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Correction to This Article
An earlier print version of this article errantly misspelled the name of Jonathan L. Kang. The name was corrected in the online version below.
Week 676: Tour de Fours III

Sunday, August 20, 2006

maleffectual: What your husband becomes when it's his turn to change the baby

eflammatory: describing incendiary blogging

trafle: a dessert that's not kosher

Here's another installment in the Style Invitational Summer Neologism Series, sort of a Breeder's Cup for the word nerd. It follows the contests to coin a new word ending in -ion (Week 665) and combine two halves of different words (Week 671), and it precedes the one to change a word by one letter and define the new word (Week Not Sure Yet). This week: Coin and define a word containing -- with no other letters between them, but in any order you like -- the letters L, E, A and F. It can't be a new definition for a well-known existing word. You can add a hyphen for clarity.

This deluge of neologism must be like a big sampler of candies to Barbara Wallraff, whose "Word Fugitives" column in the Atlantic Monthly (as well as her recent book of the same name) focuses on coined words. In fact, Barbara's book contains a number of classic Invitational entries of past years; you know, maybe she's looking for new material.

Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. First runner-up receives a can of genuine alligator meat "simmered in a Spirited Cajun Gravy," plus a bag of not-genuine Moose Droppings (really chocolates) donated by Elden Carnahan of Laurel.

NOTE: It happened so fast, we couldn't keep up: Last Sunday, Loser Brendan Beary of Great Mills, yet another fine member of our nation's civil service, became the sixth member of the Style Invitational Hall of Fame with his 500th printed entry, joining the Fabulously Pathetic Chuck Smith, Jennifer Hart, Russell Beland, Tom Witte and Chris Doyle. Though Brendan dipped his toe into the ink as far back as 1996, he did not have more than four entries printed in any year until . . . 2003. And then -- boom. Twelve in the previous two weeks, for example.

Other runners-up win a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt. Honorable Mentions (or whatever they're called this week) 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. 28. Put "Week 676" 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. 17. 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 is by Tom Witte. The Honorable Mentions name is by Brendan Beary.

Report From Week 672

In which we asked you to compose overhead highway signs, of no more than three lines, 20 characters per line, that we could "write" on the electric sign on Atom.smasher.org (the winner is depicted here). Too frequently submitted for individual ink: "This Highway Paved With Good Intentions." "This Sign Intentionally Left Blank" and "If You Lived Under This Bridge, You'd Be Homeless."

4

ENTERING NYC
INCREASE
SPEAKING SPEED

(Phil Frankenfeld, Washington)

3

REPORT
PHONE-USING DRIVERS
CALL 202-555-3147

(Mike Connaghan, Alexandria)

2 The winner of "The Worst Picture Ever Painted":

HONK IF YOU'RE
AN IMPATIENT MORON

(Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

And the Winner of the Inker:

And a Few More for the Road

REST STOP CLOSED
CROSS LEGS
NEXT 23 MILES

(Sue Lin Chong, Baltimore)

SHOW US
YOUR HEADLIGHTS!

(Jay Shuck, Minneapolis)

IF YOU LIVED
IN YOUR CAR YOU'D
BE HOME BY NOW

(Elwood Fitzner, Valley City, N.D.)

HAVE YOU
BELTED YOUR KIDS?

(Bird Waring, New York)

WHATEVER YOU DO
DO NOT LOOK IN
YOUR REARVIEW MIRROR

(Bruce Alter, Fairfax Station)

BRAKE! BRAKE!
NEVER MIND.
MY BAD.

(Kevin Mellema, Falls Church)

END ROAD WORK
I MEAN IT.
END IT NOW!

(Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf)

DO THIS
DON'T DO THAT --
CAN'T YOU READ?

(Stephen Litterst, Ithaca, N.Y.; Stephen Dudzik, Olney)

BRINKS TRUCK
SPILL AHEAD
EXPECT DELAYS

(Barbara Turner, Takoma Park)

DETOUR AHEAD:
HARBOR TUNNEL
UNDER WATER

(Marty McCullen, Gettysburg, Pa.)

NON-TEXT PORTIONS
OF THIS MESSAGE
HAVE BEEN REMOVED

(Jay Shuck)

TUNE RADIO TO AM
FOR POOR
SOUND QUALITY

(Russell Beland, Springfield)

KEEP KICKING YOUR
BROTHER -- DAD CANT
TURN THE CAR AROUND

(Jonathan L. Kang, Washington)

HITTING STATE
INSECT: $200 FINE

(Michael G. Peck, Alexandria)

PUT DOWN THE PHONE
NOW AND NO ONE
WILL GET HURT

(Melissa Yorks, Gaithersburg)

3 CAR CRASH AHEAD
1 IS FLIPPED
BEST VIEW LEFT LANE

(Michael Platt, Germantown)

WASHINGTON 1
NEW YORK 229
WP: GLAVINE LP: ORTIZ

(Dan Seidman, Watertown, Mass.)

2 RDS DIVERGE,
SORRY YOU
CANNOT TRAVEL BOTH

(Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

HEY YOU IN THE H2
PULL OVER SO WE
ALL CAN SMACK YOU

(Michael Doughten, Arlington)

ALL LANES
EXACT CHANGE
TOLL 1.95

(David Kleinbard, Jersey City)

HONK IF YOU'RE IN
AN UNMARKED CAR

(Lisa Younce, Key West, Fla.)

YOU IN THE PORSCHE!
YOU GONNA LET THAT
PRIUS PASS YOU?

(Art Grinath)

I'M JUST DOING THIS
TILL I GET A GIG AS
A BROADWAY MARQUEE

(Brendan Beary)

IN CASE OF RAPTURE
HELP YOURSELF TO
UNATTENDED VEHICLES

(Alexander D. Mitchell IV, Baltimore)

ORDER 8X10S NOW
OF YOUR TRAFFIC
VIOLATION PHOTO

(Kevin Dopart)

ROCK 1 MI
FOREIGN POLICY 2 MI
HARD PLACE 3 MI

(Russell Beland)

DAYS SINCE LAST
SIGN-FALLING
ACCIDENT: 02

(Mike Connaghan)

EXITING DC
KEEP FAR RIGHT
NEXT 2500 MI

(Kevin Dopart)

RIGHT LANE ENDS
500 INCHES

(Jon Reiser, Hilton, N.Y.)

SLOW TO 45 MPH
WHEN DROPPING OFF
PASSENGERS

(Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

TIME: 417 PM
-- OR IT WAS WHEN
WE SET THIS THING

(Jay Shuck)

ARE WE THERE YET?
ARE WE THERE YET?
ARE WE THERE YET?

(Joseph Newman, Bethesda)

YOUR WAIT TIME TILL
NEXT ACCIDENT:
APPROX 4 MINUTES

(Brian Fox, Charlottesville)

GAS THIS EXIT --
MUST BE PRE-APPROVED
FOR FINANCING

(Drew Bennett)

COULD SOMEONE
PLEASE EXPLAIN
TODAY'S ZIPPY?

(Jay Shuck)

CONSTRUCTION AHEAD
A BIG DELAY EXPECTED
MEN WRITING HAIKU

(Tiffany Getz, Manassas)

THRU TRAFFIC KEEP LEFT
HAHA! LIKE U R MOVING!
I CRACK MYSELF UP!

(Cheryl Davis, Arlington)

NO HUMMERS
PERMITTED
PLEASE BUCKLE UP

(Art Grinath)

ANY OF YOU KNOW
HOW TO TURN OFF
THE CAPS LOCK?

(Kim Herman, Centreville)

Next Week: Mess With Our Heds, or Black and White and Rude All Over

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