Glenn Close, cigarless, with chin held proudly. See Bob Staake’s caricature in this week’s Style Invitational at (Presley Ann/Getty Images)

Yay, Week 1292 is Limerixicon Week, a.k.a. Week When I Don’t Have to Come Up With a New Contest Idea Week. Style Invitational limerick contests always draw lots of entries, usually from quite a few newbies as well as the confirmed Loserbards. And since our “Get Your ’Rick Rolling” guidelines are already out there, I’ll instead just share some limericks from early Invite contests that I found when searching for an example for this week’s, which have to prominently feature a word beginning with gl- to go-.

I’m delighted to give an annual shout-out to, Chris Strolin’s herculean project to make a whole dictionary in which each entry is in the form of a limerick, often multiple limericks. On the other hand, my herculean project is to put up funny/clever stuff each week from y’all that readers will enjoy. And so I don’t really care if the limerick defines the word, or uses someone’s first name as the word, etc. I do, however, want to keep closely enough to the spirit of the contest that the word in question doesn’t appear merely in passing.

In the first limerick below, for instance, which was written to feature “daughter,” “glance” is a strongly accented word at the end of a line, and I’d call that valid for this week (were it not already published, that is; entries need to be new material). What I hope I don’t get is the limerick that, say, has the line “I’m going to pull out my hair!” and then is labeled as an entry for “going.”

Like a lamb being led to the slaughter
Or a clam in the hands of an otter,
I haven’t a chance
When she gives me that glance:
Yes, alas, I’m a dad with a daughter.
(Mike Dailey, Week 777, “da-” words)

There was a young lady of Tottenham
Whose blouses contained quite a lottenham,
So the men on her street
Prayed to God for more heat,
Since she stripped off those blouses when hottenham.
(David Alan Brooks, Week 624, be-/bl)

At Oxford, Bill Clinton dug classes,
The campus, the culture, the lasses.
When he told us a tale
(”Ah didn’t inhale”),
He was looking through Rhodes-scholared glasses.
(A classic from Chris Doyle, winner of Week 674, ca-)

Since God is all-knowing, He can
See beforehand what destiny man
In the end must fulfill,
So I had no free will
When I slept with your sister Joanne.
(Chris Doyle, Week 678, Limerick Smackdown: explain a philosophical concept — free will),

If complacency strikes, you may find
That you’re not the industrious kind.
Though your life could be better,
You’re not a go-getter.
But so what? It’s okay, you don’t mind.
(John Shea, Week 726, cl-/co-)

At the precinct, I stopped up the flow on
All the urinals, toilets and so on.
But they’ve none to accuse.
As I left them no clues —
And the cops have got nothing to go on.
(Scott Campisi, Week 726)

The competition may be easier this time around because it probably won’t include any entries from the incomparable limericist and 333-time Loser Mae Scanlan, author of the “Close but no cigar” verse that I ended up choosing for this week’s example. Mae has to go in for a nasty medical procedure this weekend, one that her doctors probably will not reschedule even though this week is the limerick contest, for Pete’s sake. We’ll be thinking of you, Mae.


*Non-inking headline (didn’t fit in the space, even for honorable mentions) by Tom Witte

“For The Style Invitational: ‘The Washington Post is not responsible for entrants suffering other people’s envy, their fearful stares, or their curious looks. Sometimes, the head-wagging of acquaintances may occur. Audible sighs from puzzled readers have been reported. In extreme cases, readers may mistake published bits as the writer’s autobiography in installments. Should an entrant suffer such an episode, he or she should immediately consult the Empress. She will document it in the Style Conversational, further embarrassing said humorist. Now, do you still want to enter?’ ”

The above entry for Week 1288 gets no Invite ink for (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.), but at least he gets a chance to share the woes of his personal life in this column, as he so often does in the 246 blots of ink that surely constitute a confessional memoir. Even though he lives in the greater Washington area, Lawrence remains the highest-scoring Loser never to have shown up at an Invitational event, so I’m glad that he’s getting all that Invite-attention elsewhere.

I received plenty of good entries for the contest for disclaimers and product warnings in this week’s contest, most of them spoofing the tone of the real ones that we see on so many labels and ads, and all 35 inking entries (from 22 people) fit on the print page this week.

While this week’s top three Losers are all swimming in Invite ink over the years — Lose Cannoneer Danielle Nowlin wins the contest for the 12th time, and Gary Crockett and Dudley Thompson are perennial denizens of the Losers’ Circle — their combined ink of 813 blots is barely half that of this week’s fourth-place finisher: Russell Beland scores his 1,531st (and 1,532nd) ink, what I think is his first “above the fold” since June 2011. So his new Grossery Bag or Loser Mug can join his 126 other runner-up prizes, not to mention the swag for his 32 wins (his first was in Week 121, 1995).

What Doug Dug: The faves this week of Ace Copy Editor Doug Norwood came from the honorable mentions:

“My paycheck: ‘Warning: Contains peanuts.’ ” (Jesse Frankovich)
Camping toilet: “Do NOT void where prohibited” (Kevin Dopart; Chris Doyle)
On an infant: “Do not refrigerate; however, product may be spoiled while in care of grandparents.” (Dudley Thompson)
Pen: “May not necessarily prevail in a swordfight.” (Tom Witte)

When reading the Invite yesterday, Doug reminded me of something we do need to keep in mind: Suppose, he said, there were a terrible plane crash between now and Sunday . . . And so while I thought we could risk running Russell Beland’s aircraft disclaimer, I did tame Russell’s “spreading debris and charred body remains over multiple acres” to “spreading its contents . . .” But still, let’s keep our fingers crossed.

(I did not, however, run this one, by Kevin Dopart: “Paper clip: ‘Not recommended for use in Overturned Roe v. Wade dioramas.’ ”) Even though he said it wasn’t recommended.

Some people sent in actual silly warnings they’ve seen on products; “Caution: Contains nuts” on a bag of nuts; “Side effects include drowsiness” in a commercial for sleeping medicine (but really, a side effect?).


This weekend, Friday through Sunday, a dozen or so Losers and various auxiliaries will be infesting various historic sites, restaurants and other town spaces in this year’s Loserfest in Frederick, Md., about 50 miles north of Washington — close enough for most D.C. area folks to make a day trip of it, as the Royal Consort and I will be doing on Saturday (some people are staying in hotels). If you’d like to join us for some of the many activities scheduled by Loserfest Pope (and Frederick resident) Kyle Hendrickson, first go to and click on the “fungenda”; Kyle has tweaked the schedule since posting on the website, but it’ll give you an idea, and then you should contact Kyle at loserfestpope [at] gmail [dot] com to find the real details. The restaurant reservations are probably set, but there are lots of other activities that don’t need rezzes. So I hope to see some of you at perhaps the Monocacy National Battlefield, the promised-to-be-fascinating Civil War Medicine Museum, lunch at JoJo’s, shopping at the “Boutique & Crap Prize Shops” in the historic downtown area; watching the old-fashioned giant-wheel bicycles race down the street; strolling along the Carroll Creek park with its nifty trompe l’oeil paintings in the underpass; and an early dinner at White Rabbit Gastropub. And those are just some of the options; there’s also an escape room on Saturday, a wine festival on Sunday, and more. Pope Kyle does not rest.

And now it’s time to start talking in Hickory-Dickory-Dock rhythm ...