(Click here to skip down to the winning and Losing “real” directions on how to do some task or use a product)
Cointise (pronounced kwan-TEEZ), a scarf or handkerchief given by a lady to a knight as a token of favor, to wear in battle or a tournament
Hey there, Lancelot: Get wiser
— and have a dose of dese:
Your lady’s hankies in my visor —
I’m inhaling her cointise.
— Gene Weingarten, Washington Post Po’ Wit Laureate
All that brainpower, all that focus, all that effort: Once again, the competitors in the National Spelling Bee wowed us last week with their ability to spell endless lists of words that nobody uses. So let’s do our part to make some of those words less obscure — to give the kids something to take away from the lists when they age out of the Bee. This week: Write a humorous poem of eight lines or fewer that includes one of the words listed below, all from the 2018 Bee.
The word must be used with its real meaning and pronunciation; you can’t pretend that it’s something else. You may use a slightly different form of the word, such as a plural, adding “-ing,” etc.
These pronunciations and brief definitions were taken from the Scripps National Spelling Bee website; from Merriam-Webster.com; from Dictionary.com; from prounuciation sites and videos; and occasionally from technical sites. If you find an alternative pronunciation or meaning listed online, you may use that if you include a link to that listing with your entry.
amadelphous (AM-a-DEL-phous): Gregarious; tending to live in a flock, herd or community rather than living alone.
ankyloglossia (ankle-o-glossia): A condition in which the tongue has limited movement (usually because of a problem with the frenulum underneath): it’s being literally tongue-tied.
beloid (BEE-loid): Arrow-shaped.
besticulture (BEST-iculture): The exploitation of wild animals for eating (i.e., hunting and fishing).
Bewusstseinslage (be-VOOST-sein-zlaga): A state of consciousness which cannot be associated with any particular sensation. Certainty would be such a sensation, according to the Psychology Dictionary.
bondieuserie (bon-DYU-zerie): Shoddy, banal religious art, or a piece of such art.
carrosserie (ca-ROSS-rie): The carriage or body of an automobile (what sits above the chassis).
catachresis (CAT-a-KREE-sis): The use of the wrong word for the context (sometimes deliberately), such as “literally” to mean “figuratively.”
chaudfroid (show-frwa): A jellied sauce covering cooked meat or fish, served cold.
cointise (kwan-TEEZ): A lady’s scarf or handkerchief worn by a knight on his helmet as a sign of favor.
conchylium (con-CHILL-ium): A mollusk shell.
condottiere (con-di-T’YERE-ee): A mercenary soldier (plural “condottieri,” pronounced roughly the same)
debellation (DEB-el-LA-tion): The act of conquering (to conquer is to debel [de-BEL]).
diploe (DIP-lo-wee): Cancellous (spongy) bony tissue between internal and external skull bone.
draegerman (dray-grr-man): A miner trained in underground rescue.
ecchymosis (ECKy-mosis): A black-and-blue mark, or the formation of one by blood escaping blood vessels under the skin (plural “ecchymoses”).
fourrier (furrier): Precursor.
gelastic (jeh-LAS-tic): Relating to laughter; used medically to refer to a type of seizure sometimes called a “laughing fit.” Also meaning laughable.
grognard (gro-NYAR): An old soldier.
lochetic (lo-KEET-ic): Lying in wait for prey, as a spider waiting for a fly to fall into a web.
mydriasis (me-DRY-asis): Excessive or prolonged dilation of the pupils.
myrmecophagous (MER-me-COFF-agus): Feeding on ants.
pareidolia (PAR-rye-DOLE-ia): The tendency to perceive a meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern (e.g., a Rorschach blot). It’s been used a lot lately to describe how people see sides of buildings, etc., as looking like faces; we expect to see amplifications of such examples in our current googly-eyes contest).
perduellion (per-DU-le-on): Treason, subversion.
propylaeum (PROP-uh-LEE-um): A vestibule serving as the entrance to a temple.
squabash (SKWA-bash): To crush with criticism; lambaste.
succiniferous (SUCK-si-NIF-erous): Yielding amber.
thymiaterion (THIGH-mee-a-TEER-ion): An ancient Greek vessel for burning incense
verrucous (ve-RU-cus): Warty.
vitraillist (VIT-tra-yist): A stained-glass designer or craftsman.
volplane (VAHL-plane): A controlled dive in an airplane, especially with the engine shut off (or as a verb, to make such a dive).
whyos (plural of WHY-oh): Members of a gang of holdup men.
winklepickers (winkle-pickers): Shoes and boots with long, pointy toes, first fashionable among rock-and-roll fans in 1950s England.
Submit entries at the website wapo.st/enter-invite-1283 (all lowercase).
Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives something that, for once, has actual monetary value: It’s a translucent bar of green soap into which is set what looks at first to be rolled-up play money but is actually a little plastic tube holding actual cash — anywhere, according to the box, from $1 to $50. So you can clean up by cleaning up. Donated by Loser Dave Prevar, who’s going to live up to his title if it turns out there’s more than a dollar bill in there.
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, June 18; results published July 8 (online July 5). See general contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/InvRules. The headline “Do Wit Yourself” is by Jesse Frankovich; both Jesse and Bill Dorner submitted 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, published late Thursday afternoon, discusses each new contest and set of results. Especially if you plan to enter, check it out at wapo.st/styleconv.
DO WIT YOURSELF: WINNING ‘REAL’ INSTRUCTIONS FROM WEEK 1279
In Week 1279 we asked you to supply a list of “real” instructions to use a product or accomplish a task. The Loser Community seemed to find it especially daunting to fold bedsheets.
HOW TO DEFEAT AN EVIL WIZARD:
1. Ascertain that the only person who can defeat the wizard is a baby. Leave him on the doorstep of relatives who will resent and mistreat him. Don’t, like, ring the doorbell or talk to them.
2. When the child grows up, do nothing special to train him. Assume that he will have a much more talented friend who will bail him out constantly. Give her no credit or recognition for this.
3. Have the child spend most of his time and energy playing a completely irrelevant and useless game.
4. Eventually arrange to train the child to fight the wizard. Assign the training to someone the child hates, and who hates him, to make it completely ineffective.
5. Eventually announce that you’re telling the child everything. Actually leave out all the most important parts.
6. Die, in a prearranged fashion, without explaining the rest of the story to the child. Assume he’ll get the information via some weird coincidences.
7. After the child eventually defeats the wizard, he’ll forget all of this and name his firstborn after you. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)
HOW TO OPEN A CHILDPROOF MEDICINE BOTTLE:
1. Hold bottle firmly in one hand.
2. With other hand, squeeze sides of top.
3. Try to locate bottle, which has just shot across the room.
4. Repeat Steps 1 and 2.
5. Try to locate eyeglasses in order to read which direction squeezed lid should be turned.
6. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 — and 3.
7. Retrieve bottle from toilet and rinse.
9. Slam with hammer, just to show the bottle who’s boss. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
and the big foamy top hat:
HOW TO TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB:
(Randy Lee, Burke, Va.)
HOW TO MEDITATE:
1. Close your eyes and relax.
2. You're not doing it right. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
HOW TO INSERT A USB PLUG :
1. Attempt to insert plug.
2.Rotate connector 180 degrees.
3. Go to Step 1. (Gil Glass, Washington)
HOW TO RESET YOUR CAR'S CLOCK:
1. Look futilely for some buttons near the clock.
2. Consult the "quick start guide" in the glove compartment.
3. Scan the indexes of the multivolume "owner's manual."
4. Search through aforementioned manual for a picture of the clock.
5. Look at your phone. You wanted to check it anyway. (Larry Carnahan, Peabody, Mass.)
HOW TO APPLY PERFUME:
1. Open fashion magazine . . . (Janelle Gibb, Rockville, Md.)
HOW TO DEAL WITH A VOICEMAIL MENU:
1. Do not "listen carefully," since you won't know whatever options have changed anyway.
2. Press "00000," or for interactive voice response systems, swear like a longshoreman.
3. Say hello to a human operator.
(Note: No. 2 generally works for real.) (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
HOT TO GET CRAFT BEER AT NATIONALS PARK:
1. Buy it at concession stand for $16.
2. Savor it as the Nats make playoffs.
3. Cry in it as Nats are eliminated in heartbreaking loss.
4. Pour remainder of it over celebrating Cubs fan's head. (Bob Kruger, Rockville, Md.)
HOW TO USE A HOME GYM:
1. Get rid of clothes that don't fit, plus anything you never wear, like gym clothes.
2. Organize remaining items by type, color and season.
3. For a tidy look, align clothes by height as you hang them from the pullup bar. (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)
HOW TO SAY "HELLO" TO A NATIVE AMERICAN:
1. Nope, not that way (Mark Raffman)
HOW TO MAKE A BABY:
1. Insert Tab P into Slot V.
2. Repeat as necessary. (J. Larry Schott, West Plains, Mo.)
HOW TO FIX AN ELECTRICAL CIRCUIT IN YOUR HOME:
1. Go online.
2. Under "Search," type in "broken electrical circuit."
3. Identify and contact a company that specializes in fixing broken electrical circuits.
4. Arrange for someone from the company to come out and fix your circuit.
5. After the job is done, pay and thank the person. (Neal Starkman, Seattle)
HOW TO STOP RISING SEA LEVELS
1. Go to the beach.
2. Go in the water.
3. Find a rock.
4. Take it home.
5. Repeat. (Mo Brooks, Alabama) (Kevin Dopart)
HOW TO GRILL A STEAK JUST THE WAY YOU LIKE IT:
1. Preheat grill.
2. Put a steak on the grill
3. After five minutes, turn what's on the grill and put another steak on.
4. Repeat Step 3 eight times.
5. Remove steaks from grill, choose the one that's done how you like it.
6. Discard remaining steaks.
Serves one. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)
HOW TO DRY YOUR HANDS IN A PUBLIC RESTROOM:
1. Wave hands under towel dispenser.
2. When nothing happens, look for crank.
3. With annoying difficulty, turn crank.
4. Wash hands again after touching nasty crank.
5. Pull paper towel.
6. Curse at tiny bit of towel that rips off.
7. Use tiny bit of towel to turn nasty crank more without touching it again.
8. Curse at jammed crank.
9. Eye used paper towels in trash bin.
10. Think better of it.
11. Curse at situation in general.
12. Just leave, as hands have air-dried by now. (Jesse Frankovich, Grand Ledge, Mich.)
HOW TO FOLD A BURRITO:
1. Lay a tortilla flat.
2. Place a mound of filling in the center.
3. Fold it like a diaper.
4. Eww, you’re going to eat that? (Kevin Dopart)
HOW TO PLACE MONEY IN THE CHURCH COLLECTION BASKET:
1. While mouthing all-congregation hymn, reach into wallet and check money.
2. Finding three twenties and a $1 bill, hold basket indecisively for approximately 10 seconds.
3. Fold $1 bill into an unidentifiable square and bury in basket, covering your contribution with someone else’s generous check.
4. Hastily pass basket on. Looking heavenward, continue mouthing hymn. (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)
HOW TO ANAGRAM ANY SERIES OF LETTERS:
EASY! TOOLS IN SOFTWARE ARRANGE THEM! (Jesse Frankovich) [Yes, that’s an anagram for the line above.]
HOW TO WRITE A WASHINGTON POST BOOK REVIEW:
1. Note the title and the author.
2. Write about a somewhat related topic that interests you more.
3. Mention the book again in the final paragraph. (Kevin Dopart)
HOW TO ENTER THE STYLE INVITATIONAL:
1. Devote hours to crafting brilliant jokes.
2. Curate the 25 funniest ones into your entry.
3. Spend the next three weeks planning where to display your Lose Cannon.
4. Eagerly check the online results at 11:30am on Thursday.
5. Congratulate Jesse Frankovich on all his ink.
6. Go to Step 1. (Bill Dorner, Indianapolis)
HOW TO COPE WITH LOSS:
1. Let your pain out. Scream as loud as you can in a solitary place, such as Montana.
2. Share your feelings with others. If you don’t have any friends, well, I’m not that surprised.
3. Shift your focus. Remember the times that you didn’t lose, if there ever were any.
4. Allow time to heal. But not more than a week, because you’re bound to lose again. —The Empress (Jesse Frankovich)
Still running — TWO contests, both deadlined Monday night, June 11:
--Week 1281: Put googly eyes on some object and take a funny photo of it. wapo.st/invite1281
--Week 1282: Write a funny caption for one of four Bob Staake cartoons. wapo.st/invite1282
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.