This time, at the suggestion of Loser Randy Lee, we’re going to do it again, but further afield: Choose any two or more towns from the 51 countries in Europe/Eurasia and come up with a joint endeavor the “sister cities” would undertake, as in the examples above. And Randy also offers a very nifty tool: At geotargit.com, you can type in any name, and it’ll tell you where in the world there’s a city with that name. (But any source is fine as long as the town shows up on Google.) Which 51 countries exactly? Let’s use the list for Europe at countries-ofthe-world.com. (You may use a town anywhere in Russia or Turkey, even if it’s in the Asian part of that country.) And while I demanded that the U.S. towns be pronounced correctly, this time I’ll be more lenient toward visual puns, especially for less famous towns.
One more thing: In Week 1505, many people went to town (so to speak) with long, unwieldy strings of cities that were supposed to sound like a lengthy phrase or sentence. I’m not forbidding you to do that for Week 1515, but unless they’re very easy for me to read (and of course lederhosen-splittingly funny) I’m going to favor the shorter combinations.
Submit up to 25 entries at wapo.st/enter-invite-1515 (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday night, Nov. 28; results appear Dec. 18 in print, Dec. 15 online. (New entry form this week! The Empress’s life is impossibly exciting.)
Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a “belly button duster,” which looks like a looped toilet brush if the toilet were the size of a walnut shell. It’s not much more than an inch long, so you’ll have plenty of room for more Invite
detritus prizes in the future. Donated by Loser Steve Smith.
Other runners-up win their choice of our “For Best Results, Pour Into Top End” Loser Mug or our “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, “A Small Jester of Appreciation” or “Close, but Ceci N’est Pas un Cigare.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/inviteFAQ. The headline “In‘SI’de Jokes” is by Kevin Dopart; Kevin also wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev; follow Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at bit.ly/inkofday; follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.
The Style Conversational: The Empress’s weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. See this week’s at wapo.st/conv1515.
In‘SI’de jokes: Winning ‘air quotes’ from Week 1511
Week 1511 was another round of our “air quotes” contest to find revealing words inside other words. Among the almost 1,500 entries were a lot of Pat“riots,” too many to credit individually, but blessedly almost no more T“rump” and “fun”eral.
Fist“ICU”ffs: Why it’s not the best idea to confront the guy who took your parking space. (Karen Lambert, Chevy Chase, Md.)
S“ex”ting: How you lost your wife. (Al Lubran, Rockville, Md.)
Marve“lous e”vening!: [Thinks] “What a jerk!” (Ann Martin, Brentwood, Md.)
And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:
“RSV”P: Yes, we’d be delighted! And we’ll be bringing little Makayla — don’t worry, her virus is almost all better.” (Rivka Liss-Levinson, Washington)
C‘ha’ff: Honorable mentions
Dou“bleh”eader: When sitting through one game isn’t boring enough. (Ellen Raphaeli, Falls Church, Va.)
“Bro”ccoli: A nutritious cruciferous vegetable that’s been beer-battered, deep-fried and served with queso dip. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)
D“erring”-do: What follows “hold my beer.” (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)
“Demo”cracy: We have the beta version. Thanks for finding the problems. (Howard Ausden, Damascus, Md.)
Col“ono”scopy: It can’t have been 10 years already — wait, holidays don’t count toward that, right? (Dottie Gray, Alexandria, Va.)
Fir“ST D”ate: I’ll remember this night forever. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)
“End”orsement: A big announcement about breaking ties. “Whoa, that’s another huge ‘end’orsement Ye just picked up.” (Susan Geariety, Menifee, Calif.)
B“ye”-B“ye”: Not waiting for another shoe to drop. — Adidas Group (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
Dis“app”ointment: When you swipe right and they swipe left. (Chris Damm, Charles Town, W.Va.)
Missis“sip”pi River: After month after month of drought, what’s left when the Mighty has fallen. (Steve Smith, Potomac, Md.)
Pre“ten”ding: Photoshopping your dating profile photo. (Pete Morelewicz, Fredericksburg, Va.)
S“edit”ion: [Capitol tourists] having [legitimate political discourse]. (Kevin Dopart; Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
Ae“rofl”ot: The world’s best airline, as voted every year by the Russian Ministry of Transport. (Chris Doyle)
“Hood”wink: “Well, sir, looks like your entire engine needs replacing.” (Karen Lambert)
“LAPD”ogs: Los Angeles’ experimental Shih Tzu K-9 corps was quickly disbanded. (Chris Doyle)
“Lead”ership: Corporate management that doesn’t like to change course, even if it means sinking to the bottom of the sea. (David Kleinbard, Mamaroneck, N.Y.)
“Q”uestions: A way to spread ludicrous disinformation in the guise of inquiry. “How do we know AOC isn’t Vladimir Putin in disguise? Hey, I’m just asking ‘q’uestions here.” (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)
“Fart”her: The correct distance from me after a Tex-Mex meal. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)
G“over”nor: What you get with Virginia’s one-term limit. (Terri Berg Smith, Rockville, Md.)
H“OT C”hocolate: This mood stabilizer doesn’t require a prescription. (Judy Freed, Deerfield Beach, Fla.)
In“flu”encer: An anti-vaxxer who makes you go viral. (Ben Aronin, Washington)
I“dent”ifier: That bumper ding that helps you tell your silver Camry from the other three in your parking lot row. (Scott Richards, Hollywood, Md.)
In“tell”ectual: No, you hadn’t mentioned that you’re a Mensa member — today. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)
Met“averse”: Hand over even more data to Mark Zuckerberg? Count me out. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)
Mort“gag”e: “The interest rate went up to WHAT?” (Karen Lambert)
Mys“elf”: The one person I can count on to get me the perfect Christmas gift. (Steve Smith)
Va“cat”ion: Eat, play, sleep, repeat. (John Klayman, Fairfax, Va.)
“E-ducat”ed: Well versed in cryptocurrency matters. (Byron Miller, Cobble Hill, B.C.)
“Ma”rtyrdom: “You never call.” “Where have I failed?” “What did I do to deserve this?” (Tom Witte)
Academy A“war”ds: Co-hosted by Will Smith and Chris Rock. (Mark Raffman)
An“glop”hile: Someone who loves British dishes like toad in the hole and spotted dick. (Roy Ashley, Washington)
Ron DeS“anti”s: Governor with firm stands on racial progress, science-based policy and Mickey Mouse. (Mark Raffman)
B“ID”et: The next technology after facial recognition. (Steve Baldwin, Bethesda)
B“oz”o: A New Jersey clown who thinks Pennsylvania is the place to shop for crudites. (Kevin Dopart; Chris Doyle)
Bo“redo”m: “I’m sick of beige, honey — let’s paint the living room chartreuse!” (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)
E“arf”ul: What the dog gives you when FedEx comes to the door. (Byron Miller)
F“IRS”tborn: Congratulations, you’ve got a bouncing baby deduction! (Pam Shermeyer, Lathrup Village, Mich.)
Hal“low”een: The Bit O’ Honey and candy corn left in the bottom of the sack. (Joanne Free, Clifton, Va.)
To“xi”c: Unhealthy for China, and the world. (Frank Mann, Washington)
F“utility”: The exercise of trying to get a helpful Verizon person on the line. (Judy Freed)
S“poo”f: Slipping a Baby Ruth bar into the neighborhood pool. (Chris Doyle)
Save A“me”rica: The main beneficiary of the Trump PAC. (Neil Kurland, Elkridge, Md.)
In“stall”er: Now up to excuse No. 7 for why my kitchen renovation’s not done. (Michael Stein, Arlington, Va.)
And Last: C“low”ning Achievement: The top prize from the bottom of all literary awards. (Drew Bennett, Rogers, Ark.)
Still running — deadline Monday night, Nov. 21: Our perennial “Ask Backwards” contest. See wapo.st/invite1514.
DON’T MISS AN INVITE! Sign up here to receive a once-a-week email from the Empress as soon as The Style Invitational and Style Conversational go online every Thursday, complete with links to the columns.
InvisibleInk! Idea:(Randy Lee) Examples:(Jon Gearhart; Bob Staake) Title:(Kevin Dopart) Subhead:(Kevin Dopart) Prize:(Steve Smith) VisibleInk!