(Click here to skip down to this week’s new contest, Week 1429)

Week 1425 was the umptieth in a series of Bob Staake cartoon caption contests, featuring the four cartoons below.

Fourth place: “Actually, it’s technically not a cat. Or a tree.” (John Folse, Bryans Road, Md.)

“I was checking for shorts in the electrical grid and I think I found some.” (Scott Straub, Winchester, Va.)

“I guess that clown thought the slogan was ‘Hang Mike’s Pants.’ ” (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.; Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.; Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

“At least 12 of them crammed into my car and then they just drove off! I couldn’t see their faces, but one left behind a clue.” (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

“The good news, Senator Cruz, is that we’ve found them and they are not literally on fire.” (Lani Jacobson, Herndon, who last got ink in 1995, also with a caption)

“Hi, Joe. Yes, Secretary Pete, bless his heart, is doing his best to make infrastructure sexy.” (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

“Let’s keep this between you, me and the lamppost.” (Carol Lasky, Boston, a First Offender; Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

Hello, Acme Cleaners? I think you misunderstood me about giving my shorts a light pressing.” (Larry Yungk, Wyoming, Ohio)

“Yes, officer, I realize it’s after midnight. I’m assuming they’re late bloomers.” (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)

“PLANTS! You were supposed to hang PLANTS from the streetlights!” (Bob Kruger, Rockville, Md.)

Combing his nose hairs on his way home from Mardi Gras, Ralph suddenly realized why his nether regions were feeling so drafty. (Ivars Kuskevics, Takoma Park, Md.)

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The winner of the Clowning Achievement: Jack hopes his inflatable-luggage gag goes viral. (Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)

On long flights, Al always brought his own bidet. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge, Va.)

“Quiet, Senator Cruz, we’re almost to the gate.” (Frank Osen)

“You’re ready to board, ma’am. And when your husband steps up with your support warthog, I’ll make sure you’re seated together.” (David Shombert, Harrisonburg, Va.)

If that box ended up in front of her, Sue sure hoped it wouldn’t tilt its seat backward. (Ellen Ryan, Rockville, Md.)

Louis found no joy when he had to personally deliver all the delayed mail. (Robyn Carlson, Keyser, W.Va.)

“When I fly United, I like to bring along a spare engine.” (Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.; Leif Picoult, Rockville, Md.)

Always disappointed by the airplane overhead storage, Tom now brings his own. (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)

Gerald knew airline food was really expensive, so he brought a box lunch. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park, Md.; Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

Things were never easy for Mr. Atlas, but the carry-on-baggage hassle was the worst. (Kevin Mellema, Tabor City, N.C.)

Sidney believed in the “hide in plain sight” approach to smuggling drugs. (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)

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Third place: Pa Kent learned never to try to take little Clark’s bottle. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.; Jeff Shirley)

By the end of Week 1, it was already clear that 2021 was not as serene as other New Year babies. (Joanne Free, Clifton, Va.; Seth Tucker, Washington)

Greg soon regretted asking the genie for a scantily clad babe. (Duncan Stevens)

Henry was amazed at the effectiveness of infant karate lessons. (Howard Walderman, Columbia, Md.)

“And then put your legs up like this for a diaper change! Do I have to do everything for you?” (Wendy Shang, Falls Church, Va.)

“Lucky punch! Two out of three?” (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)

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Second place and the backward-running wall clock:
NASA neutralizes the threat of asteroids hitting the Earth with its new low-budget, all-volunteer program. (Lawrence McGuire)

Hilda quickly regretted agreeing to be the backup plan for NASA’s Perseverance landing. (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)

Sally hated working during Library Overdue Fines Mondays. (Rob Huffman)

Desperate for wide receivers, the Washington Football Team held tryouts for walk-ons. (Duncan Stevens)

“MOM! I’ve been doing this tightrope act for years. KNOCK IT OFF!” (Danielle Nowlin)

Nora immediately regretted wearing the fishnet skirt during salmon mating season. (Chuck Smith)

Automation soon eliminated Mabel’s job as the airport windsock. (Kevin Dopart)

Rita was sure that once they got to know him up there, her late husband would be kicked out. (Jeremy Roth, Clinton, Conn., a First Offender)

Week 1429: Forsoothsayers

Neither a borrower nor a lender be, for loan oft loses both itself and friend. (“Hamlet”)
Or: “I have a good way to really screw over the hedge funds that are shorting GameStop.” (Duncan Stevens)

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. (“Hamlet”)
Or: “What if HUGO CHAVEZ and GEORGE SOROS STOLE the ELECTION with JEWISH SPACE LASERS?” (Duncan Stevens)

Once again we have fun with our favorite public-domain, Web-available writer, the Bard Himself, in a contest suggested by Hall of Fame Loser Duncan Stevens, whom perhaps we should call Duncan Who Hath Been So Clear in His Great Office. This week: Quote a line or so from any Shakespeare work, and exemplify it with a contemporary quote, real or imagined, as in Duncan’s examples above. You may use any Shakespeare edition you happen to have or find, but tell me which work you’re quoting from.

Submit up to 25 entries at wapo.st/enter-invite-1429 (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, April 5; results appear April 25 in print, April 22 online.

Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our new Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives two little bars of soap: One says Wm. Shakespeare’s Bard of Soap (“Much ado about bathing”); the other is Lady Macbeth’s Guest Soap (“Out, damned spot!” of course). Both donated by infinite jester Dave Prevar.

Other runners-up win their choice of our “For Best Results, Pour Into Top End” Loser Mug or our “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, “No ’Bility” or “Punder-achiever.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guide-lines at wapo.st/InvRules. The headline “Yuk of the Draw” was sent in by both Jesse Frankovich and Chris Doyle. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev; get 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. See this week’s — published late Thursday, March 25 — at wapo.st/conv1429.

The “You’re Invited” podcast: Twelve half-hour episodes, including dish from the Empress and the Czar, and tips from top Losers. See bit.ly/invite-podcast.

Still running — deadline Monday night, March 29: Our contest for new words coined from ScrabbleGrams “racks.” See wapo.st/invite1428.

And next week ... we’re back to the foals.

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