(Cartoons by Bob Staake for The Washington Post )
"Empress" of The Style Invitational, The Washington Post's weekly humor/wordplay contest

1066: At the Battle of Hastings, the French are repelled from England and return to Normandy. The discredited regime goes into a tailspin, and the English invade and annex France as a province. The French language is snuffed out, and French chefs are forced to learn British cooking. Now, Haggis Flambé is beloved the world over. (Elden Carnahan)

1790s: What if Johnny Appleseed had planted marijuana instead of apples? Our national pastime would be Hacky Sack. (Steve Fahey)

1974: What if Agnew were still vice president when Nixon resigned? They would have had to put in a drive-up window at the White House for night deposits. (Chuck Smith)

We were going to do this contest on Week 1066 — to play off the only year that’s really famous enough until Week 1215, or maybe even Week 1492 — but a couple of Invite scheduling issues conspired against us. This contest is a pretty tenuous link, anyway, but Hall of Fame Loser Elden Carnahan’s suggestion and example do give us a chance to bring back a contest we last did in the previous century, under the reign of the Empress’s predecessor, the Czar. This week: Alter some moment in history and tell us — in no more than about 50 words — the likely outcome, as in the examples above: Elden’s new one, plus one entry each from Week 261 (1998) and Week 140 (1995). Remember, this is a humor contest. (Hey, wait: If the French language had been snuffed out, why would the dish still be known as “flambé”?)

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives (talk about historic!) an Official Penitential Hairshirt — actually a gag-gift burlap thing in a burlap bag — regifted by Eternal Loser Tom Witte, who won this as a Style Invitational first-place prize in Week 336, which was 14 years ago. Tom swears he hasn’t worn it out, given that he feels no guilt over anything.

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 losers@washpost.com or, if you were born in the 19th century, fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, March 24; results published April 13 (online April 10). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1064” 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. This week’s honorable-mentions subhead was submitted by both Dave Prevar and Tom Witte; the alternative headline in the “Next week’s results” line is by Mae Scanlan. 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.

Report from Week 1060

in which we asked you for captions for any of these four Bob Staake cartoons: Too many people to credit quoted the dog in the subway as saying, “Take my advice — don’t pee on the third rail.”

The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial:

Cartoon 3: “The curb-your-dog laws are so strict in the city, I have to go to the suburbs every time I need to do my business.” (Ward Kay, Vienna, Va.)

2. Winner of the Karleks Band bed connector for active hotel room guests: Cartoon 2: “M’sieur thought I was going to push the chair IN for him, didn’t m’sieur?” (Bruce Niedt, Cherry Hill, N.J.)

3. Cartoon 4: Long frustrated by the confines of a standard sedan, Roy had his driver’s side windows removed for a more fulfilling road rage experience. (Trevor Kerr, Chesapeake, Va.)

4. Cartoon 3: “Who let me out? Who let YOU out? (Jeff Wolfson, Potomac, Md.)

Scraptions: honorable mentions

Ruth promised her grandchildren that she would tweet her radiology results. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

“I’m not sure how to break the news to you, Mrs. Smith, but you appear to have an enlarged prostate.” (Saul Jay Singer, Silver Spring, Md.)

“You must hear this all the time, Mrs. Farkis, but your duodenum really loves the camera.” (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

“So tell me, are you able to change channels by belching?” (Doug Hamilton, College Park)

“You realize, Mrs. Gibble, that underwire bras are generally more effective when worn on the outside.” (Mike Greene, Alexandria, Va.)

“The good news is I don’t see the fly or the spider. However, the recommended treatment for catching the bird may present serious side effects.” (Trevor Kerr)

“If your insurance won’t cover the operation, I think I could go in laparoscopically and change that ringtone for you.” (Nan Reiner, Alexandria, Va.)

“Ma’am, I gather you didn’t swallow this flashlight.” (Warren Tanabe, Annapolis, Md.)

Whistler’s Sonogram. (Kevin Dopart)

“Mais non, monsieur — prix fixe does not include zee chair.” (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)

“Mr. Kilroy, so good that you’re here again.” (Harry Megaw, Fairfax, Va.)

“I assure monsieur that our croque-monsieur contains no actual monsieur.” (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

“Would señor prefer the mild salsa instead?” (Edward Gordon, Austin)

“I take it from your response, Mr. Boehner, that you would not like a cup of tea.” (Greg Arnold, Herndon, Va.)

“And I hope you’ve enjoyed the full tasting menu here at From Pharm to Table.” (Sylvia Betts, Vancouver, B.C.)

“Sir, I can bring more crayons if you dropped yours.” (Larry Carnahan, Arlington, Va.)

“Ah, I see you’ve noticed our new Dining Roomba.” (Sylvia Betts)

“You’ll find that the tablecloth tastes much better if you wash it down with an ’82 Chateau Latour.” (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Lord Grantham, as Mr. Carson has taken ill, your American brother-in-law thought I could help you out here at Downton. (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)

“As you see, not only do we serve small plates, but we also have very small chairs.” (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

“I beg your pardon; when you said you didn’t know where we could have gotten those delicious oysters in the Rocky Mountains, I thought you wanted me to tell you.” (Danielle Nowlin, Woodbridge, Va.)

“Mine’s not a bellybutton — it’s just a tick.” (Don Kirkpatrick, Waynesboro, Pa.)

“Do you get more belly rubs when you’re dressed like that?” (Larry Yungk, Arlington, Va.)

“We can make this work, Lisa. I won’t ask you, ‘How’s the weather up there?’ and you won’t tell people, ‘Because he can.’ ” (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

“You remind me so much of my mom, except you’re missing several breasts.” (Larry Yungk)

Before his big break, Inspector McGruff tried working for the fashion police. (Fred Axmacher, Rockville, Md., a First Offender)

. . . So I dug a big hole in the backyard, and PLOP! I’m just as surprised as you are.” (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

“Hi, Zoe. Frank Underwood asked me to tell you he’s running late.” (Jan Forman, Great Falls, Va., a First Offender)

“You people built two major religions around a talking snake, but a dog talks and you call Fox 5.” (Lawrence McGuire)

“Let me hit that hydrant in Cartoon 4 and I’ll be right back.” (Rob Huffman)

“You know, when I want to ‘friend’ someone, I just sniff his butt.” (Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.)

“I used to chase cars, but now I support public transportation.” (Larry Yungk)

“Where the $¥£€ is Wall Street?” (Konrad Schwoerke, Durham, N.C.)

Spike loved his new job: beta-testing insults for the cabbies’ association. (Frank Osen)

Still new to the ways of Metropolis, Clark Kent becomes the victim of a drive-by shouting. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

“My hovercraft is full of wheels!” (Mark Raffman)

Bob found that he needed to adjust his whistle: he mistakenly hailed a cad. (Jack McCombs, Fairfax, Va., a First Offender)


Still running — deadline Monday night: our contest to compare or contrast two wacky items in a list we gave. See bit.ly/invite1063.

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 losers@washpost.com (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: Less Taste, More Fill-In, or The Missing Ink, a contest in which we presented a crossword grid with only some of the letters present, and invited you to come up with both words and funny clues. See bit.ly/invite1061.