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Style Invitational Week 1068: An iffy proposition; plus the ‘X-and-Y’ winners

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Report from Week 1065: Pun and suffering

In Week 1065, we asked you to “slightly alter” some well-known phrase of the form “X-and-Y” and define the result. Some Losers had a novel idea of “slightly,” analogous to “it is slightly uncomfortable when a bull elephant walks atop your sandaled foot”: One entry “slightly” altered “bells and whistles” to “Bill and apostles”; another came up with “Juan’s Am-Feral” from — but of course — “once and for all.”

The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial:

Skull and void: Louie Gohmert’s X-ray. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

2nd place, winner of the Pig Jax pig-shaped jacks and the Gummi-type chicken feet:

The agony and the XYZ: Losing at Scrabble because you can’t get rid of those dang high-value consonants. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

3rd place:

Hearse and baggie: Super economy package at the funeral home. (Larry Gray, Union Bridge, Md.)

4th place:

Comings and gorings: The Pamploma Tourist Guide (Stuart Rogers, Toronto, in his first inking entry, though he once suggested a contest)

Losers and whiners: honorable mentions

Low and Behold: A great name for a colonoscopy clinic. (Dudley Thompson, Cary, N.C.)

Staff and nonsense: Truth in advertising for a typical management retreat. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Dilbert & Sullivan: “I am the very model of the modern micromanager . . .” (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)

Police and tank queue: A less than polite visit from Russia to Crimea. (Chris Doyle)

Hugh and bye: Experience of many a Playmate at the mansion. (Roy Ashley, Washington)

Love and mirage: The difference between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now. (Nan Reiner, Alexandria, Va.)

Shave and a pair cut: Vet slang for a neutering. (Jeff Rhody, Clarksville, Md. an actual vet)

Froot Loops and fancy fee: Breakfast at Tiffany’s? (Beverley Sharp)

The pound and the fury: The PETA principle. (Nan Reiner)

Quit and canoodle: Two popular options for politicians, not necessarily in that order. (Seth Brown, North Adams, Mass.)

Oops and downs: A recap of last year’s Redskins season. (Jeff Covel, Arlington, Va.)

Hiss and ride: Snakes on a train! (Mary Shawhan, Silver Spring, Md., a First Offender)

Floss some and jet some: Extra-effective dental hygiene. (Syd McPherson, Woodbridge, Va.)

Lard & Taylor: The story of Liz’s most enduring relationship. (Larry Gray)

Clown and out: Result of a victory dance before touching home plate. (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)

Hot and brothered: The cute girl in high school you date at your own risk. (Warren Tanabe, Annapolis, Md.)

Do ’em and glue ’em: Slogan of a hairstyling/toupee salon. (Ray Gallucci, Frederick, Md.)

Pen and teller: Two items that magically disappear when you are in a hurry to cash a check. (Syd McPherson)

Seize and de-cyst: A seriously misguided method to treat sufferers of the black plague. (John McCooey, Rehoboth Beach, Del.)

C’s and D’s-ist: Tutor for students who want to graduate with the absolutely minimum effort. (Perry Beider, Silver Spring, Md.)

Sleaze and D-list: Your guide to the D.C. ballot. (Nan Reiner)

[sic] and tired: How copy editors feel on encountering yet another mistake-filled draft. (Christopher Lamora, Los Angeles)

Pickin’ Jews: Borscht Belt Bluegrass. (Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.).

Cursed and foremost: Obamacare, to Republicans. (Howard Walderman, Columbia, Md.)

Smurf and turf: A real Blue Plate Special! (Monrah Hammond, Falls Church, Va., a First Offender)

Frown and serve: At last, dinner rolls the way Mom made them. (Frank Osen)

Full and compete stop: What begins the mad dash to retrieve overhead bags and be first to stand in the aisle for 10 minutes while the flight crew “prepares the doors.” (Bob Brown, Alexandria, Va., a First Offender)

TED and buried: A controversy is put to rest by a persuasive slide presentation. (John Conti, Norfolk, Mass.)

Stand and re-liver: The lab exam in Organ Transplantation Techniques. (Ken Gallant, Conway, Ark.)

Expand and deliver: Steps 2 and 3 in “Pregnancy for Dummies.” (Doug Hamilton, College Park, Md.)

Cute and dried: Fluffy, after a visit to the taxidermist. (Beverley Sharp)

Belles and missiles: The makings of a porn movie. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

Wood, and plenty: All a man needs to have one nightstand. (Danielle Nowlin, Woodbridge, Va.)

Five and rhyme: The minimum requirements that disqualify half the entries to Style Invitational limerick contests. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

Thanks and beans: What you get for writing for the Empress. (Danielle Nowlin)

Still running — deadline Monday night: our contest to alter a quote and attribute it to some -one else. See .


If I were commissioner of baseball, my first act would be to require that all teams’ Opening Day games had to be played at home.

If I were Pharaoh, my first act would be to tell the royal hieroglyphics painter to stop portraying everyone in profile. For one thing, I have a very fetching smile.

While 203-time Loser Christopher Lamora has a pretty big-shot job heading up the L.A. passport office for the State Department (following a globe-trotting diplomatic career), he, like all of us, sometimes yearns wistfully for just a little chance to issue an imperious edict or two. (Except for the Empress, of course, who’s, hey, the Empress.) So, in a pretty wide-ranging contest: This week: Suggest some humorous action that you would take if you were in someone’s position, more or less in the form “If I were ____ my first act would be ___,” as in Christopher’s examples above. The wording could vary slightly; if a slightly different form yields a funnier sentence, go for it. Be concise; don’t write a long paragraph.

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives — also from Christopher — a little tchotchke (actually, a fairly sizable tchotchke) he found at a flea market or something: It’s a round container — perhaps a toilet paper cozy? — made of coils of white tissue paper to simulate the body of some small mammal (we guess a puppy) and topped with a ball of the same paper but with eyes, nose and mouth glued on (plus coils for ears and feet and, why not, a pink hair ribbon). To add insult (because that’s what we do), the “neck” of the cozy has lost some of its shape, causing the head-ball to perch precariously over the tissue paper abyss. We value this prize at $98.27.

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 or, if you were born in the 19th century, fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, April 28; results published May 18 (online May 15). No more than 25 entries per entrant per week. Include “Week 1068” 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 This week’s honorable-mentions subhead was submitted separately by Mike Ostapiej and Jeff Shirley; the “Report from Week 1065” subhead is by Nan Reiner. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at, and click “like” on Style Invitational Ink of the Day at

The Style Conversational The Empress’s weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. Especially if you plan to enter, check it out at

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