothers Carry Mutts Off. (Joan M. Sieber, Alexandria)

What does the Michelin guide to

Massachusetts recommend?

The Boss, Tony Inns. (Chris Doyle)

What was your employee number at the Mustang Ranch?

Crotch 22. (Russell Beland)

What did Khrushchev say when he met

Kennedy?

I'm a K, You're a K (Marty McCullen,

Gettysburg, Pa.)

What did Monica call her autobiography?

The Book of Job (Russell Beland)

How do you cheer for someone who sits on his butt all day?

Go, Ass-Callus! (Chris Doyle)

What was even more upsetting than the hanging?

The Executioner's Thong. (Chris Doyle; Tom Witte)

What's the guide they're giving out to NBA players about groupies?

How to Avoid Pro Bait (Peter Metrinko, Plymouth, Minn.)

How did Alexandra ask Nicholas for a night of kinky sex?

Wear the Wild Thing, Czar (Chris Doyle)

And Last:

What 1931 bestseller needs no

smart-alecky setup?

"Boners: Being a Collection of Schoolboy Wisdom, or Knowledge as It Is

Sometimes Written." (Chris Doyle)

Next Week: Murphy's Lore, or Eric the Wed


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