(Click here to skip down to the winning questions playing off Shakespeare quotes)
4. All right already, stop washing your hair, you overliteral fool.
This week’s contest was suggested by Stuart Rogers of the Toronto Loser Bureau, which consists of Stuart Rogers and the occasional other nice person. Stuart was inspired by a tweet from someone/thing named Meanwhile in Canada that instructed how to cook a can of soup, with steps including “Immediately slice fingertip on edge of lid” and “Dump cold glob into microwave-safe bowl. Lose appetite.” In that vein: This week: List some “accurate” directions for using some product or completing some task.
Submit entries at the website wapo.st/enter-invite-1279 (all lowercase).
Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a big puffy foamy top hat in psychedelic colors and printed with all sorts of groovy peace signs and flowers and smileys. Willy Wonka would have refused to wear this hat because it was too gaudy. Donated by Dave Prevar and modeled at a recent Loser brunch by Kyle Hendrickson.
Other runners-up win our “You Gotta Play to Lose” Loser Mug or our Grossery Bag, “I Got a B in Punmanship.” Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, “We’ve Seen Better” or “IDiot Card.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). Deadline is Monday night, May 21; results published June 10 (online June 7). See general contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/InvRules. The headline “Good Will Punning” is by Tom Witte; William Kennard wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev. “Like” 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. Especially if you plan to enter, check it out at wapo.st/styleconv.
GOOD WILL PUNNING: THE SHAKESPEAREAN A&Q OF WEEK 1275
In Week 1275 the Empress asked you to quote a line from Shakespeare, then supply a question that quote might answer. Many entries reminded us how often Bardy quotes are regularly used as jokes — “too, too solid flesh” for dieters, “loved not wisely but too well” for STDs, etc. — but as usual, the Loser Community fortunately labour’d to outjest.
A. “Give not this rotten orange to your friend.” (“Much Ado About Nothing”)
Q: “Shall I introduce Donald to my pal Melania?” (Thor Rudebeck, Chicago)
A. “Dog!” (“Troilus and Cressida”)
Q: Mr. President, for your last question on your cognitive assessment: Is this a dog, or a dog? (Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)
A. “By my soul I swear, there is no power in the tongue of man to alter me.” (“The Merchant of Venice”)
Q. What were the sadly inaccurate last words of the Tootsie Pop? (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)
A. "He jests at scars that never felt a wound." ("Romeo and Juliet")
Q, "Why does McCain care about my bone spurs, anyway?" (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)
Which of you shall we say doth love us most? (“King Lear”)
How shall we begin the Cabinet meeting, Mr. President? (Gil Glass, Washington)
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow . . . (“Macbeth”)
Honey, when will you fix the screen door? (Dinah Rokach, Silver Spring, Md.)
I crave your highness’ pardon. (“Antony and Cleopatra”)
What’s the best-selling Hallmark card in Washington these days? (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. (Sonnet 18)
No, seriously. What did you get me for Mother’s Day? (Danielle Nowlin)
Tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones… (“As You Like It”)
Are we all set up for the church scavenger hunt? (Claire Walsh, Herndon, Va.)
Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day, and make me travel forth without my cloak, to let base clouds o’ertake me? (Sonnet 34)
What’s the most common complaint in Topper Shutt’s inbox? (Kathleen DeBold, Burtonsville, Md.)
I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word. (“The Merchant of Venice”)
How did the D.C. Council member respond when his colleague explained the term “anti-Semitism” to him? (Rick Haynes, Boynton Beach, Fla.)
Your means are very slender, and your waste is great. (“Henry IV, Part II”)
Why do I keep running out of toilet paper? (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)
To boot, and boot! (“King Lear”)
What’s the motto of Windows 10? (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)
To sleep — perchance to dream. (“Hamlet”)
What is on Ben Carson’s calendar today? (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)
I’ll not be juggled with. (“Hamlet”)
What did Peter Dinklage say to Shaquille O’Neal? (Duncan Stevens)
Think but this, and all is mended. (“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”)
What is the motto of the Association of Transcendental Plumbers? (Matt Monitto, Bristol, Conn.)
Tush, that’s a wooden thing! (“Henry VI, Part I”)
What answer caused the medical student to flunk the anatomy exam? (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
For my voice, I have lost it with hollaing and singing of anthems. (“Henry IV, Part II”)
What was it like performing with the flu at the Super Bowl, Pink? (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. (“The Merchant of Venice”)
What happens when you flush an airplane toilet? (Gary Crockett)
Never, never, never, never, never. (“King Lear”)
When will you finally get over the fact that Hillary Clinton lost the election? (Robert Schechter)
O, had I but followed the arts! (“Twelfth Night”)
How could I have gotten more student debt? (Gary Crockett)
O, no – it is an ever-fixèd mark. (Sonnet 116)
Thanks again for pet-sitting my cat — a little Resolve cleaned up that accident on the rug, didn’t it? (Brendan Beary)
The end of life cancels all bands. (“Henry IV, Part I”)
Is there anything that can stop the Rolling Stones from touring? (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)
How if I answer no? (“Hamlet”)
Do you always answer a question with another question? (William Kennard, Arlington, Va.)
So let it be with Caesar. (“Julius Caesar”)
Hi, umm, that house salad you ordered? So I checked with the kitchen? And they’re like, out of the Thousand Island? (Brendan Beary)
The poop was beaten gold. (“Antony and Cleopatra,” referring to a deck on Cleopatra’s barge)
What impressed you most about the bathrooms in Trump Tower? (John McCooey, Rehoboth Beach, Del.)
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say. (“King Lear”)
What’s the new slogan for Twitter? (John McCooey)
O that I were a glove upon that hand . . . (“Romeo and Juliet”)
On second thought, Prince Charles, is there another object of Lady Camilla’s that you might wish to be? (Mark Raffman)
Some carry-tale, some please-man, some slight zany,
Some mumble-news, some trencher-knight, some Dick. (“Love’s Labour’s Lost”)
Who’s applying for jobs at the White House these days? (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)
Is she not passing fair? (“The Two Gentleman of Verona”)
What’s Rachel Dolezal up to now? (Roy Ashley, Washington)
The rankest compound of villainous smell that ever offended nostril. (“The Merry Wives of Windsor”)
Hey, what do you think of the new Axe body spray? (Danny Wysong, Crozet, Va.)
The wheel is come full circle. I am here. (“King Lear”)
Whoa, are you seriously a talking hamster? (Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)
As many farewells as be stars in heaven. (“Troilus and Cressida”)
What’s on next week’s White House schedule? (Jeff Contompasis)
So withered, and so wild in their attire, that look not like th’ inhabitants o’ th’ earth. (“Macbeth”)
Wow, you see all sorts of folks at Coachella, don’t you? (Hildy Zampella, Alexandria)
And Last: With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds. (“Richard II”)
How did the Empress reward her children for good grades? (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)
See this week’s Style Conversational (published late afternoon on Thursday, May 10) for more Invite-themed quotes/questions.
Still running — deadline Monday, May 14: our annual “grandfoals” contest. See wapo.st/invite1278.
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.