(Click here to skip down to the winning cut-and-paste entries)
A stratospheric butte formed by orthographic perfection eight times over: This year’s “octochamps” each picked up $50,000 in the Scripps National Spelling Bee by clearing round after round flawlessly, as the words became progressively wha??? — until the bee declared them all winners after Round 20.
Every year the critics come out, complaining that the kids wasted sooo much time and effort and money to memorize words they’ll never use. Oh yeah? The whizzes can come right over here.
This week: Write a humorous poem of eight lines or fewer that includes at least one of the words used in Round 9 or later of this year’s bee.
OR: Write a joke in Q&A form that uses at least one of the words.
The complete set of spelling bee words is at wapo.st/spellingbee2019. But if you don’t want to wade through all those words, then use one of the following 20.
(These pronunciations and brief definitions were adapted from those at Merriam-Webster.com. 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.)
auslaut (owss-lout, rhymes with “out”): The final sound in a word or syllable
badderlocks (takes a singular verb): A large brownish-black seaweed eaten as a vegetable in Europe
bougainvillea (boogan-VILL-ya or boogan-VEE-a): A tropical American vine or shrub with bright purple or red flowers
calathos (CAL-a-thahss, rhymes with “toss”): In ancient Egyptian and Greek art, a fruit basket worn on the head as a symbol of fruitfulness
cernuous (sern-u-ous): Describing a pendulous or drooping plant
chocalho (shu-KYE-yu): Merriam-Webster describes this Brazilian rhythm instrument as a rattling gourd, like a maraca, but YouTube videos show that the term is now used for a sort of tambourine on a flat rectangular frame
Cytherean (sith-a-REE-an): Relating to the planet Venus
jacqueminot (jock-mi-NO): Raspberry red
mondegreen (MON-de-green): A phrase, especially in a song, that results from mishearing the real words, such as “the girl with colitis goes by” instead of “the girl with kaleidoscope eyes”
murrain (MUR-ren): An archaic word for a disease afflicting livestock; some Bible translations say murrain attacked cattle in the Fifth Plague in the Book of Exodus
odylic (OH-de-lic): Referring to od, a word coined in the 19th century for a hypothetical power once thought to pervade nature and account for various phenomena, such as magnetism. [From Oxford Living Dictionaries]
omphalopsychite (AHM-phal-o-psy-kite or ahm-pha-LOP-si-kite): one who stares fixedly at one’s navel to induce a mystical trance
palama (PAL-ama): The webbing on the feet of aquatic birds
passepied (pahss-p’YAY): A French courtly dance of the 17th and 18th centuries, similar to a fast minuet
pendeloque (PON-de-lawk), a pear-cut diamond, or a diamond-shaped crystal in a chandelier, etc.
rhathymia (ra-THIGH-mia): The state of being lighthearted or carefree
taurokathapsia (TAW-ra-ka-THAP-sia): An ancient Cretan sport in which a performer grasps the horns of a bull and somersaults over him
tettigoniid (TET-i-GON-i-id): An insect in the family of long-horned grasshoppers
therblig (THER-blig): An individual element involved in completing a mangual task, such as “search,” “find,” “select,”; the backward (mostly) spelling of Gilbreth, the motion study pioneer immortalized in the book “Cheaper by the Dozen.”
urfirnis (oor-furnace): A lustrous paint or glaze found on prehistoric Greek pottery
At least for the poems, you must use the word 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. You may add a title, and the word might appear only in the title.
Submit entries at wapo.st/enter-invite-1335 (all lowercase).
Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a Bacon Odor Two-Pack: a bar of bacon-scented soap plus a bacon-smell car air “freshener.” Both donated ages ago by Loser Pie Snelson.
Other runners-up win our “You Gotta Play to Lose” Loser Mug or our “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, “Too-Weak Notice” or “Certificate of (de)Merit.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). Deadline is Monday night, June 17; results published July 7 in print, July 3 (Wednesday) online. See general contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/InvRules. The headline for this week’s results is by Chris Doyle; Chris also wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev. “Like” the 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.
DELETES WE CAN DO: CUT & PASTE FROM WEEK 1331
In Week 1331 the Empress asked you to find some article in any publication that week, then “accidentally” cut a small block of text from a sentence or headline and/or paste some text from elsewhere in the same article. In the entries below, the cuts are struck out or, if they’re a very few letters, set off in brackets so the deletion is clearer; the pastes are in italics.
First a note: With EIGHT entries published this week, Jesse Frankovich — a sort of James Holzhauer of The Style Invitational — has scored his 500th blot of ink (and more), almost all of it in less than four years, thus rocketing himself into the Invite Hall of Fame. See an interview with Jesse in this week’s Style Conversational at wapo.st/conv1335.
Trump to unveil plan to move immigration toward ‘me[rit]-based’ system. (David Peckarsky, Tucson)
Big[fo]ot sightings have been described in areas across Alabama. (Jesse Frankovich, Grand Ledge, Mich.)
Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, owns
The Washington Post every American between ages 18 and 64. (Eric Nelkin, Silver Spring, Md.)
Our devices steal our attention. We need to
take it back DING.
(Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)
Paint it black and add spikes, president advises engineers of his
border wall White House (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
Paint it black and add spikes, president advises engineers of his
border wall head (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)
“I with my Republican colleagues always want to be supportive of the most cons
ervative candidate who can actually win a race.” (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
Celebrate every type of tart, tangy, salty mom this Mother’s Day with these 7 special recipes (Michelle Christophorou, Guildford, England)
Filings reveal justices’ bit
ter rift on death penal ty members (Duncan Stevens)
With fewer ‘hard [p]asses,’ will it be harder to cover White House? (Gary Crockett; Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)
A guide to 20 inquiries Trump and his [al]lies are working to impede (Kevin Dopart)
Amazon Now Has Machines to Automatically Bo lli x Up Orders (Jesse Frankovich)
As high court overturns 40-year-old ruling, some justices ask what’s
next the Constitution (Elden Carnahan, Laurel, Md.)
rug addicti on is broadly defined as a disease that needs cleansing of the mind, body, and soul. (Jesse Frankovich)
Decorating on a budget, bit by bit? Here’s what these designers would do. Plug-in dimmers. (Marli Melton, Carmel Valley, Calif.)
Disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner’s Weiner’s scandalous saga started in 2011. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)
House passes measure to block
ACA waivers to states a faint glimmer of potential cooperation (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)
mers marke ts booming on Vancouver Island (Jesse Frankovich)
Fox unveils ‘insanely simple’
business model host for prime time slot (Dinah Rokach, Silver Spring, Md.)
He laughed when Martinez t[e]ased him for being a Yankees fan. (Gregory Koch, Falls Church, Va.)
House passes disaster relief bill despite Trump’s opposition to
funding for Puerto Rico American values] (David Peckarsky)
Keanu Reeves’ Impressive Skill Set Takes Centre Stage in John
Wick 3 (Jesse Frankovich)
ser vice can bring us together as a nation (Michelle Christoforou)
She brought her business background to the task: research, resources, problem-solving, kicking and screaming. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
This ‘swimsuit season’ remember
that values t rump appearance (Jeff Contompasis)
Trump takes over Fourth of July celebration, changing its location and inserting himself into
the program portable toilets (Michelle Christophorou)
But two of the top House Republicans on Sunday criticized her use of the phrase “calming feeling,” falsely accusing her of using the phrase to describe her views about
the Holocaust itself top House Republicans. (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)
Calif. to ban
a pesticide, citing effects on infants: “Utter failure.” (Duncan Stevens)
igieg likens Trump’s tweets to ‘grotesque things’ (Ben Aronin, Washington)
[Pl]ant-based Whopper could make orders impossible for small restaurants (Frank Mann, Washington)
U.S. tourism to Cuba doubles after Trump’s ‘full and complete e[mbar]go’ threats (Jesse Frankovich)
We believe our country has a mor
al obligati on to protect public health and our environment. (Jesse Frankovich)
We need good er English teachers (Jesse Frankovich)
Still running — deadline Monday night, June 10: Our contest to make a new phrase from two words in the Mueller report. See wapo.st/invite1334.
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.