Q. What medication can last twice as long?
A. Cyclops eyedrops. (Sue Lin Chong)
Q. I was in a coma — how did “Survivor” turn out, anyway?
A. Shrewd rude nude dude out-IQ’d multitude. (David Genser)
Q. What do users of Viagra hope for?
Never-fail-ya genitalia. (Sue Lin Chong)
Given the multitudinous lists of rules for some recent contests, this week’s couldn’t be simpler: It’s one that we’ve done just once before (in this form, anyway), 14 years ago in Week 365. This week: Ask a question and answer it with a rhyme, as in the examples above from 2000. You may rhyme more than two words, but they all have to be the same rhyme. Loser Matt Monitto says his family used to play a similar game called Inky Pinky, but we’re guessing that Matt’s family didn’t use the edgy, sometimes highbrow, often topical rhymes that tend to get Invite ink (and did so last time). You can see all the Week 365 winners at bit.ly/invite365 (scroll down past that week’s new contest).
Note that while the Empress has her standards on what counts as a rhyme — we’re using the classic “perfect rhymes” — she will do her best to accept that not everyone pronounces vowels the way they’re spoken in her native Philadelphia, that “berry” and “marry” more or less rhyme in less enlightened dialects, for example. And today’s headline? While the tt and dd of “little” and “riddle” are pronounced very differently in Britain, in American English the tt in “little” is what’s called the “American flap” — closer to a D than a T — and close enough for us.
Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a fabulous addition to any formal dinner table: a set of little ceramic salt and pepper shakers, of a lady and a dog; there’s a tiny magnet on the muzzle of the dog, and another on the backside of the lady. Donated by 243-time Loser Dave Prevar.
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 email@example.com or, if you were born in the 19th century, fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, July 14; results published Aug. 3 (online July 31). No more than 25 entries per entrant per contest. Include “Week 1079” 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/InvRules. This week’s honorable-mentions subhead is by Kevin Dopart; the alternative headline in the “next week’s results” line was sent by both Nan Reiner and Tom Witte. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev, and click “like” on Style Invitational Ink of the Day at bit.ly/inkofday.
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 bit.ly/conv1079.
The latest in our series of totally bogus trivia, this time about motor vehicles, roads, stuff like that. The Empress loves that old joke: In Texas you can drive across your ranch all day without reaching the boundary lines. . . . Vermonters have cars like that, too. But she wasn’t so thrilled to see it sent to a contest for original humor. There might be other retreads in here as well; if you see one, just enjoy the ride, okay?
Rather than producing an undignified beep when a driver neglects to fasten his seat belt, a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow emits the sound of a discreetly clearing throat. (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)
So far, the Google self-driving car has passed its driving test only in Florida. (Martin Bancroft, Bellevue, Wash.)
The name of Erik Prndl, inventor of the automatic transmission, is displayed on most cars’ dashboards. (Edward Gordon, Austin; Jeff Shirley, Richmond)
To build its Garden State Parkway, the State of New Jersey paved over 351 gardens and 79 parks. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
Factory-applied stain-proofing chemicals inadvertently cause car seat cushions to retain human flatulence for up to three weeks. This is why dogs prefer to ride with their heads out the window. (Kathleen DeBold, Burtonsville, Md.)
GM nearly sold off the Chevrolet brand because “it sounds too French.” (Ken Gallant, Conway, Ark.)
The voice actress for the Garmin GPS made a guest appearance as an extra in the third season of “Lost.” (David Friedman, Arlington, Va.)
It is well known that Pierre L’Enfant designed the layout of the streets of Washington, D.C., but few know that he was assisted by the Marquis de Sade. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)
West Virginia politicians are considering subsidies for coal-powered SUVs. (Ken Gallant; Peter Siegwald, Lauzerte, France)
“Tom and Ray,” the hosts of public radio’s “Car Talk,” are actually one person who does two slightly different voices. He knows little about cars but was an early adopter of Google. (Robert Schechter)
The grille of the Ford Edsel was designed by Georgia O’Keeffe. (Mark Raffman)
In Florida, residents over age 80 must renew their driver’s licenses every 10 years or 2,000 miles, whichever comes first. (Jeff Covel, Arlington, Va.)
The state of Massachusetts hired New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick as a consultant to help train DMV employees how not to smile. (Rob Wolf, Gaithersburg, Md.)
Used-car dealers in Cuba are using American TV ads from the 1950s to promote their inventory. (Mark Raffman)
When shown a yellow light, 9 out of 10 test mice preferred the gas pedal to the brake pedal. (Jeff Covel)
By 2018 in California, all new cars will be fitted with a computer chip that detects if the vehicle is speeding, and then automatically deducts the fine from the driver’s bank account. (Robert Schechter)
After intense lobbying by child safety groups about the dangers of prom night, Maryland now requires all limo passengers 18 and younger to wear safety harnesses — called “feet belts” — when standing in an open sunroof, waving their arms and yelling “Wooooh!” (Daniel Bender, Bethesda, Md.)
In D.C., the number of additional fees that may be added to a cab fare is capped at infinity. (Frank Mann, Washington)
Because of the high number of false alarms, new cars will be equipped with an additional sensor connected to a check check engine light light. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)
The word “car” came into vogue in the early 20th century as a shorthand term for “horseless carriage,” once it was realized that “hor” was not going to work. (Mark Raffman)
Foreign versions of Punch Buggy — in which you hit your friend when you see a VW Beetle — include (in India) Purple Nurple Tata and (in Serbia) Crotch Pop Yugo. (Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.)
“The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round” is based on a true story. (Jeff Shirley)
At a gift shop on Route 66 in Tulsa, the biggest seller is the set of souvenir shin guards. (Dave Leveton, Gainesville, Va.)
And we have room for one more song parody from Week 1074: The contest was to write a song about a stage or screen musical, using the tune of a different musical:
“The Wizard of Oz”
Sung to “Do-Re-Mi” from “The Sound of Music”
So, young dear, what have we here?
Hey, it seems you’re on the run!
See, the blame is on yourself;
Ha! But killing can be fun!
Oh, one sister squashed and dead;
Ah, the other melts like snow;
Gee, those poppies messed your head —
Please just grab your mutt and go! (oh oh oh) (Jeff Shirley, Richmond)
Still running — deadline Monday night: our Hyphen the Terrible neologism contest. See bit.ly/invite1078.
Next week’s results: Dactyly Fractaly, or Bodacious Double-D’s, our contest for the short, galloping poems called double dactyls. bit.ly/invite1076.