An Invite perennial in its umpety-umpth incarnation, Ask Backwards is a contest in which we give you the “answers” and you supply jokes in the form of a question. We’ve usually compared this contest to “Jeopardy!,” but it’s really like Johnny Carson’s giant-hatted Carnac the Magnificent (A. “The La Brea Tar Pits”; Q. What do you have left after eating the La Brea Tar Peaches?”), which itself was preceded by Steve Allen’s Question Man (“A. Chicken Teriyaki. Q. Who was the last surviving member of the Japanese air force?”).
Anyway, here are 12 “answers,” several of which were supplied this week by Weingarten the Magnificent, a shambling but kindly-looking man we found on the sidewalk near Washington’s Eastern Market.
• Wikipedia Jones
• The thing that goes “Woo”
• A hug from Chris Christie
• A legitimate belch
• Sanskrit, Aramaic and Pig Latin
• The Marine Corps Marathon
• The Apple Core Marathon
• Gangnam Style section
• Pork belly with two sides
• Google Mirth
• A mink baculum
• The La Brea Tar Pits
Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place is a genuine mink! Well, a genuine mink baculum. A baculum is a penis bone. This one is about the size of a sewing needle, with a little hook on the end. Donated by deservedly retired biology teacher Mike Creveling.
Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet, possibly the new model whose slogan will be determined in last week’s contest, Week 994. First Offenders receive a smelly, tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to email@example.com or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Nov. 12; results published Dec. 1 (online Nov. 29). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 995” 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/inviterules. The subhead for this week’s honorable mentions is by Kevin Dopart; the alternative headline for the “Next week’s results” line is by Tom Witte. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev.
in which we asked you to coin a new term incorporating the letters V, O, T and E, in any order but with no other letters between them:
Tevow: An electronic device that suppresses displays of religious fervor that occur during secular events. “I tevowed the Country Music Awards and watched the whole thing in 12 minutes.” (Laurie Tompkins, Rockville, Md.)
2. Winner of the 1946-vintage Army surplus athletic supporter:
Lovetobut (noun): A polite refusal of an invitation. “I have yoga class on Tuesday nights, so I gave the White House a lovetobut on the state dinner.” (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)
3. Eve-to-Adam (noun): A piece of really bad advice. “Obama’s advisers sure gave him an Eve-to-Adam when they told him to ‘stay calm’ during the first debate.” (Mae Scanlan, Washington)
4. Remote vortex: The mysterious place where household items seem to go. “The TV clicker had once again slipped into the remote vortex, along with four odd socks and the hamster.” (Gordon Cobb, Atlanta)
Getover: The person you have a one-night stand with right after a breakup and before the rebound person. “Trey’s been bummed for weeks; he needs to hook up with a getover for his own good.” (Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y; Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)
Glute-vow: A resolution to make the maximus more minimus. (Rick Haynes, Boynton Beach, Fla.)
Jive toikeys: Larry, Moe and Curly appear on “So You Think You Can Dance.” (Bill McMahon, Ganges, B.C., a First Offender)
Rove-time: That point in a campaign when the Republican candidate goes very, very negative. “This week’s message is ‘Don’t vote for the foreign guy’ — hey, it’s Rove-time, baby!” (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
Mojito-Venus: She definitely looked better last night at the bar. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
Covette: Your next-door neighbor’s expensive new sports car. (David Garratt, Silver City, N.M.)
Eve-toga: A garment made of three strategically placed fig leaves. (Sudhir Vasudeva, McLean, Va., a First Offender)
Keynote-Volvo: A politically safe but boring speech. “Boy, the speaker really revved the old keynote-Volvo. At least I got a new high score on Words With Friends.” (David Genser, Poway, Calif.)
Voteverrrrr: One’s reaction when faced with a set of equally unappealing candidates. (Josh Feldblyum, Philadelphia)
Carpet-over: A really bad hairpiece. Also known as a Jive-toupee. (Mark Raffman)
Oreo-TV: a network that will never merge with BET. (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)
Mittevolution: Morphing from moderate to conservative to ultra-conservative and back to moderate, all while maintaining that one’s views have not changed. (Mark Raffman; Homeira Ghorbani, Washington, a First Offender)
Lovetoot: An inadvertent, mood-breaking release — one more thing that never happens in movie sex scenes. (Jeff Brechlin, Eagan, Minn.)
Liftovers: What you find on a cosmetic surgeon’s floor. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)
Dovetales: Nostalgic accounts of marching in 1960s peace protests. (It just wouldn’t be right to call them war stories.) (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.; Steve Gerritson, Bothell, Wash.)
Toto-verse: Doggerel. (Chris Doyle)
Heave-too: The instinct to vomit upon witnessing another person vomiting. (Bird Waring)
Valet-voodoo: The reason miles magically appear on the odometer of a Ferrari. (Beverley Sharp)
Pivot-Evade: Exercise No. 1 in “Debate Techniques for Presidential Candidates.” (Gary Crockett)
Divotee: A lousy but enthusiastic golfer. (Beverley Sharp)
Rejectovelocity: The speed with which the Empress tosses your entry into the trash can. (Donald Brinson, Washington, a First Offender)
Still running — deadline Monday night — is the contest for slogans for our new Loser Magnet. See bit.ly/inv994.
Visit the online discussion group The Style Conversational (published late Thursday afternoon), in which 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 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.
Next week’s results: Mittsterpiece Theatre, or Sesame Straits, suggestions how PBS shows and characters could survive on commercial TV.