The Washington Post

Best of the Style Invitational

Mess With Our Heads, our perennial contest for a “bank head” reinterpreting an actual Post headline:
Post head: Compelling Body of Art
Bank head: Simon Explains Real Reason for Reunion With Garfunkel (Michelle Stupak, Ellicott City, Md., Week 583, 2004)

NASA Breaks Ground With Craft/ Next Time, Agency Plans to Point Rocket Skyward (Mike Hammer, Arlington, Va., Week 583)

American’s Dream Comes True/ Man, 37, Shows Up Naked and Totally Unprepared for Meeting (Michael Levy, Silver Spring, Md., Week 756, 2008)

Ask Backwards, our perennial contest in which we give a list of answers and you give the questions:
A. Dick Cheney but not a training bra. Q. What needs wiring to provide chest support? (Michael Kidwell, Silver Spring, Md., Week 497, 2003)

Week 516 (2003): Unwise things to say in given situations: To a waiter: “You call this lemonade, jerko? It’s barely yellow! Bring me some better stuff!” (Milo Sauer, Fairfax, Va.)

Week 519 (2003): Only-in-Washington pickup lines: Your beauty renders me as powerless as Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton. (Cindy Burnham, Alexandria, Va.)

Week 531 (2003), inspirational statements turned cynical: You can do anything if you want it bad enough. That is why we see so many people who can fly. (Elden Carnahan, Laurel, Md.)

Week 532 (2003), four-word movie pans of a movie or other work:
“I Am Curious (Yellow)”: It was meaty (ocher) (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)

“The Sound of Music”: DOA, dear. (Jeffrey Scharf, Burke, Va.)

Week 537 (2004): Write an irresponsibly sensationalistic headline for an actual Post story: 60 KILOTONS OVER PYONGYANG! (actual headline: “U.S. Sending 60,000 Tons of Food to N. Korea”) (Elden Carnahan, Laurel, Md.)

Week 547 (2004), things an existing brand name would be bad for: Wachovia is a good name for a bank but a bad name for a cemetery. (Michael Cisneros, Centreville, Va.)

Week 551 (2004), feed a phrase into Google’s translation tool, then translate the results into English:
Original: I am the worst president elected ever.
Back from French: I am the worst president never elected. (Kevin N. Mettinger, Warrenton, Va.)

Week 557 (2004): The difference between two people with a common element in their names: Marilyn Monroe vs. Marilyn Quayle: One reputedly slept with Jack Kennedy, and the other has slept with . . . well, he’s no Jack Kennedy. (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

Week 568 (2004): Groaner puns on book titles:Did you hear that the school system demanded a PC version of the Harper Lee novel? “Tickle a Mockingbird.” (Wayne Rodgers, Satellite Beach, Fla.)

Week 580 (2004), combine two countries: The Netherlands + Fiji = Netheriji: I don’t know much about it; I’ve been warned since age 12 not to play with Netherijians. (Brendan Beary)

Week 608 (2005): Snappy answers to rude questions: Do you play basketball? No, do you sumo-wrestle? (Six-foot-tall Beth Morgan, Palo Alto, Calif.)

Week 648 (2006): Stupid questions for product hotlines: To Unilever Corp. “Why do your Dove Bars taste like soap?” (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

Week 669 (2006): Bad advice to new arrivals in the United States: If you are asked, “Do you advocate the overthrow of the U.S. government by force or violence?” the correct answer is “Violence.” (Mark Eckenwiler; Washington)

Week 670 (2006), compare two words differing by one letter:
Bra and bar: Only one of them will open to serve drinks to minors. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park, Md.)

(Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.) Week 688 (2006): Six-word stories: My wife’s suicide note: ungrammatical, naturally. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

Dead Letters, our annual obit-poem contest:
South African leader P.W. Botha:
Apartheid rule is not a way
To gather healthy karma.
I bet that Mr. Botha may
Be heading someplace warma.
(Elwood Fitzner, Valley City, N.D., Week 695, 2007)

Week 698 (2007): Job interview questions: Applicant: “Say, those girls in the photos on your desk, are they seeing anyone? Well, not the fat one, but those other two?” (Russell Beland, Springfield, Va.)

False facts, or “fictoids”: Questionable Journalism, our perennial contest in which you find a sentence in The Post and supply a question that it could answer: Post: They must also not appear partisan. Q. In addition to being partisan, what’s expected of a U.S. attorney? (Russell Beland, Week 706, 2007)

Week 736 (2007): Questions for the “Car Talk” guys: When I get my 2004 Mustang up to about 85 miles an hour, I hear a high-pitched whining off to my right that persists until I wind down to 60. What can I do to shut her up? (Chris Rollins, Cumberland, Md.)

Week 749 (2008): New meanings for existing words: Cremate: Coffee-Mate’s unsuccessful initial brand name. (Kevin Dopart)

Week 794 (2009), Onion-style headlines:Palin Is Prime Cause of 3rd-Quarter Drop in U.S. Jaws, Analysts Say (Phil Frankenfeld, Washington)

Week 805 (2009), bad names for given types of products: A bad name for a candy bar: Herpes Kisses (Cy Gardner, Arlington, Va.)

Week 854 (2010), stereotypical “men are like …”/”women are like” comparisons:
Week 856 (2010), children’s books that will never be published: “You Were Adopted, but You Weren’t Our First Choice” (Beverley Sharp, Washington)

Week 871 (2010), alter a movie title: Four Weldings and a Funeral: A man attaches a set of rocket engines to his Chevy and momentarily achieves his dream of driving a flying car. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Week 891 (2010): Palindrome sentences (allowing for homophones):
Quoth Raven: “Nevermore!” . . . BLAM! . . . Nevermore Raven quoth. (Peter Jenkins, Bethesda, Md.)

Week 900 (2011): “Dear Blank, From Blank” notes: Dear Leonardo: Your fly is open. — Sincerely, Mona Lisa (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)

Week 902 (2011): Put a positive spin on a line from The Post:
Original: Maine’s governor told critics Friday to “kiss my butt” . . .
Spun: Maine’s governor found it in his heart to turn the other cheek . . . (Dixon Wragg, Santa Rosa, Calif.)

Week 923 (2011): New chemical elements: Platitudinum: A metal that becomes more dull each time it is used, yet somehow is never discarded. (Beth Baniszewski, Cambridge, Mass.)

Week 951 (2012), pair a word with itself or its homophone: Fact shun faction: The Fox News Channel lineup. (Kathy Hardis Fraeman, Olney, Md.)

Week 955 (2012), pair a word or phrase with its anagram: Satellite radio salaried toilet: Howard Stern. (Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)

Our perennial contest to compare any two items from a list we supplied:Michael Phelps and Bristol Palin: Each got into trouble after doing some dope. (Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y., Week 972, 2012)

Week 975 (2012), “debunk” a “Sixth Myth” about any of a dozen topics: White people don’t lack rhythm, they just hear a different drummer — and he lacks rhythm. (Tom Witte)

Week 996 (2012), combine two magazines: Astronomy and Astrophysics + Nuclear Physics: Sure, it has pictures of heavenly bodies, but I buy it for the particles. (Gary Crockett)

Be sure to check out the many other segments of this 20th-anniversary Style Invitational retrospective: classic limericks; song parodies; neologisms (new words); horse “breeding” and “joint legislation”; and some of our wackiest prizes. Plus how to enter this week’s new contest, and a look at the Losers and their remarkable subculture. And more! See the index of articles here.

Next: Meet the parentheses: The Losers and their remarkable community.

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