(Click here to skip down to the winning limericks featuring “gr-” words)

The difference between charred mollusk on a stick and the 50,000 people of Greenland: It’s possible that Denmark would sell out the mollusk.

● A hard Brexit
● A bicycle built for 20
● Charred mollusk on a stick
● The 50,000 people of Greenland
● Albert Einstein’s tongue
● Clown shoe Friday
● Will Shortz
● Jockey shorts
● Hand-marked ballots
● 50-yard-line Redskins tickets
● Bedbugs
● Boris Johnson’s hair
● Russian dressing
● John Bolton’s mustache
Sean Spicer doing the tango
Avocado toast
●A dot matrix printer

It’s our more or less annual contest in which we supply you a motley list of nouns and noun phrases — this time most of them were volunteered by members of the Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook — and ask the Greater Loser Community to think up some clever, surprising connections among them, as it always manages to do. This week: Explain humorously how any two or more of the items above are alike, different or otherwise connected, as in the example above.


Submit up to 25 entries at wapo.st/enter-invite-1348 (no capitals in the Web address).

Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a pink T-shirt brought back from Germany by Loser Elden Carnahan with the famous photo of Albert Einstein laughingly sticking his tongue out. It’s advertising the renowned bistro in Garmisch whose name isn’t printable here but begins with “Mukke” and ends with a word that more or less rhymes with it.

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, Sept. 16; results published Oct. 6 in print, Oct. 3 online. See general contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/InvRules. The headline for this week’s results is by Tom Witte; Mark Raffman 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, 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.


Week 1344 was our 16th annual Limerixicon, in which we help out OEDILF.com — a project to create a whole dictionary in limerick form — by seeking limericks featuring a word from one sliver of the dictionary. And for the fifth year running, we’re still on the G’s.

4th place

Aunt Elizabeth’s gifts used to bore us
Till she told us we’d get a thesaurus.
We were thrilled past belief
Till we found, to our grief,
She had not bought a dinosaur for us.
(David Smith, Stockton, Calif.)


3rd place

“I’m the richest, with all the best clout!”
Crowed the Prez. “Folks keep talking about
All the profits I’ve grossed!”
Sighed his wife, “Darling, most
Are just saying you’re grossing them out.”
(Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)


2nd place

and the World’s Smallest Men’s Swimsuit:
In the churches of Santo Domingo
You will find no more popular gringo
Than the cardinal who
May one day be the new
Holy Father: Pope John Paul George Ringo.
(Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:

At his rallies, they gripe by design
'Bout the other-hued folks they malign.
Though the Prez doesn't drink,
It is easy to think
He's a very big fan of white whine.
(Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)


Grimmer 'ricks:

Honorable mentions

To tell me “You’re pregnant!” is rude.
I get comments and queries most crude.
For beer I am avid,
So my gut sticks out “gravid.”
But don’t ask when I’m due — I’m a dude.
(Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)

It’s grotesque: Trump sends tweet after tweet,
With supremacist comments replete.
Does he send these from bed?
’Cause it seems, from what’s said,
That these thoughts come from under a sheet.
Paul VerNooy, Hockessin, Del.)


A New Mexican tourist named Sheila
Was attacked by a lizard near Gila.
Though grotesque is the swelling,
The discomfort she’s quelling
With a couple of shots of tequila.
(Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn)

Some contend that impeachment makes sense,
But I’m not on the side of the fence
That believes this morass could be
Solved or the grass would be
Greener with President Pence.
(Bill Dorner, Indianapolis)


“Here’s a stock that’s made folks millionaires,”
Said two techies while peddling shares
To The Fridge, Jim McMahon,
And Mike Ditka — a plan
That Chicago called “Geeks Grifting Bears.” (Chris Doyle)

For birthdays that come in two weeks
I’ve bought Spartan friends just what each seeks:
Admission for each
To a cool nudist beach.
I love giving gifts baring Greeks.
(Beryl Benderly, Washington)

“Your stomach’s the way to your heart,”
Says my wife as I wolf down a tart.
Grinning back, I reply,
“You are aiming too high”
And suggest an alternative part.
(Stephen Gold, London)


Will Brexit occur? Let’s just wait
And hope that, whatever its fate,
At the end of the day
We will still get to say
That Britain somehow remains Great.
(Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)


My new website does not get much traffic,
It’s erotica (straight, gay and Sapphic).
There’s no pix, only prose —
And the ratings disclose
That reviewers say: it’s “poor: no graphic.(Mark Raffman)

She escaped the witch, showing her mettle,
But her brother’s in not-so-fine fettle:
Grew a long, grasping tail
While the hag brewed her ale.
They’re now known as “Prehensile and Gretel.
(Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

After hiking o’er hills and o’er dales,
Said the campers: “Good night; happy trails!”
Said the bear: “What a scent!
It’s a meal-in-a-tent!”
(I will spare you the grizzly details.)
(Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)


If you’re tempted to kiss or embrace
A stranger whose beauty and grace
Make her hard to resist,
Don’t do it! Her fist
Just might land in a delicate place.
(Madeleine Begun Kane, New York)


Grotesqueries suddenly seem
To have broken the bounds of a dream.
Nightmares are one thing,
But we wake to our Sun King,
Who makes “grossly” seem quite un-extreme.
(Rick Foucheux, Silver Spring, Md., a First Offender)

When the markets are tanking, he growls,
His face twisted with hideous scowls.
But to say “It’s on me”
Is a thing we won’t see
Cause the blame (he will claim) is all Powell’s.
(Frank Mann, Washington)

The young suitor was hot for the game,
But the lass thought his moves were just lame
When a kick to the groin
Did his ardor enjoin,
That’s how “her-knee-ya” first got its name. (Mark Raffman)

The doubters should think about how
Things’ll be much more peaceful than now
If the liberal crew
Gets their Green New Deal through,
’Cause they won’t allow having a cow.
(Jesse Frankovich, Grand Ledge, Mich.)


Ride a bike — don’t consume gasoline!
Stop your AC and washing machine!
Now we all can confirm it:
That message from Kermit
Was true — it’s no cinch bein’ green.
(Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

It may strike you as strange, but it’s true:
When you breathe you exhale CO2.
And so it might be
That some bush or some tree
Grew a branch from what came out of you.
(Robert Schechter)

With the grass growing fast near the sewer
The homeowner sought out a chewer.
It’s now all in hand:
A cow’s in command —
An efficiently working lawn mooer.
(Kevin Ahern, Corvallis, Ore.)

Since the diva had slept in a crouch
On a too-tiny rollaway couch,
She came on like a meanie,
Which suited Puccini,
Who’d cast her as Tosca the Grouch.
(Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

I groom what is left of my hair;
Long ago, magnifique! No compare!
But tresses sublime
Fall away over time.
Now I’m left here with only a pair.
(Roger Dalrymple, Gettysburg, Pa.)


Oscar Wilde, in a Bangkok cafe,
Caught a whiff of a fruit in decay
That gave rise to a dread
Of putrescence and led
To “The Picture of Durian Gray.(Chris Doyle)

And Last: Chris at 3: “Dolly, send in the clone!”
Of Kate Moss: “Does she read Rolling Stone?”
His wordplay’s precocious,
His puns are ferocious;
We’re braced for the day he’s full groan. — Mr. & Mrs. Doyle
(Duncan Stevens)

Still running — deadline Monday night, Sept. 9: our contest to come up with funny definitions for some brand-new words we supply. See wapo.st/invite1347.

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