Style Invitational Week 1094: TAXI’s the fare in Tour de Fours XI; plus ‘rude word’ poems

Come up with a term that includes the letter block T-A-X-I in any order


(Bob Staake for The Washington Post )
October 16

(Click here to skip down to the results of our “rude words” poetry contest, Week 1090.)

FIX-A-TAT: You got “I’m Awsome” printed on your forearm? Did the butterfly from 30 years ago stretch into a giant amoeba? Here’s the makeover you need!

TAXTILE: Governmental fleecing material.

FLEXITABOO: Okay, he’s my first cousin, but it’s not like we knew each other well or anything, I mean until . . .

It’s our 11th annual Tour de Fours neologism contest, which is why this year the Empress chose a letter group containing X and I. (She chose the other two letters for the clever reason that they worked for the above examples.) It’s the same drill as in our previous tensome: Coin a word or hyphenated term that contains the letter block T-A-X-I; the letters may be in any order, but there may be no other letters between them.


You might have a dirty mouth, but Bubble Geezer is clean absolutely everywhere. Turn it on and the arm lifts a bubble wand ... and wheee. (We assume; we didn’t get the three AA batteries.) (Pat Myers)

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a prize that reflects the Style Invitational’s prestige in the world of American letters, as exemplified both by its manifold additions to the English lexicon and, as this week’s results illustrate, by its contribution to the nation’s poetic oeuvre: It’s the Bubble Geezer, an ingenious device in the shape of an elderly man, and described thus on its box: “This old geezer will surprise everyone. Just pour in the bubble solution and he will blow bubbles from his behind. Requires 3 AA batteries (not included).” Donated by Loser Cheryl Davis, the source of so much of our second-place swag over the years.

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 in one of our two new Bob Staake designs: either “The Wit Hit the Fan” or “Hardly Har-Har.” First Offenders receive a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to losers@washpost.com or, if you were born in the 19th century, fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Oct. 27; results published Nov. 16 (online Nov. 13). No more than 25 entries per entrant per contest. Include “Week 1094” 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 Jeff Contompasis; the one introducing the results is by 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 wapo.st/styleconv .

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

DITTY MINDS: THE ‘RUDE WORD’ POEMS FROM WEEK 1090

In Week 1090 we presented a list of perfectly wholesome words that don’t sound wholesome; we found them on a list of “50 Words That Sound Rude but Actually Aren’t,” by Paul Anthony Jones in the magazine Mental Floss. And then we asked for humorous poems featuring these mostly obscure words — and the poems had to make sense with their true meanings, even if they were also fun to read as if the words were really risqué. Most of the poems’ humor did come from double-entendres, but some of today’s inking poems are funny even when the words are only singly entendred.

(Last-minute note: The editors of the Style and Arts & Style sections came down with a sudden case of maturity, and decided that most of the entries below didn’t belong in the print version of The Post, where a reader unfamiliar with the humor of the Invitational might react with a more decorous form of “WTF?” In this weekend’s print version, the Inkin’ Memorial winner is followed by the second- and third-prize winners below labeled “Fit for Print”; the other runners-up and the honorable mentions have digital ink only.)

The winner of the Inkin’ Memorial:

How you fish for adulation
With that post from your vacation!
There’s the haul you trawled, displayed
Beside a hottie (whom you’ve lei’d)
Of perfect tan and bright white teeth;
You humblebrag thus underneath:
“Some lucky catch, eh? Holy moly!”
I remark, “Aholehole!”
(Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)
(Aholehole, pronounced ah-holay-holay, is a Hawaiian fish.)

2nd place and “The Klutz Book of Inventions”

Fit for Print:
A true story about a flying squirrel:
A creepy critter came to call — it was an assapanick;
He slid beneath my bedroom door, like something quite satanic.
I never saw him coming, so I wasn’t filled with dread;
In fact, I was asleep — until he landed in my bed.
I guess my shriek unnerved him, and he prob’ly lost his balance,
’Cause that is when he spread his “wings” and swooped up to the valance.
My valiant husband let him out the window (I had fled!);
The moral is: Be sure you know who else is in your bed.
(Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

The Empress’s choice for 2nd place:
In Ireland, the Blarney stone often gets kissed,
But in Penistone, England, most people resist.
(Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)
Penistone (pronounced “Penniston”) is a town noted for a type of sandstone.

3rd place

Fit for Print:
Gullgropers: they are a group to beware of;
One’s bad enough — even worse is a pair of.
They are the preyers, the tricksters, the scammers,
Ready to swindle your grandpas and grammers. (Mae Scanlan, Washington)
(A gullgroper is a swindler.)

The Empress’s choice for 3rd place:
Attempts to divert him away from his cleaning
Are met with unyielding resistance.
His flat is impeccable, but it adds up
to a pretty pershittie existence. (Kristen Rahman, Silver Spring, Md.)
(“Pershittie” means prim or overly meticulous.)

4th place

One Kenyan took games to excess:
He’d blindfold his guests, then undress,
And they’d grope either him
Or his pet antelope’s limb,
And he called this new game Dik-Dik-Guess.
(Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)
(A dik-dik is a tiny African antelope.)

Assorted crudités: honorable mentions

There once was a baker who’d run
Her own S&M service for fun.
With 12 guys in one night,
Said, “A dozen feels right:
Just tetheradick and I’m done.”
(Kevin Dopart, Washington)
(“Tetheradick” was a word for 13 used by English shepherds.)

And how will Putin face the sanctions bite?
“As always,” he responded, “Aktashite.” (Frank Osen)
(Aktashite is a rare Russian mineral.)

When you sneak in the back at 10 past the hour
While cringing beneath old Pastor Jim’s glower,
Avoid like ten plagues the clatterfart
Lest everyone learn how late thou art. (Danielle Nowlin)
(A clatterfart is a gossip.)

Expressed through its tale,
The clatterfart’s breath takes flight
On gossiper wings.
(Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

A famed entomologist, Lance,
was performing a curious dance.
To our question of why
came his frantic reply:
“A cockchafer fell down my pants!”
(Bruce Niedt, Cherry Hill, N.J.)
(A cockchafer is a large beetle.)

Though the cockchafer’s quite a fierce bug,
The good news is it’s not in your rug. (Frank Osen)

A dik-dik’s a tiny and shy antelope;
To be overlooked is his one fervent hope.
For leopards will eat him up if he gets fatter,
And so, for a dik-dik, size really does matter.
(Dudley Thompson, Cary, N.C.)

My dreamhole affords me a lot of delight,
Not only in daytime, but also at night.
I’ll say it again, should you not be too bright:
My dreamhole affords me a lot of de light.
(Mae Scanlan, Washington)
(Dreamhole: a small opening in a wall.)

These lads on the track team, I take it,
Aren’t too bright, but I’ll coach them to make it
When we train fartlek style
I’ll remind with a smile
It means run like the wind, boys, not break it.
(Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)
(Fartlek is a training regimen alternating strenuous and lighter exercise.)

“A roll in the fuksheet, my sprite?”
Asked Hook, but Tink put up a fight.
“I don’t care how you rig it,
But go jolly well frigate!”
For his barque was much worse than his bight. (Frank Osen)
(A fuksheet was an old kind of sail.)

Make peace, O you bellicose nation:
This war’s caused enough devastation.
Sheathe your swords! Save your lives,
And return to your wives!
The watchword is invagination!
(Hugh Thirlway, The Hague)
(Invaginate means to put something inside else, like a sword in a scabbard.)

In a storm, my hot neighbor came bounding
And gave my front door a good pounding.
“My jerkinhead’s failing!
Please help with the nailing?”
My vigorous “Yes!” was resounding.
(Beth Morgan, Palo Alto, Calif.)
(A jerkinhead is a type of roof.)

Although its conduct may seem manic,
Do not fear the assapanick.
This squirrel spreads its legs to fly
Some forty meters through the sky.
(My girlfriend did the same, but  found
She never even left the ground.)
(Brian Allgar, Paris)

Fiddle-dee, deedle-dee
Scarlett O’Hara, she
Lost everything as the
Nation was riven.
Rhett saw the signs of her
peniaphobia:
Straight out the he door he went;
No damns were given.
(Todd DeLap, Fairfax, Va.)
(Peniaphobia is a fear of poverty.)

Assart is the land on which farmers grow crops,
Not tats on one’s bottom (though yours, dear, are tops).
(Chris Doyle)
(Assart is land cleared for farming.)

Said a tree-dwelling holy man, bitter:
“Last week geeks came to fix my transmitter,
But I misunderstood
When they told me I should
Stick the aerial up in my shittah.” (Frank Osen)
(A shittah is an acacia tree, mentioned in the Bible.)

Still running — deadline Monday night: our contest for ill-advised ideas for a business to make a few more bucks. See bit.ly/invite1093.

Next week’s results: Good Idea — or Not, or Think Badder of It, our contest in which you cite a good idea, then change the wording slightly to turn it into a bad idea. See bit.ly/invite1091. (Alternative headline by Kevin Dopart.)

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