(Click here to skip down to the winning neologisms from ScrabbleGrams racks)
Tupac? Red Baron?
Dead at twenty-five.
Somehow still alive!
— the deposed Czar of The Style Invitational
On Sunday, March 7, 1993, Washington Post readers turned to Page 2 of the Style section and discovered a new, oddish-looking feature in the top left corner. “Introducing The Style Invitational,” the headline said. “Week 1.” There was no byline, and no other hello from its anonymous author before it launched into its first contest: to come up with a new name for the Washington Redskins. A couple of faux-crude cartoons offered examples: the Washington Rotundas, the Washington GS-11. First prize: a Timex Ironman Triathlon watch, like the one sometimes worn by President Clinton. Totally coincidentally, that same watch was excoriated in that very same Style section — as “thick as a brick and handsome as a hernia” — in an essay by the section’s new Sunday editor, timepiece connoisseur Gene Weingarten.
(The watch-winner, announced two weeks later, was one Douglas Miller: “The Baltimore Redskins. No, don’t move the team, just change the name. Let Baltimore worry about it.”)
The Washington Redskins are still here, with the same stupid name. And, 25 years later, so is The Style Invitational, with its same stupid name. (But we posit that we’ve been far more successful, even though we’re also full of Losers.) The Empress deposed the original Czar more than 14 years ago, but occasionally trots him out for guest appearances.
How to commemorate 25 years of Inviting? The E received various contest ideas, and we’re going with this one from Hall of Fame Loser Kevin Dopart, in honor of our dozens of light-verse contests dating back to Week 12. Kevin suggested that we play on the 25 — or 5 squared. This week: Write a witty poem, on any subject, in any of these forms:
A. Five lines of five syllables each, as in the example above;
B. Five lines of five words each. (Hyphenated terms may count as either one or two words.)
C. Five lines of iambic pentameter, or ba-DUM ba-DUM ba-DUM ba-DUM ba-DUM.
Rhymes are not required, though spot-on rhyming is clever and we’re a contest about cleverness, so “perfect rhymes” tend to get more ink. We’re also fond of humor about current events, though we’re willing to go off-topical as well.
Submit entries at the website wapo.st/enter-invite-1270 (all lowercase).
Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a little poop emoji pillow, donated by Jeff Contompasis, and a pair of poop emoji slippers, donated by Dave Prevar.
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, March 19; results published April 8 in print, April 5 online. See general contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/InvRules. The headline “Scrabble Rousers” was submitted by both Chris Doyle and Jon Gearhart; Jesse Frankovich wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev. Also on Facebook: Style Invitational Ink of the Day at bit.ly/inkofday.
The Style Conversational The Empress's weekly online column discusses the new contest and results. This week: some favorite winners, particularly from the past five years. Especially if you might enter this week's contest, check it out at wapo.st/styleconv beginning late Thursday afternoon, March 8.
SCRABBLE ROUSERS: THE NEOLOGISMS OF WEEK 1266
Once again, we offered up several dozen seven-letter “racks” from the ScrabbleGrams word game and invited the Loser community to find words in them — real ones or new ones — of five to all seven letters. Many people rearranged EILSSTY to describe Invite addicts: STYLIES.
DEILRVY —> D-LIVERY: Low-grade package service for when it absolutely, positively doesn’t have to be there overnight. (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)
LLMPPUY —> UMPLY: Smugly adhering to the rules: “ ‘No, I’m afraid you can’t build a hotel on Water Works,’ Joe declared umply.” (Sarah Jay, Churchville, Md.)
and the book “How to Poo on a Date”:
ADEILRV —> LIARED: Hired a press secretary. “Trump immediately liared up after the election.” (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
AAALWYY —> LAYAWAY: A payment plan that reportedly costs $130,000. (Jesse Frankovich, Grand Ledge, Mich.)
AAALWYY —> LAW-YAYA: An inexperienced, incompetent attorney. “Got busted for DUI and they put some law-yaya on my case.” (Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.)
AAALWYY —> YAY, A LAW!: A cheer you rarely hear in Congress anymore. (Frank Mann, Washington)
AAILLNV —> ANVILLA: A timeshare that quickly becomes a financial burden. (John Hutchins, Silver Spring, Md.)
AAILLNV —> ANVILLA: Iron-enriched ice cream flavor. (Kevin Mettinger, Warrenton, Va.)
AAILLNV —> NILLA, VA: The whitest D.C. suburb. (J. Larry Schott, West Plains, Mo.)
AAILLNV —> VAINAL: Susceptible to bribery, but even more to flattery. (Frank Mann)
ABELNRY —> LYE BRAN: Breakfast of masochists. (Karen Van Buren, Los Altos, Calif.)
ACCEPRY —> YE CRAP: What Henry VIII called people from “chamber pot countries.” (Jesse Frankovich)
ACEMNOR —> MANCORE: One way or the other, a six-pack. (Matt Monitto, Bristol, Conn.)
ACEMNOR —> ENORMAC: Ten all-beef patties . . . (Jesse Frankovich)
ACEMNOR —> O-MANCE: Porn. (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)
ADEILRV —> LAVDIRE: Urgency involving bodily functions. “I know it’s the side of the road, but pull over! It’s lavdire!” (John Shea, Philadelphia)
ADEILRV —> ADRIVEL: Rambling into inanity. “The senator’s filibuster speech quickly went adrivel.” (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)
ADEILRV —> ADVILE: A medication way past its sell-by date. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
ADEILRV —> DRIVEAL: Meaningless slogans used to sell cars. “Love, it’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru” — pure driveal. (Dave Airozo, Silver Spring)
ADEILRV —> DR VILE: Larry Nassar’s vanity plate. (Michele Uhler, Fort Washington, Md.)
ADEILRV —> VLADIER: More vampiric. “No way Christopher Lee was Vladier than Bela!” (John Shea)
AEEEGNT —> GEE-NEAT: Minnesotan for “$#!+, yeah.” (Paul Wilmes, Minneapolis; Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)
AEEEGNT —> GENE TEA: Euphemism for what is stored in sperm banks. (Jeff Shirley, Richmond)
AEELTVW —> EEL TV: This Discovery Channel special didn’t quite match the ratings of Shark Week. (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)
AELTTUX —> TEALTUX: The height of fashion at my prom in 1979. (Ward Kay, Vienna, Va.)
AELTTUX —> LATUX: What you wear to the Rubber Fetish Ball. (Lee Graham, Germantown, Md.)
AEPRRTU —>PURR-TEA: Cuddly name for cat urine. “Oh, did Tabby spray a little purr-tea on your coat?” (Ellen Raphaeli, Falls Church, Va.)
AEGINRV —> VEIN RAG: The last thing you want to hear your doc ask for as you go under anesthesia. (Barbara Turner, Takoma Park, Md.)
DEEFHLU —> HUD-FEEL: Lack of empathy for people one is supposed to protect. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
DEEFHLU —> FEEL DUH: What you do before smacking your head. (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)
DEFGITY —> DEFIG: What Eve did when she got playful with Adam. (Jesse Frankovich)
DEFGITY —> DEFIT: What Thanksgiving and Christmas can do to your clothes. (Drew Bennett)
DHILNOP —> LOIN PHD: A highly qualified prostitute. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)
FIMNORS —> MS NOIR: That dame you can’t forget, the one who blows smoke rings in your face. (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)
EEGLNOZ —> LEG ZONE: On Spirit Airlines, it’s the area under your chin. (Janelle Gibb, Rockville Md.)
EEGLNOZ —> LEG ZONE: Located somewhere south of the Canal Zone. (Harold Mantle, Walnut Creek, Calif.)
EEGLNOZ —> LEGO ZEN: A sect whose test of faith is walking barefoot across a second-grader’s playroom. (Chris Doyle)
ELNOSSW —> OWLESS: Describes your child’s boo-boo once you kiss it. (Chris Doyle)
Still running — deadline Monday night, March 12: our Mess With Our Heads bank head contest. See wapo.st/invite1269.