House Speaker “Boehner”: it
Reads a bit sexy, but
Spoke, it’s benign.
Which is appropriate,
There is no stiffness: He
Hasn’t the spine.
“Rosie the Riveter”
Turned in her apron to
Work with the guys;
Found that she liked her new
That’s why you have to eat
Frozen pot pies.
(Beverley Sharp, Week 901 obit poem)
The Empress has been in a higgledy-piggledy mood since crashing the West Chester Poetry Conference in the Philadelphia area last weekend. After I gave a talk about song parodies, Genuine Poet Kevin Durkin — who’s also managing editor of the poetry journal Light — asked if the Invite ever did double-dactyl contests, because really, we should. The Empress’s predecessor, the Czar, did do a DD contest — in 1994. So I guess it’s time to give it another go.
The double dactyl is a form invented by writers Anthony Hecht and Paul Pascal on a whim over lunch in Rome in 1951. While this week we’re not following every one of the pair’s many rules — we won't insist, for instance, that the six-syllable word cannot have been used in a previous double dactyl — we’re still not letting you off easy. I’ve asked the Czar himself to put forth the rules for this week’s contest, using his own poem above as an example:
●A double-dactyl poem consists of two mini-stanzas, each with four short lines.
●The first, second and third lines of each stanza each contain six syllables in double-dactyl meter: DUM-dee-dee DUM-dee-dee. The fourth line is just four syllables: DUM-dee-dee-DUM.
●The two DUM-dee-dee-DUM fourth lines have to rhyme with each other.
●The first line must be a rhyming
●The poem must be about a specific person and must include at least some part of his name. (It’s usually in the second line, but we won’t insist.) ●Finally, one line must be a six-syllable word or hyphenated term. And of course, it’s also in the DUM-dee-dee, DUM-dee-dee double-dactyl meter, like “etymologically” in the poem above.
Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place wins a souvenir snow dome from Brussels, featuring a little “Manneken Pis” statue that seems to be producing a fountain of . . . I guess it’s snow. Donated by Continual Snow Globe Donor Cheryl Davis.
Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet, either the Po’ Wit Laureate or Puns of Steel. First Offenders receive a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to email@example.com or, if you were born in the 19th century, fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, June 23; results published July 13 (online July 10). No more than 25 entries per entrant per contest. Include “Week 1076” in your e-mail subject line or it might be ignored as spam. Include your real name, postal address and phone number with your entry. See contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/InvRules. This week’s honorable-mentions subhead is by Jeff Contompasis; the alternative headline in the “next week’s results” line is by Tom Witte. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev, and click “like” on Style Invitational Ink of the Day at bit.ly/inkofday.
The Style Conversational The Empress’s weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. Especially if you plan to enter, check it out at wapo.st/styleconv.
Week 1072 was our second contest in which we listed several dozen seven-letter sets from ScrabbleGrams, a word-unscrambling game that appears daily in The Post, and asked you to create new five-, six- or seven-letter terms from any set of letters and define them. (We also welcomed clever definitions of existing words.) There were 42 separate definitions for “vexpert,” while numerous people defined “smirque” as what the French do when they hear your accent.
AAURGJN → Uganja: Country ruled by the surprisingly mellow dictator Weedy Amin. (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)
IYBLPSM → Blimpsy: Talented graffiti artist whose career was cut short by difficulty running from the authorities. (David Ballard, Reston, Va.)
AUEALGB → Gabuela: A granny who can’t keep her boca shut. (Mae Scanlan, Washington)
OIMDGSZ → OMGDS: Socrates’ final text. (Dave Zarrow, Reston, Va.)
(First Offenders are marked with an asterisk)
AEGHTCD → Dechat: Shut up. (Joy Sibley, Fairfax, Va.)
HATEDC: Four hundred members of Congress applied for this D.C. license plate. (Jim Stiles, Rockville, Md.)
AEUHBP → Pheau: Knockoff perfume. (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)
Nitland: Elementary school. (Peyton Coyner, Afton, Va.; Brad Alexander, Wanneroo, Australia)
Nitland: Laos. (Chris Doyle, Kihei, Hawaii)
Nat lid: A hat with a curly W. (Bill Rippey, Montgomery Village, Md.)
Aloham: Meaning “hello, bringer of bacon” and “goodbye, you pig.” (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)
Maolah: The bribe to the Beijing party commissioner. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)
AOAYMND → Moanday: Three days after thanking God for Friday a little too much. (Edward Gordon, Austin)
AA-bulge: The result of eating every time you feel the urge for a drink. (*David Adlerstein, Apalachicola, Fla.)
AA-bulge: The result of choosing too small a bra size. (Hugh Thirlway, The Hague)
Galbeau: Transgender heartthrob (David Ballard)
Glube: What you get if you mix Elmer’s with K-Y Jelly. (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)
Begaul: Try to impress with French expressions. “That pompous jerk kept begauling me with ‘ma cherie.’ (Chris Doyle)
EAYLTGL → Gaytell: The easiest way to get your own TV show when you’re a seventh-round draft pick. (Matt Monitto, Bristol, Conn.)
Ape-ex: The epitome of bad former boyfriends. (Danielle Nowlin)
Pheanex: In your University of Phoenix application essay, close enough. (Gary Crockett)
Vexpert: One who knows which buttons to push. (Mike Gips)
Vexpert: The quicker ticker-offer. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)
Texperv: A Redskins fan in Dallas. (John Shea, Philadelphia)
Ex-perv: A dead man (Alex Jeffrey, Columbia, Md.)
EUEWRLF → Fewrule: The needs of the ultra-rich outweigh the needs of ... who are you again? (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)
Rimsqué: Teetering on the edge of lewdness. “The ‘2 Girls Go Shopping for 1 Cup’ video was only rimsqué.” (Christopher Lamora, Los Angeles)
E-squirm: What you do after confusing “reply” with “reply all.” (*Luci Weigel, Vienna, Va.)
Hitmwa: The kiss of death. (Tom Witte)
Hamwit: Elmer Fudd does Shakespeare! (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)
Whamit: Do-it-yourself TV repair instructions. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
IENMVRN } Nvermin: Mr. Boehner’s nickname for Ms. Pelosi. (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)
Oddrsin: A bizarre fetish, e.g, the compulsion to French-kiss the finger holes in bowling balls. (David Garratt, Silver City, N.M.)
Snordid: Sleazy yet dull. “That reality show ‘Brothel Accountants’ sure is snordid.” (Larry Gray)
Smilby: A photo-bomb. (*Jamie Martindale, McLean)
PMSibyl: The personality you really don’t want to see come out. (Nan Reiner, Alexandria, Va.)
Timsfly: According to the NCAA “Tebow Rule,” messages aren’t allowed there either. (*Thom Link, Washington)
Flymist: What’s left between a rolled-up Post and the window. (*Ken Linder, Arlington)
Hamfort: The Third Little Pig’s abode. (Ginny Cooper, Columbia, Md.)
Homfart: Where no one can hear you steam. (Bob Brown, Alexandria, Va.)
Drag-onn: The fourth volume of a fantasy “epic” (Gerald Diamond, London, Ontario)
NRA-dong: The pistol in your pocket. (Kathy El-Assal, Middleton, Wis.)
OAOERDF → Frodeo: Dragon-wranglin’ and Orc-ropin’ down the shire (Craig Dykstra, Centreville, Va.)
ORHNLGT → Longth: The correspondering measure to an object’s wideitude. — G.W.B., Crawford, Tex. (Brendan Beary)
OEADNHX → Headnox: Where the Three Stooges went to school. (Joanne Free, Clifton, Va.)
OIENZRC → Zero Inc.: Surprisingly candid name for a technology startup. (*Jim Derby, Rockville, Md.)
UAUTMPS → U-Stamp-U: Ill-conceived scheme in which the ticket gates at stadium concerts are replaced by the honor system. (John Kammer, South Riding, Va.)
UEURMRM → Remumu: What Mama Cass used to do at intermission. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)
And last: ORWNWN → Winworn: Weary from dusting all the mugs and bobbleheads in the trophy room.(Ellen Raphaeli, Falls Church, Va.)
Still running — deadline Monday: Our contest for automotive fictoids. See bit.ly/invite1075.
Next week’s results: Mess With (Y)our Heads, or Dismembrance of Things Post, our perennial contest to follow a headline with a “bank head” that changes its meaning. See bit.ly/invite1073.