Week 725: Beggars For Description

Sunday, August 5, 2007

· Old dog learns new trick.
· When Harry met Sally Forth
· "No, no, Sonia! It was supposed to be a harmonica!"
· Watson discovers Sherlock's secret.
· Bob just wasn't a "word person."
· The Founding Fathers wept.
· A small error in pronunciation can have huge consequences.
· Just remember, no underpants!

Harry Truman is at a table with Sally Forth. She is yammering, "So then Ralph said he thought the department should be reorganized and I pointed out that it was just like a man to blah blah blah . . ."

Harry looks at her balefully. Above his head, in a thought balloon, is a vision of her chair, with a mushroom cloud over it.

A few weeks ago, the Empress received an urgent communique from a figure in her distant past: the Czar of The Style Invitational, who was evidently getting a bit restless out there in "retirement" on the Siberian steppes. "I have a great idea for an Invitational," it burbled with characteristic modesty. "It may be the best and most original and most fantastic in the entire history of the written word."


"What about a REVERSE caption contest? We supply the captions, they come up with what the cartoon should be (just a written summary). Staake draws the winner and runners-up."

The Empress expressed certain reservations, citing the well-established 1,000-to-1 word-picture-worth ratio and possibly using the words "idiotic" and "doomed."

This week: Go ahead, prove the Czar right and the Empress wrong: Describe, without being boring, a cartoon to fit any of the captions given above, as did the Czar in the example above. Bob will indeed draw the winner and runners-up.

Winner receives the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy, plus Bob Staake's signed pencil sketch of the winning entry. Runners-up get Bob's sketches of their entries.

Honorable Mentions (or whatever they're called that 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. 13. Put "Week 725" 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. 1. 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 Dave Prevar. This week's Honorable Mentions name is by Russell Beland.

Report From Week 721

In which we provided these four photos and asked readers to submit pairs of captions: one that would appeal to the wholesome, accessible sensibilities of the Harrisburg Patriot-News, and one that would appeal to The Style Invitational:

4. Photo D:

Patriot-News: "Hmmm, smooth. Maybe I will switch to that four-track razor!"

Style Invitational: "Idiot, you hide the Vaseline behind your own ear!" (Steve Fahey)

3. Photo C:

PN: "I spy with my little eye . . . you!"

SI: The latest in rapper bling: a $2,000 Gucci leather snot rag. (Ned Bent, Oak Hill)

2. The winner of the macho Nestle Yorkie candy bar: Photo B:

PN: It's the "X" men -- up, up and away!

SI: The government's new "Stop at Rail Crossings" campaign had some novel elements. (Russ Taylor, Vienna)

And the Winner of the Inker

Photo B: Patriot-News: In the new "Little Mermaid" ballet, dancers do the "Starfish" piece.

Style Invitational: In the new "Little Mermaid" ballet, dancers do the "Cod" piece. (Ben Aronin, Washington)

The Pale of Two Cities: Honorable Mentions


PN: "We've got to stop meeting like this!"

SI: "We've got to stop meeting like this. My horse is beginning to suspect." (Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

SI: Mary was acutely aware that the new relationship was one of her last, best chances to avoid dying miserable and alone.

PN: Mary had a little llama. (Elwood Fitzner, Valley City, N.D.)

PN: "Just between us girls."

SI: "Dr. Dolittle never told you what else Pushmi-Pullyus have two of . . ." (D.L. Williams, Bethesda)

PN: That llady just made him one llucky llama!

SI: Monica Lewinsky moves up in the world. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

PN: "Ewww! Hairy lips!"

SI: The new Breathallama device twitches its floppy ears when it smells alcohol. (Martin Bancroft, Rochester)

PN: She nose I love her!

SI: "Eat your own boogers, lady." (Martin Bancroft)


PN: "Oh, oh, pick me, Miss DeMille!"

SI: The FBI boot camp was supervised directly by Mr. Hoover. (Russell Beland)

PN: Up With People!

SI: One of the controversial NRA shooting range target series. (Jeff Brechlin, Eagan, Minn.)

PN: If your shorts were that tight, you'd be jumping too!

SI: The Romney campaign explained that the governor returned to square dancing the month after the photo was taken. (Larry Yungk, Arlington)

PN: Let me hear you sing it now: Y-M-C-A!

SI: The finalists in the National Vitruvian Man Competition. (Richard Licata, Wheaton)

SI: Surveyed afterward, 95 percent of the "Family Feud" audience preferred X's displayed on the scoreboard, rather than this human version.

HP: The Patriot-News apologizes for printing the above photo in yesterday's Living section. The editor responsible is no longer with us. (Martin Bancroft)


PN: The "nose" have it!

SI: Rupert Harrison, of 378 N. Oak St., uses his own handmade disguise after budget cuts hit the state Witness Protection Program. (Peter Metrinko, Chantilly)

PN: "I can still see you!"

WP: "I can beat you with one eye tied behind my back." (George Murray, Vienna)

PN: "I could have had a V-8!"

SI: The Olympic Committee has ruled that Wen Liu did indeed cheat in the hide-and-seek medal round. (Dan Colilla, Pittsburgh)

P-N: "Peek-a-boo, I see you."

Style: "Aw, man, that's my brother dancing in Picture B." (Dave Prevar, Annapolis)


HP: Washington may have the Nationals, but Harrisburg has a baseball team called the Senators! (Though we're both in last place.)

SI: After Congressional Night at RFK, Nationals players check each other for earmarks. (Michael Peck, Alexandria)

PN: A Nat swats a gnat.

SI: The only solid hit the Nats got in all night. (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf)

PN: What's wrong with this pitcher?

WP: Viagra won't help, you fool. The doctor said you need a cochlea implant! (Martin Bancroft)

Next Week: Let's Play Nopardy! or Taking 'Nope for an Answer

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