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Week 1031: The ‘Sty’le Invitational: Find a nugget of truth in a word or name

By ,

Wai“tress”: Often the source of hair in one’s soup. (Meg Sullivan)

Co“pious”: Describing the amount of phony religiosity in the presidential campaign. (Mike Genz)

Fem“me fat”ale: The transformation made by a changing-room mirror. (Jonathan Paul)

Donald T“rump”: Donald Trump. (Elden Carnahan)

Here’s a contest that gave my predecessor the Czar great results in both 2000 and 2001, and the Empress in 2009: Choose any word, name or short term; emphasize a key, suddenly pertinent part of it with quotation marks; then redefine the word, as in the Losers’ examples above from those contests. You may not alter the spelling of the original.

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln-statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second-place receives a small bag of Holy Crap brand fiber-enriched breakfast cereal, made in British Columbia and sent to us by Sylvia Betts of the Style Invitational Western Canada Bureau.

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. First Offenders receive a smelly, tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to or fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Aug. 5; results published Aug. 25 (online Aug. 22). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1031” 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 Dave Prevar; the alternative headline in the “Next Week’s Contest” line is by Danielle Nowlin. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at

Important Loserific Announcement: Last week, with his honorable mention in Week 1026, Elden Carnahan of Laurel sauntered into the Style Invitational Hall of Fame with his 500th blot of ink, the ninth Loser to do so. Elden is essentially the founder of the Invite’s Loser community: He not only has kept comprehensive Invitational statistics dating back to Week 1, but he was also the guy who, back in the Invite’s infancy in 1993, decided to look up some fellow ink-getters in the phone book and invite them to brunch. Loser Brunches continue monthly to this day; on Aug. 18 it’s part of a field trip to Gettysburg. See for all this stuff.

Report from Week 1027

in which we asked for creative paired names for two related building elements, à la the “Buoys” and “Gulls” restrooms in kitschy seafood joints. The Empress declared right off that she’d be pretty expansive in what would count as a building element. More than a dozen entries suggested that Metro’s up and down escalators should officially be named Out of Service and Out of Service. Numerous others said the men’s and ladies’ rooms at the Westminster Kennel Club should be labeled Pointers and Setters, but only Bob Chell of Brookings, S.D., admitted it wasn’t original.

The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial:

The restrooms at a Paula Deen “true Southern wedding”: Never mind. (Phil Frankenfeld, Washington)

2. Winner of the weird spiny head massager:

The receiving and shipping areas at a Brooklyn warehouse: Gozinta and Gozouta (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

3. Redskins uniform storage lockers: White and Colored (and no, there’s no way they can call them anything else) (Danielle Nowlin, Woodbridge, Va.)

4. Maternity ward doors: Regular Entrance and Cervix Entrance (Nandini Lal, Bethesda, Md.)

Paired down: honorable mentions


At Chris Brown’s house: Men and First Aid (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)

At an Oktoberfest: Frauleins and No Lines (Suzanne Austin-Hill, Ruskin, Fla., a First Offender)

At the U.S. Census Bureau: 50.8% and 49.2% (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

At a game show studio: M_N and _OM_N (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)

At a zoo: Adders and Udders (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

At a garden center: Lattice and Gentians (Mae Scanlan, Washington)

At National Park Service headquarters: Devil’s Tower and Grand Tetons (Craig Dykstra, Centreville, Va.)

At a comedy club: Standup and Siddown (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

Privies in Henry VIII’s chambers: His Majesty and Temp (Ellen Ryan, Rockville, Md.)

At a furniture store: Highboys and Settees (Larry Powers, Falls Church, Va.)

At a marina: Outboards and Inboards (Tom Murphy, Bowie, Md.)

At the MIT computer science department: Men and !Men (Jeff Contompasis)

Urinals and Stalls at the Dr. Seuss Museum: Thing One and Thing Two (Jeff Contompasis, Nan Reiner, Alexandria, Va.)


The hour and minute hand on the clock in the Motion Picture Academy lobby: Michael Bay and Ingmar Bergman (Samantha Poyer, Annapolis, Md., a First Offender)

Inboxes and outboxes at the NSA: Taps and Leaks (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Off-on switch at Al Gore’s house: Off and Harmful Emissions (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)

Embalming and viewing rooms at a funeral home: Meat and Greet (Kevin Dopart, on vacation in Naxos, Greece)

Pumps at a Sicilian gas station: Unleaded and Sonny Corleone (Danielle Nowlin)

Department store sections: Self-Esteem-Deflating Imperfection Revealer Wall of Shame, and Men’s Swimwear (Danielle Nowlin)

Aisles at a Tea Party rally: Right and The Speaker’s Right (Dave Komornik, Danville, Va.)

Door and window in a Wild West saloon: Entrance and Exit (Doug Hamilton, College Park, Md.)

At a justice of the peace: Front door: Here Comes the Bride. Back door: Here Comes the Bribe. (Beverley Sharp)

Outer and inner rings at the Pentagon: Stars and Stripes (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)

Entrance and exit doors at an orthopedic office: Cane and Able (Joanne Free, Clifton, Va.)

First-class and economy-class airplane cabins: Laps of luxury and Lapse of Luxury (Rick Lempert, Arlington, Va.)

Entrance and exit at the Moscow airport transit area: In and ??? (Nan Reiner; Scott Poyer, Annapolis)

A church’s choir loft and confessional: Forgive and Forget (Jeff Contompasis)

Windows at the Beverly Hills marriage license bureau: Under 72 Days and Long-Term Commitments (Roy Ashley, Washington)

Entrance doors at Lake Wobegon Elementary: Above Average and Visitors (Roy Ashley)

Counters at the Hotel California reception desk: Check-In and Closed (Steve Offutt, Arlington, Va.)

Signs in a future Colorado vending machine? Dope and Change (Gary Crockett)

The casino’s candy machine has only two products: PayDays and Suckers (Brad Alexander, Wanneroo, Australia)

The rows of washers and dryers at a D.C. area laundromat: The Humidity and The Heat (Ben Aronin, Arlington, Va.)

Escalators at the M.C. Escher Museum: Updown and Downup (Steve Offutt)

Welcome mats at doors of NSA headquarters: First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment (Mike Gips)

Platforms and farecard machines at the Capitol South Metro station: Ways and Means (Brendan Beary)

FCC’s enforcement divisions for online scams and pornography: Phish and Foul (Mark Richardson, Washington)

The Washington Post’s main and emergency bathroom supply cabinets: Today’s Tissue and Today’s Issue (Beverley Sharp)

And Last: Tables at a Style Invitational brunch: People Who’ve Been Cheated Out of Ink and People Who’ve Never Entered (Roy Ashley)

And a few more from Week 1026

You might be spending too much time at work if sleeping with your wife makes you feel guilty about cheating on your secretary. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

You might need to do some shopping if your “Home of the Whopper” underwear now says “Who.” (Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.)

You might be humor-impaired if you begin your favorite joke,“I presume we’re all familiar with the War of Austrian Succession . . . ” (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

You might be too much of a cat person if all the correspondence you send out, from Christmas cards to tax returns, is signed by you and Muppet and Roari and River Song. (Robyn Carlson & Muppet & Roari & River Song, Keyser, W.Va., First Offenders)

You might want to cut back on the coffee if you completed a prospective employer’s thoughts 12 times during a five-minute interview, including “. . . I know, you’ll call me.” (Michael Greene, Alexandria)

Still running — deadline Monday night: our contest for cinquains: five-line, 22-syllable poems. See

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, 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 there.

Next week’s results: Joint Legiflation, or The Olde Bill Game, the Week 1028 variation on our usually biennial contest to create legislation fitting the combined names of two or more members of Congress; this time we’re using the First U.S. Congress (1789-91).

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