Phileas Fog: Heavy mist that dramatically increases your travel time.
Microshaft: The infinitesimal ray of sunlight that occasionally pierces the Seattle clouds.
We’ve weathered a polar vortex, a superstorm, a derecho — and have expanded our vocabulary with each crazy meteorological event. Loser Mike Gips suggests that we ought to enlarge the lexicon even more: This week: Coin a term relating to weather, climate, etc. — either literal or figurative — and define it, as in Mike’s examples above. Just do us this favor: Skip the joke about how the U.S. Capitol is a source of hot air; I think I receive a Congress/hot-air joke from someone or other in just about every contest I’ve judged — and I haven’t given any of them ink in the last 500-plus contests either.
Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a climate-themed prize, at least if you stretch the term absurdly: It’s a hefty glass snow globe (actually a glitter globe) on a gaudy gold plastic base. Inside, being glittered on, is a leather-vested black-and-white cow doing a wheelie on a motorcycle. A Harley-Dairyson, perhaps. Or a Cowasaki. Donated by Loser Cheryl Davis, who has donated many similarly elegant prizes over the years, such as Shells Playing Poker.
Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet, either the Po’ Wit Laureate or Puns of Steel. First Offenders receive a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to email@example.com or, if you were born in the 19th century, fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Jan. 27; results published Feb. 16 (online Feb. 13). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1056” in your e-mail subject line or it might be ignored as spam. Include your real name, postal address and phone number with your entry. See contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/InvRules. The subhead for this week’s honorable mentions is by Kevin Dopart; the alternative headline in the “next week’s results” line is by Kevin Dopart. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev, and click “like” on Style Invitational Ink of the Day at bit.ly/inkofday.
our perennial Clue Us In contest, in which we published a filled-in crossword grid from an earlier Washington Post, and asked you to contribute novel clues for any of the words. Some funny ideas were submitted by too many Losers for individual credit, such as “ACID: A generic Spanish hero,” and “ACTUAL: An order to the cast from a frustrated director.” Some of the real set of clues, by puzzle constructor Bob Klahn, trumped the Losers’ entries, so Bob gets a magnet, too.
BAGPIPES: Scotland’s drone program (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)
2. Winner of the Vietnamese elixir including both a preserved scorpion and a preserved snake:
GRAFT: How politicians get money to grow on trees (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)
3. ICE: H 2 O^3 (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)
4. IRAN: Paul Ryan’s revised marathon claim (Mark Richardson, Takoma Park, Md.)
MORAN: What an idiot calls another idiot (Jim Stiles, Rockville, Md.; Bill Verkuilen, Brooklyn Park, Minn.)
EGGS: They break up with chicks after getting laid (Alex Jeffrey, Columbia, Md.)
PLACE: Fancy toilet paper (hyphenated) (Steve McClemons, Arlington, Va., who last got Invite ink in 2006)
SPOT: Lady Macbeth’s annoying dog (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
APRON: What the well-dressed woman wears — R. Santorum (Jesse Ellis, Fairfax, Va., a First Offender)
ESPN: Answer to “Where’s Chris Berman? He’s supposed to be on air right now!” (Craig Dykstra, Centreville, Va.)
GUESTTOWEL: Newspaper in Your Mama’s bathroom (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)
SMOG: It makes haze while the sun shines (John O’Byrne, London)
BAGPIPES: Susan Boyle’s singing voice (Rob Pivarnik, Stratford, Conn.)
ROSA: Parks in front of a bus (Bob Klahn, Wilmington, Del.)
IOWA: fascinating place, for two weeks every four years (Elden Carnahan, Laurel, Md.)
LAVA: Pompei circumstance (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)
LAVA: Top-rated loo (hyphenated) (Ann Martin, Falls Church, Va.)
CROCI: Final score in Nile conflict: Canoeist 0, / ______ (Mark Richardson)
ROCKCANDY: Michaele Salahi’s new job description (David Ballard, Reston, Va.)
ROCKCANDY: Cliff bar (Jonathan Hardis, Gaithersburg, Md.)
ONE: Where to keep up with the Kardashians (two words) (Chris Doyle, The Villages, Fla.; Kevin Dopart, Washington)
POPSINGLES: New diet product from Orville Redenbacher (Andy Promisel, Fairfax, Va.)
POPSINGLES: My wife gets mad at me when I do this into a stripper’s thong (Alex Jeffrey)
MOUE: McKayla Maroney’s second claim to fame (Dan Ramish, Washington)
WADE: What you might do following DUI plumbing (Beverley Sharp)
WADE: What Elmer Fudd uses to kill bugs (Neal Starkman, Seattle)
TORUS: “The Heavenly Donut”; zodiac sign of Homer Simpson (Larry Gray, Union Bridge, Md; Ann Martin)
CIAO: Eat and run (Kathy El-Assal, Middleton, Wis.; Nan Reiner, Alexandria, Va.)
OBOE: Penetrating wind (Bob Klahn)
CZECH: Eastern European bouncer (Robert Schechter)
OBIE: Award won by “Baby Doc: The Musical” (Christopher Lamora, Los Angeles)
GUESTTOWEL: Something you bring when staying overnight at your son’s bachelor pad (Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)
LUCKYROLL: Sushi made with “mystery fish” (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
ICKY: The Bluegrass State’s failed tourism campaign to counter I ♥ NY. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)
EBOOK: A more convenient format for the literary classics you still won’t read. (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)
IRE: What you get when your land is out of potatoes. (Edmund Conti, Raleigh, N.C.)
RACK: Scrumptious part of both Lamb Chop and Shari Lewis (Ward Kay, Vienna, Va.)
CAPO: Text-message summary of Gov. Jerry Brown’s State of the State address. (Dave Prevar)
CAPFUL: Given to shouting on the Internet (Chris Doyle)
DOCK: Julius Erving’s relative Kenny (Ben Aronin, Arlington, Va.; Jonathan Hardis)
STONEAGE: Count the rings on Keith Richards to get this (Steve McClemons)
ROWE: The fifth-worst place to sit at a Justin Bieber concert. (Roger Dalrymple, Gettysburg, Pa.)
ICE: It can send a chill up an undocumented worker’s spine. (Jeff Contompasis)
FUNK: Odd-smelling but cutely shaped breakfast cereal (hyphenated) (Danielle Nowlin, Woodbridge, Va.)
FUNK: Text message that makes Kim Jong Un-happy (acronym) (Mike Ostapiej, Mount Pleasant, S.C.)
LINGO: He wrote “Octopus’s Jargon” (Jonathan Hardis)
LINGO: Cheer at Houston Rockets game (Steve McClemons)
Still running — deadline Monday night: Our neologism contest for words in which you add or substitute one or more K’s. See bit.ly/invite1055.
See the Empress’s online column The Style Conversational (published late Thursday), in which she discusses today’s new contest and results along with news about the Loser Community — and you can vote for your favorite among the inking entries, since you no doubt figured the Empress chose the wrong winner. If you’d like an e-mail notification each week when the Invitational and Conversational are posted online, sign up here or write to the Empress at firstname.lastname@example.org (note that in the subject line) and she’ll add you to the mailing list. And on Facebook, join the far more lively group Style Invitational Devotees and chime in there.
Next week’s results: Questionable Journalism, or Ask-It Cases, our perennial contest in which you choose any sentence out of the paper and make up a funny question that it could answer. See bit.ly/invite1053.