Style Invitational Week 1100: Pun & ink — tell us a mini-story that ends in a groaner

Plus the winning and losing captions for Bob Staake cartoons


(Bob Staake for The Washington Post )
November 26 at 11:36 AM

(Click here to skip downto the results of our Bob Staake cartoon caption contest)

It was a strange news day in Lexington, Va.: A man dressed in a Popeye costume dug into Robert E. Lee’s grave, stole his left femur, and then used it to bludgeon a man during a robbery. Clearly a case of . . . a salt with a dead-Lee weapon.

A little story that ends in an elaborate pun: It’s sometimes called a feghoot, named for a series of sci-fi tales by the pseudonymous Grendel Briarton, “Through Time and Space With Ferdinand Feghoot,” starting in the 1950s. The feghoot above — pared down for the Invite — is by Ted Remington, an incorrigible punster whom the Empress discovered from his comment on a recent article about a football player who started celebrating his touchdown before he actually crossed the end zone, and ended up dropping the ball; Ted called it a case of “premature jock elation.” In short order, Ted joined the Style Invitational Devotees page on Facebook and shared the groaner above, “the best pun I have ever created.”

Which convinced the Empress that there are still original puns out there. And unlike when we did this contest before, almost 15 years ago, you can now Google your idea to see if it’s already been posted 12,000 times. So this week: Contrive an elaborate scenario that ends in a novel groaner pun on a familiar expression, title, etc. While it’s fun to string out a long story, we need you to keep it to just a few sentences; 75 words will be lengthy for us. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be a simple one-sentence riddle joke.


(Cartoons by Bob Staake for The Washington Post )

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a That’s GrossTM Growing Body Part — a brain and a whole skeleton two inches tall that is said to grow by 600 percent if you put it in water for three days. It is not remotely gross. Donated by Nan Reiner. We’ll also throw in a little toy nose donated by Kuohsien Huang. So if you win: cool prize. If you finish third or fourth: cool prize. If you finish second: total junk. This is why we call our contestants Losers.

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, Dec. 8; results published Dec. 28 (online Dec. 24, because what else is there to do that day besides reading the Invite?). No more than 25 entries per entrant per contest. Include “Week 1100” 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. The headline for this week’s results is by Tom Witte; the honorable-mentions subhead is by Chris Doyle. 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 (published late Wednesday this week) discusses each new contest and set of results. Especially if you plan to enter, check it out at

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

EDGY-SKETCH: THE WINNING AND LOSING BOB STAAKE CARTOON CAPTIONS OF WEEK 1096

Week 1096 was another of our renowned Bob Staake cartoon caption contests, for the five pictures above (or click on each heading below to see the individual pictures). Funny but too frequently submitted for credit: For Picture B, noting that the Postal Service is marketing voice mail; for Picture A, various takes on “a box office hit”; for Picture C, a car for the Australian market.

THE WINNER OF THE INKIN’ MEMORIAL:

Picture D: “No, let MY client get it.” (Frank Mann, Washington)

2ND PLACE

and the eggnog glass in the shape of an antlered moose head: Picture C: Heaven wasn’t exactly as Tom Magliozzi had pictured it, but it was pretty darn close. (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)

3RD PLACE:

Picture C: The artist known as Athena unveils her latest commentary on how men mistreat women: putting them on a pedestal, then turning their lives upside down just to get a peek up their chassis. (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

4TH PLACE:

Picture D: In restaurants that have banned phones, millennials have to pass notes back and forth to communicate. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park, Md.)

YUCK OF THE DRAW: HONORABLE MENTIONS


FOR PICTURE A

Man killed by booth at Ford’s Theatre. (Dudley Thompson, Cary, N.C.)

In Harold’s day, tickets were a nickel. #ThanksObama (Marni Penning Coleman, Falls Church, Va.)

Even though George had ordered HBO, he was amazed when it actually arrived on his doorstep. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

Edna didn’t know you could head-butt someone through three-inch glass. (Todd DeLap, Fairfax, Va.)

The new smartphone-in-a-shoe makes it difficult to use Fandango. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

The waiting time to clear passport control at Dulles solved the Ebola screening problem. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

FOR PICTURE B

Delores noticed a marked increase in the volume of her mail. (Beverley Sharp; Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

The Postal Service announces with joy that someone under 65 actually wrote and mailed a letter. (Bill Lieberman, Ellicott City, Md., a First Offender)

David Letterman becomes the new face of the Post Office. (Brad Alexander, Wanneroo, Australia; Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

FOR PICTURE C

While the new steering column was an elegant addition to the mini-hybrids, it tended to cause stability problems. (Ralph Nitkin, Rockville, Md.)

Introducing the car with an extra strong roof, internal roll bars and self-sealing cup holders so you don’t spill your drink . . . the Ford Rob Ford. (Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.)

At the 2015 auto show, all cars were required to be presented “recall-ready.” (Curtis Morrison, Chesapeake, Va.)

The car wasn’t the only thing defying gravity. (Steve Honley, Washington; Art Grinath)

“Vanna, that’s not what I meant when I told you to put the top down.” (Marleen May, Rockville; Beverley Sharp)

Nissan’s electric-car division soon thought better of the slogan “Turn over a new Leaf.” (Thad Humphries, Washington, Va.)

FOR PICTURE D

“It’s from the chef. The good news: Our dinner is free. The bad news: He’s been quarantined for 21 days.” (Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)

With California’s new active-consent law on the books, Bobby thought it best to have his dates start reviewing the paperwork at dinner. (Dan Ramish, Alexandria, Va.)

For their dinner date at Tofu Bistro, Millie thoughtfully sneaked in a Pop-Tart for her husband. (Kevin Dopart; Danielle Nowlin)

Mary asked Tom to review the check and see if they were charged for the table and chair legs they never received. (Jim Stiles, Rockville, Md.)

Lines That Don’t Work No. 17: “You pay for dinner, I’ll spring for the hotel.” (Bird Waring)

“Yes, I know I’ve become boring, but unfortunately your warranty on me just ran out.” (Mark Asquino, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea)

FOR PICTURE E

“The upside is now I won’t have to get that colonoscopy.” (Alex Jeffrey, Columbia, Md.)

“Wait here while I see if there’s any body around.” (John O’Byrne, Dublin)

Turns out a guy can lose face by asking for directions. (Pam Sweeney, Burlington, Mass.)

Because of liability concerns, National Hockey League lawyers consider eliminating the face-off from future games. (Ralph Nitkin)

I lost 167 pounds — ask me how! (Bird Waring)

Still running — deadline Monday: Our contest to write funny questions from sentences in Post articles. See bit.ly/invite1099.

Next week’s results: Futz Your Sign,or Age of Hilarious, our contest to “clarify” a horoscope printed in The Post. See bit.ly/invite1097. (Alternative headline by Kevin Dopart)

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