RUSH; lush; lust; lost; lout; gout; glut; SLUT. (Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
Editor and judge of The Style Invitational

RUSH; lush; lust; lost; lout; gout; glut; SLUT.

This week’s contest was inspired by the example above, which was an entry by the Amazing Loser Chris Doyle for Week 961, that contest asked entrants to write something in which all the words had the same number of letters. Here’s how we’ll do it: Start with any word or name, and create a series of words that change by one letter at a time (it’s up to you how long the series is), until you come up with a related word or name. The middle words should relate to the end words or relate to the preceding word. Changing by one letter means you may also add a letter to the word, or drop a letter, in a given step.

Winner gets the new Style Invitational trophy, the Inkin’ Memorial, an exceedingly dignified Lincoln Memorial-statue bobblehead. Second place receives a little tin of the world’s most tightly folded Uh Oh . . . Emergency Underpants (“Always ready to use!”), donated — unused — by Amanda Yanovitch. Britney Spears is under court order to carry these at all times.

Other runners-up win their choice of a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt, a yearned-for Loser Mug or the brand-new, yet-to-be-designed but surely hotly desired Grossery Bag, a lightweight tote. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet. First Offenders get a smelly, tree-shaped air “freshener” (Fir Stink for their first ink). E-mail entries to or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, April 16; results published May 6 (online May 4). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 966” 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 The subhead for this week’s honorable mentions is by Judy Blanchard; the alternate “next week” headline is by Tom Witte. Join the Style Invitational Devotees on Facebook at

Report from Week 962

our perennial contest in which we asked you to choose a sentence appearing in The Post that week and to write a question that it might be the answer to: Fabulous results as usual; there were many more fine ones than could fit on a single reasonable list.

The winner of the Inker

A. “We’re working our way happily and steadily through the process of production.”
Q. What did the mechanical engineer reply when his mother-in-law said, “We hope you’ll soon make us proud grandparents”?
(Cathy Lamaze, North Potomac, Md.)

2. Winner of the personal journal made of cow-dung paper: A. “I support it.”
Q. Senator, are you a cat or a dog person? (Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)

3. A. “Your family gives you, hopefully, roots and wings.”
What was the opening diary entry of a Donner Party pioneer? (Sue Lin Chong, Baltimore)

4. A. But please, don’t mess with the kebabs.
Q. In the Beirut airport security line, what’s the equivalent saying of “Don’t touch my junk”? (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

Q & Eh: Honorable mentions

A. It happened more than a quarter-century ago, at the start of a Romney family summer vacation.
Q. When is the last time anyone saw Mitt’s hair move? (Mark Richardson, Washington)

A. “I’m interested in distinctly engaging the histories of the paper bag.”
Q. What statement led analysts to question Jon Huntsman’s debating abilities? (Barry Koch, Catlett, Va.)

A. You don’t hear it when you step off the train.
Q. How do you stop the bride’s cussing during the wedding ceremony? (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

A. The potential was there, but the ends were loose.
Q. Dr. Oz, was your all-fiber diet successful? (Mike Ostapiej, Mount Pleasant, S.C.)

A. “We compare all the teams irregardless of what conference they come from.”
Q. Mr. Head Judge, why do you think criticism of the National Grammar and Word Usage Championships is unfounded? (Roy Ashley, Washington)

A. “As we get those, we take them out.”
Q. Do you treat anti-gun protesters outside your NRA meetings with respect? (Dave Prevar)

A. The release of employment numbers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics has long been a ritual in Washington.
Q: Hi, I’m new to D.C. and I was wondering what fun things there are to do on a weeknight around here. (Christopher Lamora, Arlington, Va.)

A. White-nose was detected in Alabama on March 2 and confirmed two days later.
Q: Now that mimes have escaped from their invisible boxes, how far have they spread? (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

A: “We’ll call it a tie, because I don’t want to make him look bad.”
Q: Mr. Gingrich, how do you plan to concede the race to Mr. Romney? (David Genser, Poway, Calif.)

A. “He would get under our bed and shake it, yelling, ‘Earthquake!’ Earthquake!’ ”
Q. Why did you suspect your husband didn’t understand the concept of foreplay? (Randy Lee, Burke, Va.)

A. It’s a two-man race.
Q. How did Cain break the news about Abel’s death to Eve? (Russell Beland, Fairfax, Va.)

A: It rose about 15 feet, lifted the ocean and tipped the Pacific’s waters onto the Japanese coast.
Q: What did Godzilla do after seeing his daughter’s cellphone bill? (Arika Seymour, Clarksburg, Md., a First Offender)

A. “Then two 40-gallon trash cans.”
Q: “Mr. Putin, the votes for your opponents are overflowing this 40-gallon trash can. What should I do?” (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)

A. As James demonstrates how to make a cucumber roll, the room goes silent.
Q. What makes you think today’s kids are so physics-challenged, they don’t even know how a cylinder moves? (Brendan Beary)

A. They do.
Q. What did Warren Jeffs always say at his weddings? (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

A. “I run for like an hour and a half a day.”
Q: Joe Biden’s brain, to what do you attribute your longevity? (Richard Wong, Derwood, Md.)

A. You’re a hard worker, and you’ll be a harder player.
Q. What advertising slogan did Viagra reject? (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)

A. “One of the great blessings I’ve had in every political campaign is people underestimate me, people underestimate what God can do.”
Q. How has Rick Santorum portrayed his humility to voters? (Dixon Wragg, Santa Rosa, Calif.)

A. It’s very rare to find a continuous curved plane like that.
Q. Why is there so much excitement about Boeing’s new Frisbee-shaped aircraft? (Mae Scanlan, Washington)

A. There will be nearly 200 special guests, including 75 filmmakers.
Q. What’s unusual about Snooki’s maternity room plans? (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

A. If you go on a weekend, you can see the cockroach races.
Q: What ad slogan for New York City hotels isn’t faring well? (Barry Koch)

A. They will bring in 27 talk-radio hosts who broadcast to 48 states.
Q. What was uncovered as the Taliban’s ultimate plan for the destruction of America? (Rick Haynes, Boynton Beach, Fla.)

A. These are things you can look for in others.
Q. What are faults? (Dixon Wragg)

A. An urgent return to the religion and the metaphysical realism of the West, combined with the promotion of free market economies and a sound political foundation.
Q: What is NOT an accurate plot summary of “The Hangover, Part 2”? (Christopher Lamora)

A: Imagine our disappointment.
Q: Fellow Tiger Moms, what should we make our children do to work harder? (Kevin Dopart)

A: Airline industry officials said incidents such as Friday’s are extremely rare.
Q: Your plane got into National on time, your luggage wasn’t crushed, and your car wasn’t blocked by a limo with diplomatic plates — jeez, what are the chances? (Frank Mullen III, Aledo, Ill.)

A. The green bubble takes you through a region with lots of economic problems.
Q. What futuristic method of travel did young Mitt Romney imagine to help rich people float through bad parts of town? (Amanda Yanovitch, Midlothian, Va.) [The writer was describing a wooded bike trail.]

A. Should she become first lady, Romney told Parade magazine last fall, she would certainly bring horses to the White House lawn.
Q. Why are large boxes strapped to the tops of Ann Romney’s Cadillacs? (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

A. “Sex is popular.”
Q. Why will Rick Santorum never get elected president? (Ira Allen, Bethesda, Md.)

A. “There are Republican women out there who believe in our issues.”
Q. Do you think there’s really a market for a “Conservative Sperm Bank”? (Judy Blanchard, Novi, Mich.)

A. “I don’t know how it got to this point, but I got to get out of it somehow.”
Q: How could you possibly have mixed up your “male-enhancement” pump with a pencil sharpener? (Larry Gray, Union Bridge, Md.)

A. They interviewed key players and reviewed more than 328,000 pages of records to reach their conclusions.
Q. Why were the Post sportswriters upset when the Style intern who chose the teams with the coolest uniforms beat them in the March Madness office pool? (Pam Sweeney, Burlington, Mass.)

A. He did offer to stay.
Q: After condemnation by most of the world, what concession did Bashar al-Assad offer? (Howard Walderman, Columbia, Md.)

A. It’s a negative feedback loop.
Q. What’s a good euphemism for a noose? (Kevin Dopart)

A. “We just allowed him to get to the rim time after time after time.”
Q: Why did the Grand Canyon rangers make you put your kid on a leash? (Beverley Sharp)

A: “Sooner or later, one of ’em has to work, right?”
Q: How does Congress plan to combat current unemployment issues? (Steven Seymour, Clarksburg, Md.)

And Last: A. “There must have been either the grossest treachery, or the most inconceivable imbecility, and very likely a mixture of both.”
Q. How did all of my brilliant Style Invitational entries get overlooked yet again? (Mark Richardson)

Visit the online discussion group The Style Conversational, where the Empress 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, write to the Empress at (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.

Next week: The Overlap Dance, or The Moniker Mash

Still running — deadline Monday night! Our annual breed-the-horses contest.