(Click here to skip down to this week’s winning bad ideas for souvenirs to be sold at particular gift shops.)
L-7: CHATOX: A substance injected into the face to keep someone from running at the mouth.
D-2: CRUDLET: A little nasty thing that your floss — or your vote — can dislodge.
The Empress was positively chartreuse with envy a few months ago when The Post gave lots of attention to the news that it was reinstating one of its most popular Sunday magazine features: Second Glance, a game in which readers try to figure out what’s different between two almost identical photos. The E used to have great fun with a lower-tech version of this game, and would eagerly await her monthly issue of Highlights in the mail.
The Style Invitational can’t really do such a puzzle — for one thing, our print version is now a wash of gray — so the Empress instead tried to think of something else that might draw lots of eager puzzlers all decked out in their thinking caps.
Okay, we were kidding: It’s not really a regular word find puzzle. C’mon, now: It’s an Invite neologism contest. This week: Create a word or multi-word term that consists of adjacent letters — in any direction or several directions — in the grid above, and provide a humorous definition, as in the examples shown. You may also give an especially clever definition for an existing term you find. You might want to use the word in a funny sentence. (If you’re having trouble printing out the grid above, print it from here.)
IMPORTANT: Because the Empress would go batty otherwise, you must state the coordinates of the first letter of your term (e.g., C-12); the E can trace it from there. Note that the word doesn’t have to appear in a straight line; you may snake your word around the grid as in the game Boggle: Each letter only has to be adjacent to the previous one; it can go forward, backward, up, down, at an angle, changing direction repeatedly, as long as you don’t skip over letters or use the same spot on the grid twice. If you don’t give me those coordinates, I’m going to skip your word.
Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial , the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a cheap little paperback book titled “The World’s Worst Jokes”: “Why did the cookie go to the hospital? Because it felt crummy.” Yup. Donated by Chronic Loser Tom Witte. (We might be persuaded to also send you one of the prizes listed below.)
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, Sept. 22; results published Oct. 12 (online Oct. 9). No more than 25 entries per entrant per contest. Include “Week 1089” 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 is by Beverley Sharp. 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 wapo.st/styleconv. This week: Reflections on how the Invitational reacted after Sept. 11, 2011; plus some gift shop entries that flunked the taste test.
Inspired by reports of the new Ground Zero gift shop — whose inventory sports 9/11 kitsch ranging from cheese plates to toy rescue vehicles — we asked for humorously bad (or even humorously good) items for real or fictional gift shops: Suggested by too many: NSA souvenir package of your best phone conversations.
At the Little Bighorn Battlefield gift shop: Incredibly lifelike toupees. (Mike Duffy, Butte, Mont.)
At the Detroit Vistors Center: Buy a cap, snow globe and T-shirt, and they’ll throw in a three-bedroom house on a quarter-acre. (Nancy Schwalb, Washington)
At the Texas election board: An “I Couldn’t Vote” sticker. (Randy Arndt, Clarksville, Md.)
At the Van Gogh Museum: An earmuff. (Steven Steele Cawman, Poughquag, N.Y.)
At the NHL Hall of Fame gift shop: The actual teeth of hockey’s greatest players. (Warren Tanabe, Annapolis, Md.)
At the FedEx Field gift shop: A jersey that says “Washington’s NFL Team.” (Frank Mann, Washington)
At the Caesars Palace gift shop: Previously lost shirts. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)
At a Paris gift shop: A guillotine-shaped cake cutter that says, “Sorry, we have no bread.” (Thomas Young, Rockville, Md., a First Offender)
At the National Enquirer gift shop: Elvis. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)
At the Redskins store: A Joe Theismann bobble-leg doll. (Ward Kay, Vienna, Va.)
At the Richard Nixon Library: A Nixon-head soccer ball. (Pam Sweeney, Burlington, Mass.)
At the Westboro Baptist Church gift shop: Souvenir closet organizers. (Nancy Schwalb)
At Anthony Weiner’s new restaurant: An “I’m With Stupid ↓” T-shirt. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)
At the Florida Welcome Center: Chad globes. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)
Vendors outside CIA headquarters: Maps to the homes of the spies. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park, Md.)
From a gift shop for hajj pilgrims: “My husband went to Mecca and all I got was this stupid burqa.” (Jon Graft, Centreville, Va.)
At the Museum of Constitutional Monarchy gift shop: A Queen Elizabeth II rubber stamp. (Jeff Contompasis)
At Barnum’s American Museum gift shop: Fresh all-day suckers — restocked immediately! (Jeff Contompasis)
Branded-edition Viagra is now available for purchase at the Toronto Space Needle, Washington Monument and Eiffel Tower. And for half the price, you can buy a Mexican-made knockoff at the Leaning Tower of Pisa. (Jacob Aldridge, Virginia, Australia)
At the Texas governor’s mansion shop: A three-in-one gift set – hair gel, reading glasses and . . . um . . . (Nan Reiner, Alexandria, Va.)
To commemorate the 2011 earthquake, Washington Monument bobbleheads. (John Duffy, Manassas, Va.)
At the Capitol Visitor Center: A mixed bag of Impedi-Mints, Impeach-Mints and Indict-Mints, but no Accomplish-Mints. (Frank Osen)
— Congressional inaction figures — collect the whole set of 435. (Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)
— A Capitol dome-shaped lemon squeezer. Twist left, twist right. Repeat until you have a sour taste in your mouth. (Ben Aronin, Washington)
— Sausage. (Jonathan Hardis, Gaithersburg, Md.)
At the Museum of Russian History: The Leon Tchotchke, a bobblehead complete with removable ice pick. (Frank Osen)
At a Mexico City gift shop: Montezuma toilet paper. (Thomas Young)
At the South Korean DMZ gift shop: Your photo taken by a soldier. At the North Korean DMZ gift shop: You taken by a soldier. (Mike Ostapiej, Mount Pleasant, S.C.)
At the only gift shop in Siberia: A snow globe with just snow. No, wait, I think I see a tiny little Edward Snowden figurine in there, too! (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)
At the Peace Conference Building at Panmunjom: Danceable pinheads (Elden Carnahan, Laurel, Md.)
At the Adult Film Museum gift shop: 10-inch all-day suckers. (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)
The Empire State Building observation deck: A bucketful of souvenir pennies. (Roy Ashley, Washington)
At the NRA gift shop: A rifle-shaped rattle — baby will love it so much, you won’t be able to pry it from his little hands! (Bradley Jamison, South Riding, Va.)
At the Graceland Gift Shop: “Love Me Tender” condoms. (John Simson, Silver Spring, Md.)
At Ford’s Theatre: An Abe Lincoln penny bank, with its little slot in the back of the head. (Dave Airozo, Silver Spring, Md.)
— A Lincoln shot glass. (Dave Ferry, Purvis, Miss.)
— The “Too Soon?” Lincoln Assassination Joke Book. (Art Grinath)
At airport duty-free shops: Custom-sized copies of your full-body scan. (Limited editions of complete strangers also available). (Sylvia Betts, Vancouver, B.C.)
Available in any Middle Eastern country: A chess set with pieces that don’t do what you think they will. Americans can’t resist playing with those things. (Danielle Nowlin)
Next week’s results: Playing the Dozens, or The Twelve of Clever, our neologism contest to change a 12-letter word or other term by adding or deleting a letter, substituting a letter, or transposing two letters. See bit.ly/invite1086.
Still running — deadline Monday night: Our Ask Backwards contest, in which we give you 16 “answers” and you tell us the questions. See bit.ly/invite1088.