Week 748: Dead Letters

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Higgledy piggledy
Thomas F. Eagleton
Ran with McGovern, got
Dumped as insane.
Tainted, he learned that raw
Politics packs a worse
Jolt to the brain.

Another year, another fascinating group of dead people. Once again, we shall not fail to ensure that they and their deeds be enshrined forever in verse. It's okay, they won't know. This week: Write a humorous poem about a well-known personage who died in 2007, as in the double dactyl above, contributed by a Gene N. Weingarten of Washington. Lists of "notable deaths" and the like abound online.

Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a little Steve Irwin beanbag doll, donated by Marleen May of Rockville. No, no, he's entirely intact.

Other runners-up win their choice of a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt or yearned-for Loser Mug. Honorable Mentions (or whatever they're called that week) get one of the lusted-after Style Invitational Magnets. One prize per entrant per week. Send your entries by e-mail to losers@washpost.com or by fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Tuesday, Jan. 22. Put "Week 748" in the subject line of your e-mail, or it risks being ignored as spam. Include your name, postal address and phone number with your entry. Contests are judged on the basis of humor and originality; your work must be your own idea. All entries become the property of The Washington Post. Entries may be edited for taste or content. Results will be published Feb. 9. No purchase required for entry. Employees of The Washington Post, and their immediate relatives, are not eligible for prizes. Pseudonymous entries will be disqualified. The revised title for next week's contest is by Larry Yungk; this week's Honorable Mentions name is by Chris Doyle. Larry Yungk also suggested that we note the rookie ink, while Beverley Sharp came up with the name "First Offender."

Report From Week 744

in which we asked you to create totally fictional meanings for any in a list of words gleaned from the beginning pages of the Oxford English Dictionary. Lots of Losers defined "deboise" as Sen. Larry Craig's friends from Idaho, and a " barling " as a young lady best eyed with beer goggles. Here is a list of the words' actual meanings (or sometimes one of several meanings), according to the OED: List of OED Definitions.

We've been told occasionally of readers -- very funny ones -- who have hesitated to enter the Invitational because they see the same names week after week, and figure we never choose anyone new. Well, this would be news to the 3,925 people (as of last week) who have earned one or more blots of Invitational ink. This week we'll begin noting the Invite's first-time Losers -- we'll call them First Offenders. And thanks to the suggestion of fairly-new-himself Loser Russ Taylor, we'll award each of them one of those tree air "fresheners" for your car, and call it the Fir Stink. First Ink, get it? Hahaha. Ow.

4. ADJECT: To modify a noun. "He couldn't just describe his emotions as 'an earthquake,' no -- he had to adject it into a 'violent earthquake.' " (Russell Beland, Springfield)

3. DEBOISE: The male package. "Billy won't be playing in the second half against Bensonhurst. He got smacked in deboise." (Tom Sullivan, Highland, Mich. -- a First Offender)

2. the winner of the "Find It: A Compass for Chronic Losers" cardboard wheel: BIZCACHA: Motivational blather before a sales meeting. "We set our monthly goal for syrup pickles, but we first had to wade through all that bizcacha." (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf)

And the Winner of the Inker

DENNAGE: The stuff that Dad is allowed to keep only in his own room. "An arcade Pong console AND a Visible V-8 Engine -- whoa, that's some serious dennage." (Bill Spencer, Baltimore)

Near Def Experiences: Honorable Mentions

ADAD: A commercial for an infomercial. (Pam Sweeney, Germantown)

ADAD: A very early clue that a baby will be dyslexic. (Dave Prevar, Annapolis)

ADAD: The husband of an imam. "We don't have any adads in Iran." (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)

ADJECT: A campaign commercial deemed too slimy to run. [Now archaic.] (Elwood Fitzner, Valley City, N.D.)

ADJECT: Catchphrase of District Attorney Buckwheat in the new series "Law & Order: Our Gang." "I adject, I adject! Your Honorableness Alfalfa, Mr. Spanky is witnessing the badger!" (Jeff Brechlin, Eagan, Minn.)

ADURE: To experience life before TiVo. "I don't think I can adure this Toyotathon commercial again." (Russ Taylor, Vienna)

AESTUATION: The use of the "æ" symbol in words that already have enough letters, like "encyclopædia." (Andrew Hoenig, Rockville)

AGAZED: Grandson of Aga X. (Elwood Fitzner)

ALEPINE: The Olympic skiing event that Bode Miller could win. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

ALMAGRA: Contributions to a church's endowment fund: Through regular use of almagra, Pastor Bob raised enough to erect a steeple that everyone admired. (Larry Yungk, Arlington; Dave Zarrow, Herndon)

ANTHYPOPHORA: A rock power ballad that's been turned into Muzak. "The anthypophora in this elevator -- is that 'Free Bird' or 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'?" (Russ Taylor)

APTOTE: An honor student's extra-large backpack. (Peter Metrinko, Chantilly)

ASSYTHE: A heavy-duty surgical instrument: "When the scalpel is too small for the butt reduction surgery, the plastic surgeon pulls out the assythe." (Horace LaBadie, Dunnellon, Fla.)

ASSYTHE: What toothless hockey players shout when they help a teammate to score a goal. (Peter Metrinko)

AUGE: Reaction to being assigned a dirty job. "Upon being told to clean the stables, Hercules grumbled, 'Auge whiz!' " (Horace LaBadie)

BELSWAGGER: The characteristic strut of a coach with a perfect season. (Beth Baniszewski, Somerville, Mass.)

BENJOIN: To create a new name every time two celebrities hook up. (J. Larry Schott, Gainesville, Fla.; Jay Shuck, Minneapolis)

BENJOIN: Backwoods music playing. " 'Deliverance' had some kinda dadgum benjoin." (George Vary, Bethesda; Chris Doyle)

BIZCACHA: The act of going number one and number two at the same time. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village)

BLIN: Third-rate costume jewelry: "Yo, you drop a G on that blin?" (Horace LaBadie; David Zvijac, Annandale, who almost counts as a First Offender: He got his only other ink in 1993, when he won the contest)

BLIN: The capital of Ireland before its expansion. (Kevin Dopart, Chris Doyle)

BROWSTER: KGB code name for Leonid Brezhnev. (Elwood Fitzner)

BULSE: The quickened heart rate of a liar. "The polygraph operator immediately noticed his bulse." (Tom Witte)

CHAVEL: A surgical instrument designed to turn an outie into an innie. "After a boob job, Brazilian plastic surgeons often provide a quick turn of the chavel as lagniappe." (Hillel Weinberg, Falls Church -- a First Offender)

CHAVEL: A perfume company whose No. 5 smells about as good as a horse's No. 2. (Fred Dawson, Beltsville)

CHEBEC: Shouting distance. "He's your husband, so he's expected to be at chebec and call." (Chris Doyle)

DEBOISE: To ask for the rice pilaf instead of the baked potato. (Pam Sweeney)

DENNAGE: Gross weight measurement. The Grand Slam breakfast remains one of America's most vital sources of dennage. (Larry Yungk)

Next Week: Hurry Up and Slow Down!, or The Tortuous and the Harried

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