Bob Staake for The Washington Post (The “cantankerous” Captain Hazelwood. )
"Empress" of The Style Invitational, The Washington Post's weekly humor/wordplay contest

(Click here to skip down to the results of the Week 1073 bank head contest. Or just keep reading and you’ll see them.)

“Oh yeah? Well, you try mooring this ship,” Captain Hazelwood said cantankerously. (Lee Giesecke, Week 44, 1994)

“We take stealing very seriously,” Saddam Hussein said offhandedly. (Harold Kerr; J. Neil Killalea)

As the Empress continues to delve into the Paleozoic depths of the Invitational archives, we bring back for the first time this contest from 20 years ago: It’s the venerable Tom Swifty joke, in which someone says or does something with an adverb, or sometimes a verb, relating to the person’s name. (In Week 44, the form was called the “Tom Swiftly” by the Empress’s predecessor, the Czar, logically and, well, ingeniously.)

 The first Invite contest sought jokes “for the ’90s,” as in the two runners-up above from 1994. We hope you’ll find fresh inspiration with more current subjects. So: This week: Give us a novel Tom Swifty, playing on either an adverb, as above, or a verb (e.g., “We care about the little people, the BP chairman gushed”). Warning: It’s going to be hard to come up with something unique this week. Give it your best shot. If some of the swiftest Swifties are sent by many people, we’ll run them with no specific credit.

 Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a shoe-polish-size tin of Magic Poop, donated by Nan Reiner: “It’s soft! It’s hard! It shatters! It melts!” It seems to be putty and is said to be “odor-free,” so except for its being brown, we’re not sure what its poopal qualities actually are. Along the same line, we’ll throw in some Chicken Poop Lip Balm, which is not chicken poop but is lip balm. Donated by Kathy El-Assal.

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 or, if you were born in the 19th century, fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, June 30; results published July 27 (online July 24). No more than 25 entries per entrant per contest. Include “Week 1077” 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 This week’s honorable-mentions subhead is by Kevin Dopart; the alternative headline in the “next week’s results” line is by Tom Witte. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at, and click “like” on Style Invitational Ink of the Day at

^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

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago ...


Week 1073 was our perennial contest — sometimes named Bank Shots — to reinterpret (or comment wryly on) headlines in The Post and other publications by following them with “bank headlines.” Too many people construed “Where’s the local pride gone?” as a story about lions escaping from the zoo.

The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial

Real headline (from The Post’s food section): It’s not much to look at, but this pickle rocks
Bank head: Bill Clinton recounts best pickup line ever (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)

2nd place and the ice cream scoop whose handle is in the shape of Queen Elizabeth II:

Hoskins to depart D.C. for Prince George’s

Lesser-known Snyder team to be renamed Women’s Football Alliance, will play at FedEx Field (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

3rd place

Five interesting things about the Maryland lieutenant governor debate
Okay, we did have to make up three of them
(Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.)

4th place

Putin promises to ‘respect’ vote results
Russian leader’s use of air quotes during press conference worries Kerry (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)


State parks get creative in search of funding
Officials predict ‘Don’t Throw Coins in Lake’ signs will bring huge influx of coins to lake (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)

Strategy shifts on terror stalls
Al-Qaeda not fooled by fake restrooms labeled ‘Jihadists’ (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

‘By the Inch’ at the American Dance Institute
Men’s tights even more revealing than usual in new ballet (Edward Gordon, Austin)

My No-Soap, No-Shampoo, Bacteria-Rich Hygiene Experiment
10 days later, no wife (Jennifer Dickey, Silver Spring)

Pentagon chief calls for checkup on military health care

Told he can get an appointment in 90 days (John Kammer, South Riding)

0% interest for 36 months
Arranged marriages require lengthy adjustment period (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

Castro nominated for HUD
Fox News: ‘Finally, Proof That Obama’s a Communist’ (Chris Doyle, Kihei, Hawaii)

Smart toilets arrive in U.S.
Stupid toilets lured to Moscow with promise they will be used as thrones (Paul Burnham, Gainesville)

Woman graduates college at 99
Procrastinators Anonymous chapter begins search for new president (Danielle Nowlin)

E. coli in water spurs boil alert
Pustules, carbuncles also possible, dermatologists warn (Terri Berg Smith, Rockville; Mae Scanlan, Washington)

Naked man near White House ID’d
Also given extra-long lanyard (Kevin Dopart)

NPR is narrowing its scope
More staffers now expected to opt for free colonoscopies (Roy Ashley, Washington)

Ukrainian troops drive rebels from Donetsk airport
‘We disagree on some things, but it’s nice to use the carpool lane,’ soldier says (Mark Richardson, Takoma Park)

School buses often violate D.C. traffic laws
Metro sees source for new drivers (Steve Brevig, Springfield)

Wasted millions in Mississippi
Smoke blankets state after fire at marijuana farm (Gary Crockett)

Prosecutors seek leniency for hacker
Request was in e-mail that prosecutors don’t remember sending (Gary Crockett)

Senators send letter to NFL on ‘Redskins’
Native Americans VOLUNTEERED to serve as human parchment, lawmaker insists (Mark Raffman, Reston)

Fairfax school plan cuts 720 positions
1-page Kama Sutra approved for HS libraries (Jeff Hazle, Woodbridge; Brendan Beary)

Dish a little dirt
And other new ideas for easy picnic casseroles (Barbara Turner, Takoma Park)

Schlereth: ‘It is time to change the name’
Tired of spelling it out, former Redskin will become ‘Mark Smith’ (Christopher Lamora, Los Angeles)

Brewers slide into rough patch
Anheuser-Busch workers stumble in Clydesdale poop (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.) [this entry was incorrectly credited to another entrant in an earlier version of this column]

Long-suffering Syrians resign themselves to a new Assad term
This time, the word ends with ‘hole’ (Ira Allen, Bethesda)

‘I always anticipate I’ll be back until somebody tells me I’m not’
First draft of “Terminator” script discovered (Gary Crockett)

Cracker Barrel deals with tough customer
‘Rude’ man undergoes surgery to remove pecan log from ear canal (Terri Berg Smith)

Three new elephants arrive at National Zoo after 2,400-mile trip across border
Cabdriver swears he took the shortest route from Virginia (Nan Reiner, Alexandria)

Bloomberg, in speech at Harvard, blasts attempts to ‘repress conservative ideas’
Comments immediately dismissed with derision (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

Hotel guests reusing towels
Mostly in their home bathrooms (Rick Haynes, Boynton Beach, Fla.)

Montgomery high schools to have more police next fall
Commissioner will give bonuses to any who graduate (Bird Waring)

A commencement crib sheet
The right gift for the day-care graduate (Pam Sweeney, Burlington, Mass.)

Wildfire grows, forcing evacuations
Residents say blaze ‘scared the you-know-what out of us’ (Mark Raffman)

Study shows spouses genetically similar
‘Well, duh,’ says Kentucky official (Chris Doyle)

Purcellville officer shoots, kills someone
Next week plans to shoot, kill something (Robyn Carlson, Keyser, W.Va.)

Sharks expand Larry Robinson’s role
Larry’s not just for breakfast anymore’ (Christopher Lamora)

A big push for one of Democrats’ rising stars
Investigator questions Clinton after Elizabeth Warren falls from dais at luncheon (Jeff Hazle; Mae Scanlan)

‘It really is easy when it’s the right one’
‘Orifices: A User’s Manual’ has multi-generational appeal (Kevin Dopart)

A headache that won’t go away
Canada continues to apologize for Justin Bieber (Craig Dykstra, Centreville)

After coup, general vows to create a ‘genuine democracy’ in Thailand
Also promises to ‘start that diet right after I finish this bag of Milk Duds' (Larry Gray, Union Bridge, Md.)

Anti-gay-marriage group gets ethics fine
‘They may get it fine, but they don’t DO it fine,’ rules judge (Michael Jacobs, Columbia)

First lady backs school lunch rules
‘No apples!’ warns Eve (Roy Ashley)

And Last: When it’s not fit to print
How to know your Invite entry will get ink (Kevin Dopart)

Still running — deadline Monday night: Our double-dactyl contest. See

Next week’s results: Parody-Hopping, or Lend Me Your Airs, our contest to write about a movie or stage musical using the tune from another musical. See