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MASTER LIST OF ALL STYLE INVITATIONAL CONTESTS

Suggestions and questions are welcome and encouraged.

The Society wishes to thank Russell Beland, Chris Doyle, Kyle Hendrickson, and Pat Myers for their help in assembling the archive that is linked to from this page.

THEMES: Below are links to subsets of these contests, which I call "themes". Most of the contests have been assigned one or more themes, which are indicated with trigraphs. It was not easy going through more than a thousand synposes to make these subjective assignments, so please let me know of any adjustments that should be made.

ANL -- Analogies
ART -- Art
ATH -- Athletics and Sports
BUM -- Bumperstickers
BUS -- Business and Commerce
CAP -- Captions
CAR -- Cartoons
COM -- Comics
CRO -- Crossword Puzzles
CUL -- Culture and Entertainment
DIF -- Differences
EPI -- Epitaphs
GOO -- Google
HEA -- Headlines
HIS -- Historical
HOR -- Horses
HYP -- Hyphens
JEO -- Jeopardy
JOK -- Jokes
LAN -- Language
LEG -- Legislation
LET -- Letters
LIM -- Limericks
LIT -- Literature
MOV -- Movies
MUS -- Music
PIX -- Photos
POE -- Poetry
POL -- Political and Government
PRE -- Previous Contests
QUE -- Questions
REL -- Religion
ROR -- Rorschach Tests
SCI -- Science
SLO -- Slogans
STY -- Style Invitational
TDF -- Tours de Fours
TEL -- Television
TRI -- Trivia
TSH -- T-shirts
WAS -- Washington
WOR -- Words

YEAR 1 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 7, 1993 SHEDDING THE SKINS?  Come up with a new name for the Redskins.  WAS ATH   Text file | Post PDF  Douglas R. Miller  Text file | Post PDF 
March 14, 1993 WRITE A MOTTO. WIN A MONSTROSITY.  Maryland needs a new motto, a multi-purpose slogan suitable for placement on a state seal or a license plate. Something grand, something that embodies the full bodacious majesty of the state.   SLO POL   Text file | Post PDF  "Oslo"  Text file | Post PDF 
March 21, 1993 A STATUE OF LIMITATIONS  Come up with a concept for a statue of someone -- anyone, dead or alive -- who doesn't currently have one.    Text file | Post PDF  Bob Zane  Text file | Post PDF 
March 28, 1993 [untitled]  This week, a gripe-fest about modernity and other irritations. Complete this sentence: "If we can put a man on the moon, why can't we ... "    Text file | Post PDF  Geri Klitsch
Heidi Klitsch
Tom Klitsch 
Text file | Post PDF 
April 4, 1993 THERE OUGHT TO BE A LAW  Invent a creative piece of legislation based on skillfully juxtaposed names of actual U.S. senators and representatives.  LEG   Text file | Post PDF  Carol Vance
Jacki Drucker 
Text file | Post PDF (pub 4-18-93)
Text file | Post PDF (pub 4-25-93) 
April 11, 1993 PUTTING WORDS IN THEIR MOUTHS  In 40 words or less, write a caption for either of these two generic cartoons drawn by famed Style Invitational artist Marc Rosenthal.  CAP CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Chuck Smith  Text file | Post PDF 
April 18, 1993 BEAT THE BANDS  Come up with a name for rock bands.  CUL   Text file | Post PDF  Beverley Brown  Text file | Post PDF 
April 25, 1993 I AM SPURIOUS (YELLOW)  Write a headline for the Weekly World News (Maximum length, 10 words)  HEA   Text file | Post PDF  Byron Baker  Text file | Post PDF 
May 2, 1993 VANITY UNFAIR  Create vanity license plates for famous people.  CUL   Text file | Post PDF  Don Beale  Text file | Post PDF 
May 9, 1993 10  A WEEK THAT WILL LIVE IN EUPHEMY  Write us a funny euphemism.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Erik Johnson  Text file | Post PDF 
May 16, 1993 11  YOU GIVE US THE BACKS OFF OUR SHIRTS  The back of the shirt needs a slogan, something that captures the spirit of The Style Invitational. What is that spirit? You tell us.  TSH STY   Text file | Post PDF  Mary Pat Jones  Text file | Post PDF 
May 23, 1993 12  HERE, DOGGEREL …  Write a limerick. It must contain one of the following names: "Hillary Rodham Clinton," "Jack Kevorkian," "George Stephanopoulos" or "Bosnia-Herzegovina."  LIM POE   Text file | Post PDF  Jimmy Nguyen  Text file | Post PDF 
May 30, 1993 13  ANAGRAMS = A MAN'S RAG  Come up with a funny anagram for the name of a famous person or institution. All letters in the name must be used, and no letters may be left over.  ANA   Text file | Post PDF  Donna Hughes-Hasle
John Hughes-Hasle 
Text file | Post PDF 
June 6, 1993 14  COLLECTIVE INSANITY  Modernize collective nouns (as in a "pride" of lions or an "exaltation" of larks), inventing snide new names for groups of things.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Stuart Segal  Text file | Post PDF 
June 13, 1993 15  PUNCH US  Complete any of the provided jokes in 75 words or fewer.  JOK   Text file | Post PDF  Dan Thomas  Text file | Post PDF 
June 20, 1993 16  I AM ADDICTED TO AN ASININE CONTEST…  Come up with sleazy new topics for the daytime talks.   CUL   Text file | Post PDF  Kitty Thuermer
Mike Tidwell 
Text file | Post PDF 
June 27, 1993 17  REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM  Come up with an easy way to reduce the federal deficit, in 20 words or fewer.  POL   Text file | Post PDF  Steven King  Text file | Post PDF 
July 4, 1993 18  PUNCH US IN THE EAR  Give us a motto for The Washington PostWAS   Text file  Susan Wenger  Text file 
July 11, 1993 19  A RECYCLED IDEA THAT WAS NONE TOO GOOD TO BEGIN WITH  Alter a well-known phrase or name by deleting, adding or changing only one letter, and then supply a definition for what results.  LET WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Joseph H. Engel
David J. Zvijac 
Text file | Post PDF 
July 18, 1993 20  COMIC RELIEF  Rewrite 60-year-old cartoons, filling in your own balloons, to make them funnier and more timely.   CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Tom Gearty  Text file | Post PDF 
July 25, 1993 21  A SO-SO CONTEST  Describe somebody--or something--through exaggerated comparison.    Text file | Post PDF  Chuck Smith  Text file | Post PDF 
August 1, 1993 22  STUMP US  Come up with slogans for the 1996 presidential campaign.  POL   Text file | Post PDF  R. Sharp  Text file | Post PDF 
August 8, 1993 23  HAPPY ENDINGS  Modernize an old quote or expression by altering its ending.  CUL   Text file | Post PDF  Pamela Zilly  Text file | Post PDF 
August 15, 1993 24  ASK BACKWARDS  You are on "Jeopardy!" Those are the answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file | Post PDF  Jacob Weinstein  Text file | Post PDF 
August 22, 1993 25  CAPTION CRUNCH  Write a caption for any of these photos.  CAP   Text file | Post PDF  Fritz Stolzenback  Text file | Post PDF 
August 29, 1993 26  CASTING ABOUT FOR AN IDEA  Name a political person (past or present) and the TV or movie role in which he or she could have been cast.  MOV POL TEL   Text file | Post PDF  John Mazza  Text file | Post PDF 
September 5, 1993 27  IT'S THE EPONYMY, STUPID  Coin an eponym, a word or figure of speech based on the name of a famous person. You must define the word, and, if you wish, use it in a sentence.  CUL   Text file | Post PDF  Sharon Kuykendall  Text file | Post PDF 
September 12, 1993 28  MOTHERS-IN-LAW OF INVENTION  Propose some drastic change in government to help the economy or otherwise improve the quality of life in America.  POL   Text file | Post PDF  E. Gaston  Text file | Post PDF 
September 19, 1993 29  AD NAUSEAM  Come up with an unfortunate slogan for any real product, service, or organization.  SLO   Text file | Post PDF  Tom Gearty  Text file | Post PDF 
September 26, 1993 30  THE RORSCHACH OF THE CROWD  Interpret any of the provided ink blots.  ROR   Text file | Post PDF  Steven King  Text file | Post PDF 
October 3, 1993 31  INVITATION TO A DUAL  Divide the world into two types of people.    Text file | Post PDF  Chris Rooney  Text file | Post PDF 
October 10, 1993 32  FATAL ART ATTACK  In 50 words or fewer, describe a performance art concept that might get public funding. Winners will be audacious enough to seem like art, but pretentious enough to seem to have a social "message."  ART   Text file | Post PDF  Tom Gearty  Text file | Post PDF 
October 17, 1993 33  POST IMPRESSIONISM  Give us the opening lines of a big story from American history as it might have been written by someone whose work appears in The Washington Post. Maximum 100 words. You must choose one of three news stories: "Lincoln Assassinated," "Stock Market Crashes" or "Man Walks on Moon."  HIS   Text file | Post PDF  Stephen Licht  Text file | Post PDF 
October 24, 1993 34  INSPECT A GADGET  What do these machines do?  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Reef family  Text file | Post PDF 
October 31, 1993 35  LIGHT AT THE END?  Tell the federal government what it should do with the 14-mile-long, 15-foot-diameter sausage-shaped tunnel it dug near Waxahachie, Tex., for the Superconducting Super Collider project that was scrapped by Congress last week.  POL   Text file | Post PDF  Michael Sweet  Text file | Post PDF 
November 7, 1993 36  SCAM ON WRY  Come up with a prank you can play, for fun, profit, or deliverance of a well-needed comeuppance.    Text file | Post PDF  Kirby Lamb  Text file | Post PDF 
November 14, 1993 37  A STATE OF DISGRACE?  Propose any of the following for D.C.: A State Name, A State Flower, A State Bird, A State Slogan, A State Capital, A Governor, An Insulting State Joke.  WAS   Text file  Peggy Hyde
Gene Lawhun 
Text file 
November 21, 1993 38  ASK BACKWARDS II  You are on "Jeopardy!" Here are the answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file | Post PDF  Tom Meyer  Text file | Post PDF 
November 28, 1993 39  WAY OUTSIDE THE LINES  Name a new crayon color for the 1990s, with a description.  CUL   Text file | Post PDF  Paul Styrene  Text file | Post PDF 
December 5, 1993 40  NOT WRONG. JUST INCORRECT.  What's next on the political correctness agenda?  CUL   Text file | Post PDF  Steven King  Text file | Post PDF 
December 12, 1993 41  READ-END COLLUSION  Design a Style Invitational bumper sticker to be awarded to all Honorable Mentions.  BUM   Text file | Post PDF  Stephen Dudzik  Text file | Post PDF 
December 19, 1993 42  HEY, IT COULD BE WORSE  There are worse things in life than the Washington Redskins. Just tell us what they are.  WAS   Text file | Post PDF  Mike Thring  Text file | Post PDF 
December 26, 1993 43  GOOD LORD!  What does God look like?  REL   Text file | Post PDF  Tom Gearty  Text file | Post PDF 
January 2, 1994 44  ADVERB PUBLICITY  Write us a Tom Swiftly or two, updated for the '90s. Each must include a reference to a famous person or institution.  WOR CUL   Text file | Post PDF  St. Andrew's Episcopal School Mrs. Airey's English class  Text file | Post PDF 
January 9, 1994 45  INVITATION TO A DUAL, II.  Deliver us a Good News-Bad News scenario.    Text file | Post PDF  Linda K. Malcolm  Text file | Post PDF 
January 16, 1994 46  WE WANT STUPID ENTRIES ONLY  Make up a sentence that, were it not for this contest, would never be uttered.  STY   Text file | Post PDF  Thomas Edward Knibb  Text file | Post PDF 
January 23, 1994 47  CAN YOU DO VERSE?  Bad Valentine's Day poetry. Any rhyme scheme, any form of literary dysfunction.  POE   Text file | Post PDF  Michael Paulkovich  Text file | Post PDF 
January 30, 1994 48  SNIVEL WAR  Beg for the coveted Style Invitational T-shirts.  TSH   Text file | Post PDF  Daniel Riley  Text file | Post PDF 
February 6, 1994 49  A SLALOM OCCASION  Come up with events for a Washington Olympics. They can be winter or summer sports, based on bureaucracy or other themes peculiar to Washington, and must include a brief description of the event.  WAS ATH   Text file | Post PDF  Paul Styrene  Text file | Post PDF 
February 13, 1994 50  GIVE US THIS DAY  There are no holidays between Presidents' Day and Memorial Day, a cheerless run of more than three months. Let's stick one in there, somewhere. The holiday should celebrate something or someone uniquely American. Tell us the date, the name of the holiday and how it should be observed.  CUL   Text file | Post PDF  Laura M. Clairmont  Text file | Post PDF 
February 20, 1994 51  CAPTION CRUNCH, VOL. II  Supply captions for any of these pictures.  CAP   Text file | Post PDF  Paul Kondis  Text file | Post PDF 
February 27, 1994 52  PERJURED TESTIMONIALS  Come up with inappropriate celebrity endorsements for real products.    Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
YEAR 2 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 6, 1994 53  CRUEL FETE  Tell us how the Invitational has changed America.  STY   Text file | Post PDF  Paul Kondis  Text file | Post PDF 
March 13, 1994 54  ODD COUPLING  Write comical combinations of famous names, by marriage or other conceit.    Text file | Post PDF  Paul Sabourin  Text file | Post PDF 
March 20, 1994 55  ESCAPE CLAUSES  Send us self-serving moral loopholes through which the enterprising 1990s transgressor can crawl.    Text file | Post PDF  Helen Sheingorn  Text file | Post PDF 
March 27, 1994 56  DO THE HOOKY POKEY  Come up with inventive ways to call in sick or otherwise persuade your employer you must miss a day.    Text file | Post PDF  E. J. Wassmer  Text file | Post PDF 
April 3, 1994 57  CALLING THE TOON  Who are these people, and what are they doing?  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Peyton Coyner  Text file | Post PDF 
April 10, 1994 58  PLAY IT AGAIN, DENZEL  Bring Casablanca into the 1990s. Write the opening of a plot outline, in 120 words or fewer.  MOV   Text file | Post PDF  David Laughton  Text file | Post PDF 
April 17, 1994 59  A GRAVE AFFAIR  Write appropriate epitaphs for the not-yet-dead.  EPI   Text file | Post PDF  Ira P. Robbins  Text file | Post PDF 
April 24, 1994 60  ASK BACKWARDS III  You are on "Jeopardy!" These are the answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file | Post PDF  Bruce Evans  Text file | Post PDF 
May 1, 1994 61  NO HARD FEELINGS  Fill in the balloons in these cheerful farewell panels drawn by Marc Rosenthal, the Style Invitational artist who is being replaced by Bob Staake.  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Chuck Smith  Text file | Post PDF 
May 8, 1994 62  BAD NEWS BEARERS  Come up with statements one would not want to hear from friends, relatives, service personnel, etc.    Text file | Post PDF  Sarah Worcester  Text file | Post PDF 
May 15, 1994 63  BAD ABOUT YOU  Come up with a lame idea for a Style Invitational contest, an idea destined to create unfunny results.  STY   Text file | Post PDF  Elden Carnahan  Text file | Post PDF 
THE SCREW-UP
Week 64 inadvertently skipped
May 22, 1994 65  DESPERATELY SEEKING HUMOR  Write a personal ad. It may be for a celebrity or for anyone in need of adroit euphemism.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Nick Dierman  Text file | Post PDF 
May 29, 1994 66  THE SON-OF-SMITH LAW  In 50 words or fewer, what do we do about the Chuck Smith problem?  STY   Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
June 5, 1994 67  FAMOUS LAST WORDS  Make up the last words of famous dead people whose last words are unknown.  EPI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Peyton Coyner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 12, 1994 68  GIVE US A SIGN  Come up with new astrological signs for the 1990s, together with one day's horoscope.  CUL   Text file | Post PDF  Christie Houser  Text file | Post PDF 
June 19, 1994 69  LAYING DOWN THE LAW  Send us some exciting new principles that explain why things happen they way they happen.  SCI   Text file  Pat Scully  Text file 
June 26, 1994 70  SOUNDS LIKE A BAD IDEA  Come up with jokes based on noises.  JOK   Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
July 3, 1994 71  CAPTION CRUNCH III  Come up with a new, funnier caption for any picture or illustration anywhere in today's newspaper.  CAP WAS   Text file | Post PDF  Richard E. Brock
Ellen Meyerson 
Text file | Post PDF 
July 10, 1994 72  OH, HELL  Come up with the perfect vision of Hell for a famous person, living or dead.    Text file | Post PDF  Jackson Bross  Text file | Post PDF 
July 17, 1994 73  LUNACY  Tell us what Neil Armstrong should have said upon stepping onto the moon's surface, instead of what he did, the greatest gaffe in the history of Historic Sayings.  HIS   Text file | Post PDF  Stuart Segal  Text file | Post PDF 
July 24, 1994 74  SHIRT HAPPENS  In 10 words or fewer, what should the back of the "Year 2" T-shirt say?  TSH   Text file | Post PDF  Cindi Rae Caron  Text file | Post PDF 
July 31, 1994 75  CURSES!  Come up with modern maledictions in the wise and entertaining Yiddish tradition.  LAN   Text file | Post PDF  Joseph Romm  Text file | Post PDF 
August 7, 1994 76  ADIOS.  Tell us, in 40 words or fewer, what is great about August in Washington. It's August, and we're out of here.  WAS   Text file | Post PDF  Sue Witner  Text file | Post PDF 
THE VACATION
Column takes off three weeks
August 14, 1994              
August 21, 1994              
August 28, 1994              
September 4, 1994 77  THE RORSCHACH OF THE CROWD II  What do these ink blots mean?  ROR   Text file | Post PDF  Dennis Goris  Text file | Post PDF 
September 11, 1994 78  SEEKING SMART MORONS  Come up with an oxymoron for our times, an expression made bogus by the fact that it combines incompatible, contradictory ideas.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Jessica Mathews
L. Woodall 
Text file | Post PDF 
September 18, 1994 79  TERROR-DACTYL  Send us a double dactyl. The first line must be a nonsense phrase of five to seven syllables containing exactly two downbeats. The second line must be a name, in five to seven syllables but only two downbeats. The remaining six lines must contain four to seven syllables and two downbeats each, with Lines 4 and 8 rhyming. Somewhere in the poem, one line must consist of only one word.  POE   Text file | Post PDF  Kitty Thuermer  Text file | Post PDF 
September 25, 1994 80  NICK KNACKS  Come up with a great nickname for any contemporary celebrity.  CUL   Text file | Post PDF  Chuck Smith  Text file | Post PDF 
October 2, 1994 81  HEADS, YOU LOSE  Take any two or more headlines anywhere in today's Washington Post, and combine them to make a funnier headline.  HEA WAS   Text file | Post PDF  Dave Zarrow  Text file | Post PDF 
October 9, 1994 82  PICTURE THIS  Who are these people, and what are they doing?  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Elden Carnahan  Text file | Post PDF 
October 16, 1994 83  BEDROOM FARCE  What questions were left out of the Great American Sex Survey?   CUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Robb Mathews  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 23, 1994 84  THE WASHINGTON IRVINGS  Come up with creative names for the high school football teams of real towns in America.  ATH   Text file | Post PDF  Karla J. Dickinson  Text file | Post PDF 
October 30, 1994 85  PLAY MYTHTY FOR ME  Come up with new urban myths, those vaguely believable, wildly paranoid stories that circulate by word of mouth until they are generally accepted as true.  CUL   Text file | Post PDF  Ben Lea  Text file | Post PDF 
November 6, 1994 86  EXCUSES, EXCUSES  Come up with funny excuses for various malfeasances.    Text file  Joseph Romm  Text file 
November 13, 1994 87  WEST EASY, ANN  Come up with good things about West Virginia, in 50 words of fewer.  POL   Text file | Post e-version  Dave Zarrow  Text file | Post e-version 
November 20, 1994 88  GIVE US SOME GOOD NEWS  Come up with ways things are going to be different now that Republicans have ascended to power.  POL   Text file  Arthur Adams  Text file 
November 27, 1994 89  CHILD'S PLAY  Come up with bad ideas for new toys for the Christmas season.  CUL   Text file  Paul A. Alter  Text file 
December 4, 1994 90  BILL US NOW  Come up with funny legislation based on the names of the 102 freshman congresspersons.  LEG   Text file | Post PDF  Jerry Pohl  Text file | Post PDF 
December 11, 1994 91  ASK BACKWARD IV  You are on "Jeopardy!" These are the answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file | Post PDF  Chuck Smith  Text file | Post PDF 
December 18, 1994 92  PLOTBOILERS  Tell us what excerpts from celebrities' novels might look like.  LIT   Text file | Post PDF  Robert Pack  Text file | Post PDF 
December 25, 1994 93  I WANT THE MONGOOSE  Tell us, in 50 words or fewer, why you must have this elegant piece of taxidermy featuring a snake being killed by a mongoose.  STY   Text file  Judith Daniel  Text file 
January 1, 1995 94  WEEKS 1-93  Come up with a great answer to any previous Style Invitational contest, an answer you may have thought of after the contest was over.  PRE   Text file  Gary McKethan  Text file 
January 8, 1995 95  HOW'S THAT AGAIN?  Take any headline appearing anywhere in The Post this week and completely rewrite the first lines of the story to put a different, unintended spin on it.  HEA   Text file | Post PDF  Elden Carnahan  Text file | Post PDF 
January 15, 1995 96  STICK IT IN YOUR ERA  Come up with a catch phrase for the 1990s.  CUL   Text file  Joseph Romm  Text file 
January 22, 1995 97  NEWTONIAN PHILOSOPHY  Come up with more Newt Gingrich philosophy to explain the differences between men and women, Democrats and Republicans, dogs and cats, whatever needs explaining.  POL   Text file  Greg Arnold  Text file 
January 29, 1995 98  YOUR CHEATIN' ART  Come up with titles for country music songs featuring any one or more of the following themes: cheatin', thievin', drinkin', truckin', lovin' or dogs.  MUS   Text file  Anthony Roisman
Lois Roisman 
Text file 
February 5, 1995 99  WHAT'S WRONG WITH THESE PICTURES?  What's wrong with these pictures?  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  George Wills  Text file | Post PDF 
February 12, 1995 100  THE JOKE'S ON YOU  Retell any of these jokes as they would be told by some celebrity, living or dead.  JOK   Text file  Paul Kondis  Text file 
February 19, 1995 101  [deliberately left blank]  [deliberately left blank]    Text file  Allan Grady  Text file 
February 26, 1995 102  HELP! I'M A PRISONER IN THIS CONTEST  Come up with fortune cookie messages that you would love to see, but never will.    Text file | Post PDF  Jon Patrick Smith  Text file | Post PDF 
March 5, 1995 103  SEND HELP.  Come up with ways to raise some badly needed cash for the District of Columbia.  WAS   Text file  Jim Martin  Text file 
YEAR 3 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 12, 1995 104  HERE, DOGGEREL  Create poems so bad they thud. The first line must be a name. The second line can be as long or as short as you wish. The third line must sound the same as the first line, using the name as a verb or some other part of speech.  POE   Text file  Jessica Mathews  Text file 
March 19, 1995 105  WHAT'S THE BIG IDEA?  Come up with Good Ideas and then convert them to Bad Ideas through slight changes in wording.  WOR   Text file  Ira Moskowitz  Text file 
March 26, 1995 106  DRAWING CONCLUSIONS  Who are these people, and what are they doing?  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Pete Clime  Text file | Post PDF 
April 2, 1995 107  CLUSTERS' LAST STAND  Take an actual star cluster, redraw the lines into a different image, and give it a new name.  SCI   Text file  Joseph Romm
David "Stockton" Smith 
Text file 
April 9, 1995 108  NEAR MISSES  Come up with the first drafts of great lines in history, entertainment or literature.  HIS CUL LIT   Text file  Joseph Romm  Text file 
April 16, 1995 109  SEND US YOUR MAIL PARTS  We're looking for funny examples of pidgin English that try to say one thing, but actually say something quite different.  LAN   Text file  Cissie Owen  Text file 
April 23, 1995 110  DO NOT INHALE THIS PAGE  Come up with absurd warning labels that might be found on common products.  CUL   Text file  Elden Carnahan  Text file 
April 30, 1995 111  ASK BACKWARDS V  Here are the answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file  Tom Witte  Text file 
May 7, 1995 112  POOP FICTION  Come up with the opening lines of a book so bad it will compel you to stop reading immediately; maximum 50 words.  LIT   Text file  Kevin Mellema  Text file 
May 14, 1995 113  WHAT KIND OF FOAL AM I?  Take a list of horses nominated to the Triple Crown races this year, choose any two, and propose a name for their offspring.  HOR   Text file  Tom Witte  Text file 
May 21, 1995 114  THE JOKE'S ON YOU  Come up with jokes to culminate in any of these six punch lines.  JOK   Text file  Greg Arnold
Russell Beland
Jerry Pannullo 
Text file 
May 28, 1995 115  THE MNEMONIC PLAGUE  Come up with new mnemonic devices to remember complicated lists.  WOR   Text file  Jacob Weinstein  Text file 
June 4, 1995 116  WRITE PURE POETRY  Write a complete sentence using only the letters contained on the top row of a typewriter. Alternatively, you can use the letters of the first four lines of the standard eye chart.  LET   Text file  Jennifer Hart  Text file 
June 11, 1995 117  GIVE 'EM HELOISE  Come up with a tribute to Heloise, that queen of inanely creative recycling.  CUL   Text file  Peyton Coyner
Gene Van Pelt 
Text file 
June 18, 1995 118  WEAK 118  Take any photo caption or headline appearing anywhere in today's Post and alter its meaning by adding, deleting, or changing one letter.  CAP HEA WAS   Text file  Elden Carnahan  Text file 
June 25, 1995 119  MUZAK TO OUR EAR  Come up with unfortunate Muzak songs to hear on the phone while on hold. You can use either a song title or a lyric.  MUS   Text file  Howard Tenenbaum  Text file 
July 2, 1995 120  SIMILE OUTRAGEOUS  Come up with inept analogies, rotten comparisons as a literary device.  ANL   Text file  Jeffrey Carl  Text file 
July 9, 1995 121  IT'S NO USE  Come up with useless products.  BUS   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
July 16, 1995 122  THE UNKINDEST CUTE OF ALL  Come up with a new story line for "Peanuts", some plot development or new character that will put the strip back on the road to relevance.  COM   Text file  Sarah Worcester  Text file 
July 23, 1995 123  WHY IS POOP FUNNY?  Come up with creative answers to any of the five questions above that might be asked by a 5-year-old.    Text file | Post PDF  Jill Gross  Text file | Post PDF 
July 30, 1995 124  SPOON-FEED US.  Come up with spoonerisms, expressions based on the transposition of the initial sounds of two paired words.  LET   Text file | Post PDF  Steven Papier  Text file | Post PDF 
August 6, 1995 125  ASK BACKWARD VI  You are on "Jeopardy!" These are the answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file | Post PDF  Elden Carnahan  Text file | Post PDF 
August 13, 1995 126  EVERYBODY'S TALKIN'  What are these people, etc., saying or thinking?  CAR   Text file  Peyton Coyner  Text file 
August 20, 1995 127  GADGET IF YOU CAN  Choose one or more of these devices and describe their use.  CAR   Text file  Kevin P. Riley  Text file 
August 27, 1995 128  LIKE, DUH  Come up with snappy answers to stupid questions.    Text file  Phil Plait  Text file 
September 3, 1995 129  REMAKE US HAPPY  Come up with alternative story lines to movie titles, new or old.  MOV   Text file  Chuck Smith
Tom Witte
Sarah Worcester 
Text file 
September 10, 1995 130  NICELY STATED  Create a fictional city to be humorously paired with a real state abbreviation.  POL   Text file  Tommy Litz  Text file 
September 17, 1995 131  DROODLEYSQUAT  Come up with "droodles," simple geometric drawings with funny explanations.  ART   Text file  Sally Booher  Text file 
September 24, 1995 132  GIVE US THE BACKS OFF OUR SHIRTS.  What should our loser's T-shirt say on the back? Your goal is to somehow capture the spirit of the contest.  TSH   Text file | Post PDF  George C. Montgomery  Text file | Post PDF 
October 1, 1995 133  LIKE, WOW.  Come up with funny analogies.  ANL   Text file  Michael Connaghan  Text file 
October 8, 1995 134  A SIMPLE CLERIHEW ERROR  Revive clerihews. A clerihew is a biographical poem in four lines divided into two rhyming couplets. The rhyme scheme is aa bb. The first line of the clerihew must contain the name of the subject of the poem. The lines must be of disparate meter, the clunkier the better.  POE   Text file  Jerry Belenker  Text file 
October 15, 1995 135  JERRY-BUILT SOLUTIONS  Come up with Seinfeld-isms: whiny, quirky musings on little questions of life.    Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
October 22, 1995 136  NEW END IN SIGHT  Come up with new endings to make literary classics more suitable for Hollywood in the 1990s.  MOV   Text file  Jerry Podlesak  Text file 
October 29, 1995 137  VELVIS LIVES  Come up with a title and/or art gallery blurb for this velvet Elvis painting.  ART   Text file | Post e-version  John Rather  Text file | Post e-version 
November 5, 1995 138  LIST BUT NOT LEAST  Come up with Top-10-style lists for any of the above four subjects.  CUL   Text file  Fred Dawson  Text file 
November 12, 1995 139  EMPLOYMENT LINES  Come up with jobs that make even your crummy job seem good.  BUS   Text file  Virginia Maggi  Text file 
November 19, 1995 140  WHAT IF YOU GIVE IT A TRY?  Come up with "What-If" scenarios and logical outcomes.  HIS   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
November 26, 1995 141  ASK BACKWARD VII  You are on "Jeopardy!" These are the answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file  Mark Goldenberg  Text file 
December 3, 1995 142  EXHIBITING BAD TENDENCIES  Come up with the winner of next year's Turner Prize, which says its aim is to expand ideas of what is art.  ART   Text file  Fred Dawson  Text file 
December 10, 1995 143  IT'S MY PARODY (& I'LL TRY IF I WANT TO)  Rewrite any common jingle or theme song in the style of famous writer.  POE   Text file | Post PDF  David "Stockton" Smith  Text file | Post PDF 
December 17, 1995 144  JUST REBUS ALONE  Come up with a rebus, a phrase or sentence composed of letters, pictures, and symbols. Your entry must contain at least two pictures or illustrations from today's Washington PostWAS   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
December 24, 1995 145  LOOIE, LOOIE  Come up with paired, themed ladies' room and men's room signs for various types of public places.  CUL   Text file  Susan Reese  Text file 
December 31, 1995 146  IT'S LIKE THIS  Produce an A and B to complete the expression "A makes about as much sense as B."  WOR   Text file  Alan Evans  Text file 
January 7, 1996 147  JUST FOR LIFFS  Come up with original liffs, which identify a familiar, tantalizing concept without a word to define it, and pairs it with a perfectly good but underutilized word that just loafs around on maps and street signs.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Dave Harstad  Text file | Post PDF 
January 14, 1996 148  RORSCHACH OF THE CROWD IV  Interpret these ink blots.  ROR   Text file | Post PDF  Jennifer Hart  Text file | Post PDF 
January 21, 1996 149  O, NO!  Come up with a palindrome, a line that reads the same backward and forward, and then use it as a punchline to a joke.  WOR   Text file  Dave Ferry  Text file 
January 28, 1996 150  TRIAL BALLOONS  What are the people saying?  CAR   Text file  Rahul Simha  Text file 
February 4, 1996 151  STRIP MINING  Come up with a concept for a new, controversial strip to replace an existing one in The Post.  COM WAS   Text file  Fred Dawson  Text file 
February 11, 1996 152  WE ARE CURIOUS (YELLOW)  Take any headline in today's Washington Post and rewrite it in tabloid fashion so the story seems a lot more scandalous and/or lurid than it is.  HEA WAS CUL   Text file  Mike Hammer  Text file 
February 18, 1996 153  STUMP US  Complete this sentence, "I should be elected President of the United States because…" and launch your campaign.  POL   Text file  Dan Kravitz  Text file 
February 25, 1996 154  ENTER LAUGHING  Make up a knock-knock joke. The subject of the third line must be something crude, silly, or profound.  JOK   Text file  Kevin Cuddihy  Text file 
March 3, 1996 155  COMPARISON SHOPPING  Explain the difference between any two of the above items.  DIF   Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
YEAR 4 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 10, 1996 156  HYPHEN THE TERRIBLE  Create new word by combining the first half of a hyphenated word with the second half of a hyphenated word. Both words must appear in the same story anywhere in today's Washington Post. Each entry must provide a definition for the newly created word.  HYP WAS   Text file  Jean Sorensen  Text file 
March 17, 1996 157  WARNING SIGNS  Complete any of these "you might be about to" warning sentences.    Text file  Stephen Breton  Text file 
March 24, 1996 158  SO SUE US  Come up with frivolous lawsuits.  CUL   Text file  Sue Lin Chong  Text file 
March 31, 1996 159  ODDBALLS  Which item in each series does not belong? Explain your answer.    Text file  Christine Jackson  Text file 
April 7, 1996 160  SEEKING WISE GUYS  Come up with cool new bad-guy terms.  WOR   Text file  Moe Hammond  Text file 
April 14, 1996 161  CAPITOL MISTAKES  Come up with very, very bad advice for first-time visitors to Washington.  WAS   Text file  Phil Plait  Text file 
April 21, 1996 162  MAY WE HAVE YOUR PRETENSION, PLEASE?  Come up with the most pretentious original sentence possible.    Text file  Tommy Litz  Text file 
April 28, 1996 163  WHAT KIND OF FOAL AM I?  Take the list of all 1996 Triple Crown nominees, couple up any two of them, and propose an appropriate name for their hypothetical foal. The foal's name must fit in no more than 18 characters, including spaces.  HOR   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
May 5, 1996 164  MEAN MEANINGS  Translate things politicians say into what they really mean.  POL   Text file  M. Schmidtman
Tom Witte 
Text file 
May 12, 1996 165  WHEEL OF TORTURE  Complete any of the provided "Wheel of Fortune" phrases.  WOR   Text file  Sarah Worcester  Text file 
May 19, 1996 166  DOO WAH DOODY  We are looking for really bad lyrics to real rock songs. Your lyrics must be from a reasonably popular song, and you must include the name of the singer or songwriter.  POE MUS   Text file  Carolyn Armstrong
Scott Barney
Don Beale
Dave Ferry
Jane Hanna
Jessica Mathews
Dean Meservy
Arthur J. Murphy
Steve Rouzer
Sandy Tenenbaum
Jeff Wadler
Pam Wadler 
Text file 
May 26, 1996 167  CRAPSEY  Resurrect the "cinquain," a long-deceased poetic form, poems so ickily precocious and pretentious they make haiku look like Kipling. There are five lines, the first containing two syllables, the second containing four syllables, the third six, the fourth eight and the last, with grave finality and thunderous drama, only two. Your subject matter must be suitable for the 1990s.  POE   Text file  Christine Tabbert  Text file 
June 2, 1996 168  LICENSE TO CARRY A PUN  Come up with original jokes like those provided.  JOK   Text file  Dave Zarrow  Text file 
June 9, 1996 169  DIFF'RENT JOKES  Tell us the difference between any two of the provided items.  DIF   Text file  David "Stockton" Smith  Text file 
June 16, 1996 170  THE ELEMENTS OF SMILE  Why are these people smiling?  CAR   Text file  Ned Bent  Text file 
June 23, 1996 171  ON SECOND THOUGHT  Ideas that never got off the drawing board, for good reason.    Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
June 30, 1996 172  POEDTRY  An entire poetic form, making its global debut in the Style Invitational. The first line must contain only six words of one syllable each; the second line, three words of two syllables each; the third line, two words of three syllables each, and the final line a single word of six syllables. At least two lines must rhyme. The general subject matter should be mundane.  POE   Text file | Post PDF  Roger L. Browdy  Text file | Post PDF 
July 7, 1996 173  DEAD RECKONING  Propose a question that might be asked by a living celebrity to a famous dead person. You must name the living person, name the dead person, and tell us the question.  CUL   Text file  Ken Kaufman  Text file 
July 14, 1996 174  THE EDGE OF MIGHT  Complete any of the four provided "you might" phrases.    Text file  Jon Miller
Brian Thurber 
Text file 
July 21, 1996 175  FOSSIL FOOLS  What would aliens mistakenly conclude about us from any of the provided items?  SCI   Text file  Art Grinath  Text file 
July 28, 1996 176  WRITE IN THE KISSER  In the style of any famous author, write a description of any one of these people: Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Prince Charles or Sylvester Stallone.    Text file  Kitty Thuermer  Text file 
August 4, 1996 177  SOUNDS LIKE TROUBLE  Tell us what any of the provided sounds are.    Text file  Art Grinath  Text file 
August 11, 1996 178  DEEP THROATS  Come up with Deep Thoughts, in the style of Jack Handey of "Saturday Night Live." A Deep Thought is a short, simple, seemingly inspirational observation that winds up being cynical, ironic, or just plain weird.    Text file  Joseph Romm  Text file 
August 18, 1996 179  A CLOCKWORK, UM, UM, ... ER  Write single sentences containing no fewer than three examples of rhyming slang.  POE   Text file  Roy Ashley
Russell Beland
Kevin Cuddihy
Richard DeMello
Stephen Dudzik
Tom Green
Mark Greenblatt
Tommy Litz
Jonathan Paul 
Text file 
August 25, 1996 180  WHEN IN DOUBT, PUN  Take any headline in today's Post and improve it by somehow turning it into a pun.  HEA WAS   Text file  Jennifer Hart
Kate Renner 
Text file 
September 1, 1996 181  YOU CAN TAKE IT TO DEBUNK  Take a common slogan or saying and prove it wrong with at least one example.  SLO   Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
September 8, 1996 182  CAN YOU STOP THIS?  Come up with a conversation stopper, a line likely to end all further discourse, perhaps even empty a room.    Text file  Tom Henry  Text file 
September 15, 1996 183  COCKNEY RHYMING SLANG II  Create hawkers' rhymes for modern-day occupations like lobbyists, lawyers, talk show hosts, actuaries, etc., at a maximum of four lines. It must contain at least one rhyme.  POE   Text file  Elden Carnahan  Text file 
September 22, 1996 184  ED ANGUISH  Create an argument on some social issue, in 75 words or fewer, taking an extreme liberal view.  CUL   Text file  John Kammer  Text file 
September 29, 1996 185  WONDERLUST  Come up with replacements for the Seven Wonders of the World. To qualify, an object must really exist, and be manmade and, in some way, awesome.  HIS   Text file  Don Maclean  Text file 
October 6, 1996 186  CALLING THE TOON  Who are these people? What are they doing?  CAR   Text file  Philip Vitale  Text file 
October 13, 1996 187  RACE TO THE FINISH LINE  In 75 words or fewer, continue in a productive fashion the story line of the provided real first lines of famous literary works.  LIT   Text file  Jonathan Paul
Susan Reese 
Text file 
October 20, 1996 188  BLANKETY BLANKS  Complete any of the above sentences, substituting your own phrases for the well-known omitted words.  WOR   Text file  Joe Shepherd  Text file 
October 27, 1996 189  YOU CAN PRANK ON IT  Come up with a hoax or prank that begins with any of the provided scenarios.    Text file  Paul Kondis
Gary Lefkowitz 
Text file 
November 3, 1996 190  OFFICE YOU CAN'T REFUSE  Come up with a Principle for the Workplace.  BUS   Text file  John Kammer  Text file 
November 10, 1996 191  GOING THROUGH A PHRASE  Come up with phrase for an American English phrasebook that would provide no practical help whatsoever to a foreigner trying to get along in the United States.  CUL   Text file  Jacob Harley  Text file 
November 17, 1996 192  HILL'S BILLS  Come up with bills any of the new members of Congress might jointly sponsor.  LEG   Text file  Tommy Litz  Text file 
November 24, 1996 193  ASK BACKWARDS VIII  You are on "Jeopardy!" Here are the answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file  John O'Brien
Chuck Smith 
Text file 
December 1, 1996 194  ADVICE SQUAD  Answer any of the provided questions unwisely.    Text file  Art Grinath  Text file 
December 8, 1996 195  THE MARTHIAN CHRONICLES  Come up with items for Martha Stewart's December-January calendar of projects.  CUL   Text file  Stephen Dudzik  Text file 
December 15, 1996 196  YOU MUST BE MAD  Come up with a contemporary Scene We'd Like to See   Text file  Art Grinath
Bob Kulawiec 
Text file 
December 22, 1996 197  DAVE'S WORLD  Make David Twenhafel laugh. Any sort of delightful drollery or amusing witticism will do, so long as it is not the sort of lowbrow fare we usually favor.  STY   Text file  Jennifer Hart  Text file 
December 29, 1996 198  YOU MUST BE MAD II  Come up with proposals designed to infuriate special interest groups.  POL CUL   Text file  Bob Sorensen  Text file 
January 5, 1997 199  WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?  Tell us the difference between any two of the provided items.  DIF   Text file  Rob Klotz  Text file 
January 12, 1997 200  CAPTION CRUNCH IV  Supply a new caption to any photograph appearing anywhere in today's Post, to make it funnier.  CAP   Text file  Jessica Mathews  Text file 
January 19, 1997 201  THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE  Come up with a new element and its symbol, and provide a brief description of its chemical or physical properties.  SCI   Text file  Irwin Singer  Text file 
January 26, 1997 202  THE ELEMENTS OF SMILE  Interpret any of the provided computer emoticons, or "smileys."    Text file  Alex Neill  Text file 
February 2, 1997 203  CAN IT GET MUCH VERSE?  Create Very Bad Poetry, containing banalities masquerading as profundities, overstretched metaphors, etc. Special attention should be paid to dreadful syntax and painful rhyme  POE   Text file  Charlie Steinhice  Text file 
February 9, 1997 204  DOUBLE EXPRESSO  Take any well-known colorful expression, and modernize it.  CUL   Text file  Maja Keech  Text file 
February 16, 1997 205  SOME PIG  Beg for the prize: convince us why you, and you alone, deserve to get it.  STY   Text file  Jon Williams  Text file 
February 23, 1997 206  HYPHEN THE TERRIBLE II  Create a new word by combining the first half of any hyphenated word in today's newspaper with the second half of any other hyphenated word elsewhere in the same story, and supply a definition.  HYP   Text file  Tom Witte  Text file 
March 2, 1997 207  TIED TO BE FIT  Each of the eight provided items is related, in some fashion, to one or more of the provided individuals. You make the connections.  CUL   Text file  David Genser  Text file 
YEAR 5 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 9, 1997 208  SEND IN THE CLONES  Suggest questions a commission to investigate the moral, legal and practical question raised by cloning might consider.  POL REL SCI   Text file  Joan Schloo  Text file 
March 16, 1997 209  WE NEED SOME SEASONING  Come up with the first signs of spring in Washington.  WAS   Text file  Tommy Litz  Text file 
March 23, 1997 210  RANDOM MEMO  Supply embarrassing "While You Were Out" phone messages that might be left for famous people, in plain sight, while they are away from their desks.  CUL   Text file  Art Grinath  Text file 
March 30, 1997 211  GIVE US THE BACKS OFF YOUR SHIRTS  Design the back of the fourth Style Invitational T-shirt, with anything that captures the transcendent indignity of this contest.  TSH   Text file  Craig Ulander  Text file 
April 6, 1997 212  DUMB AS THE POST  Come up with even stupider crimes than those committed by Montgomery County's "gentleman burglars."    Text file  Sandra Hull  Text file 
April 13, 1997 213  A SIN OF THE TIMES  Submit campaign or other political practices that would be illegal and/or unethical.  POL   Text file  Bill Moulden  Text file 
April 20, 1997 214  ASK BACKWARDS IX  You are on "Jeopardy!" These are your answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file  Greg Arnold  Text file 
April 27, 1997 215  SON OF A PITCH  Write lavish blurbs in 50 words or fewer so some sucker will want to pay a lot of money for the provided items.  WOR   Text file  Jerry Pannullo  Text file 
May 4, 1997 216  WHAT KIND OF FOAL AM I?  Pair up any two of the 400-plus horses who have qualified for this year's Triple Crown races, and name their foal, in a maximum of 18 characters, including spaces.  HOR   Text file  Larry Marcus  Text file 
May 11, 1997 217  NO QUESTION ABOUT IT  Come up with truly stupid questions.  QUE   Text file  Edith Eisenberg  Text file 
May 18, 1997 218  CALLING THE TOON  Who are these people? What are they doing?  CAR   Text file  Dave Yourell  Text file 
May 25, 1997 219  VERBOSITY  Come up with new, obnoxious, self-conscious faux verbs and use them in sentences.  WOR   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
June 1, 1997 220  RSVP  Provide an answer to any of the dumb questions from Week 217.  QUE   Text file  David Kleinbard  Text file 
June 8, 1997 221  SONG SUNG BROWN  Pick any song, pick a well-known line, and give us the discarded first draft. If it is part of a rhyme, you must maintain the rhyme.  POE MUS   Text file  Lily Fu Swenson  Text file 
June 15, 1997 222  TRIP DEUCES  Take the two subject listings at the top of any page of the Yellow Pages and create a dictionary definition for the compound word they form.  WOR   Text file  Robin Grove  Text file 
June 22, 1997 223  ATTEMPTING REENTRY  Submit entries to any past contest, so long as you never submitted them before.  PRE   Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
June 29, 1997 224  DRAWING CONCLUSIONS  What is wrong with these pictures?  CAR   Text file  Dan Kaplan  Text file 
July 6, 1997 225  WE RESPECTfully decline to publish any dumb entries by YOU.  Come up with signs for a T-shirt or a bumper sticker that hide the real message in tiny type.  TSH   Text file  Dan Kaplan
Tom Witte 
Text file 
July 13, 1997 226  GOING WITHOUT  Complete some variation of the expression "An A without a B is like a C without a D."  WOR   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
July 20, 1997 227  WILD PITCHES  Come up worthy successors to Joe Camel. Name the product, and describe the totally inappropriate cartoon character that would be created to represent it.  CAR   Text file  Dave Ferry  Text file 
July 27, 1997 228  MAKE MY DAY  Supply advice to today's spoiled kids about how bad things were when we were growing up.  CUL   Text file  Barry Blyveis  Text file 
August 3, 1997 229  WE CAN'T HEAR YOU  Supply an example for any of the five "Things you don't want to hear" categories provided.    Text file  Jennifer Hart  Text file 
August 10, 1997 230  TALES FROM THE CRYPTOGRAM  Take any proper noun--a person, a book, a movie, whatever--and create for it an appropriate cryptogram.   LET   Text file  Don Juran  Text file 
August 17, 1997 231  GIVING QUARTER  Suggest a motto for the "tails" side of any of the state-themed quarters.  SLO   Text file | Post e-version  Barry Blyveis  Text file | Post e-version 
August 24, 1997 232  PRIMAL URGES  Update, for the millennium, the old "A is for Apple" reading primer. An entry must include the four letters in one of these blocks: A-D, E-H, I-L, M-P, Q-T, U-Z.  LET   Text file  Jacob Weinstein  Text file 
August 31, 1997 233  SEEKING PARODY  Take any paragraph appearing on Page A1 of today's Washington Post, and rewrite it in the style of any famous writer.  WAS LIT   Text file  Phil Frankenfeld  Text file 
September 7, 1997 234  THE JOKE'S ON YOU  Complete any of the provided jokes as it would be told by someone famous, living or dead.  JOK   Text file  Stephen A. Simon  Text file 
September 14, 1997 235  ROOTS  Make up historical explanations--they should be vaguely plausible--for the etymology of any term you wish. The term should be the punch line.  HIS WOR   Text file  Sue Lin Chong  Text file 
September 21, 1997 236  CALLING THE TOON.  What is happening here?  CAR   Text file  Hank Wallace  Text file 
September 28, 1997 237  ASK BACKWARD  You are on "Jeopardy!" These are the answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file  Bob Dalton  Text file 
October 5, 1997 238  CHALK IT UP TO STUPIDITY  Propose apologies for yourself in the style of Bart Simpson writing on his blackboard.    Text file  Jennifer Hart  Text file 
October 12, 1997 239  NAME THAT TOON  Send us the captions for cartoons not provided.  CAP CAR   Text file  Jennifer Hart  Text file 
October 19, 1997 240  ADDING INSULT  Come up with elegant insults directed at any famous person, living or dead, such as the real encomiums above.     Text file  Phil Frankenfeld  Text file 
October 26, 1997 241  CAN YOU BEAT THIS?  Come up with headlines describing the defeat of one pro team by another.  HEA   Text file  David Genser  Text file 
November 2, 1997 242  SACRED COW PIES  Take cheap shots at sacred institutions only, places and things that are so noble and wholesome they are beyond reproach, from among the items provided.  POL CUL REL   Text file  Charlie Steinhice  Text file 
November 9, 1997 243  VERSE THAN EVER  Write a rhyming poem of two to eight lines as a tribute to someone famous who died in 1997, the more awful the better. We will particularly value rhymes that thud, and extremes of emotion and sentiment.  POE   Text file  Charlie Steinhice  Text file 
November 16, 1997 244  HYPHEN THE TERRIBLE  Coin new words, and provide a definition, by combining the first half of a hyphenated word for any story in today's Post with the second half of another hyphenated word in the same story.  HYP   Text file  Robin Grove  Text file 
November 23, 1997 245  LIKE FUN  Complete any of the provided "A is like B because" sentences.  WOR   Text file  Dave Ferry  Text file 
November 30, 1997 246  OUR OWN DEVICES  What do these contraptions do? Tell us in 50 words or fewer.  CAR   Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
December 7, 1997 247  BLACK AND WHITE AND WED ALL OVER  Propose the marriage of any two people, and the song they should not play at their wedding. The people must be a man and a woman.  MUS   Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
December 14, 1997 248  STICKER SCHLOCK  Come up with a message for our new, mildly sought-after Style Invitational bumper sticker, something that summarizes the grandeur and dignity of this stupid contest.  BUM   Text file | Post PDF  Brian Broadus  Text file | Post PDF 
December 21, 1997 249  BAD NEWS, GOOD NEWS  Supply a silver lining for any scourge or social ill facing America or the world.  CUL POL   Text file  Tom Witte  Text file 
December 28, 1997 250  OH, GREAT  Complete the sentence "Wouldn't it be great if …"  WOR   Text file  Barry Blyveis  Text file 
January 4, 1998 251  QUOTH THE MAVEN  Take any famous line, change it by one letter only (add, subtract or change a single letter), and reattribute it.  LET   Text file  Meredith Robinson  Text file 
January 11, 1998 252  MAKE YOUR MOVIE  Propose people who were the secret inspiration for famous movies.  MOV   Text file | Post PDF  Charlie Steinhice  Text file | Post PDF 
January 18, 1998 253  IT'S A PITY  Enter any of the provided contests. Winners will be judged entirely on the basis of how pitiful an attempt at humor the entry is.  PRE   Text file | Post PDF  David Sherman  Text file | Post PDF 
January 25, 1998 254  DOUBLE JEOPARDY!  Take any sentence appearing anywhere in today's Washington Post, and make up a question to which it could be a plausible answer.  WAS QUE   Text file  David Genser  Text file 
February 1, 1998 255  SCANDAL IN THE WIND  Each of the provided items is somehow related to the current presidential scandal. Tell us how.  POL   Text file  Drew Knoblauch  Text file 
February 8, 1998 256  THE PYLE INVITATIONAL  Come up with hip, contemporary riddles and answers. The punch line must contain a painful pun.  JOK   Text file  Dave Ferry
Chuck Smith 
Text file 
February 15, 1998 257  LET US PLAY  Create a game, or a prank, that can be played using any two or more of the provided objects.    Text file  Tom Witte  Text file 
February 22, 1998 258  IT'S A BIRD. IT'S A PAIN.  Choose one or more of the provided super powers and tell us what you would do with it.    Text file  Christina Courtney  Text file 
March 1, 1998 259  SPARE EXCHANGE, BUDDY?  Take any phone number of any business or government office in the Washington area, translate the first two digits into their constituent letters and propose any appropriate one-word exchange.  LET POL BUS   Text file  Elden Carnahan  Text file 
YEAR 6 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 8, 1998 260  IT'S A SNAP  Come up with replacements for the two hackneyed answers: "Is the Pope Catholic?" and "When Hell freezes over."  JOK   Text file  Sue Lin Chong  Text file 
March 15, 1998 261  WHAT IF YOU GIVE IT A TRY II  Alter some crucial moment in history, and then tell us the likely outcome.  HIS   Text file | Post PDF  Andrew B. Gibson  Text file | Post PDF 
March 22, 1998 262  CAMPAIGN FOR ONE  Design a line for Niels Hoven to deliver in his campaign for a student government office that will wake up a snoozing audience.  POL   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
March 29, 1998 263  THE GAME OF THE NAME  Propose a bad name for the provided categories.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Erica Magram  Text file | Post PDF 
April 5, 1998 264  ASK BACKWARDS  You are on "Jeopardy!" Here are the answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file | Post PDF  Sue Lin Chong  Text file | Post PDF 
April 12, 1998 265  A SPORK OF GENIUS  Come up with new products like the spork: combinations of two existing products that work together in some special way. Name the device and explain its function.  BUS   Text file | Post PDF  T. J. Murphy  Text file | Post PDF 
April 19, 1998 266  DEFINITELY WEIRD  Take any word from the dictionary and redefine it.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Jacob Weinstein  Text file | Post PDF 
April 26, 1998 267  THE CONCEPT CONCEPT  Come up with a situation for a "People Unclear on the Concept" cartoon. Describe the situation and supply any necessary dialogue.  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  John B. Allen  Text file | Post PDF 
May 3, 1998 268  WHAT KIND OF FOAL AM I?  Take the names of this year's Triple Crown nominees, mate any two of them, a propose a name for the foal. The foal's name must be contained in 18 characters, including spaces.  HOR   Text file | Post PDF  Chris Kaufman  Text file | Post PDF 
May 10, 1998 269  SIGNS, AND THE TIMES  Come up with new, helpful signage for downtown streets. You must state the problem, and propose the sign to rectify it.  CUL POL   Text file  David Litman  Text file 
May 17, 1998 270  PALINODE--HAVE PUN, WILL TRAVEL  Write a "palinode", retracting something said in an earlier poem. Your poem must be four lines long and contain at least one rhyme.  POE   Text file  Jon Chananie  Text file 
May 24, 1998 271  YOGI BEARER  Come up with new Yogi-isms, which seem to make sense, but collapse like a soufflé when you poke it a little  WOR   Text file  Phil Frankenfeld  Text file 
May 31, 1998 272  PICTURE THIS  What is happening in these cartoons?  CAR   Text file  Edward Mickolus  Text file 
June 7, 1998 273  UNSEENS WE'D LIKE TO SEE  Provide examples of any of the provided categories of things that will never happen.    Text file  E. J. Lloyd  Text file 
June 14, 1998 274  THE DROLL OF A LIFETIME  Be the New Yorker comics editor, and explain to readers of The Washington Post why the provided jokes are charmingly witty.  WAS   Text file  Sandra Hull  Text file 
June 21, 1998 275  THERE ONCE WAS CONTEST FROM NANTUCKET …  Write a limerick in which the first line is about someone who comes from some place in the Washington area.  LIM WAS POE   Text file  Courtney Knauth  Text file 
June 28, 1998 276  SPIT THE DIFFERENCE  Tell us the difference between any two of the provided items.  DIF   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
July 5, 1998 277  LIFE IN THE BLURBS  Come up a simple plot summary to help attract the modern audience to any classic work of fiction. It must be literally true and defensible.  LIT   Text file  Elden Carnahan  Text file 
July 12, 1998 278  THE STALE INVITATIONAL  Begin with a word. Add, subtract or change a single letter only, and then provide a new definition.  LET   Text file  Tom Witte  Text file 
July 19, 1998 279  TREACLE-DOWN THEORY  Come up with a treacly and deeply moving piece of crap. It must somehow mine joy and goopy inspiration from the vicissitudes of life. It must also rhyme.  POE   Text file  Niels Hoven  Text file 
July 26, 1998 280  EXPRESSING IT NICELY  Come up with colorful expressions for any of the six provided activities, to make them sound a little less tawdry.  WOR   Text file  Joe Kobylski  Text file 
August 2, 1998 281  CALCULATE THE ODDS  Tell us which of the two provided items does not belong with the other two, and why.  DIF   Text file  J. Larry Schott  Text file 
August 9, 1998 282  TAKING SNIDES  Take any story anywhere in today's Post and append to it a single snide observation, concerning either the headline or the text of the story.  WAS   Text file  Ralph Scott  Text file 
August 16, 1998 283  UH-OH  Come up with "uh-oh" lines, statements that occur in the middle of a seemingly benign speech or conversation, suddenly alerting the listener that he is about to hear some bad news.    Text file  Philip Vitale  Text file 
August 23, 1998 284  ASK BACKWARDS MCLXVII  You are on "Jeopardy!" These are the answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file  Jami Cashell  Text file 
August 30, 1998 285  ELEVENIS, ANYTWO?  Take a common phrase containing a specific number, add or subtract one, and explain the revised phrase.    Text file  Joseph Romm  Text file 
September 6, 1998 286  CLINTOONS  Make your own Clintoon, a comic strip consisting of any or all of the provided drawings.  CAR   Text file  Meg Sullivan  Text file 
September 13, 1998 287  BEFORE AND AFTERMATH  Begin with a real name, append to it a word, name or expression that completes the bridge, and finally define the resulting phrase.  WOR   Text file  Douglas Riley  Text file 
September 20, 1998 288  PICTURE THIS  What is happening in these pictures?  CAR   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
September 27, 1998 289  PLAY IT AGAIN, SHAM  Submit entries to any previous contest, ideas you might have thought of after the contest deadline had passed.  PRE   Text file  Joseph Romm  Text file 
October 4, 1998 290  THE WORLD THEORIES  Codify some of life's more populist theories.  CUL   Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
October 11, 1998 291  HYPHEN THE TERRIBLE  Take any story in today's paper, find a word that breaks with a hyphen at the end of a line, and combine it with the second half of different hyphenated word in the same story. Then supply a definition for the new hybrid word.  HYP   Text file  Susan Reese  Text file 
October 18, 1998 292  PAYING THE BILL  Propose appropriate punishments for President Clinton.  POL   Text file  Art Grinath  Text file 
October 25, 1998 293  THE VERSE OF AMERICA  Take any story in today's Washington Post and create a poem or song by stringing together various phrases from that story. Each phrase must be a least two words long.  POE   Text file  Greg Arnold  Text file 
November 1, 1998 294  PRODUCT LIARBILITY  Take the name of any commercial product and redefine it.  BUS   Text file | Post e-version  J. Larry Schott  Text file | Post e-version 
November 8, 1998 295  PANEL DISCUSSION  Supply the contents of the missing panel in the provided cartoon strips.  CAR   Text file  David Genser  Text file 
November 15, 1998 296  BILL US LATER  Choose among the names of any of the newly elected U.S. senators or representatives and propose a bill they might sponsor.  LEG   Text file  Mike Genz  Text file 
November 22, 1998 297  FREE FOR OIL  Take any article in today's paper, and write an outraged letter to the editor about it that totally misses the point, either by misreading a word or misunderstanding the topic.  WAS CUL POL REL   Text file  David Genser  Text file 
November 29, 1998 298  THE RIGHT STUFF  Write a sentence, or phrase, or entire passage, using only your right hand on the keyboard. This means you may use no keys to the left of N, H, Y and 7.  LET   Text file  Barbara Collier  Text file 
December 6, 1998 299  ANOTHER LEFTIST RAG  Write the day's tabloid headlines with your left hand only. (This means you can use no keys to the right of 6, T, G and B.)  LET   Text file  Eric Lenning  Text file 
December 13, 1998 300  A BRAND NEW CONTEST  Come up with celebrity-brand products.  BUS   Text file  Elden Carnahan  Text file 
December 20, 1998 301  PICTURE THIS  What is happening in these cartoons?  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Jonathan Paul  Text file | Post PDF 
December 27, 1998 302  UNSTATED TRUTHS  Come up with lines that you'll never hear the provided people say.    Text file | Post e-version  Beverly Miller  Text file | Post e-version 
January 3, 1999 303  BOOM TIMES  Come up with old and new concerns for the baby boom generation.  CUL   Text file | Post e-version  Elden Carnahan  Text file | Post e-version 
January 10, 1999 304  TIME OF THE SIGNS  Come up with appropriate signage to appear outside any business or retail establishment in the Washington area, including government offices.  WAS BUS POL   Text file  David Genser  Text file 
January 17, 1999 305  ASK BACKWARDS CMXVI2  You are on "Jeopardy!" These are the answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file  Stephen Dudzik  Text file 
January 24, 1999 306  YOUNGIAN THERAPY  Suggest ways in which the Style Invitational or any other Washington area institution can become more relevant to younger people.  WAS STY CUL   Text file | Post e-version  Meg Sullivan  Text file | Post e-version 
January 31, 1999 307  IF YOU BOYCOTT THIS TASK / YOU WON'T WIN THE FLASK  Come up with rhyming couplets to warn us about the perils of modern life.  POE CUL   Text file  Howard Walderman  Text file 
February 7, 1999 308  GIVE US NO MO  Write an updated version of those old children's selecting rhymes. Your rhyme must (1) rhyme and (2) conform, at least loosely, to a point-and-shoot cadence that permits the elimination of one item from a group.  POE   Text file  David Genser  Text file 
February 14, 1999 309  A STINKING PILE OF THESES  Write an all-purpose first line or paragraph for any doctoral dissertation, designed to impress the heck out of academics.  CUL   Text file  David Genser  Text file 
February 21, 1999 310  IT'S LIKE THIS  Come up with really lame analogies.  ANL   Text file  J. F. Knowles  Text file 
February 28, 1999 311  A JERRY-BUILT CONTEST  Find cleverly disguised threats to public morality or hallowed American values that may be secretly lurking out there in our culture.  CUL POL   Text file  Joseph Romm  Text file 
YEAR 7 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 7, 1999 312  BOOKS AND BOOKS  Combine any two works of literature--no movies or TV--into one, give its title and describe it in a brief, appealing blurb that might appear in Publishers' WeeklyLIT   Text file  Mike Long  Text file 
March 14, 1999 313  THE STYLE INVITATIONAL SOUVENIR SHOP  Come up with bad names for a new store at a mall.  WOR BUS   Text file  Brian Broadus  Text file 
March 21, 1999 314  IT'S THE LIST YOU CAN DO  Start with the name of a famous person, living or dead, real or fictional, either a full name or partial name. Progress through a series of other names or phrases. Each name or phrase must be related to the prior item either by being a homophone or a definition. Eventually, arrive at a name or a phrase that is an appropriate pairing with the original name.    Text file  Elisa Nichols  Text file 
March 28, 1999 315  FERMENTING TROUBLE  Write a rhyming poem, eight lines maximum, on the subject of cheese or any of the provided items.  POE   Text file  Niels Hoven  Text file 
April 4, 1999 316  CALLING THE TOON  What are these things?  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Jennifer Hart
Sandra Hull 
Text file | Post PDF 
April 11, 1999 317  PICK US A WINNER  Come up with flawed contest ideas, and the single, obvious, too-good-to-beat entry.  STY   Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
April 18, 1999 318  HYPHEN THE TERRIBLE  Combine the first half of any hyphenated word in a story in today's paper with the second part of a different hyphenated word from the same story, and provide a new definition.  HYP   Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
April 25, 1999 319  REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY  Create an original chiasmus, an ancient literary form in which meaning is derived by pairing two words or phrases, and then reversing their order.  WOR   Text file  Craig McGowan  Text file 
May 2, 1999 320  WHAT KIND OF FOAL AM I?  Mate any two of the horses qualifying for the Triple Crown races and come up with appropriate names for their foals. Maximum 18 letters and spaces.  HOR   Text file  Dante D. Bruno  Text file 
May 9, 1999 321  INTERPRET THIS  Take any of the provided cartoons and come up with a matched pair of interpretations for what is happening.  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Art Grinath  Text file | Post PDF 
May 16, 1999 322  YOU NAME IT  Take a well known pair or group of names, extend one of them in some manner, and explain how the group dynamic changes.    Text file  Tom Glynn  Text file 
May 23, 1999 323  THE CONGRESSIONAL RECORD INVITATIONAL  Come up with not-quite-ready inventions, past or present.  SCI BUS   Text file | Post e-version  Brian Broadus  Text file | Post e-version 
May 30, 1999 324  A PREQUEL OPPORTUNITY OFFERING  Come up with a "prequel" to some classic film or work of literature. You must produce a title and a brief plot summary, which of course must take place prior to the main action of the original work.  MOV   Text file  Aaron Kravitz  Text file 
June 6, 1999 325  THE BURMA ROAD  Propose welcoming doggerel for states or cities patterned after Burma Shave signs.  POE   Text file  Stephen Dudzik  Text file 
June 13, 1999 326  COMIC RELIEF  Look at today's comics pages, select one panel and one panel only from any comic strip, and rewrite the dialogue.  COM   Text file  David Genser  Text file 
June 20, 1999 327  ASK BACKWARDS  You are on "Jeopardy!" These are the answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file  David Genser  Text file 
June 27, 1999 328  NICE CAPADES  Send in some pleasant observation, in which you take a really cheerful or heartwarming view of something that less charitable people might conceivably see differently.    Text file  Janet Arrowsmith-Love  Text file 
July 4, 1999 329  THE STYLE INVITATIONAL: HELL  Take the name of a person or institution. Find within it a hidden message. You may add spacing and punctuation, but you may not move letters around.  LET   Text file | Post PDF  Chrissy Haynes
Russell Haynes 
Text file | Post PDF 
July 11, 1999 330  NERD PLANET FROM THE SUN  Come up with comments from the Nerd Side even less interesting than the observation that the 21st century doesn't really start until 2001.    Text file  Marcia Reecer  Text file 
July 18, 1999 331  DRAWING ON CREATIVITY  Come up with an idea for a fictional central character for a comic strip based in Washington, D.C., and the environs. Describe your character in as much detail as you wish, and give the strip a name.  WAS COM   Text file  Elden Carnahan
Joyce Rains 
Text file 
July 25, 1999 332  AUTHORS IN SEARCH OF A CHARACTER  Come up with a three- or four-panel cartoon about any of the winning characters from Week 332.  CAR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  David Genser
Art Grinath
Chuck Smith
Meg Sullivan 
Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 1, 1999 333  GET A LOAD OF THIS TA-TA  Submit episodes for the three winning strips from Week 331. There is no next week's contest.  COM   Text file | Post PDF  Chuck Smith  Text file | Post PDF 
THE SABBATICAL
The Czar claims he is being sent on a secret half-year assignment, and that the Invitational may return with a new, invigorated format yet to be determined.
When the column resumed, the Czar began to use Roman numerals for the Weeks. He abandoned this scheme at the beginning of Year 11, resuming taditional numbering as if there had been no break.
YEAR 8 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
August 8, 1999              
August 15, 1999              
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August 29, 1999              
September 5, 1999              
September 12, 1999              
September 19, 1999              
September 26, 1999              
October 3, 1999              
October 10, 1999              
October 17, 1999              
October 24, 1999              
October 31, 1999              
November 7, 1999              
November 14, 1999              
November 21, 1999              
November 28, 1999              
December 5, 1999              
December 12, 1999              
December 19, 1999              
December 26, 1999              
January 2, 2000              
January 9, 2000              
January 16, 2000              
January 23, 2000              
January 30, 2000 334
(I) 
The New Style Invitational: Six Choices for Czar  Vote for one of six possible editors of the Style Invitation, from among the current Czar and five worthy competitors.  STY   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
February 6, 2000 335
(II) 
A LOVER'S SPAT  Enter the contest that is run by the editor of your choice.  STY   Text file  Ben F. Noviello  Text file 
February 13, 2000 336
(III) 
THE "STY"LE INVITATIONAL  Choose any word and emphasize a single part of it, as though you were saying the word out loud with "air quotes" around the key part. Then redefine the word. You cannot alter the spelling of the word.  WOR   Text file  Tom Witte
Elden Carnahan 
Text file (pub 3-5-00)
Text file (pub 3-12-00) 
February 20, 2000 337
(IV) 
DEGREES OF DIFFICULTY  Take a quality you wish to quantify and devise the perfect icon to measure it. Then give us an example of the extremes.    Text file  Elden Carnahan  Text file 
February 27, 2000 338
(V) 
WHO WANTS TO WIN A TOILET?  Propose even greater depths of shameless, tasteless sleaze to which Fox TV is likely to sink after the noisome debacle of "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?"  TEL   Text file  Greg Pearson  Text file 
March 5, 2000 339
(VI) 
Campaignful Developments  Come up with signs that a presidential campaign might be in trouble.  POL   Text file  Kelli Midgley  Text file 
March 12, 2000 340
(VII) 
ASK BACKWARDS 12  You are on "Jeopardy!" Here are the answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file  Sandra Hull  Text file 
March 19, 2000 341
(VIII) 
What's In a Name?  Write something about any famous person that uses only the letters in his or her name.  LET   Text file  Richard Grossman  Text file 
March 26, 2000 342
(IX) 
Plainly Ridiculous  Take any direct quotation from any article in today's Washington Post and translate it into "plain English."  WAS   Text file  Martin Bredeck  Text file 
April 2, 2000 343
(X) 
Eastwood Ho.  Create a Good-Bad-Ugly progression.  JOK   Text file  Teen Sheng  Text file 
April 9, 2000 344
(XI) 
What Kind of Foal Am I?  Envision the mating of any two of the 387 horses qualifying for this year's Triple Crown, and propose a name for their foal. The foal's name must be contained in 18 or fewer letters and spaces.  HOR   Text file  T. J. Murphy  Text file 
April 16, 2000 345
(XII) 
Picture This  What is going on in these cartoons?  CAR   Text file  David Genser  Text file 
April 23, 2000 346
(XIII) 
Greasy Kids Tough  Take any news event from history, recent or ancient, large or small, and rewrite it in 100 words or fewer as it might have appeared in KidsPost.  HIS   Text file  Mary Lou French  Text file 
April 30, 2000 347
(XIV) 
Capital Pun-ishment  Take an expression, or a lyric for a song, or any recognizable line of prose, and make it the punchline of an awful pun.  JOK LIT   Text file  Bill Strider  Text file 
May 7, 2000 348
(XV) 
When We're LXIV  Fashion an entry by selecting one from each of the provided menu groups.    Text file  Mike Elliott  Text file 
May 14, 2000 349
(XVI) 
Orienting Oneself  Produce a haiku using only words found in today's Washington Post. Your entry must have three lines, the first containing exactly five syllables, the second containing exactly seven syllables, the third containing exactly five.  POE   Text file | Post PDF  David Genser  Text file | Post PDF 
May 21, 2000 350
(XVII) 
Employing Irony  Propose bad career choices.    Text file  David Genser  Text file 
May 28, 2000 351
(XVIII) 
Dubya Fun  Take any well-known statement, expression, slogan, etc., and rewrite it the way Dubya might have said it.  POL   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
June 4, 2000 352
(XIX) 
A Laff Riot  Take the name of a company and/or its commercial product and provide it a new definition.  BUS   Text file  Jennifer Nelson  Text file 
June 11, 2000 353
(XX) 
Patently Silly  What do these devices do?  CAR   Text file  Jean Sorensen  Text file 
June 18, 2000 354
(XXI) 
Everyone's a Critic  Adopt the style of a famous writer and review any of the provided dishes.  LIT   Text file  Phil Frankenfeld  Text file 
June 25, 2000 355
(XXII) 
Seeing Stars  Tell us ways we can attract celebrity participation to this contest.  STY   Text file  Jacob Weinstein  Text file 
July 2, 2000 356
(XXIII) 
Med Icks  Invent a clever name for a new medical product, and specify the condition it would treat.  SCI   Text file | Post PDF  Chester Myslicki  Text file | Post PDF 
July 9, 2000 357
(XXIV) 
Coming to a Bad End  Take some immortal line from literature or film and ruin it by adding a short phrase or sentence.  MOV   Text file  Joseph Romm  Text file 
July 16, 2000 358
(XXV) 
Finish the Fire  Finish "We Didn't Start the Fire," to summarize 1990 to the present.  MUS   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
July 23, 2000 359
(XXVI) 
It's No Party  Come up with a new political party and its main political tenet.  POL   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
July 30, 2000 360
(XXVII) 
No Competition  Create a list of 25 names, each linked in some way to the name before, and you must begin and end with Mary Ann Madden.    Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
August 6, 2000 361
(XXVIII) 
Bad Libs  Select one subject, one verb, and one object from the provided lists, and then answer the riddle you create.  WOR JOK   Text file  Edward Asher  Text file 
August 13, 2000 362
(XXIX) 
Something Missing  Tell us what is missing in each of the provided cartoons.  CAR   Text file  Sam Rosenberg  Text file 
August 20, 2000 363
(XXX) 
It's Your Movie  Take the title of any movie and make it the answer to a riddle.  MOV JOK   Text file  David Genser  Text file 
August 27, 2000 364
(XXXI) 
Low Marks  Come up with a new punctuation mark. Tell us what it looks like, and what it is used for, and use it in a sentence.    Text file  Bob Dalton  Text file 
September 3, 2000 365
(XXXII) 
Terse Verse  Ask a question and then answer it with a rhyme. Your answer can be as many words as you wish, but all must have the same rhyme.  POE   Text file  David Genser  Text file 
September 10, 2000 366
(XXXIII) 
Just Fulghum  Come up with a list of at least three Major Life Lessons one can learn from any of the venues provided.  CUL   Text file  Martin Bredeck  Text file 
September 17, 2000 367
(XXXIV) 
Future Schlock  Come up with a line that will surely not appear in an upcoming work.  LIT   Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
September 24, 2000 368
(XXXV) 
Hyphen the Terrible  Combine the first half of any hyphenated word in a story in today's paper with the second part of a different hyphenated word from the same story, and provide a new definition.  HYP   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
October 1, 2000 369
(XXXVI) 
Punch Us  Complete any of the provided jokes.  JOK   Text file  Jennifer Hart  Text file 
October 8, 2000 370
(XXXVII) 
No End in Sight  Write the beginnings of sentences you don't want to hear the end of.  WOR   Text file  Bill Chang  Text file 
October 15, 2000 371
(XXXVIII) 
Ask Backward  You are on "Jeopardy!" These are the answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file  Fred Hayes
Meg Sullivan 
Text file 
October 22, 2000 372
(XXXIX) 
Trial Balloons  Fill in the balloons.  CAR   Text file  Stephen Dudzik  Text file 
October 29, 2000 373
(XL) 
An Extra Large Challenge  What should we put on the back of the new Style Invitational T-shirt?  TSH   Text file | Post PDF  Mike Elliott  Text file | Post PDF 
November 5, 2000 374
(XLI) 
Bill Us Later  Take a well-known expression and update it for the new millennium.  CUL   Text file  Twyla Vernon  Text file 
November 12, 2000 375
(XLII) 
Show Us Up  Combine the names of two existing TV shows (past or present) to make an entirely new show. Then, describe the show.  TEL   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
November 19, 2000 376
(XLIII) 
Apply Yourself  Supply bad openings to college application biographies.    Text file  Elden Carnahan  Text file 
November 26, 2000 377
(XLIV) 
Week MMDCXLIV  Provide a headline (and, if necessary, the first line of the text) for any article that will appear in The Washington Post on this day in the year 2050.  HEA HIS   Text file | Post PDF  Tom Witte  Text file | Post PDF 
December 3, 2000 378
(XLV) 
Bill Us Now  Come up with a bill sponsored by any of the newly elected U.S. senators and representatives, and explain the purpose of the bill.  LEG   Text file  Dave Zarrow  Text file 
December 10, 2000 379
(XLVI) 
Rather Unusual  Come up with lines that could be uttered by Dan Rather, with his unbearably folksy excesses.  CUL   Text file  Jennifer Hart  Text file 
December 17, 2000 380
(XLVII) 
The New-Name Offense  Propose changes for the names of places and things that need it, either because there is something wrong with their name, or because another name would be so much more descriptive.  WOR   Text file  Lynne Filderman  Text file 
December 24, 2000 381
(XLVIII) 
Idiom Savant  Take any well-known idiom, or expression, and invent an interesting derivation for it.  WOR   Text file  Gordon Labow  Text file 
December 31, 2000 382
(XLIX) 
Pickup Schticks  Write inept pickup lines, by either sex, to either sex.  CUL   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
January 7, 2001 383
(L) 
A Kinder, Gender Nation  Take an noun and give us a reason or two why it should be either masculine or feminine.  WOR   Text file  Jim Martin  Text file 
January 14, 2001 384
(LI) 
What's Your Story?  Take at least four of the provided cartoons, arrange them in any sequence you wish, and make up a funny story that they would illustrate.  CAR   Text file  Sarah Worcester  Text file 
January 21, 2001 385
(LII) 
Proceed Gingerly  What is the still-secret invention, code-name "Ginger", that is said to meet the provided criteria?  SCI   Text file  Ervin Stembol  Text file 
January 28, 2001 386
(LIII) 
The Game of Clue  What are some clues that someone might be any of the provided characterizations?    Text file  Judith Cottrill  Text file 
YEAR 9 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
February 4, 2001 387
(LIV) 
By Jingo  Come up with a joke that could be written and understood only by a Washingtonian.  WAS   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
February 11, 2001 388
(LV) 
Pitches in the Dirt  Come up with a sales pitch to get any surplus product off the shelves.  BUS   Text file  Mike Genz  Text file 
February 18, 2001 389
(LVI) 
Operation Overkill  Present a solution to a problem that goes just a little too far.    Text file  Saria Brewer  Text file 
The Uberczar and the Auxiliary Czar begin filling in temporarily for the Czar.
February 25, 2001 390
(LVII) 
Canine Fashion  Write: 1. A caption for the provided image explaining what is happening; 2. An explanation of why the image is not photography but art; 3. A description of what additional items might be needed to make the image complete. Sex and potty jokes will be disqualified.  CAP ART   Text file | Post PDF  Kelli Midgley  Text file | Post PDF 
March 4, 2001 391
(LVIII) 
Spinning Out of Control  Take a headline in today's Washington Post and create a subhead that spins the story in an opposite or unexpected direction.  HEA   Text file  Sarah Worcester  Text file 
March 11, 2001 392
(LIX) 
Everyone's a Comic  Choose any panel of any comic strip in today's Washington Post and improve it by replacing the original speech and thought balloons with your own,  CAR   Text file  Drew Knoblauch  Text file 
March 18, 2001 393
(LX) 
Things Could Be Verse  Take any story in today's Washington Post and rewrite it into a rhyming poem of no more than eight lines.  POE   Text file  Geoff Shafer
Lindsay Shafer 
Text file 
March 25, 2001 394
(LXI) 
Life in the Blurbs  Come up with a blurb used to sell a real or imagined book or movie that would be likely to have the opposite of the intended effect.  LIT MOV   Text file  Christina Mach  Text file 
April 1, 2001 395
(LXII) 
Devilishly Clever  Describe someone's special little corner of Hell.  REL   Text file  Andy Lees  Text file 
April 8, 2001 396
(LXIII) 
April Foals  Mate any two of the horses qualifying for the Triple Crown races and come up with appropriate names for their foals. Maximum 18 letters and spaces.  HOR   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
April 15, 2001 397
(LXIV) 
Sins of Omission  Omit a letter or letters from a real-life sign to create a name for a new business, comically different from the original. Describe the new business or include a slogan that explains it.  LET   Text file  Selma Mathias  Text file 
April 22, 2001 398
(LXV) 
Animal Magnetism  Make great literature and/or a significant expression of the human condition out of the provided randomly-selected words. Use whatever punctuation you choose and any of the words, but only those words, and use them only once.  LIT CUL WOR   Text file  Brian Foster  Text file 
April 29, 2001 399
(LXVI) 
IT PAYS TO BE GENDEROUS  Write a short film description that could persuade a woman that the guy movie he wants to see is really close to being a gal movie, or vice versa.  MOV   Text file  Robin Grove  Text file 
May 6, 2001 400
(LXVII) 
Life Is Snort  Write a "Life is Short" entry in under 100 words, in the voice of a celebrity, living or dead.  CUL   Text file  Don Burdett  Text file 
May 13, 2001 401
(LXVIII) 
A Matter of Degree  Describe a sign of some modest change in a situation and pair it with a sign of an extreme change in that same situation.    Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
The Czar returns to duty.
May 20, 2001 402
(LXIX) 
Spitting the Difference  Tell us the difference between any two of the provided items.  DIF   Text file | Post PDF  Jim Pond  Text file | Post PDF 
May 27, 2001 403
(LXX) 
Cry, Uncle!  Write the beginnings of an obituary that will provide the details of what happened to the Style Invitational Uncle.  EPI   Text file | Post PDF  Tom Witte  Text file | Post PDF 
June 3, 2001 404
(LXXI) 
Balloonacy  Create a comic strip of one to four panels. For your dialogue or thought balloons, you may choose from the provided menu. You may invent one line of your own.  CAR   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
June 10, 2001 405
(LXXII) 
The "Sty"le Invitational  Take any word--this may include people or places--put a portion of it in "air quotes" and redefine it. You may not alter the spelling.  WOR   Text file  Steve Fahey  Text file 
June 17, 2001 406
(LXXIII) 
Bum Steerage  Offer some spectacularly bad advice to any of the provided people.  CUL   Text file  David Moore  Text file 
June 24, 2001 407
(LXXIV) 
Adverbiage  Come up with a witticism or a joke by making a pun out of an adverb. Unlike Tom Swiftlys, your adverb must modify not a verb but an adjective.  JOK WOR   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
July 1, 2001 408
(LXXV) 
What's In a Name?  Take the name of any politician, living or dead, and construct an appropriate message from the letters of the name. You may use any letter as many times as you wish, and you may insert punctuation.  LET POL   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
July 8, 2001 409
(LXXVI) 
Nice Job, if You Get It  Take anything that might need its image enhanced and rename it in a way the keeps its essential identity, but makes it seem nicer.    Text file  Gary Patishnock  Text file 
July 15, 2001 410
(LXXVII) 
Ask Backwards  You are on "Jeopardy!" These are the answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
July 22, 2001 411
(LXXVIII) 
X's and Oaths  Take any oath, pledge, declaration or slogan and update it.  SLO   Text file  Jean Sorensen  Text file 
July 29, 2001 412
(LXXIX) 
Painful Climaxes  Come up with statements that start really dramatically, but leave you sorta flat at the end.    Text file  Ray Aragon
Cindy Coe 
Text file 
August 5, 2001 413
(LXXX) 
Bland Ambition  Come up with one or more items from an underachiever's list of midlife resolutions.  CUL   Text file  Gail Fiorini  Text file 
August 12, 2001 414
(LXXXI) 
No Rest for the Query  Complete the provided rhetorical question by filling in the blanks. It must be a put-down.    Text file  Paul Kocak  Text file 
August 19, 2001 415
(LXXXII) 
Sentence Us to Death  Take any sentence appearing anywhere in today's Washington Post, and invent a question that it answers.  WAS QUE   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
August 26, 2001 416
(LXXXIII) 
Diff'rent Jokes  Describe how things might have been different if a famous person, living or dead, had had one of the provided conditions.  HIS   Text file  Drew Knoblauch  Text file 
September 2, 2001 417
(LXXXIV) 
Initially Mistaken  Take any name of a person or thing, and construct an appropriate message using its letters, in order, as the first letters of the words of your message.  LET   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
September 9, 2001 418
(LXXXV) 
Xtreme Invitational  Come up with signs you are overdoing it any in any of the provided categories.    Text file  John Burton  Text file 
September 16, 2001 419
(LXXXVI) 
Don't Spare the Rodney  Come up with indications that one might not be getting no respect.    Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
September 23, 2001 420
(LXXXVII) 
Ha Anxiety  Make us laugh.  JOK   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
September 30, 2001 421
(LXXXVIII) 
Picture This  These objects are not what they seem to be, at first glance. They are something else entirely. What are they?  CAR   Text file  Jennifer Hart  Text file 
October 7, 2001 422
(LXXXIX) 
Taught Language  Come up with lessons learned from (1) the movies, (2) popular songs, (3) romance novels or (4) the comics page.  MOV MUS LIT COM   Text file  Bob Sorensen  Text file 
October 14, 2001 423
(XC) 
Roling With Laughter  Take a character from one movie, use him or her to replace a character in a second movie, and then explain how this change would affect the second movie.  MOV   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
Reacting to the anthrax scare, the Invitational no longer accepts mailed-in entries.
October 21, 2001 424
(XCI) 
Osama Chanted Evening  Write poems about Osama bin Laden.  POE   Text file  Patricia Helmetag  Text file 
October 28, 2001 425
(XCII) 
Hyphen the Terrible  Take the first half of any hyphenated word from any story in today's newspaper and combine it with the second half of any other hyphenated word in the same story, and propose a definition of the new word you've created.  HYP   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
November 4, 2001 426
(XCIII) 
Captions Courageous  Take any photograph or illustration from today's Washington Post and give it a more interesting caption.  CAP   Text file  Jennifer Hart  Text file 
November 11, 2001 427
(XCIV) 
Skinned  Come up with events that have a smaller chance of happening than the Redskins winning the Super Bowl.  ATH   Text file  Sarah Worcester  Text file 
November 18, 2001 428
(XCV) 
No Rest for the Query  Answer any of the provided supposedly unanswerable questions in the voice of any famous person, living or dead.    Text file  Elliott Schiff  Text file 
November 25, 2001 429
(XCVI) 
Shark Instruments  Tell us what would be a sign that any current institution--TV show, newspaper feature, magazine, business, etc.--has jumped the shark.  TEL CUL BUS   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
December 2, 2001 430
(XCVII) 
OMB Directive No. 2  Revisit any contest The Style Invitational has ever run, and rewrite our tawdry past by proposing a new first-prize winner serious and/or decorous enough to please the Ombudsman.  PRE   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
THE Czar claims to be embarking on a secret mission, and promises that the Invitational will resume in January. During this time he will run profiles of top SI contestants, each of which will contain one lie.
December 9, 2001 431
(XCVIII) 
Please Bear With Us …  There is no contest. Czar ran biographies of Chuck Smith and Jean Sorensen, each containing one lie.    Text file     
December 16, 2001 432
(XCIX) 
Sleeps With the Fishes.  No contests until mid-January. Czar ran biographies of Chris Doyle, Sue Lin Chong, Paul Styrene, and Brian Broadus, each containing one lie.    Text file     
December 23, 2001 433
(C) 
Takes a Break  No contests until mid-January. Czar ran biographies of Russell Beland, Sarah Gaymon, John Kammer, and Paul Kondis, each containing one lie.    Text file     
December 30, 2001 434
(CI) 
Takes a Breather  No contests until mid-January. Czar ran biographies of Jennifer Hart, Jonathan Paul, Mike Genz and Robin Grove, each containing one lie.    Text file     
January 6, 2002 435
(CII) 
Vegies Out  No contests until mid-January. Czar ran biographies of Tom Witte, Dave Zarrow, Sandra Hull, and Kevin Cuddihy, each containing one lie.    Text file     
January 13, 2002 436
(CIII) 
Takes a Powder  The contest resumes next week. Czar ran biographies of Elden Carnahan, Stephen Dudzik, Joseph Romm, and Art Grinath, each containing one lie.    Text file     
January 20, 2002 437
(CIV) 
The Telegraph Poll  Tell us the beginning of a joke that badly telegraphs the punch line.  JOK   Text file  Seth Brown  Text file 
January 27, 2002 438
(CV) 
What's the Pun Line?  Ask a question and answer it, somewhere incorporating the name of a least one famous person.  QUE   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
YEAR 10 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
February 3, 2002 439
(CVI) 
No Can Do  Write signs of incompetence.    Text file  Kyle Bonney  Text file 
February 10, 2002 440
(CVII) 
Picture This  What is going on in these cartoons?  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Chris Hill  Text file | Post PDF 
February 17, 2002 441
(CVIII) 
Spit the Difference  Take any two nouns that appear on the front page of today's Washington Post and explain how the nouns differ from each other.  WAS   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
February 24, 2002 442
(CIX) 
Titletales  Take any real book or movie, change one word slightly, and describe the resulting new product.  LIT MOV WOR   Text file  Jeffrey Martin  Text file 
March 3, 2002 443
(CX) 
Sick Humor  Come up with modern diseases of Washington life.  WAS   Text file  Deborah Searson  Text file 
March 10, 2002 444
(CXI) 
Advice Squad  Take any letter from today's advice columns and answer it in the voice of someone famous, living or dead.  CUL   Text file  Mike Genz  Text file 
March 17, 2002 445
(CXII) 
Another Round of Bierce  Add a few entries to Ambrose Bierce's famous "Devil's Dictionary."  WOR   Text file  Mike Genz  Text file 
March 24, 2002 446
(CXIII) 
Poems Where the Heart Is  Take any recent news event and summarize it in a rhyming poem of eight lines or fewer.  POE   Text file  Jennifer Hart  Text file 
March 31, 2002 447
(CXIV) 
Acronimble  Take any of the provided witty statements and use the first letters in each of the words to create a brand-new, unrelated funny statement.  LET   Text file  Jennifer Nelson  Text file 
April 7, 2002 448
(CXV) 
What Kind of Foal Am I?  Mate any two of the horses qualifying for the Triple Crown races this year and propose a name for their foal. No name may exceed 18 characters, including spaces.  HOR   Text file  Mark Eckenwiler  Text file 
April 14, 2002 449
(CXVI) 
Cut and Pastiche  Create a new, funny headline from the words of any headlines appearing anywhere in today's Post. You cannot subdivide words.  HEA   Text file  Dave Zarrow  Text file 
April 21, 2002 450
(CXVII) 
Blues It or Lose It  Write the first verse of a blues song expressing some Washington area woe.  WAS   Text file  Bob Dalton  Text file 
April 28, 2002 451
(CXVIII) 
Make Your Pix  Which two of the provided cartoons are related, and how?  CAR DIF   Text file  Dan Steinberg  Text file 
May 5, 2002 452
(CXIX) 
Russellmania!  (1) Design one or more steps for a 12-step program for the recovering Invitationalaholic; (2) Propose a devious method by which we might lure Russell Beland back.  STY   Text file  J. D. Berry  Text file 
May 12, 2002 453
(CXX) 
Haiku 2 U2  Write a haiku summarizing the career of any American politician, living or dead. A haiku is generally defined as a nonrhyming poem, of three lines. The first and last lines are five syllables; the middle line is seven.  POE POL   Text file  Daniel Horner  Text file 
May 19, 2002 454
(CXXI) 
Ask Backwards  You are on "Jeopardy!" These are the answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file  Sue Lin Chong  Text file 
May 26, 2002 455
(CXXII) 
Comixing  Create new comic characters by crossing two existing characters, then describe the character.  COM   Text file | Post PDF  Seth Brown  Text file | Post PDF 
June 2, 2002 456
(CXXIII) 
A Bad-Ask Contest  You are still on Jeopardy!, and you still have to supply questions to the provided answers, but the winners will be the least funny answersJEO   Text file  Mark Young  Text file 
June 9, 2002 457
(CXXIV) 
Letter Rip  Give us the beginning of a letter to the editor that is certain never to see print.    Text file  Fil Feit  Text file 
June 16, 2002 458
(CXXV) 
It's a Setup  Come up with joke setups for any of the provided punch lines.  JOK   Text file | Post PDF  William Zamojcin  Text file | Post PDF 
June 23, 2002 459
(CXXVI) 
Stock Humor  Look at any of the abbreviated company names in the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange listings in any newspaper's business section and suggest what business the companies might be in.  BUS   Text file | Post PDF  Mike Hammer  Text file | Post PDF 
June 30, 2002 460
(CXXVII) 
Pompous Assets  Come up with the first paragraph of a review of a real book or movie, past or present, that is narcissistic, pretentious, and self-aggrandizing.  LIT MOV   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
July 7, 2002 461
(CXXVIII) 
Punch Us Again  Take any comic from the daily Washington Post during the next week and make it better by changing the contents of the final word balloon.  WAS COM   Text file  Meg Sullivan  Text file 
July 14, 2002 462
(CXXIX) 
Cast Away  Come up with a terrible bit of miscasting in a movie or TV show, past or present, real or imagined.  MOV TEL   Text file  William Rothstein  Text file 
July 21, 2002 463
(CXXX) 
Retell Sales  Give us the beginning of any well-known story as retold by any famous person, living or dead, except for Ronald ReaganLIT   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
July 28, 2002 464
(CXXXI) 
Cursive Writing  Come up with a new curse for this millennium.  CUL   Text file  Art Grinath  Text file 
August 4, 2002 465
(CXXXII) 
Hyphen the Terrible  Take the first half of any word or word combination in today's Post that is broken by a hyphen at the end of a line, and combine it with the second half of any other hyphenated word from the same story, and define the new word that is formed.  HYP   Text file | Post PDF  James Pierce  Text file | Post PDF 
August 11, 2002 466
(CXXXIII) 
Spit the Difference  Tell us the difference between any two of the provided items.  DIF   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
August 18, 2002 467
(CXXXIV) 
Get Your But in Here  Produce a line that fits this structure: (Real thing based upon current events) is (word or phrase suggesting some quality) but (other word or phrase suggesting a dissimilar or incompatible quality), like (funny analogy).    Text file  Elden Carnahan  Text file 
August 25, 2002 468
(CXXXV) 
Ism This Stupid?  Take any common prefix and attach it to any well-known "ism" and define the new term.  WOR   Text file  Paul A. Stone  Text file 
September 1, 2002 469
(CXXXVI) 
Playing Check-In  Suggest appropriate hotel check-in names for any celebrities, past or present, living or dead.  CUL   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
September 8, 2002 470
(CXXXVII) 
Czar Har  Take the name of someone famous, rhyme it with a product, and describe the unholy union.  POE   Text file  Brendan Beary  Text file 
September 15, 2002 471
(CXXXVIII) 
Excuses, Excuses  Come up with creative new excuses for not turning in homework, not filing your taxes on time, missing church or forgetting your spouse's birthday.    Text file  Kelley Lund  Text file 
September 22, 2002 472
(CXXXIX) 
Water Stupid Idea  Propose bad ideas for saving water in the continuing drought.    Text file  Roy Ashley  Text file 
September 29, 2002 473
(CXL) 
Offensive Line  Find what's offensive in any of the provided cartoons, and explain.  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Seth Brown  Text file | Post PDF 
October 6, 2002 474
(CXLI) 
Alphabettering  Create a sentence that uses each letter of the alphabet at least once but that would never be heard on the politically correct, genteel, rarified air of NPR.  LET   Text file  Milo Sauer  Text file 
October 13, 2002 475
(CXLII) 
Bad Connection  Take any two seemingly unrelated stories from anywhere in today's Washington Post and explain how their subjects are linked in some unholy conspiracy or other suspicious way.  WAS   Text file  Czar: "Week CXLII ... required you to find funny hidden cabals in the news stories of the day. A daunting task. Too daunting. None of the measly 120 entries produced even a germ of an idea worthy of publication."   
October 20, 2002 476
(CXLIII) 
Portmanteautapping  Make a new word by squishing together two existing words. The constituent words must share at least two letters.  WOR   Text file  Meg Sullivan  Text file 
October 27, 2002 477
(CXLIV) 
A Load of Bulwer  Give us the beginning of incompetently written novel.  LIT   Text file | Post PDF  Brian Barrett
Chuck Smith 
Text file (pub 11-10-02)
Text file (pub 11-24-02) 
November 3, 2002 478
(CXLV) 
Do You Mindset?  Anticipate items for the Mindset List for the freshman class of the year 2020.  CUL   Text file  Tony Noerpel  Text file 
November 10, 2002 479
(CXLVI) 
Invest Case Scenario  Suggest new companies in which it might be unwise to invest.  BUS   Text file  John Cogburn  Text file 
November 17, 2002 480
(CXLVII) 
In No Uncertain Terminations  Come up with a way to stop any unwanted overture in its tracks.    Text file  Barry Blyveis  Text file 
November 24, 2002 481
(CXLVIII) 
Homonymphomania  Create a new homonym of any existing word, and define. The new word must be spelled in such a way that is obviously pronounced identically to the original word.  WOR   Text file  Michael Levy  Text file 
December 1, 2002 482
(CXLIX) 
Inspect Our Gadgets  What are these gadgets? What do they do?  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Seth Brown  Text file | Post PDF 
December 8, 2002 483
(CL) 
Obitter Fate  Give us an obit headline for some famous person, currently living or dead.  HEA   Text file  Dan Steinberg  Text file 
December 15, 2002 484
(CLI) 
Manufracturing  Take any product and explain how it would be different if it were designed by a different existing company.  BUS   Text file  Milo Sauer  Text file 
December 22, 2002 485
(CLII) 
Asterisky Business  Write a joke with a punch line depending on knowledge so esoteric that it requires an asterisked explanation.  JOK   Text file  Seth Brown  Text file 
December 29, 2002 486
(CLIII) 
A Word From Our Co-Sponsors  Come up with bills the new members of Congress might sponsor. Each bill must have at least two sponsors.  LEG   Text file | Post PDF  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF 
January 5, 2003 487
(CLIV) 
Eee! Rotica  Come with a passage in a novel that ineptly describes hanky-panky.  LIT   Text file  Marc Leibert  Text file 
January 12, 2003 488
(CLV) 
No Rest for the Query  Come up with a vexing, funny question about life.  QUE   Text file  John Durkin  Text file 
January 19, 2003 489
(CLVI) 
Combo, First Blood  Combine two people whose names contain a common element, as in the examples above. Then describe the person, or provide a quote he or she might have uttered.  WOR   Text file  Beverly Miller  Text file 
January 26, 2003 490
(CLVII) 
Eyes on Reprise  Submit any good entries you might have thought of, for any previous contest, after the deadline passed.  PRE   Text file  Helene Haduch  Text file 
February 2, 2003 491
(CLVIII) 
Hirschfeld Follies  Try to figure out which celebrities Bob Staake is trying to draw in imitation of Al Hirschfeld.  CUL   Text file  Ben Pitkin  Text file 
February 9, 2003 492
(CLIX) 
Cheap Tricks  Come up with extreme cost-conserving measures for these difficult economic times.  POL   Text file  Lindsay Lacy  Text file 
February 16, 2003 493
(CLX) 
A Major Offensive  Find something anywhere in today's Washington Post and complain about it with absurd oversensitivity.  WAS   Text file  Cecil Clark  Text file 
February 23, 2003 494
(CLXI) 
Quote-idian  Take any extremely banal piece of familiar writing and rewrite it in the style of a famous writer, poet or lyricist.  LIT POE   Text file  Jeff Brechlin  Text file 
March 2, 2003 495
(CLXII) 
Words of One Syl- … Um, Just Short Words  Take some complex issue of any sort and explain it to all us morons entirely in words of one syllable.  POL   Text file  R. N. Oerter  Text file 
YEAR 11 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 9, 2003 496  The Style Invitational: The First Dreckade  Submit new entries to any of the old contests listed, and try to beat The Very Best of the Past 10 Years.  PRE   Text file  Jeff Brechlin  Text file 
March 16, 2003 497  Ask Backward  You are on "Jeopardy!" These are the answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file  Kevin Cuddihy  Text file 
March 23, 2003 498  Unamazing But True!  Submit a true fact that is of absolutely no use, but interesting in a weirdly Invitationalist way.  STY   Text file  Milo Sauer  Text file 
March 30, 2003 499  What Kind of Foal Am I?  Mate any two of the horses qualifying for this year's Triple Crown and tell us the name of their foal. Maximum 18 characters, including spaces.  HOR   Text file  Emily Lloyd  Text file 
April 6, 2003 500  Ergo-Nomics  Create a sillygism--a syllogism that doesn't quite work.  WOR   Text file  Dan Dunn  Text file 
April 13, 2003 501  Questionable Sentences  Take any sentence appearing anywhere in today's Washington Post and make it the answer to a question.  WAS   Text file  Tom Kreitzberg  Text file 
April 20, 2003 502  Picture This  Who are these people? What are they doing?  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Elden Carnahan  Text file | Post PDF 
April 27, 2003 503  Doody and Muldoon  Write poetry that out-Muldoons Paul Muldoon, the Princeton professor who won this year's Pulitzer Prize in poetry. Your poem must be a single quatrain, containing at least one rhyme and references to at least two body parts and one geographic name.  POE   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
May 4, 2003 504  Life Is Snort  Write a schmaltzy last line of a "Life Is Short."    Text file  David K. Ronka  Text file 
May 11, 2003 505  The Rule of Dumb  You are given $1 million. Conditions: (1) You must spend it all. (2) You must use it in a way that neither directly nor indirectly works to your financial benefit. (3) You may not use it to alleviate the suffering of anyone on Earth, or for any public-spirited project other than the joy of stupidity.    Text file  Mark Briscoe  Text file 
May 18, 2003 506  The Battle of All Mottoes  Provide a slogan for any federal department agency, department, office, etc.  SLO   Text file | Post PDF  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post PDF 
May 25, 2003 507  Crocktails  Come up with a drink named for something or someone associated with Washington and describe the drink.  WAS   Text file  Joe Cackler  Text file 
June 1, 2003 508  Letter Rip  Take a word from the dictionary, add, change, or delete a single letter, and redefine the word.  LET   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
June 8, 2003 509  Be a Real Card  Come up with a greeting card rhyme for an un-greeting-card occasion.  POE   Text file  Joe Cackler  Text file 
June 15, 2003 510  Universal Embarrassment  What would you like to see Miss Universe Pageant contestants asked live, on national TV?  TEL   Text file  Sugar Strawn
Jack Welsch 
Text file 
June 22, 2003 511  It All Impends  Tell us what is something unusual about to happen in the provided cartoons.  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Dave Hebda  Text file | Post PDF 
June 29, 2003 512  Live On, Sweet, Earnest Reader  Take the name of any person--living, dead, fictional--and use the letters of his name, in succession, to form the first letters of an expression appropriate to that person.  LET   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
July 6, 2003 513  It's Delete We Can Do  Come up with very bad subject lines for spam e-mail--lines that will guarantee instant deletion, sight unseen.  WOR   Text file  Tom Kreitzberg  Text file 
July 13, 2003 514  Ask Backwards  You are on "Jeopardy!" These are your answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file  Sanford Horn  Text file 
July 20, 2003 515  A Cellebration of Tasteful Living  Come up with ways that Martha Stewart can prettify and improve her new prison surroundings using only her skills, her impeccable taste and those resources available to her.  CUL   Text file | Post PDF  Chuck Smith  Text file | Post PDF 
July 27, 2003 516  Err Apparent  Come up with unwise things to say in any of the provided circumstances.    Text file  Milo Sauer  Text file 
August 3, 2003 517  Insert Joke Here  Slip a single bogus sentence into next year's State of the Union address, figuring the Prez will probably just read it right off the teleprompter.  POL   Text file  Craig Zimmerman  Text file 
August 10, 2003 518  Say, Kids, What Time Is It?  Fill in the blanks in the following sentence: "You know it's time to ------ when ------."  CUL   Text file  Michael Connaghan  Text file 
August 17, 2003 519  Hey, Baby, What's Your Sector?  Come up with pickup lines that could be heard only in Washington.  WAS   Text file  Cindy Burnham  Text file 
August 24, 2003 520  I, Object  These items were ordered by well-known people. Who ordered them, and why?  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post PDF 
August 31, 2003 521  Hyphen the Terrible  Take the first half of any hyphenated word in today's Washington Post (or Tuesday's USA Today) and combine it with the second half of any other hyphenated word in the same story, and define the new word it produces.  HYP WOR   Text file  Jane Auerbach  Text file 
September 7, 2003 522  Being There  Set the agenda for a flash mob, one of those existential, Web-arranged, sudden, pointless, instantaneous but brief gatherings of people at odd places, to do odd things.  CUL   Text file  Sarah Worcester  Text file 
September 14, 2003 523  Hard to Overstate  Propose ways to make modern life just a little bit harder than it needs to be.  CUL   Text file  Danny Bravman  Text file 
September 21, 2003 524  Around Things Moving  Take the title of any book or movie, rearrange the words, and explain what the new book or movie is about.  LIT MOV WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Russell Beland  Text file | Post PDF 
September 28, 2003 525  It Won't Belong Now  Tell us which of three cartoons provided does not belong, and why.  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Russell Beland  Text file | Post PDF 
October 5, 2003 526  Conventional Wisdumb  Answer any of the provided questions.  QUE   Text file  Art Grinath  Text file 
October 12, 2003 527  Rite of First Defusal  Come up with witty or bizarre things to say to defuse the tension in awkward moments.  CUL   Text file  Mark Young  Text file 
October 19, 2003 528  Ask Backwards  You are on "Jeopardy!" These are the answers. What are the questions?  JEO   Text file  Elden Carnahan  Text file 
October 26, 2003 529  United We Stanza  Summarize in four rhyming lines of verse any famous document, theory, principle or speech.  POE   Text file | Post PDF  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post PDF 
November 2, 2003 530  Tri Harder  Take any word, alter it in three ways--by adding a letter, by subtracting a letter and by changing a letter--and redefine all three new words.  LET   Text file  Brendan Beary  Text file 
November 9, 2003 531  Your Cynic Duties  Come up with a saying that sounds as if it's going to be inspirational, but winds up being cynical, misanthropic or sad.  WOR   Text file  Tom McCudden  Text file 
November 16, 2003 532  Short Pans  Come up with a terse review (four words or fewer) of any work of art.  ART   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
November 23, 2003 533  Breed Apart  Mate the clones of any two famous real people, living or dead--a male and a female, please--and hypothesize what traits or skills their offspring might have.  CUL   Text file  Tom Witte  Text file 
November 30, 2003 534  The Feminine Touch  Propose how any male-dominated occupation or institution would change if it suddenly became female-dominated.  BUS CUL   Text file  Tom McCudden  Text file 
THE CZAR IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE EMPRESS
December 7, 2003 535  Picture This  Can you tell us what astonishing news Bob Staake is trying to pass on with cartoons?  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  John Shea  Text file | Post PDF 
December 14, 2003 536  And the Horse He Rodin On  Come up with some words we can stick in the back of The Inker.  STY   Text file | Post PDF  Josh Borken
Andrew Elby
Dave Zarrow 
Text file | Post PDF 
December 21, 2003 537  The New York Post  Liven up any article appearing in The Washington Post or its Web site over the next eight days by giving it an irresponsibly sensationalistic headline.  WAS HEA   Text file  Milo Sauer  Text file 
December 28, 2003 538  Try, Try Again  Enter any previous Invitational. Your entry must be substantially different from the original winners.  PRE   Text file  Drew Knoblauch  Text file 
January 4, 2004 539  Dead Letters  Pay tribute in verse to someone who died in 2003.  POE   Text file | Post PDF  Bob Dalton  Text file | Post PDF 
January 11, 2004 540  Revisionist History, or Badenov for You?  State any news event (or old event) in the style of the Rocky-and-Bullwinkle teasers about the next show.  CUL   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
January 18, 2004 541  Celled Up the River  Give us a delicious scenario, in which a cellphone yakker's yakking could be taken profitably out of context.    Text file  Erika Reinfeld  Text file 
January 25, 2004 542  Discombobulate Us  Come up with both an object/situation and a neologism for it, something that Bob Levey would never have stooped to print in his column.  WOR   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
February 1, 2004 543  Read Our Leaps  Fill any readers of The Washington Post on Sunday, Feb. 29, 2032, on: (a) the day's lead news story; (b) the highest-flying company and its business; (c) the best-selling self-help book; and/or (d) the day's winning Style Invitational entry.  WAS BUS LIT STY HIS   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
February 8, 2004 544  You Gotta Have Heart  Write us some valentine sentiments from one particular person (real or fictional) to another.  POE   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
February 15, 2004 545  Put It in Reverse  Spell a word backward and define it, with the definition relating in some way to the original word.  LET   Text file  Tom Witte  Text file 
February 22, 2004 546  A Nice Pair of Cities  Choose any two or more real U.S. towns and come up with a joint endeavor they would undertake.  POL   Text file  Dudley Thompson  Text file 
February 29, 2004 547  Give Us a Bad Name  Take an existing product or business name and pair it with an incompatible one.  BUS   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
YEAR 12 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 7, 2004 548  Inklings  Tell us about certain people's childhood experiences and behaviors that hint at their destinies.  CUL   Text file  Walt Johnston  Text file 
March 14, 2004 549  Show Us Your Best Quantities  Come up with novel units of measure, and explain or quantify them.  SCI   Text file  Joseph Anthony  Text file 
March 21, 2004 550  Spring Cleaning  Suggest creative uses for things you've already used, or never will use, or other disposable household thingies, singly or in combination.    Text file | Post PDF  Bird Waring  Text file | Post PDF 
March 28, 2004 551  Lost in Translation  Find us some comical translations-and-back using Google translator. Feed some passage of English text into the tool--25 words max--and ask it to translate it into one of the five languages offered; then copy the result back into the tool and ask it to translate that back to English.  GOO LAN   Text file  Kevin Mettinger  Text file 
April 4, 2004 552  What Kind of Foal Am I?  Breed any two of the horses on a list of those qualifying for this year's Triple Crown races, and tell us a good name for their foal. Maximum 18 characters, including spaces.  HOR   Text file  Kevin Cuddihy  Text file 
April 11, 2004 553  Picture This  Tell us what's going on in one or more of the provided cartoons.  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Allan Moore  Text file | Post PDF 
April 18, 2004 554  Love the Tiny Tail Stain  Write an anagram based on a name or event that's been in the news recently.  ANA   Text file | Post PDF  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF 
April 25, 2004 555  A Tsk, A Task  Come up with a super-wholesome passage of 25 words or fewer that would likely be banned by the admirable, ever-vigilant Neopets.com site.  WOR   Text file  Jane Auerbach  Text file 
May 2, 2004 556  So Zoo Us  Combine any two kinds of animals, give its name and describe it.  WOR   Text file  Greg Pearson  Text file 
May 9, 2004 557  Oh, for Namesakes!  Take two people, real or fictional, who share some element of their names and explain the difference between them.  DIF   Text file | Post PDF  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post PDF 
May 16, 2004 558  Set Us Right  Send us conservative-leaning humor in any of the provided genres.  JOK   Text file  Danny Bravman  Text file 
May 23, 2004 559  Your Slogan Here  Come up with a clever slogan or sign for a business.  SLO BUS   Text file  Chris Doyle
Eric Murphy 
Text file 
May 30, 2004 560  The 97.5-Meter Dash  Suggest some time- and cost-saving measures so the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens will open on time.  ATH   Text file  Marc Leibert  Text file 
June 6, 2004 561  Deform of a Question  Take any sentence appearing in The Washington Post or washingtonpost.com today through June 14, and make up a question to which the sentence could be an answer.  WAS QUE   Text file  Marc Leibert  Text file 
June 13, 2004 562  The LMNs of Style  Write a funny sentence (or more) that you spell with only the sounds of the names of letters and those of numbers 1 through 9.  LET   Text file  Milo Sauer  Text file 
June 20, 2004 563  Take Two  Take any two of the provided items and explain how they resemble or differ from each other.  DIF   Text file  Mark Young  Text file 
June 27, 2004 564  Redefine Print  Redefine any word from the dictionary.  WOR   Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
July 4, 2004 565  Anthem Is as Anthem Does  Give us a verse for an alternative U.S. national anthem, set to any well-known tune.  POE   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
July 11, 2004 566  Get Whack  Type a two-word phrase into the Google search engine that produces exactly one result.  GOO   Text file  Pam Sweeney  Text file 
July 18, 2004 567  A Running Gag  Explain how any of the provided bizarre cartoons by Bob Staake relates to the current presidential campaign.  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Josh Tucker  Text file | Post PDF 
July 25, 2004 568  Tome Deftness  Make a pun or similar wordplay on a book title.  WOR LIT   Text file  Wayne Rodgers  Text file 
August 1, 2004 569  Murphy's Lore  Give Eric Murphy advice he deserves on the provided questions.  QUE   Text file  Mai Nguyen  Text file 
August 8, 2004 570  Timeline Rhyme Lines  Produce colorful chronological couplets about some historical event. They must rhyme and be in good meter.  HIS POE   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
August 15, 2004 571  A Tour de Fours  Create and define a word that includes T, H, E, and S in any order. The letters must appear consecutively.  TDF   Text file | Post PDF  Frank Mullen III  Text file | Post PDF 
August 22, 2004 572  The Limerixicon  Supply a limerick based on any word in the dictionary (except proper nouns) beginning with ai- through ar-.  LIM POE   Text file | Post e-version  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post e-version 
August 29, 2004 573  Thine Ad Goest Here  Propose biblical and other literary passages, poems, etc., that could benefit from product placement.  POE REL LIT BUS   Text file  Peter Metrinko  Text file 
September 5, 2004 574  Boor Us Silly  Come up with some unwise attempts at humor--one either likely to backfire or to create other unpleasant consequences.  JOK   Text file  Tom Witte  Text file 
September 12, 2004 575  T Hee Hee  Come up with new ideas for both front and back of the Loser T-shirts.  TSH   Text file  Brendan Beary
Russell Beland
Sarah Worcester 
Text file 
September 19, 2004 576  Well, Excuuuuse Us!  Come up with new excuses for any common human shortcoming or imperfection.    Text file  Erika Reinfeld  Text file 
September 26, 2004 577  Teledubbies  Slightly change the title of a TV show, past or present, and describe it.  TEL WOR   Text file  Jack Cackler  Text file 
October 3, 2004 578  Ask Backwards  You are on "Jeopardy!" Above are the answers. Send us the questions.  JEO   Text file  Robert Levin  Text file 
October 10, 2004 579  Another Brilliant Contest! Do Enter!  Write us a sentence or phrase consisting of words beginning with consecutive letters, in the A-to-Z direction.  LET   Text file  Lawrence McGuire  Text file 
October 17, 2004 580  United Nations  Combine the names of any two countries in the world and describe the new hybrid country.  POL   Text file  Brendan Beary  Text file 
October 24, 2004 581  Evil Things in Store  Think of evil or just plain stupid practices that the staff of a retail or other establishment might perpetrate.  BUS   Text file  Michael Cisneros  Text file 
October 31, 2004 582  Perversery Rhymes  Update a nursery rhyme or children's song with an edgier text.  POE   Text file  Joseph Romm  Text file 
November 7, 2004 583  Mess With Our Heads  Take any headline, verbatim, from the Washington Post or its Web site from today through next Sunday, and reinterpret it by writing either a "bank headline"--or subtitle--or the first sentence of an article that changes the original meaning entirely.  HEA   Text file  Michelle Stupak  Text file 
November 14, 2004 584  Deliver Us a Post  Come up with some new Cabinet or other positions that the president could establish, and describe the job responsibilities.  POL   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
November 21, 2004 585  It's Parody Time  Offer, in the holiday spirit of goodwill, some advice--as constructive and unifying as Loserly suggestions always are--to our nation's leaders (or the loyal opposition) as we prepare for the next four years. This advice will be set to the tune of some winter holiday song, either religious or secular.  POE   Text file  Barb Sarshik  Text file 
November 28, 2004 586  God's Will (and Won't)  Complete either of the following: "If God hadn't wanted us to ----, God wouldn’t have ----"; "If God had wanted us to ----, God would have ----."  REL   Text file  Steve Fahey  Text file 
December 5, 2004 587  The B-List  Come up with an In-Out list for 2005, or other pairings.  CUL   Text file  Joseph Romm  Text file 
December 12, 2004 588  Gadget If You Can  Tell us what these nifty, indispensable items are.  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  John Conti  Text file | Post PDF 
December 19, 2004 589  Hyphen the Terrible (New Edition!)  Combine the beginning of any multi-syllabic word in this week's Invitational with the end of any other multi-syllabic word in this column (or in this week's Web supplement) to coin a new word, and then define it.  HYP WOR   Text file  Jeff Brechlin  Text file 
December 26, 2004 590  Send Us the Bill  Come up with a bill sponsored by any combination of the newly elected members of Congress and explain the purpose of the bill.  LEG   Text file  Angela Murphy-Walters  Text file 
January 2, 2005 591  Dead Letters  Write rhyming poems about notable personages who have died in the past year.  POE EPI   Text file  Brendan Beary  Text file 
January 9, 2005 592  We Got Gamy  Offer us a concise idea for a Super Bowl commercial, or some innovative halftime entertainment, or some inappropriate sponsors, or some ideas for improving the game itself.  ATH BUS CUL   Text file | Post PDF  Peter Larsen  Text file | Post PDF 
January 16, 2005 593  Take This, Job, and …  Come up with some entertainingly awful things that a Job's comforter might offer. A Job's comforter is someone who seems to be offering sympathy but instead just makes the person feel worse, either intentionally or unintentionally.    Text file  Rob Poole  Text file 
January 23, 2005 594  History Loves Company  Name an appropriate corporate sponsor for some historical event or for someone's life story.  BUS HIS   Text file  Jim Getz
Jennifer LaFleur 
Text file 
January 30, 2005 595  Listing Precariously  Take the two subject listings at the top of any page of the Yellow Pages and create a dictionary definition for the compound word they form.  WOR   Text file  Bruce Alter  Text file 
February 6, 2005 596  Take Her Words for It  Use the words of this week's Ask Amy advice column, as a pool from which to compose your own useful (or useless) thoughts. You may ignore or change capitalization or punctuation.  WOR   Text file  Bob Dalton  Text file 
February 13, 2005 597  Eccchsibits  Come up with some alternative museums and exhibits for the nation's capital.  WAS   Text file  Joseph Romm  Text file 
February 20, 2005 598  Site Gags  Come up with an appropriate name for a cafeteria--or meeting room, or an employee lounge, or some other workplace spot--for a particular institution.  WOR BUS   Text file  Robin Grove  Text file 
February 27, 2005 599  So What's the News?  Tell us what the illustrated events are.  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post PDF 
March 6, 2005 600  Top of the Inking  Tell us some ways the District of Columbia will change now that we have the Nationals.  CUL ATH   Text file  Dudley Thompson  Text file 
YEAR 13 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 13, 2005 601  Anticdotes  Give us an untrue anecdote in response to one of the provided Editor's Query topics.    Text file  Jeff Brechlin  Text file 
March 20, 2005 602  Take a Letter -- Again  Take a word, term or name that begins with A, B, C or D; either add one letter, subtract one letter, replace one letter, or transpose two letters; and define the new word.  LET   Text file  Seth Brown  Text file 
March 27, 2005 603  Sui Genesis  Take one or two of the 50 chapters of the KJV Book of Genesis and draw thou from them, using words in the order in which they appear in the original, your own passage.  REL WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Michelle Stupak  Text file | Post PDF 
April 3, 2005 604  Fun for the Roses  Breed any two of the horses on a list of those qualifying for this year's Triple Crown races, and tell us a good name for their foal. The name of the foal must be no more than 18 characters, including spaces.  HOR   Text file  Lori Price  Text file 
April 10, 2005 605  Truly Stupendous Ideas  Name two people with the same initials (the people can be living or dead, real or fictional) and explain how they are similar or different.  DIF LET   Text file  Mark Eckenwiler  Text file 
April 17, 2005 606  The News Could be Verse  Translate the fine prose of Washington Post articles into verse. Choose any article appearing in The Post of on its Web site from April 17 through April 25.  POE   Text file  Brendan Beary  Text file 
April 24, 2005 607  Contest Fodder Created!  Produce absurdly parochial views of historical events.  HIS   Text file  Anne Clark  Text file 
May 1, 2005 608  Comeback Next Week  Come up with original snide retorts to various rude questions or comments.    Text file  Pam Dalrymple
Roger Dalrymple 
Text file 
May 8, 2005 609  A2D2  Give us some funny "corrections" to brighten up Page A2.  WAS   Text file  Elden Carnahan  Text file 
May 15, 2005 610  MASH  Find two well-known movies, plays, or TV shows whose title have a significant word in common, combine their titles, and describe the hybrid.  MOV LIT TEL WOR   Text file  Paul Whittemore  Text file 
May 22, 2005 611  Ask Backwards, Erudite Edition  You are on "Jeopardy!" Here are the sophisticated answers. You supply the questions.  JEO   Text file  Barbara Turner  Text file 
May 29, 2005 612  Oh, and One More Thing  What was the thing that didn't make the cut on any list?    Text file  Tom Witte  Text file 
June 5, 2005 613  Tour de Fours II  Create and define a word that includes, consecutively, E, R, A and N. in any order.  TDF   Text file | Post PDF  Danny Bravman  Text file | Post PDF 
June 12, 2005 614  In-Stock Characters  Pitch us an idea for a summer movie featuring two or more of the provided characters.  MOV   Text file  Brendan Beary  Text file 
June 19, 2005 615  Airy Persiflage  Write some jokes you'd like to hear in an airport announcement.  JOK   Text file  Stephen Dudzik  Text file 
June 26, 2005 616  Picture This, Kids  Supply title and one-sentence synopsis for Bob Staake new kids' project, incorporating any of the provided cartoons.  CAR   Text file  Ron Stanley  Text file 
July 3, 2005 617  Best the Best  Write something about any famous personage that uses only the letters in his or her name.  LET   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
July 10, 2005 618  Of D.C. I Sing  Give us a song about Washington, set to a recognizable tune.  POE MUS   Text file  Barb Sarshik  Text file 
July 17, 2005 619  WordCount Us In  Write a poem of no more than four lines containing four or more consecutive words on the WordCount list. They must occur in the sentence in the order they appear on the list.  POE WOR   Text file  Michelle Stupak  Text file 
July 24, 2005 620  Keep the Empress Employed  Suggest some original, creative ways that The Post could increase its circulation.  WAS   Text file | Post PDF  Art Grinath  Text file | Post PDF 
July 31, 2005 621  Questionable Journalism  Take any sentence that appears in The Post or in an article in washingtonpost.com anytime through Aug. 8 and supply a question it could answer.  WAS QUE   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
August 7, 2005 622  Our Sunday Constitutional  Write a new article or amendment to the Constitution, using on the words contained in the existing document (including amendments).  POL WOR   Text file  Marty McCullen  Text file 
August 14, 2005 623  Try to Remember  Give us an original mnemonic for any list that someone might want to remember.  WOR   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
August 21, 2005 624  Limerixicon 2  Supply a limerick based on any word in the dictionary (except proper nouns) beginning with bd- through bl-.  LIM POE   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
August 28, 2005 625  Haven't Seen It  Make up a new plot for an existing movie title.  MOV   Text file  Kevin Jamison  Text file 
September 4, 2005 626  Course Light  Come up with a comical college class, along with a description for the course catalog.  CUL   Text file  Doug Frank  Text file 
September 11, 2005 627  Per-Verse  Write a limerick or other short poem with comically awful rhyming.  LIM POE   Text file  Jesse Frankovich  Text file 
September 18, 2005 628  You Gotta Have Connections  Choose any two or more items from the provided truly random list and describe how they are alike or different.  DIF   Text file  David "Stockton" Smith  Text file 
September 25, 2005 629  Odd Couplings  Marry or otherwise combine famous names and supply the result.    Text file  Marcy Alvo  Text file 
October 2, 2005 630  Hyphen the Terrible  Combine the beginning and end of any two multisyllabic words in this week's Invitational, and then define the compound.  HYP WOR   Text file  Chris Doyle
Tom Witte 
Text file 
October 9, 2005 631  Picture This  What's going on in any of these cartoons?  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Elwood Fitzner  Text file | Post PDF 
October 16, 2005 632  Live On, Sweet, Earnest Reader (Inc.)  Give us an original backronym for a company or product. A backronym is a fake etymology that often gets in a little dig at the subject.  WOR BUS   Text file  Jonathan Guberman  Text file 
October 23, 2005 633  Your Secret Here!  Send us some original secrets (they don't have to be true).    Text file  Art Grinath  Text file 
October 30, 2005 634  Mess With Our Heads  Take any headline, verbatim, appearing anywhere in The Post or on washingtonpost.com from today through next Sunday, and change its meaning by adding either a "bank headline," or subtitle, or the first sentence of an article that might appear under it.  HEA   Text file  G. Smith  Text file 
November 6, 2005 635  I've Told You a Hundred Times  Enter any Style Invitational from Week 536 to Week 631. Your entry must be substantially different from the original winners.  PRE   Text file | Post PDF  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF 
November 13, 2005 636  A Song From Tex Arcana  Write a verse of a song about sea urchin sushi or any of the other provided ostensibly unlyrical topics.  POE MUS   Text file  Brendan Beary  Text file 
November 20, 2005 637  Full Steam Ahead  Write a steamy passage of a novel that's ostensibly by some well-known person who isn't a novelist.  LIT   Text file | Post PDF  Jeff Brechlin  Text file | Post PDF 
November 27, 2005 638  The Little Bummer Boy  Come up with an idea (and title, if you like) for an original Christmas movie or TV special that provides an antidote to all the sap, and give us a brief synopsis.  MOV TEL   Text file  P. H. Stevenson  Text file 
December 4, 2005 639  What's the Small Idea?  Do you have a senseless idea for improving the day-to-day lives of everyday Americans?  CUL   Text file  Kevin Dopart  Text file 
December 11, 2005 640  Whassa Motto Wid You?  Give us a slogan or motto for any of the states, the District or the U.S. Territories.  SLO POL   Text file  Phil Frankenfeld  Text file 
December 18, 2005 641  Dreck of All Trades  Come up with a business that combines two or more disparate products or services, and tell us its name and/or something else funny about it.  BUS   Text file  Jane Auerbach  Text file 
December 25, 2005 642  It's Open Season  Come up with a brand-new word and its definition. The words must begin with O, P, Q, R or S.  LET WOR   Text file  Stephen Dudzik  Text file 
January 1, 2006 643  The Post's Mortems  Give us a rhyming poem about some notable who died in 2005.  POE EPI   Text file  Brendan Beary  Text file 
January 8, 2006 644  Winter Limp Picks  Brighten up the Winter Olympics with some new events and rules. Alternatively, you can suggest a commercial or ad campaign that could be tied in with the Winter Games or one of its sports.  ATH BUS   Text file  Joel Knanishu  Text file 
January 15, 2006 645  A Hearty Har Har  Write up a Valentine's sentiment to any personage, or to someone in some generic category.  POE   Text file  Kevin Dopart
Chris Doyle 
Text file 
January 22, 2006 646  Warped Perspectives  Tell us how two different types of people, animals, organizations, etc., would interpret any of the provided cartoons.  CAR   Text file  Pam Sweeney  Text file 
January 29, 2006 647  Paste Imperfect  Change a headline or sentence that appears in the Post or on washingtonpost.com through Feb. 6 either by deleting up to 40 consecutive characters from it or by adding 40 consecutive characters from the same article or ad.  HEA LET   Text file  Stephen Dudzik  Text file 
February 5, 2006 648  Caller IDiot  Name a product or company and supply a stupid question to ask the consumer hotline person.  BUS QUE   Text file  Kevin Dopart  Text file 
February 12, 2006 649  Across the Wide What?  Give us some Virginia-appropriate lyrics for "Shenandoah."  POE MUS   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
February 19, 2006 650  King Us  Give us a scenario for a horror novel based on an everyday item.  LIT   Text file | Post PDF  Russell Beland  Text file | Post PDF 
February 26, 2006 651  Show Us Some Character  Add a character to a book or movie and tell us what happens in it.  LIT MOV   Text file | Post PDF  Jay Shuck  Text file | Post PDF 
March 5, 2006 652  Ask Backward  You are on "Jeopardy!" Above are the answers. You supply the questions.  JEO   Text file  Sue Lin Chong  Text file 
YEAR 14 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 12, 2006 653  It's the Eponymy, Stupid  Coin a word or expression based on the name of a well-known person, define it, and perhaps use it in a sentence  WOR   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
March 19, 2006 654  It Plays to Recycle  Come up with funny ways to recycle things, people, writing (except for your old Invitational entries) or ideas.    Text file | Post PDF  David Prevar  Text file | Post PDF 
March 26, 2006 655  Laughing Inside  Take any article appearing in The Washington Post or online on washingtonpost.com from today through April 3 -- the more serious and/or mundane its headline, the better -- and write a funny poem or other passage using only words that appear in that article.  POE   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
April 2, 2006 656  It's Post Time  Breed any two from a list of 100 of the more than 400 3-year-old racehorses nominated for this year's Triple Crown races, and name their hypothetical foal. The foal's name cannot exceed 18 characters and spaces combined.  HOR   Text file  Mark Eckenwiler  Text file 
April 9, 2006 657  Nuts Fruit  Send in funny (but printable) images of real pieces of fruit.  PIX   Text file  Jeff Brechlin  Text file 
April 16, 2006 658  Not in the Cards  Send us ideas for cards that would likely be ruled "FBN" (Funny, But No) by Hallmark but F&YYY by the Empress.  LET CUL   Text file | Post PDF  Randy Lee  Text file | Post PDF 
April 23, 2006 659  Tell Us a Fib  Compose a six-line poem with the following number of syllables per line: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8. It must be about a person or topic currently in the news, and two successive lines must rhyme.  POE CUL   Text file  Brendan Beary  Text file 
April 30, 2006 660  Foaling Down: The Next Generation  Breed any two of the winning "offspring" included in this week's results, and name THEIR foal.  HOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Pam Sweeney  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 7, 2006 661  Name Any Good Movies Lately?  Give us a funny new title for an existing movie.  MOV   Text file | Post PDF  Tom Witte  Text file | Post PDF 
May 14, 2006 662  How Low Will You Go?  Humiliate yourself for ink, and a stupid prize.  STY   Text file | Post PDF  Fred Dawson  Text file | Post PDF 
May 21, 2006 663  Worth at Least a Dozen Words  Interpret any of the provided cartoons as you see fit in a caption.  CAP CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Michelle Stupak  Text file | Post PDF 
May 28, 2006 664  A Thousand Times?! No!  Come up with a new signature line for Russell Beland's -- or anyone else's -- e-mails.    Text file  Howard Walderman  Text file 
June 4, 2006 665  Your One-in-a-Million  Coin the millionth word in the English language and define it. The word must end in -ion.  WOR   Text file  Marty McCullen  Text file 
June 11, 2006 666  Bedevil Us  Give a mini-sermon explaining how some innocuous object or event signals the End of Days.  REL   Text file  Brendan Beary  Text file 
June 18, 2006 667  Questionable Journalism  Take any sentence that appears in The Post or in an article on washingtonpost.com anytime from now through June 26 and supply a question it could answer.  WAS QUE   Text file | Post PDF  Kevin Dopart  Text file | Post PDF 
June 25, 2006 668  Cut From the Chase  Write an original John-Bunnell-style wrap-up to a crime story -- or one for a more minor transgression.  CUL   Text file  Bob Sprague  Text file 
July 2, 2006 669  Huddled Messes  Suggest some bad advice for new arrivals to this country (legal or illegal).  POL   Text file  Gordon Labow  Text file 
July 9, 2006 670  A Test of Character  Change a word or phrase by only one letter -- substitute one letter for another, add a letter or transpose two letters -- and explain how they are different or similar.  LET   Text file  Ben Aronin  Text file 
July 16, 2006 671  Join Now!  Hyphenate the beginning and end of any two multi-syllabic words appearing anywhere in the July 16 Style or Sunday Arts section, and then define the compound.  HYP   Text file  Kevin Dopart  Text file 
July 23, 2006 672  Just Sign This  Write a funny message for an overhead highway sign.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Lisa Younce  Text file | Post PDF 
July 30, 2006 673  Mess With Our Heads  Take any headline, verbatim, appearing anywhere in The Washington Post or on Washingtonpost.com from July 30 through Aug. 7 and reinterpret it by adding either a "bank headline," or subtitle, or the first sentence of an article that might appear under it.  HEA   Text file  Fred Winter  Text file 
August 6, 2006 674  Limerixicon 3  Supply a humorous limerick based on any word in the dictionary (except proper nouns) beginning with ca-.  LIM LET POE   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
August 13, 2006 675  Cut Us Some Slack  Come up with humorous ways to be lazy.    Text file  Art Grinath  Text file 
August 20, 2006 676  Tour de Fours III  Coin and define a word containing -- with no other letters between them, but in any order you like -- the letters L, E, A and F.  TDF   Text file  Fran Pryluck  Text file 
August 27, 2006 677  The News Gets Verse  Sum up wittily in verse -- but not a limerick -- any article appearing in The Post or on washingtonpost.com from Aug. 28 through Sept. 4.  POE LIM   Text file  David "Stockton" Smith  Text file 
September 3, 2006 678  Limerick Smackdown!  Chris Doyle and Brendan Beary will go head to head in a series of 10 limericks.  LIM POE   Text file     
September 10, 2006 679  Ask Backwards  Here are the answers. You supply the questions to as many as you dare.  JEO   Text file  Elwood Fitzner  Text file 
September 17, 2006 680  Rendered Speechless  Provide dialogue to fill the balloons in any of these cartoons.  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Ned Bent  Text file | Post PDF 
September 24, 2006 681  Ticket to Write  Write a jingle for a business (or its product), organization or government agency, set to a Beatles song.  POE BUS POL MUS   Text file  Jay Shuck  Text file 
October 1, 2006 682  Punkin'd!  Send us a funny, clever, entirely original photo featuring one or more pumpkins and/or other vegetables.  PIX   Text file  Jane Auerbach  Text file 
October 8, 2006 683  What a Piece of Work  String together words in a single scene, or two consecutive scenes, of "Hamlet" to produce one or more funny sentences, preferably unrelated to the original content. The words must appear in the order in which they appear in the play.  LIT WOR   Text file  Dennis Lindsay  Text file 
October 15, 2006 684  Backtricking  Spell a word backward and define the result, somehow relating the definition to the original word.  LET   Text file | Post PDF  Tom Witte  Text file | Post PDF 
October 22, 2006 685  Thank it Over  Tell us some things to be thankful for.  CUL   Text file  Bruce Alter  Text file 
October 29, 2006 686  It's Baaaaack!  Explain why you, or anyone else in particular, ought to have this fine oil-on-panel by Fred Dawson of Beltsville, or what it might be used for.  ART   Text file | Post PDF  Art Grinath  Text file | Post PDF 
November 5, 2006 687  What Were They Thinking?  Tell us (A) What someone might say in some situation, and (B) what that person was actually thinking when he said A.    Text file  Peter Metrinko  Text file 
November 12, 2006 688  Making Short Work  Write a humorous six-word story.  LIT WOR   Text file  Michael Levy  Text file 
November 19, 2006 689  Busted Play  Come up with a more objectionable or stupid toy than a working fart-powered toy rocket.  BUS   Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
November 26, 2006 690  Funnies: How Time Flies  Pull Billy of "The Family Circus" -- or any of his comic strip neighbors in The Washington Post -- out of his time warp to a different age, era or place, and provide a short storyline or dialogue or caption.  WAS COM   Text file  Martin Bancroft  Text file 
December 3, 2006 691  Haven't Got a Clue  Make all the clues in the provided crossword ooh-clever or at least ah-that's-funny, even the little words.  CRO WOR   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
December 10, 2006 692  Reinkernation  Enter any Style Invitational contest from Week 640 through Week 688. Every entry must include the word "three" or "third" or a creative variation.  PRE   Text file  Kevin Dopart  Text file 
December 17, 2006 693  Everything Being Sequel  Give a brief scenario for the sequel to a well-known movie.  MOV   Text file  Andy Bassett  Text file 
December 24, 2006 694  Hopelessly Ever After  Offer up a gloomy interpretation of any ungloomy piece of writing.  LIT   Text file  Cy Gardner  Text file 
December 31, 2006 695  Dead Letters  Write a poem about someone who died in 2006.  POE EPI   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
January 7, 2007 696  Send Us the Bill  Come up legislation the newly-elected members of Congress might sponsor together.  LEG   Text file  Pam Sweeney  Text file 
January 14, 2007 697  We Beg You To Differ  Take any two items from the truly random provided list and explain why they are different or why they are similar.  DIF   Text file  Dave Komornik  Text file 
January 21, 2007 698  Let's Get Personnel  Send us some humorously creative questions that a job interviewer would ask an applicant, or some questions it might be fun to ask the interviewer.  BUS   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
January 28, 2007 699  Our Greatest Hit  Take a word, term or name that begins with E, F, G or H; either add one letter, subtract one letter, replace one letter, or transpose two letters; and define the new word.  LET   Text file  Brendan Beary
Barbara Turner 
Text file (pub 2-25-07)
Text file (pub 3-18-07) 
February 4, 2007 700  Stump Us  Come up with someone's slogan for the 2008 presidential campaign.  POL   Text file  Ira Allen  Text file 
February 11, 2007 701  Untitlement  Here are the covers for what just might be Bob Staake's next four books. What are they called and what are they about?  CAR ART LIT   Text file  Andrea Kelly  Text file 
February 18, 2007 702  Unreal Facts  Come up with a comically false factoid.    Text file  Joseph Romm  Text file 
February 25, 2007   (We) Give Us a Break  The Empress takes a day off from judging to go lounge poolside in the Imperial Hammock, taking care first to don the Imperial Parka and Earmuffs and Moon Boots.    Text file     
March 4, 2007 703  Freak Trade Agreements  Think of one thing to trade for another, and supply a short and funny explanation.    Text file  Rick Haynes  Text file 
YEAR 15 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 11, 2007 704  Another Game of Tag  Create vanity plates for well-known people, real or fictional.  CUL   Text file  Phyllis Reinhard  Text file 
March 18, 2007 705  Simile Outrageous  Come up with funny analogies, perhaps with some 21st-century references.  ANL   Text file  Jay Shuck  Text file 
March 25, 2007 706  Questionable Journalism  Take any sentence that appears in The Post or in an article on washingtonpost.com from March 24 through April 2 and come up with a question it could answer.  WAS QUE   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
April 1, 2007 707  What Would YOU Do?  Use only the words appearing in "The Cat in the Hat" to create your own work of "literature" of no more than 75 words.  WOR LIT   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
April 8, 2007 708  What Kind of Foal Am I?  Breed any two from a list of 100 of the horses eligible for this year's Triple Crown races and provide an appropriate name for their foal.  HOR   Text file  Mark Eckenwiler  Text file 
April 15, 2007 709  A Return Engagement  Come up with some novel change to the tax code: a tax on something ought to be taxed, a credit for something that should be rewarded, what the $3 should go to instead of presidential campaigns, etc.  POL   Text file  Ernie Staples  Text file 
April 22, 2007 710  Aw, Shoot  Send us a funny, clever, entirely original photo featuring kitchen utensils and/or small household tools.  PIX   Text file  Jeff Brechlin  Text file 
April 29, 2007 711  Join Now!  Hyphenate the beginning and end of any two multi-syllabic words appearing anywhere in the April 29 or May 6 Style or Sunday Arts section, and then define the compound.  HYP WOR   Text file  Dennis Lindsay  Text file 
May 6, 2007 712  Another Time Around the Track  Breed any two of the winning "offspring" included in the results of Week 708, and name THEIR foal.  HOR   Text file  Pam Sweeney  Text file 
May 13, 2007 713  Painings  Name and interpret any of the provided paintings by Fred Dawson.  ART   Text file | Post PDF  Glen Crawford  Text file | Post PDF 
May 20, 2007 714  Amalgamated Steal  Merge two or more company or product names into a new, ORIGINAL company or product.  BUS   Text file | Post PDF  Gregory Bartolett  Text file | Post PDF 
May 27, 2007 715  Your Mug Here  Send us an idea for a slogan for the back of the new Loser T-shirt.  TSH   Text file | Post PDF  Russell Beland
Chris Doyle
Lawrence McGuire
Beverley Sharp 
Text file | Post PDF 
June 3, 2007 716  The Hard Spell  Write a humorous poem featuring one of the 75 words we've selected from this year's National Spelling Bee.  POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 10, 2007 717  Pitch Us a No-Hitter  Send us some genuine Googlenopes. A Googlenope is a phrase or very brief sentence that, entered into the Google search engine with quotation marks around it, produces no hits.  GOO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Malcolm Fleschner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 17, 2007 718  Put Our Heads Together  Create a new, funny headline from the words of any headlines appearing anywhere in a single day's Washington Post (or on washingtonpost.com)  HEA   Text file  Mae Scanlan  Text file 
June 24, 2007 719  We Har the World  Come up with a creative name for a sports team for a town or city anywhere outside the United States.  ATH   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Elwood Fitzner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 1, 2007 720  The Course of Humor Events  Sum up a historical event in a two-line rhyme or other clever and pithy epigram.  POE HIS   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
July 8, 2007 721  Know Your Market  For any of the provided photos, supply two captions: one that would appeal to The Style Invitational and one that would appeal to the Harrisburg Patriot-News.  CAP STY   Text file  Ben Aronin
Steve Ettinger 
Text file 
July 15, 2007 722  Let's Play Nopardy!  We supply 12 phrases and you get to provide questions they might answer. The phrases were entries in our Week 717 contest, which asked for Googlenopes -- phrases that showed no previous hits from the Google search engine.    Text file     
July 22, 2007 723  Name Your Poison  Create a name and recipe for a cocktail and, if you like, describe when it might be served.    Text file  Roy Ashley  Text file 
July 29, 2007 724  Abridged Too Far  Sum up a book, play or movie in a humorous rhyming verse of two to four lines.  POE LIT MOV   Text file  Ellen Raphaeli  Text file 
August 5, 2007 725  Beggars For Description  Describe, without being boring, a cartoon to fit any of the provided captions.  CAR CAP   Text file  Cy Gardner  Text file 
August 12, 2007 726  Limerixicon 4  Supply a humorous limerick based on any word in the dictionary beginning with cl- through co-.  LIM POE   Text file  Chris Strolin  Text file 
August 19, 2007 727  We Get a C-Section  Tell us some pros and cons of moving The Style Invitational to the Saturday Style section; or write us up some free promo-ad copying announcing the move.  STY   Text file  Seth Brown  Text file 
August 25, 2007 728  Tour de Fours IV  Coin and define a humorous word that includes -- with no other letters between them, but in any order you like -- the letters S, A, T and R.  TDF   Text file  Tom Witte  Text file 
September 1, 2007 729  Otherwordly Visions  Take any sentence in an article or ad in The Washington Post or on washingtonpost.com from Sept. 1 through Sept. 10 and translate it into "plain English."  WAS WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Russ Taylor  Text file | Post PDF 
September 8, 2007 730  Time-Wastes For Everyman  Describe activities that make entering The Style Invitational seem like a constructive use of one's time.  STY   Text file  Anne Paris  Text file 
September 15, 2007 731  Doo Process  Describe for us a wildly inefficient and ridiculous way to produce or prepare an ordinary dish or beverage.    Text file  Ellen Raphaeli  Text file 
September 22, 2007 732  The Chain Gang  Supply a chain of 25 names -- they may be names of people, places, organizations, products, etc., but they must be names -- beginning and ending with "George W. Bush."  POL   Text file  Danny Bravman  Text file 
September 29, 2007 733  Just Drop It, Okay?  Drop the first letter from an actual word or term to make a new word or term, and define it.  LET WOR   Text file  Deanna Busick  Text file 
October 6, 2007 734  Turnaround Time  Write a rhyming couplet containing two words that are anagrams of each other.  POE ANA   Text file  Brendan Beary  Text file 
October 13, 2007 735  Look Back in Inker  Enter any Style Invitational contest from Week 680 through Week 731.  PRE   Text file  Anne Paris  Text file 
October 20, 2007 736  So, Should I Drive Like Your Brother?  Ask a car-related question that would make the Car Guys crack up. If you're not into cars, you can also post a question for advice columnist Ask Amy or etiquette columnist Miss Manners.  QUE   Text file  Chris Rollins  Text file 
October 27, 2007 737  No River, No Woods  Send us a funny parody of a well-known song, with lyrics that commemorate an occasion other than Christmas or Hanukkah.  POE HIS   Text file  Brendan Beary  Text file 
November 3, 2007 738  So What's To Liken?  Take any two items from the utterly random list above and explain how they are different or how they are similar.  DIF   Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
November 10, 2007 739  Lies, All Lies  Give us some humorous fictional revelation about a current or past political figure.  HIS POL TRI   Text file  Joel Knanishu  Text file 
November 17, 2007 740  Give Us a Hint  Offer clues in various situations that something isn't working out well.    Text file  Ben Aronin  Text file 
November 24, 2007 741  Well, What Do You Know?  Tell us what Major Life Lessons can be derived from any of these venues or situations.    Text file  Fred Dawson  Text file 
December 1, 2007 742  Clue Us In  Give us a whole new set of clues to a crossword puzzle penned by Ace Constructor Paula Gamache.  CRO   Text file  John O'Byrne  Text file 
December 8, 2007 743  Picture This  Write a caption for any of these Bob Staake cartoons.  CAR CAP   Text file  Roger Dalrymple  Text file 
December 15, 2007 744  You OED Us One  Make up a humorous and false definition for any of the words listed below.  WOR   Text file  Bill Spencer  Text file 
December 22, 2007 745  Hurry Up and Slow Down!  Suggest particular ways that would slow life down, or ways that would speed it up.  CUL   Text file | Post PDF  Christopher Lamora  Text file | Post PDF 
December 29, 2007 746  We Err The World  Give us a motto or short slogan for any country in the world.  SLO POL   Text file | Post e-version  Thomas Murphy  Text file | Post e-version 
January 5, 2008 747  Boeing Us Silly  Suggest some comical ways to improve air travel, either in general or for yourself.  CUL   Text file  Beverley Sharp  Text file 
January 12, 2008 748  Dead Letters  Write a humorous poem about a well-known personage who died in 2007.  POE EPI   Text file  Brendan Beary  Text file 
January 19, 2008 749  Opus 266, No. 3  Take any common word or two-word term beginning with any letter from A through H and give it a new definition.  LET WOR   Text file  Peter Metrinko
Pie Snelson 
Text file (pub 2-16-08)
Text file (pub 2-23-08) 
January 26, 2008 750  Hit Us With Your Best Shot: Photo Contest No. 4  Illustrate, any way you like, any of the provided five captions with your own original photo.  PIX CAP   Text file  Jeff Brechlin  Text file 
February 2, 2008 751  Strike Gold  Slightly change the name of an existing or former TV show to create a program that can scab the writers' strike.  TEL   Text file  Wilson Varga  Text file 
February 9, 2008 752  The Might-Mates Right  Fill out any of these five "you just might" joke-templates.  JOK   Text file  Kevin Dopart  Text file 
February 16, 2008 753  Hot Off The Riddle  Supply a simple riddle and both the wholesome answer and the (printable) Invitational answer.  JOK   Text file  Kelton Vincent  Text file 
February 23, 2008 753a  Get In Your Last Shot: Photo Contest's Final Days  No new contest this week. While the sun never seems to set on the Empress, even she ventures outside the Forbidden City once in a while.    Text file  Kelton Vincent  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 1, 2008 754  Canny Similarities  Cite a humorous "uncanny similarity" between any two of the very different people listed above.  DIF   Text file  Larry Yungk  Text file 
YEAR 16 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 8, 2008 755  Take Another 'Whack  Send us a phrase of two or more words that produces exactly one Web page on the Google search engine and describe the phrase.  GOO   Text file  Michael Levy  Text file 
March 15, 2008 756  Mess With Our Heads  Take any headline, verbatim, appearing anywhere in The Post or on washingtonpost.com from March 15 through 24 and reinterpret it by adding a "bank head," or subtitle.  HEA   Text file  Christopher Lamora  Text file 
March 22, 2008 757  Gorey Thoughts From A to Z  Send us some rhyming alphabet-primer couplets.  POE LET   Text file  Beth Baniszewski  Text file 
March 29, 2008 758  Wrong Address  Using any of the words of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, in whatever order you like, create your own passage.  HIS WOR   Text file  Barry Koch  Text file 
April 5, 2008 759  What Kind of Foal Am I?  Breed any two of the 100 horses eligible for this year's Triple Crown and provide an appropriate name for their foal.  HOR   Text file  Cy Gardner  Text file 
April 12, 2008 760  Whacksy Buildup  Describe any of these Googlewhacks in the form of a question, "Jeopardy"-style.  GOO JEO   Text file  Kevin Dopart  Text file 
April 19, 2008 761  Strip Mining  Supply the text for any or all three of these Bob Staake comic strips.  CAR   Text file  Randy Lee  Text file 
April 26, 2008 762  Look This Up in Your Funk & Wagnalls  Supply the pair of terms listed at the top of a page of any print dictionary to indicate the first and last listings on the page, and define that hyphenated term.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Pam Dalrymple  Text file | Post PDF 
May 3, 2008 763  Another Time Around the Track  Breed any two of the winning "offspring" included in this week's results, and name THEIR foal.  HOR   Text file  Kevin Dopart
Pam Sweeney 
Text file 
May 10, 2008 764  Can You Up Chuck?  Come up with entirely new and funny Chuck Norris Facts.  CUL   Text file  Robert Gallagher  Text file 
May 17, 2008 765  It's Doo-Dah Day  Write humorous lyrics commemorating any of the 50 states of the District, set to any of these Stephen Foster songs.  POE POL   Text file  Barry Koch  Text file 
May 24, 2008 766  Think to Shudder  Come up with scenarios that are even more awkward (and more imaginative) than the wincers mentioned above.    Text file  David Prevar  Text file 
May 31, 2008 767  Questionable Journalism  Find any sentence (or a substantive part of a sentence) that appears in the Post or in an article on washingtonpost.com from May 31 through June 9 and come up with a question it might answer.  WAS QUE   Text file  Beverley Sharp  Text file 
June 7, 2008 768  The Events Described Herein Are Entirely Fictitious  Come up with fictitious movie trivia.  MOV TRI   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
June 14, 2008 769  Splice Work If You Can Get It  Combine two words -- overlapping by at least two letters -- into what's known by polysyllabic types as a portmanteau word, and by the rest of us as mash word, and define it.  WOR   Text file  Rick Haynes  Text file 
June 21, 2008 770  A Knack for Anachronism  Take a famous historical moment, literary passage, or movie scene and place it in an entirely different age.  HIS LIT MOV   Text file  Peter Metrinko  Text file 
June 28, 2008 771  Groaner's Manuals  Come up with a humorous name for a guide or manual for, or a book about, a particular enterprise or organization.  WOR BUS   Text file  Beverley Sharp  Text file 
July 5, 2008 772  Make It Simile, Stupid  Translate a sentence or two of literature or other good writing so that "Los Angeles residents under 40" can appreciate it.  LAN LIT CUL   Text file  Mike Ostapiej  Text file 
July 12, 2008 773  Always Looking for Sects  Coin a religion or belief system and tell us its basic tenet or distinguishing characteristic.  REL   Text file  Lawrence McGuire  Text file 
July 19, 2008 774  Tour De Forks  Supply a name for a restaurant dish named after someone (or some product or organization) and describe it.  WOR CUL   Text file  Kevin Dopart  Text file 
July 26, 2008 775  Ad-dition  Combine the beginning and end of any two words appearing in any single advertisement in The Post or on washingtonpost.com, from today through Aug. 4, and then define the new word.  HYP WOR   Text file  Beth Morgan  Text file 
August 2, 2008 776  An Act of Sunny Side  Note the silver lining in some otherwise disappointing turn of events.    Text file  Drew Bennett  Text file 
August 9, 2008 777  Limerixicon 5  Supply a humorous limerick featuring any English word, name or term beginning with the letters da-.  LIM POE   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
August 16, 2008 778  Tied Games  Combine any two sports or nonathletic activities into a single sport or game.  ATH   Text file  Hugh Pullen  Text file 
August 23, 2008 779  Gripe for the Picking  Rant about any issue that wouldn't make your top 100 for airing in The Post.  WAS   Text file  Chris Rollins  Text file 
August 30, 2008 780  Location, Location, Location  Say how you know you're in a particular place.    Text file  Brendan Beary  Text file 
September 6, 2008 781  Our Greatest Hit  Start with a word or multi-word term that begins with I, J, K or L; either add one letter, subtract one letter, replace one letter or transpose two adjacent letters; and define the new word.  LET WOR   Text file  Barry Koch  Text file 
September 13, 2008 782  That's the Ticket!  Explain why any of the items on the list below is qualified to be President of the United States.  POL   Text file  Rick Wood  Text file 
September 20, 2008 783  The Shill Game  Name a celebrity or fictional character to endorse a real product or company.  BUS CUL   Text file  Marty McCullen  Text file 
September 27, 2008 784  Words to The Wiseacres  Give us some proverbs for 21st-century life.  CUL   Text file  Michael Dailey  Text file 
October 4, 2008 785  The Ballad Box  Write a short, humorous song somehow relating to the presidential campaign, set to a familiar tune.  POE POL   Text file  Andy Pike
Barb Sarshik 
Text file 
October 11, 2008 786  Top of the Staake  So get your thoughts provoked for No. Umpteen of our cartoon caption contest.  CAR CAP   Text file | Post PDF  Ned Bent  Text file | Post PDF 
October 18, 2008 787  Tour de Fours V  Coin and define a humorous word that includes -- with no other letters between them, but in any order -- the letters M, I, N and E.  TDF   Text file  Tom Witte  Text file 
October 25, 2008 788  The Back End of a Bulwer  Give us a comically terrible ending of a novel.  LIT   Text file  LuAnn Bishop  Text file 
November 1, 2008 789  Doctrine in The House?  State a humorous, original "doctrine" for a person or other entity.  POL   Text file  Kevin Mellema  Text file 
November 8, 2008 790  If Only!  Explain how the world would be different had some event not occurred.  POL HIS CUL   Text file | Post PDF  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF 
November 15, 2008 791  The 1K Club  Supply a chain of 20 names -- they may be names of people, places, organizations, products, etc., but they must be names -- beginning and ending with "Chris Doyle."  STY   Text file | Post PDF  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post PDF 
November 22, 2008 792  Clue Us In  Compile a set of funny alternative clues to a crossword penned by Ace Constructor Paula Gamache.  CRO   Text file  Judith Cottrill  Text file 
November 29, 2008 793  Take The Fifth  Enter any Style Invitational contest from Week 725 through Week 789. Each entry must include the word "five" of "fifth" or something fiveish, or -- depending on your favorite anniversary tradition -- something involving (a) wood or (b) silverware.  PRE   Text file  Rob Cohen  Text file 
December 6, 2008 794  Ripped Off From the Headlines  Send us some Onion-type headlines.  HEA   Text file  Malcolm Fleschner  Text file 
December 13, 2008 795  Stimulate Us  Tell us what the government ought to be spending our money on.  POL   Text file  Russ Taylor  Text file 
December 20, 2008 796  Sincerest Flattery  Make up a pun on a familiar name of a real of fictional person and provide a fitting description or quote.  JOK   Text file  Christopher Lamora  Text file 
December 27, 2008 797  Be Resolute  Make a humorous resolution for some particular person or institution to accomplish next year.  POL BUS   Text file  Christopher Lamora  Text file 
January 3, 2009 798  Dead Letters  Write a humorous poem commemorating someone who died in 2008.  POE EPI   Text file  Jeff Brechlin  Text file 
January 10, 2009 799  Send Us the Bill  Come up with legislation that, given their names, two or more freshman senators or representatives might sponsor together.  LEG   Text file  Dudley Thompson  Text file 
January 17, 2009 800  Compairison  Briefly define or sum up an existing word or short phrase, then change it very slightly and do the same with the result.  WOR   Text file  Lawrence McGuire  Text file 
January 24, 2009 801  Ask Backwards  You are on "Jeopardy!" Here are the answers. You supply one or more of the questions.  JEO   Text file | Post e-version  Kevin Dopart  Text file | Post e-version 
January 31, 2009 802  Dreck TV  Suggest a new cable TV channel, with a description or example of its programming.  TEL   Text file  John O'Byrne  Text file 
February 7, 2009 803  The Pepys Show  Write a humorous diary or journal entry for someone, famous or not, for any point in history.  HIS   Text file  Jeff Brechlin  Text file 
February 14, 2009 804  Our Type o' Joke  Change a headline by one letter, or switch two letters, in a headline (or most of a headline) appearing on an article or ad in The Washington Post or on washingtonpost.com between Feb. 14 and 23, and elaborate on it in a "bank" headline (subhead) or a brief first sentence of an article that would run under it.  HEA   Text file  Jay Shuck  Text file 
February 21, 2009 805  Brand Eccchs  Give us an original name in any of the above categories (not an actual badly named product).  BUS   Text file  Cy Gardner  Text file 
February 28, 2009 806  DQ Very Much  Give us a phrase or sentence that would nip a potential relationship in the bud (or elsewhere).    Text file  Greg Dobbins
Ed Gordon
Peter Metrinko 
Text file 
YEAR 17 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 7, 2009 807  Pretty Graphic Expressions  Express some insight as an equation or other mathematical expression.  SCI   Text file  Phyllis Reinhard  Text file 
March 14, 2009 808  Take Us At Our Words  Create a humorous poem or other writing using only the words contained in this week's Style Invitational column or results.  POE WOR STY   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
March 21, 2009 809  Unkindest Cutlines  Supply cutlines, or captions, for any of these newspaper photos.  CAP   Text file  Elizabeth Molye  Text file 
March 28, 2009 810  What Kind of Foal Am I?  Breed any two of the more than 400 horses eligible for this year's Triple Crown races and provide an appropriate name for their foal.  HOR   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
April 4, 2009 811  Rock-Bottom Lines  Tell us a sign that the economy couldn't get worse.  BUS CUL   Text file  John Russell Tuohy  Text file 
April 11, 2009 812  Rx-Related Humor  Offer up some entirely false medical or psychological "fact."  SCI   Text file  Stephen Dudzik  Text file 
April 18, 2009 813  Aw, Shocks  Give us a humorous example of the "shocking -- not."    Text file  Jeff Hazle  Text file 
April 25, 2009 814  There Will Be Bloodline  Breed any two of the winning "offspring" included in this week's results, and name their foal.  HOR   Text file  Lois Douthitt
Jennifer Rubio 
Text file 
May 2, 2009 815  Wittecisms  Create an original word containing -- in any order -- at least a W, an I, two T's and an E.  LET WOR   Text file  Tom Witte  Text file 
May 9, 2009 816  Googillions  Come up with an original phrase that generates at least 1 million listings on a Google search.  GOO   Text file  Jeff Brechlin
Erik Wennstrom 
Text file 
May 16, 2009 817  Flopflip  Reverse the first half and second half of a word or name and define the result.  WOR   Text file     
May 23, 2009 818  Name the Day  Cite an actual holiday or one of those silly commemorative days, weeks or months for which you can find previous evidence, and supply a snarky description or slogan.  CUL   Text file  Don Kirkpatrick  Text file 
May 30, 2009 819  Art Re-View  These objects are not what they seem to be, at first glance. They are something else entirely. What are they?  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post PDF 
June 6, 2009 820  Be Mister Language Person  Supply a Mister Language Person-type question and answer.  LAN QUE   Text file  Kevin Dopart  Text file 
June 13, 2009 821  Spit the Difference  How are any of the items on the list above alike or different?  DIF   Text file  Dan Ramish  Text file 
June 20, 2009 822  For Real Folks  Suggest some attractions for a Festival of Real American Folklife.  CUL   Text file  Wayne Rodgers  Text file 
June 27, 2009 823  Wryku  Compose a humorous (or at least wry or clever) haiku.  POE   Text file | Post PDF  Dave Zarrow  Text file | Post PDF 
July 4, 2009 824  Jestinations  Give us a slogan for any city or town.  SLO POL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jay Shuck  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 11, 2009 825  Disinstrumentals  Write some words to music that has no words.  POE MUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 18, 2009 826  The Inside Word  Take any word -- this may include the name of a person or place -- put a portion of it in quotation marks, and redefine the word.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mike Ostapiej  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 25, 2009 827  Caller Idiot  Name a real product or company and supply a stupid question or complaint for the consumer hotline person.  BUS QUE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jeff Hazle  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 1, 2009 828  Inhuman Puns  Make a pun on the name of a familiar group, organization or company, and describe it or provide a quote from it.  BUS JOK WOR   Text file  Craig Dykstra  Text file 
August 8, 2009 829  Limerixicon 6  Supply a humorous limerick prominently featuring any English word, name or term beginning with the letters di-.  LIM WOR LET POE   Text file | Post e-version  Andrew Burnet  Text file | Post e-version 
August 15, 2009 830  Mess With Our Heads  Take any headline, verbatim, appearing anywhere in The Post or on washingtonpost.com from Aug. 14 through Aug. 24 and reinterpret it by adding a "bank head," or subtitle.  HEA   Text file  Beverley Sharp  Text file 
August 22, 2009 831  A Big To-Do  Name a "bucket list" item for a well-known real or fictional character.  LIT   Text file | Post e-version  Rick Haynes  Text file | Post e-version 
August 29, 2009 832  Clue Us In  You supply one or more clues for the words in a filled-in grid.  CRO   Text file | Post PDF  Jim Lubell  Text file | Post PDF 
September 5, 2009 833  Our Greatest Hit  Start with a real word or multi-word term or name that begins with M, N, O, or P; add one letter, subtract one letter, replace one letter or transpose two adjacent letters; and define the new word.  WOR LET   Text file  Pam Sweeney  Text file 
September 12, 2009 834  Fractured Compounds  Combine two full words within any single article appearing in The Washington Post or on washingtonpost.com into a hyphenated compound word, and define or otherwise describe the result.  HYP WOR   Text file | Post e-version  Sylvia Betts  Text file | Post e-version 
September 19, 2009 835  Tour de Fours VI  Coin and define a humorous word that includes -- with no other letters between them, but in any order -- the letters T, H, R, and E.  TDF   Text file | Post e-version  Tom Witte  Text file | Post e-version 
September 26, 2009 836  Other People's Business  Describe what might happen if any of the above institutions (a) were run by an institution of your choice or (b) ran an institution of your choice.  POL BUS REL   Text file | Post PDF  Bruce Alter  Text file | Post PDF 
October 3, 2009 837  Strip Search  Combine two comic strips that appear in The Washington Post or at washingtonpost.com/comics and describe the results.  WAS COM   Text file  Craig Dykstra  Text file 
October 10, 2009 838  Picture This  Provide a caption for any of these pictures.  CAP   Text file  Andrew Hoenig  Text file 
October 17, 2009 839  Overlap Dance  Overlap two words that share two or more consecutive letters -- anywhere in the word, not just at the beginning or end -- into a single longer word, and define it. AND your portmanteau word must begin with a letter from A through D.  LET WOR   Text file  Patricia Casey  Text file 
October 24, 2009 840  Frittering away the neurons  Give us some more colorfully useful phrases; they don't have to be in the X'ing-the-Y form.    Text file  Elwood Fitzner  Text file 
October 31, 2009 841  Food for naught  Alter the name of a food or dish slightly and describe the result.    Text file  Dave Zarrow  Text file 
November 7, 2009 842  Ask backwards  Here are your 12 possible answers. Tell us your joke in the form of a question, please.  JOK JEO   Text file  Judy Blanchard  Text file 
November 14, 2009 843  Prefrains  Provide a sentence or two of lead-in to the first line of a well-known book, poem, or song.  LIT MUS POE   Text file  Stephen Dudzik  Text file 
November 21, 2009 844  Healthy choice  Enter any Style Invitational from Week 790 through Week 840, except for Week 793 and Week 798.  PRE   Text file  John Shea  Text file 
November 28, 2009 845  Reologisms  Write a description for any of 50 genuine Loser-created neologisms.  WOR   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
December 5, 2009 846  Season's gratings  Write a brief (50 words or fewer) holiday letter from a personage from past or present, or from fiction.  HIS LIT   Text file  Peter Metrinko  Text file 
December 12, 2009 847  Questionable journalism  Find any sentence (or a substantive part of a sentence) that appears in The Post or in an article on washingtonpost.com from Dec. 11 through Dec. 21 and come up with a question it might answer.  WAS QUE   Text file  George Vary  Text file 
December 19, 2009 848  Up and addin'  Compose a humorous rhopalic sentence (or multiple sentences) in which each word is one letter longer than the previous word.  LET WOR   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
December 26, 2009 849  Homonymphomania  Create a new homonym (or homophone) for any existing word and define it.  WOR   Text file  Christopher Lamora  Text file 
January 2, 2010 850  Dead letters  Write a humorous poem about someone who died in 2009.  POE EPI   Text file  Brendan Beary  Text file 
January 9, 2010 851  Going to the shrink  Downsize the title of a book, movie or play to make it smaller or less momentous and describe it.  LIT MOV   Text file  Adam Beland
Russell Beland 
Text file 
January 16, 2010 852  Small, Let's get  Write a rhopalic sentence (or fanciful newspaper headline) in which each successive word is one letter shorter.  LET WOR   Text file  Jeffrey Contompasis  Text file 
January 23, 2010 853  It's easy as DEF  Create a brand-new word or phrase that contains a block of three successive letters in the alphabet; the series must go forward in the alphabet, not backward.  LET WOR   Text file  John Glenn  Text file 
January 30, 2010 854  What's not to liken?  Produce one or more similes in any of the following categories.    Text file  Russ Taylor  Text file 
February 6, 2010 855  The news could be verse  Sum up an article (or even an ad!) in any Washington Post print or online edition from Feb. 6 through Feb. 15 in verse.  POE WAS   Text file  David "Stockton" Smith  Text file 
February 13, 2010 856  Titled Puerility  Here are some untitled book covers. For any of them, tell us a title and synopsis of a book that will never be published.  ART LIT   Text file  Jeffrey Contompasis  Text file 
February 20, 2010 857  All FED Up  Create a brand-new word or phrase that contains a block of three successive letters in the alphabet -- but the series must go backward through the alphabet.  LET   Text file  Tom Witte  Text file 
February 27, 2010 858  Same OED  Make up a false definition for any of the words listed below.  WOR   Text file  Michael Gips  Text file 
March 6, 2010 859  Can't goods  Cast a joke in one of the forms listed above.  JOK   Text file  Beverley Sharp  Text file 
YEAR 18 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 13, 2010 860  Ten, Anyone?  Humorously define or describe something or someone in exactly 10 words.  WOR   Text file  Phil Frankenfeld  Text file 
March 20, 2010 861  It's incumbent upon us  Combine the names of two or more freshman members of Congress to create "joint legislation." This week's pool of legislators includes only those who were elected to their seats before 1994, the first year we ran the freshman contest.  LEG   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
March 27, 2010 862  Be cheerful  Send us a cheer or fight song for any pro sports team or any national team.  POE MUS ATH   Text file     
April 3, 2010 863  It's Post time  Breed any two of 100 of the almost 400 horses eligible for this year's Triple Crown races, and name the foal.  HOR   Text file  Pam Sweeney  Text file 
April 10, 2010 864  Oonerspisms  Spoonerize a single word or a name by transposing different part of the word (more than two adjacent letters), and define the resultant new term.  WOR   Text file  Ann Martin  Text file 
April 17, 2010 865  No Googlenopes left  Come up with a humorous Googlenope.  GOO   Text file  Mark Richardson  Text file 
April 24, 2010 866  Natalie Portmanteau  Begin with a real name; append to it a word, name or expression so that they overlap; and finally define (humorously, of course) the resulting phrase.  WOR   Text file  Malcolm Fleschner  Text file 
May 1, 2010 867  Back in the saddle  Breed any two of the foals in today's results -- OR one foal with one of the actual horses used in today's entries, and name the grandfoal.  HOR   Text file  Barry Koch  Text file 
May 8, 2010 868  Count the ways  Give us some musings of a technical wonk.  SCI   Text file  Jeffrey Contompasis  Text file 
May 15, 2010 869  Clue us in  Send us funny, clever clues for any of the words already in this grid.  CRO   Text file  Dana Austin  Text file 
May 22, 2010 870  Let's play Nopardy  Describe any of the above phrases in the form of a question.  QUE   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
May 29, 2010 871  Remarquees  Change a movie title by one letter (or number, if the title includes a number) and describe the new film.  LET MOV   Text file  Gary Crockett  Text file 
June 5, 2010 872  Har Monikers  Combine the first parts of each word in a famous person's or character's name -- in order -- and define it or use it in a sentence that somehow refers to its source.  WOR   Text file  Cliff Kellogg  Text file 
June 12, 2010 873  Back to Square 1A  Replace the shaded letters in this grid with your own letters to come up with a different word or phrase -- either an existing word or one you make up -- and define it humorously.  CRO   Text file  Cathy Lamaze  Text file 
June 19, 2010 874  Stat Us  Write a funny Facebook status line.  CUL   Text file  Dudley Thompson  Text file 
June 26, 2010 875  Fail Us  Give us a funny Learn From My Fail-type lesson, 30 words or fewer, true or not, in your own words or attributed to a famous personage.  CUL   Text file  Drew Bennett  Text file 
July 3, 2010 876  Oilies but goodies  Write lyrics somehow related to the oil spill, set to an existing tune.  POE MUS   Text file  Mae Scanlan  Text file 
July 10, 2010 877  Quipped from the headlines  Write a rhyming couplet about some matter in the news.  POE CUL   Text file  Brendan Beary  Text file 
July 17, 2010 878  Safety in blunders  Tell us a way to make the nation more secure.  SCI POL   Text file  Jon Graft  Text file 
July 24, 2010 879  Say Venn  Express some sentiment in the form of a Venn diagram.    Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
July 31, 2010 880  Our greatest hit  Start with a real word or multi-word term or name that begins with Q, R or S; add one letter, subtract one letter, replace one letter with another, or transpose two adjacent letters; and define the new word.  WOR LET   Text file  Lennie Magida
 
Text file (pub 8-28-10)
Text file (pub 9-25-10) 
August 7, 2010 881  What's in a name?  Take the name of a person or institution. Find within it a hidden message.  LET BUS POL   Text file  Russell Beland  Text file 
August 14, 2010 882  Limerixicon VII  Supply a humorous limerick prominently featuring any English word, name or term beginning with the letters dr-.  LIM LET POE   Text file  Carole Lyons
 
Text file (pub 9-11-10)
Text file (pub 9-25-10) 
August 21, 2010 883  Same difference  Choose any two items from the list above and explain why they are alike or are different from each other.  DIF   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Craig Dykstra  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 28, 2010   Not this week, honey  No new contest this week -- it's the first break that the Empress has given the Obsessive Losers since February 2008.    Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version     
September 4, 2010 884  Rekindling the spork  Combine two devices or other products to make a new one.  BUS   Text file  Scott Weinstein  Text file 
September 11, 2010 885  Mess with our heads  Take any headline, verbatim, appearing anywhere in The Post or on washingtonpost.com from Sept. 10 through Sept. 20 and reinterpret it by adding a "bank head."  HEA   Text file  Elden Carnahan  Text file 
September 18, 2010 886  Look both ways  Give us a new term that's a palindrome and define it.  WOR   Text file  Tom Flaherty  Text file 
September 25, 2010 887  Plus-Fours  Write a limerick whose third or fourth line is one of those listed above.  LIM POE   Text file  Stephen Gold  Text file 
October 2, 2010 888  It's the eponymy, stupid  Coin a word or expression based on the name of a well-known person, define it, and perhaps use it in a sentence  WOR   Text file  Jeffrey Contompasis  Text file 
October 9, 2010 889  Tour de Fours VII  Coin and define a humorous word that includes -- with no other letters between them, but in any order -- the letters P, O, L and E.  TDF   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
October 16, 2010 890  Double-teaming  Combine the names of any two pro sports teams -- even from different sports -- and describe the result.  ATH   Text file  Keith Maynard  Text file 
October 23, 2010 891  Mirror, Mirror  Write a word-palindrome sentence, in which the first and last words are the same; the second and next-to-last, etc.  WOR   Text file  Peter Jenkins  Text file 
October 30, 2010 892  Get a move on  Change the location of something for humorous effect. Provide an explanation if you wish.    Text file  Drew Bennett  Text file 
November 6, 2010 893  Give us a hint  Write a humorously witty story in 25 words or fewer.  WOR   Text file  Jeffrey Contompasis  Text file 
November 13, 2010 894  Look Back in Inker  Enter any Style Invitational from Week 841 through Week 890 (except for Week 844).  PRE   Text file  Craig Dykstra  Text file 
November 20, 2010 895  Picture this  Supply a caption for any of these cartoons.  CAP CAR   Text file  Doug Frank  Text file 
November 27, 2010 896  Other people's business  Describe what might happen if any of the above institutions (a) were run by an institution of your choice or (b) ran an institution of your choice.  BUS REL POL   Text file  Larry Yungk  Text file 
December 4, 2010 897  Catch their drift  Take any sentence from an article or ad in The Washington Post or washingtonpost.com from Dec. 3 to Dec. 13 and translate it into "plain English."  WAS LAN   Text file  Danny Bravman  Text file 
December 11, 2010 898  Pre-current events  Predict some humorous news event that would happen in 2011.  CUL   Text file  Arthur Adams  Text file 
December 18, 2010 899  Clue us in  Send us funny, clever clues for any of the words already in this grid.  CRO   Text file  Kevin Dopart  Text file 
December 25, 2010 900  Dear us!  Submit a "Dear Blank" letter to us instead.    Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
January 1, 2011 901  Dead Letters  Write a humorous poem about someone who died in 2010.  POE EPI   Text file | Post e-version  Christopher Lamora  Text file | Post e-version 
January 8, 2011 902  What's the good news?  Take any sentence, or substantive part of a sentence, or a headline from an article or ad in The Washington Post or washingtonpost.com from Jan. 7 to Jan. 18 and make it sound upbeat (or not so bad).  WAS   Text file | Post e-version  Dixon Wragg  Text file | Post e-version 
January 15, 2011 903  Bill us now  Combine the names of two or more members of Congress as co-sponsors of a bill.  LEG   Text file | Post e-version  Jeff Brechlin  Text file | Post e-version 
January 23, 2011 904  We move on back  Move the first letter in a word or name to the end of that word and define the resulting word.  LET WOR   Text file  Marian Carlsson
David Garratt 
Text file (pub 2-20-11)
Text file (pub 3-18-11)  
January 30, 2011 905  Anticdotes  Give us an untrue anecdote responding to one of these past Editor's Query topics.  WAS   Text file  Gary Crockett  Text file 
February 6, 2011 906  Your mug here  Give us a new design for the Loser Mug.  STY   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Edmund Conti
Michael Gips
Howard Walderman 
Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 13, 2011 907  Naming rite  Come up with a creative, somehow fitting sponsor for some public facility or part of one.    Text file  Tom Panther  Text file 
February 20, 2011   Give it a rest  No new contest this week.    Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version     
February 27, 2011 908  Recast away  Fire an actor or actress from a movie or TV show, past or present, and offer a replacement for the role.  MOV TEL   Text file  Gary Crockett  Text file 
March 6, 2011 909  Reprizing  Suggest humorous uses for one or more of the items above, alone or in combination.  CAR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Kevin Dopart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
YEAR 19 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 13, 2011 910  Your ad here  Slightly alter an advertising slogan so that someone else could use it.  SLO BUS   Text file  Rachel Braun  Text file 
March 20, 2011 911  Help!  Create a short humorous dialogue -- or a monologue featuring one party -- of a phone call to 911, or a call for help to someone else.    Text file | Post e-version  Russell Beland  Text file | Post e-version 
March 27, 2011 912  Pair-a-phrase  Lift a word that appears inside a longer word; pair it with the original word to create a phrase; and define it.  WOR   Text file  Michael Reinemer  Text file 
April 3, 2011 913  Bring up the rear  Move the last letter of an existing word or name to the front of the word, and define the new term.  LET   Text file | Post PDF  Kyle Bonney  Text file | Post PDF 
April 10, 2011 914  Foaling around  Breed any two of 100 of the almost 400 horses eligible for this year's Triple Crown races, and name the foal.  HOR   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
April 17, 2011 915  Picture this  Write a caption for any of the cartoons pictured here.  CAP CAR   Text file  Jack Hingel  Text file 
April 24, 2011 916  Bank shots  Take any headline, verbatim, appearing anywhere in The Post or on washingtonpost.com from April 22 through May 2 and reinterpret it by adding a "bank head," or subtitle.  HEA   Text file  John Shea  Text file 
May 1, 2011 917  Wryku  Write a haiku--a sentiment that can be broken into three lines with exactly five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, five in the third--on any subject that's been in the news in the last couple of weeks.  POE CUL   Text file  Danny Bravman  Text file 
May 8, 2011 918  Colt Following  Breed any two "foals" in today's results, or one foal with one of the real horse names used in today's entries--and name the "grandfoal." The name may not exceed 18 characters, including spaces, and your entry shouldn't remotely duplicate any of today's results.  HOR   Text file  Pam Sweeney  Text file 
May 15, 2011 919  Good Luck With 13  Alter a 13-letter word, phrase or name by one letter (add a letter, drop a letter, switch two letters somewhere in the word, or substitute one letter for another) and describe the result.  LET   Text file  David Ballard  Text file 
May 22, 2011 920  Sarchiasm  Write an original chiasmus, in which the elements of a phrase are inverted for comedic effect.  WOR   Text file  John Shea  Text file 
May 29, 2011 921  Give Us Willies  Write an original Little Willie poem, perhaps reflecting our current era. This is a venerable four-line genre in which Master W. does some nasty thing and doesn't tend to learn to be a Good Boy by poem's end.  POE   Text file | Post e-version  Kevin Dopart  Text file | Post e-version 
June 5, 2011 922  A Banner Week  Write entirely new, humorous lyrics to the tune of “The Star-Spangled Banner”; they can be on any subject.  POE   Text file  Gary Crockett  Text file 
June 12, 2011 923  Chemical Wordfare  Create a new chemical element or other chemical term.  SCI   Text file  Christopher Lamora  Text file 
June 19, 2011 924  Doomed to repeat it  Create "Unreal Facts" about history.  HIS TRI   Text file  Judy Blanchard  Text file 
June 26, 2011 925  A remeaning task  Redefine a word in the dictionary beginning with I through O.  LET WOR   Text file  Jamie Pazur  Text file 
July 3, 2011 926  Outrageous fortunes  Come up with a fortune cookie line that you'd like to see.    Text file  Ward Kay  Text file 
July 10, 2011 927  Drive-By Shoutings  Write a very short four-line “poem” promoting a product or company, or offering advice to drivers; the poem must rhyme, in ABAB or ABCB rhyme scheme. A fifth, non-rhyming line may state the product name or a conclusion.  POE BUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Beverley Sharp  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 17, 2011 928  Play feature  Use the title of a movie as the answer to a riddle or other question.  MOV QUE   Text file  Tom Witte  Text file 
July 24, 2011 929  Now sit right back ...  Write a funny song introducing a TV show, past or present.  MUS TEL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Nan Reiner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 31, 2011 930  We WANT stupid complaints!  Complain comically unreasonably about some innocuous thing appearing in the print Post or on washingtonpost.com over the next week or the previous few days.  WAS   Text file  Peter Jenkins  Text file 
August 7, 2011 931  Limerixicon 8  Supply a humorous limerick significantly featuring any English word, name or term beginning with the letters ea- through -el.  LIM POE   Text file | Post e-version  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post e-version 
August 14, 2011 932  We'll call them your-mama jokes  Tell us an original "your mama" joke.  CUL   Text file | Post e-version  Ben Aronin  Text file | Post e-version 
August 21, 2011 933  Stories that count (to 56)  Write a humorous story in exactly 56 words.  WOR   Text file     
August 28, 2011 934  Same difference  Explain how any two items in the provided list are similar or different.  DIF   Text file  Rob Huffman  Text file 
September 4, 2011 935  The 400 blows  Write a humorous poem--choose your form--about the Virginia earthquake, Hurricane Irene or another well-known natural event.  POE CUL   Text file  Matt Monitto  Text file 
September 11, 2011 936  Hoho contendere  Slightly alter a well-known foreign-language term and define it.  LAN WOR   Text file | Post e-version  Greg Deye  Text file | Post e-version 
September 18, 2011 937  Staake it to him  Write a caption for any of the five pages or details pictured from some of Bob's more than 50 picture books.  CAP ART LIT   Text file  Stephen Dudzik  Text file 
September 25, 2011 938  Free and Lear  Write a limerick using the first two lines of any of Edward Lear's 115 limericks plus your own remaining three lines.  LIM POE   Text file | Post e-version  Hugh Thirlway  Text file | Post e-version 
October 2, 2011 939  MASH 2: The Retread  Combine two movie titles and describe the result.  MOV   Text file  Kathye Hamilton  Text file 
October 9, 2011 940  Our type o' headline  Change a headline by one letter, or switch two letters, or change spacing or punctuation, in a headline (or most of a headline) appearing on an article or ad in The Washington Post or on washingtonpost.com from Oct. 7 through Oct. 17, and elaborate on it in a "bank" headline (subhead).  HEA LET   Text file  Kevin Dopart  Text file 
October 16, 2011 941  They don't say!  Give us a quote that a particular person, present or past, real or fictional, sooo wouldn't have said.  HIS   Text file  Larry Flynn  Text file 
October 23, 2011 942  Singular ideas  Give us an idea for a contest for which there's likely only one good entry.  STY   Text file | Post e-version  Beverley Sharp  Text file | Post e-version 
October 30, 2011 943  Ask backward XXIX  You are on "Jeopardy!" You supply the questions for as many of the provided answers as you like.  JEO   Text file  Danny Bravman  Text file 
November 6, 2011 944  Uh, yeah, it's just you  Give us one or more "Is it just me" questions.  QUE   Text file  Neal Starkman  Text file 
November 13, 2011 945  Laugh-baked ideas  Cleverly depict a person, event or phenomenon of the 21st century — real history as well as scenes from movies, books, videos, etc. — using edible materials, and send us a photo of your creation.  PIX HIS MOV LIT   Text file | Post PDF  Alethea Dopart
Kevin Dopart 
Text file | Post PDF 
November 20, 2011 946  Another round of Bierce  Write a clever definition of a word, name or multi-word term.  WOR   Text file  Melissa Balmain  Text file 
November 27, 2011 947  Tour de Fours VIII: Neologisms  Come up with a new word or two-word term that includes the letter block N-O-E-L, in any order but with no other letters between them, and define it.  TDF   Text file  Eric Fritz  Text file 
December 4, 2011 948  Look back in Inker  Enter any Style Invitational contest from Week 891 through 945 (except for Week 896, which was the same contest for the previous year).  PRE   Text file  David Prevar  Text file 
December 11, 2011 949  Putting the SAT in satire  Give us an analogy using "a is to b as x is to y."  WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Edmund Conti  Text file | Post PDF 
December 18, 2011 950  Of all the nerve!  Give us a humorous example of hypothetical chutzpah.    Text file | Post e-version  Nan Reiner  Text file | Post e-version 
December 25, 2011 951  Say that again  Double a word, or use a word and its homophone, to make a phrase, and define it.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Kathy Fraeman  Text file | Post PDF 
January 1, 2012 952  Dead Letters  Write a humorous poem about someone who died in 2011.  POE EPI   Text file  Stephen Gold  Text file 
January 8, 2012 953  Clue us in  Come up with creative, funny clues for the words and multi-word terms in the crossword puzzle that's already run in The Post.  CRO   Text file  Seth Brown  Text file 
January 15, 2012 954  Bring on the 'fight' jokes  Tell us an original joke ending with “And then the fight started.”  JOK   Text file | Post PDF  David Genser  Text file | Post PDF 
January 22, 2012 955  Twits' twist  Create a phrase by combining a word or phrase with an anagram of that word or phrase, and define or describe it.  ANA WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Nancy Schwalb  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 29, 2012 956  Give us some bad ideas  Finish any of the provided "You know" phrases.    Text file | Post e-version  Noah Meyerson  Text file | Post e-version 
February 5, 2012 957  Fearful Symmetry  Write a clever passage whose successive words are one letter longer until the middle of the passage, and then become one letter shorter.  LET WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Bird Waring  Text file | Post PDF 
February 12, 2012 958  All's Weller  Write a "wellerism," a sentence that starts with a quote, often a short proverb, and goes on to include some sort of wordplay on something in the quote.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jason Russo  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 19, 2012 959  Out of network  Move a current or former TV program (or type of programming) to a different network and explain what would change.  TEL   Text file | Post PDF  Kurt Stahl  Text file | Post PDF 
February 26, 2012 960  Raving reviews  Send us a creative "review" for any of the provided items that are listed on Amazon.  BUS CUL   Text file | Post PDF  Melissa Balmain  Text file | Post PDF 
March 4, 2012 961  The end of our rhops  Write a funny passage or headline whose words all have the same number of letters.  LET HEA WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF 
YEAR 20 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 11, 2012 962  Questionable journalism  Take any sentence (or a major part of it) that appears in the Post or in an article on washingtonpost.com anytime from now through March 19 and supply a question it could answer.  WAS QUE   Text file | Post e-version  Cathy Lamaze  Text file | Post e-version 
March 18, 2012 963  The overlap dance  Send us a Before & After "person" whose name combines two people's names, real or fictional (okay, you can use animals' names, too), and describe the person in a funny way.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Gil Glass  Text file | Post PDF 
March 25, 2012 964  The Grossery Bag?  Suggest a design and/or slogan to go on the side of the ardently desired Style Invitational Loser Bag.  SLO STY   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Melissa Balmain  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 1, 2012 965  Foaling around  Breed any two of the horses in this year's Triple Crown races and name their foal.  HOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Susan Thompson  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 8, 2012 966  Inkremental change  Start with any word or name, and create a series of words that change by one letter at a time, until you come up with a related word or name.  WOR LET   Text file | Post PDF  Dave Zarrow  Text file | Post PDF 
April 15, 2012 967  Overlap dance II  Create a phrase that overlaps two terms, each of two words or more, and describe the result.  WOR   Text file  Mark Richardson
 
Text file (pub 5-13-12)
Text file (pub 8-19-12) 
April 22, 2012 968  Take us for grants  Come up with a proposal to the National Science Foundation or other research-funding organization for a study based on a stupid hypothesis.  SCI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Robert Schechter  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 29, 2012 969  Colt following  Breed any two "foals" in today's results, and name the grandfoal.  HOR   Text file | Post PDF  Kathy El-Assal  Text file | Post PDF 
FIRST INKIN' MEMORIAL AWARDED IN REPORT FROM WEEK 966
May 6, 2012 970  Couple it  Take a line from any well-known poem and pair it with your own second line to make a humorous couplet.  POE LIT   Text file | Post e-version  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post e-version 
May 13, 2012 971  Double booking  Come up with a double book with a humorous connection; the first title must be an actual book, while the other may be your own fictitious title or a second real book.  LIT   Text file | Post PDF  Jeff Brechlin  Text file | Post PDF 
May 20, 2012 972  Trends and neighbors  Choose any two items on the provided list and explain how they are alike or different.  DIF   Text file | Post PDF  Bird Waring  Text file | Post PDF 
May 27, 2012 973  A real triple crown  The horses in this week's list either produced no inking "foals" in Week 965, or ran in the Kentucky Derby but weren't on the initial list. "Breed" any two and name the foal.  HOR   Text file  Kevin Dopart  Text file 
June 3, 2012 974  Eat our dust!  Write a limerick humorously describing a book, play, movie, or TV show.  LIM LIT TEL MOV POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chris Doyle
 
Text file | Post PDF (pub 7-1-12)
Text file (pub 8-19-12) 
June 10, 2012 975  Gone mything  Debunk a "Sixth Myth" about one of more of the recent "5 Myths" topics provided.  CUL   Text file | Post PDF  Tom Witte  Text file | Post PDF 
June 17, 2012 976  Join now!  Combine the beginning and end of any two words or names in this week's Style Invitational or Style Conversational columns to make a new term, and define it.  HYP WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Robert Schechter  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 24, 2012 977  Lost in Translation 2.0  Translate a line of text from English into another language using Google Translate; then copy that result and translate it back into English. You may also make intermediate steps into one or more other languages.  GOO LAN   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Kevin Dopart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 1, 2012 978  A reason to rhyme the news  Write a short verse about something that's been in the news recently.  POE CUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Nan Reiner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 8, 2012 979  The madding crowd  Suggest funny, original ways to tick people off.    Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  John Shea  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 15, 2012 980  Def jam  Supply a humorous definition for any of the provided Loser-penned neologisms.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Paul Burnham  Text file | Post PDF 
July 22, 2012   You can't lose this week!  Because there’s not a new contest this week. Three and a half weeks from now, the Empress will be lounging on an exotic (okay, Delaware) beach, blissfully disconnected from this newspaper's "content management system," Methode, better known within the newsroom as "that piece of [not 'blueberry pie'] Methode."    Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version     
July 29, 2012 981  Feeling testy  Write a question that "ought to" be on a qualifying test for a particular job.  BUS   Text file  Barry Koch  Text file 
August 5, 2012 982  The parody line  Set your own, humorous words to the tune of a well-known song--except that you must preserve one of the original lines.  POE MUS   Text file | Post e-version  Nan Reiner  Text file | Post e-version 
August 12, 2012 983  Limerixicon IX  Supply a humorous limerick significantly featuring any English word, name or term beginning with the letters "eq-" through "ez-".  LIM LET POE   Text file | Post PDF  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post PDF 
August 19, 2012 984  Another brilliant contest  Write something whose words begin with consecutive letters of the alphabet.  LET   Text file  Christopher Lamora  Text file 
August 26, 2012 985  What art art thou?  Tell us which Style Invitational contest any of the provided Bob Staake cartoons might be illustrating.  CAR   Text file | Post PDF  Beverley Sharp  Text file | Post PDF 
September 2, 2012 986  Hear here!  Give us a sentence or short dialogue that would be a lot funnier if a word in it were mistaken for a homophone of that word.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Mark Richardson
Beverley Sharp 
Text file | Post PDF 
September 9, 2012 987  Bank shots  Take any headline, verbatim, appearing anywhere in The Washington Post or on washingtonpost.com from Sept. 6 through Sept. 17 and reinterpret it by adding a "bank head," or subtitle.  HEA   Text file  Melissa Balmain  Text file 
September 16, 2012 988  A faster break  Suggest ways to make sports and other leisure activities more time-efficient or exciting.  ATH   Text file | Post PDF  Martin Bancroft  Text file | Post PDF 
September 23, 2012 989  On the double  Come up with a double or multiple profession, and explain how each job complements the other(s).  BUS   Text file | Post e-version  Jeff Hazle  Text file | Post e-version 
September 30, 2012 990  Indecent relations  Pair two people, real or fictional, who have the same last name; say how they're alike or different, or something they might do (even in fantasy), as a pair.  DIF   Text file | Post e-version  Robert Schechter  Text file | Post e-version 
October 7, 2012 991  Tour de Fours IX  Create a new word or two-word term containing the letter block V, O, T, and E and define it.  TDF   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Laurie Tompkins  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 14, 2012 992  Mittsterpiece Theatre  Suppose public-TV shows, past or present, were turned out onto the open market to make a living on commercial TV. Tell us what would happen.  BUS TEL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Neal Starkman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 21, 2012 993  Versus, verses  Write a short "rap battle" between any two characters, real or fictional.  POE   Text file  Amanda Yanovitch  Text file 
October 28, 2012 994  Stick it to us  Suggest a slogan for one of our two new honorable-mention Loser Magnets for 2012-2013.  SLO STY   Text file | Post e-version  Bruce Carlson  Text file | Post e-version 
November 4, 2012 995  Ask backwards  We give you the "answers" and you supply jokes in the form of a question.  JEO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 11, 2012 996  A Life-Time opportunity  Combine two magazines or journals and describe the result, supply a marketing pitch, or suggest a story or two that it might publish.  CUL   Text file  Lawrence McGuire  Text file 
November 18, 2012 997  Unworthy causes  Name a dubious charity and describe its mission.    Text file | Post PDF  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF 
November 25, 2012 998  Set the law on us  Suggest an odd law for a particular place in the world.  POL   Text file | Post PDF  Beverley Sharp  Text file | Post PDF 
December 2, 2012 999  Drectrospective  Enter any Style Invitational contest from Week 946 through Week 995, except for Week 948.  PRE   Text file  Lawrence McGuire  Text file 
December 9, 2012 1000  We now have 4 digits; you now have 7 letters  Choose any word, name or two-word term beginning anywhere from T through Z; then add one letter, drop one letter, substitute one letter for another, or transpose two adjacent letters, and define the result.  LET WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Jeffrey Contompasis  Text file | Post PDF 
December 16, 2012 1001  Make us ROFL  Give us a funny, original acronym.  LET WOR   Text file  Dayna Fellows  Text file 
December 23, 2012 1002  Wring out the OED  Make up a false definition for any of the listed OED words.  WOR   Text file  Frank Osen  Text file 
December 30, 2012 1003  Just do it  Use a well-known advertising slogan for a different company, organization or product to humorous effect.  SLO BUS POL   Text file | Post e-version  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post e-version 
January 6, 2013 1004  Dead letters  Write a humorous poem about anyone who died in 2012.  POE EPI   Text file | Post e-version  Robert Schechter
Nan Reiner 
Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 13, 2013 1005  Send us the bill  Name a piece of legislation "cosponsored" by two or more of the 98 new House and Senate members provided.  LEG   Text file | Post e-version  Rick Haynes  Text file | Post e-version 
January 20, 2013 1006  It's a ... a ...  Create a new superhero (or duo) and describe the superpower, or not-very-superpower.  CUL   Text file | Post e-version  Michael Reinemer  Text file | Post e-version 
January 27, 2013 1007  Clue us in  Come up with creative, funny clues for the words and multi-word terms in the provided grid.  CRO WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Barbara Turner  Text file | Post PDF 
February 3, 2013   Primping for our big day  There's no new contest this week, because four weeks from now, the Empress will devote this entire space to a celebration of the Style Invitational's 20th anniversary.    Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version     
February 10, 2013 1008  Switched reels  Re-arrange all the words in the title of a movie, and describe the resulting work. (Conversational textWOR MOV   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Roy Ashley  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 17, 2013 1009  What's in a name?  Write something about some person, real or fictional, using only the letters in the person's name.  LET   Text file | Post e-version  Matt Monitto  Text file | Post e-version 
February 24, 2013 1010  Picture this  Write a caption for any of the five provided cartoons.  CAP CAR   Text file | Post e-version  John Glenn  Text file | Post e-version 
March 3, 2013 1011  Top these!  Try your hand at any of the contests mentioned in this look back.  PRE   Text file | Post e-version  Robert Schechter  Text file | Post e-version 
YEAR 21 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 10, 2013 1012  The news at 5  Write a limerick about a recent news event.  LIM CUL POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Kevin Dopart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 17, 2013 1013  Har monikers  Write a riddle that uses a pun of a person's name in the answer.  JOK WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Natalie Beary  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 24, 2013 1014  Join now  Combine the beginning and end, or the beginnings and ends, of any two words in single Washington Post story or ad published March 21 to April 1 into a new word or two-word phrase, and define the result.  WAS WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Michael Gips  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 31, 2013 1015  Faux re mi  Give us some humorously false trivia about music or musicians.  MUS TRI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Paul Kondis  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 7, 2013 1016  Foaling around  Breed any two of the horses nominated for this year's Triple Crown races and give the foal a name humorously reflecting the names of the parents.  HOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Eckenwiler  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 14, 2013 1017  Vowel play  Write a "univocalic" newspaper headline -- one that uses only one vowel throughout.  LET HEA   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Nan Reiner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 21, 2013 1018  Reologisms  Write a clever, funny definition for any of the Loser-concocted neologisms from Week 1014 as well as from Week 1000 that deserve better definitions than their creators offered at the time.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Rob Huffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 28, 2013 1019  What a turnoff  Tell us some creative things that children and families could do during Screen-Free Week.  CUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Art Grinath  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 5, 2013 1020  Colt following  Breed any two of this week's winning foals and name the grandfoal.  HOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Laurie Brink  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 12, 2013 1021  'Gram theft  Come up with a term by scrambling any of the letters sets in the provided list, and define it.  LET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jay Cummings
Chuck Smith 
Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version (pub 6-9-13)
Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version (pub 6-23-13) 
May 19, 2013 1022  What's the diff?  Explain how any two of the provided items are alike or different.  DIF   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Michael Gips  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 26, 2013 1023  Hai there, Martians!  Write one or more humorous haiku that will greet the Martians or share a little nugget of what life is like on Earth.  POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Rob Huffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 2, 2013 1024  Gorey thoughts  Send us some edgy rhyming alphabet-primer couplets. The pairs are AB, CD, EF, GH, IJ, KL, MN, OP, QR, ST, UV, WX, and YZ.  LET POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jennifer Gittins-Harfst  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 9, 2013 1025  In so many words  Create an original backronym for a name or other term, especially one that's been in the news lately.  WOR CUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jay Cummings  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 16, 2013   (We) give us a break  The Empress is spending a week touring her dominions and so she's giving you a week off as well.    Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version     
June 23, 2013 1026  'Might' makes ink  Give us a joke using any of the using any of the provided "you might be" templates.  JOK   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Art Grinath
 
Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version (pub 7-21-13)
Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version (pub 7-28-13) 
June 30, 2013 1027  Built for two  Give humorous related names for any pair of features in a given building, organization, etc.  BUS POL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Phil Frankenfeld  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version (pub 7-28-13) 
July 7, 2013 1028  Joint Legislation  Combine the names of two or more of the First Congress senators and/or representatives to create "joint legislation".  LEG   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Doug Hamilton  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 14, 2013 1029  Ditty Harry  Write a descriptive theme song for a well-known movie, set to a well-known tune.  MOV MUS POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 21, 2013 1030  The cinquain feeling  Write a clever cinquain. The five-line form is straightforward: first line, two syllables; second line, four syllables; third line, six; fourth line, eight; fifth line, two.  POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Nan Reiner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 28, 2013 1031  The 'Sty'le Invitational  Choose any word, name, or short term; emphasize a key, suddenly pertinent part of it with quotation marks; then redefine the word.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Barbara Turner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 4, 2013 1032  Hid stuff  Explain the symbolism "obviously" evident in any well-known site, artwork, etc., in 75 words or fewer.  ART   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jeff Shirley  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 11, 2013 1033  LimeriXicon  Supply a humorous limerick significantly featuring any English word, name or term beginning with "fa-".  LIM POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Matt Monitto  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 18, 2013 1034  What's to like?  Supply an original joke of the form "I like my [your choice] the way I like my [something else of your choice]: [some clever, funny parallel]."  JOK   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Robert Falk  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 25, 2013 1035  The Empy 500  Explain what news Bob Staake is trying to tell in any of the provided drawings.  CAR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Michael Gips  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 1, 2013 1036  Just for liffs  Use a real place name, from anywhere in the world, as a new term.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Joel Knanishu  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 8, 2013 1037  Outrage us  Find something offensive about an inoffensive name of a product, organization, place, etc.  BUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Robert Falk  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 15, 2013 1038  It's like this, see  Answer a simple question with a ridiculously argued answer citing various connections and parallels.    Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 22, 2013 1039  Shookespeare  Combine any of the words in Hamlet's "To be, or not to be" soliloquy, in any order, to create a humorous sentence or longer passage.  WOR POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Craig Dykstra  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 29, 2013 1040  IRS my case  Schedule A: Suggest a novel way for the government to determine taxes.

Schedule B: Suggest a deduction that you'd like to take, or that some real or fictional person past or present might like to take.

Schedule C: Suggest a cause you'd rather check off $3 for. 

POL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Edmund Conti  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 6, 2013 1041  What have you got to lose?  Answer a question, real or rhetorical, that appears in a song.  MUS QUE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Trevor Kerr  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 13, 2013 1042  Tour de Fours X: Go SANE  Create a new word or two-word term containing the letter block S-A-N-E -- in any order, but consecutively, and define it.  TDF   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 20, 2013 1043  Rechanneling celebrity  Describe a TV reality show featuring a celebrity pursuing some unlikely endeavor.  TEL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Tim Livengood  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 27, 2013 1044  Play it safe  Come up with a comically safety-conscious rule for the workplace or elsewhere.  CUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Stan McCoy  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 3, 2013 1045  Songs for the asking  Take a sentence, phrase or title from a song and provide a funny question it might answer.  MUS QUE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Larry Gray  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 10, 2013 1046  Derive us crazy  Offer a bogus but funny explanation of how a particular expression originated.  HIS WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 17, 2013 1047  Bank shots  Quote a headline appearing in The Washington Post, washingtonpost.com or another publication, print or online, dated Nov. 14 to Nov. 25, and supply a humorous "bank" headline that either misinterprets it or comments wryly on it.  HEA   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Danielle Nowlin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 24, 2013 1048  Ask Backwards  You supply the questions to as many of the provided answers as you like.  JEO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 1, 2013 1049  Be rating  Come up with a new movie rating and describe it.  MOV   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  John Shea  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 8, 2013 1050  Just redo it  Enter any Style Invitational contest from Week 1000 through Week 1046.  STY   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 15, 2013 1051  Love the tiny tail stain!  Create an anagram -- a text with the letters rearranged -- of any text (except merely someone's name), of any length, referring to something or someone in the news.  ANA   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Kevin Dopart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 22, 2013 1052  Clue us in  Come up with up to 25 creative, funny clues for the words and multi-word terms that appear in the provided grid.  CRO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 29, 2013 1053  Questionable journalism  Quote an actual sentence, from The Washington Post, washingtonpost.com, or another print or online publication dated between Dec. 26 and Jan. 6, and follow it with a question that the sentence might answer.  QUE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  John Folse  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 5, 2014 1054  Dead letters  Write a short, humorous poem commemorating someone (or maybe even something) who died in 2013.  EPI POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Gary Crockett  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 12, 2014 1055  Oh, K!  This week, to commemorate both Kevin Dopart and his 1K ink blots: Change a word, phrase or name by adding one or more K's, and define your new term.  LET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Kristen Rahman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 19, 2014 1056  Weather or nuts  Coin a term relating to the weather, climate, etc. -- either literal or figurative -- and define it.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Megan Durham  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 26, 2014 1057  Sportin' lie  Give us some fake sports trivia.  ATH TRI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Seth Tucker  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 2, 2014 1058  Eastwood Ho  Create a good-bad-ugly progression.  JOK   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Beverley Sharp  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 9, 2014 1059  With parens like these …  Add some words in parentheses to a well-known song title to make it funnier in some way.  WOR MUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 16, 2014 1060  Picture this  Write a caption, or captions, for one or more of the provided cartoons.  CAP CAR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Ward Kay  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 23, 2014 1061  Less taste, more fill-in  Give us a novel clue for any word or phrase in which the remaining letters in the provided crossword puzzle fit, across or down.  CRO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jeffrey Contompasis  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 2, 2014 1062  Scanning the headlines  Write a rhyming poem about something currently in the news.  POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chris Doyle
 
Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version (pub 3-30-14)
Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version (pub 4-27-14) 
YEAR 22 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 9, 2014 1063  Same difference  Take any two items from the provided list and explain how they're similar or different.  DIF   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Dave Letizia
 
Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version (pub 4-6-14)
Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version (pub 4-27-14) 
March 16, 2014 1064  HistoRebuffs  Alter some moment in history and tell us -- in no more than about 50 words -- the likely outcome.  HIS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Gary Crockett
 
Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version (pub 4-13-14)
Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version (pub 4-27-14) 
March 23, 2014 1065  The ands have it  Slightly alter ANY well-known phrase in the form "A-and-B" -- it doesn't have to be Latinate/Anglo-Saxon -- and define it.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen
 
Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version (pub 4-20-14)
Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version (pub 4-27-14) 
March 30, 2014   (We) give us a (spring) break  There's no new contest this week, because the Empress will be on assignment overseas four weeks from now.    Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version     
April 6, 2014 1066  It's mating season  "Breed" any two from the provided list of 100 of the 3-year-old racehorses nominated for this year's Triple Crown and name the foal to reflect both names.  HOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jim Stiles  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 13, 2014 1067  A(t)tribute to your wit  Alter a well-known quote slightly and attribute it to someone else.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Nan Reiner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 20, 2014 1068  An iffy proposition  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 _____."    Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Ben Aronin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 27, 2014 1069  It's a small, small world  Write a humorous poem of no more than eight lines -- it doesn't have to rhyme -- using only the top 1,000 words on Wiktionary.org's list of the most common among 20 million words found in movie and TV scripts.  POE WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Ward Kay
Mark Raffman 
Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 4, 2014 1070  Colt following -- our grandfoals contest  "Breed" any two of the foal names that got ink this week, and name the offspring to reflect the parents' names.  HOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Danielle Nowlin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 11, 2014 1071  A pair of threes  Choose two or three entities represented by a single three-letter combination at bit.ly/3letterabs and say how they are alike or different.  LET DIF   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Rob Huffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 18, 2014 1072  The Tile Invitational  Come up with a 5-, 6-, or 7-letter term by scrambling any of the provided seven-letter ScrabbleGram sets, and define it.  LET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 25, 2014 1073  Bank shots: Mess with (y)our heads  Quote a headline appearing in the Washington Post, washington.com or another publication, print or headline, dated May 22 to June 1, and supply a "bank" headline that either misinterprets it, as in the examples above, or comments wryly on it.  HEA   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Michael Gips  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 1, 2014 1074  Let's go parody-hopping  Describe a stage or movie musical in a parody of a song from a different musical.  POE MOV   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Nan Reiner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 8, 2014 1075  Falsity is Job One  Send us some fictoids about cars and trucks and driving and stuff.  TRI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Robert Schechter  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 15, 2014 1076  Dactyly fractyly  Send us some double dactyls that conform to Gene Weingarten's rules.  DAC   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jeremy Horowitz  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 22, 2014 1077  Time marches Swiftly  Give us a novel Tom Swifty, playing on either an adverb or a verb (e.g., "We care about the little people, the BP chairman gushed").  WOR CUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Greg Arnold  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 29, 2014 1078  Hyphen the Terrible  Combine one side of any hyphenated word or compound term with one side of another word to make a new hyphenated term, and define it humorously. Both halves must appear in the same issue of The Post or another print newspaper, or in writing published the same day on washingtonpost.com or another online publication. (Conversational textHYP WAS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Michael Gips  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 6, 2014 1079  Little piddle riddle  Ask a question and answer it with a rhyme.  POE QUE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Rachel A. Bernhardt  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 13, 2014 1080  McGonagall with the windiness  Memorialize a modern "tragedy" in a poem burdened with hilariously overwrought verse; lame, forced rhymes; and painfully uneven meter. Get the badness across in one verse of no more than eight lines. (Conversational textPOE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Thomas Blain  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 20, 2014 1081  It's the stupidity, stupid  Write us stupid questions that will make us laugh. (Conversational textQUE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Gary Crockett  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 27, 2014 1082  Band on the pun  Alter the name of a music group or performer slightly -- not necessarily by just one letter, but enough so it's obvious what the original is -- and describe it in some way. (Conversational textMUS WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 3, 2014 1083  Everybody get appy  Offer up an idea for either a humorously useful app or a humorously counterproductive one. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Robert Falk  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 10, 2014 1084  Limerixicon XI: Fi-, fo-, go!  Supply a humorous, previously unpublished limerick significantly featuring any English word, name or term beginning with "Fl-" through "fo-". (Conversational textLIM POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 17, 2014 1085  Eww-venirs: Ideas for gift shops  Suggest a humorous--but NOT horribly tasteless--tchotchke, T-shirt, etc., from a real or imagined gift shop at a particular tourist site. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Michael Duffy  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 24, 2014 1086  Playing the dozens  1. Start with any 12-letter word, name or multi-word phrase.
2. Add one letter OR drop one letter OR substitute another letter OR switch the position of two letters to create a new term, as in the examples given.
3. Define or describe the result humorously. (Conversational text
LET WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Larry Gray  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 31, 2014 1087  The core ridiculum  Come up with a comical class (any type of school) and provide a course catalog description. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 7, 2014 1088  Ask backwards with our answers, your questions  Supply the questions to as many of the 16 supplied answers as you like. (Conversational textJEO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Danny Gallagher  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 14, 2014 1089  It's E-Z Find-a-Word -- your own!  Create a word or multi-word term that consists of adjacent letters -- in any direction or several directions -- in the provided grid, and provide a humorous definition. (Conversational textWOR LET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 21, 2014 1090  Talk undirty to us  Write a humorous poem in any form (no more than eight lines) that includes one or more of the provided words; the word must make sense in the poem in its TRUE meaning. (Conversational textWOR POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Danielle Nowlin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 28, 2014 1091  Good idea! or not.  Come up with a good idea and, through a small change in wording, a bad idea. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 5, 2014 1092  Are we having funds yet?  Suggest a humorous fundraising "challenge" for any organization. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 12, 2014 1093  You're only as rich as you fee  What are some really bad ideas for various businesses to make a few more bucks? (Conversational textBUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Gordon Cobb  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 19, 2014 1094  TAXI's the fare for Tour de Fours XI  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. (Conversational textTDF   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Ann Martin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 26, 2014 1095  TankaWanka!  Write a TankaWanka about something that's been in the news lately. The poem must consist of five lines of 5, 7, 5, 7 and 7 syllables in that order. And it must include at least one rhyme. (Conversational textPOE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Nan Reiner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 2, 2014 1096  Picture this  Write a humorous caption for any of the provided Bob Staake cartoons. (Conversational textCAP CAR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Mann  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 9, 2014 1097  Futz your sign  Select a line from one of the horoscopes appearing anytime from Nov. 6 through Nov. 17 in the Washington Post's daily Style or on washingtonpost.com and "clarify" it with a translation or extra "information". (Conversational text   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 16, 2014 1098  Prime time for some Amazon reviews  Send us a creative "review" for any of the provided items that are listed on Amazon. (Conversational textBUS CUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Melissa Balmain  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 23, 2014 1099  Questionable journalism  Take a sentence (or most of a sentence) that appears in an article in The Washington Post or on washingtonpost.com dated Nov. 20 through Dec. 1 (in print, any article from those days' papers), and make up a question that the sentence could answer.  QUE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Beverley Sharp  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 30, 2014 1100  Pun and ink -- the feghoot  Contrive an elaborate scenario that ends in a novel groaner pun on a familiar expression, title, etc. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Kevin Dopart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 7, 2014 1101  The year in redo  Enter any Style Invitational contest from Week 1047 through Week 1097, except for Week 1050. (Conversational textPRE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Kevin Dopart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 14, 2014 1102  Let's get Sirius  Suggest a new radio channel and describe it. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Pam Sweeney  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 21, 2014 1103  Themes good enough for us  Suggest an existing song to be used as the theme for a TV series or program for comic effect. (Conversational textMUS TEL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Larry Gray  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 28, 2014 1104  A pair of threes  Choose two or three entities represented by a single three-letter combination beginning with E- through H- — see the links at bit.ly/abbrevs-e-h — and say how they are alike or different. (Conversational textLET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Larry Gray  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 4, 2015 1105  A lit obit of fun  Write a humorous poem of no longer than eight lines about someone who died in 2014. (Conversational textPOE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 11, 2015 1106  Show your resolve  Suggest a New Year's resolution that someone might make 100 or more years in the future. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Nancy Schwalb  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 18, 2015 1107  Send us the bill  Combine two or more names from the list of members of Congress on this page to "cosponsor" a bill based on their combined last names, and state its purpose. (Conversational textLEG   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Dawn Kral  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 25, 2015 1108  Hearts of dorkness  Write a humorous Valentine's Day sentiment to someone (or to some organization), either real or fictional -- either from you or from someone else you name. Plus an all-new option: We'll also be willing to run at least one really funny, clever, well-executed graphic. (Conversational textPOE ART   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Rob Huffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 1, 2015 1109  Fictoids of Columbia  Tell us some humorously untrue “facts” about Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area. (Conversational textWAS TRI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Rob Huffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 8, 2015 1110  The mama of all humor  Write a [Someone’s] Mama joke for some well-known figure, past or present, real or fictional.  JOK   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Dave Silberstein  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 15, 2015 1111  When you riff upon a store  Use a wordplay on a song title as a name or slogan for a real or imagined business. (Conversational textWOR BUS SLO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  John O'Byrne  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 22, 2015 1112  Some SHARP words  Coin a word or short term that includes all the letters S, H, A, R, and P. (Conversational textWOR LET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Danielle Nowlin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 1, 2015 1113  Our occasional parodies  Write a song celebrating someone's birthday or other personal occasion (rather than, say, a holiday), set to a familiar tune. (Conversational textMUS POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Nan Reiner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
YEAR 23 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 8, 2015 1114  Awww together now  Write us a humorous headline -- from the past, present, or future -- that puts an optimistic perspective on some otherwise not-so-promising news. (Conversational textHEA   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 15, 2015 1115  Our type o' headline  Change a headline in an article or ad in the Washington Post and then add a "bank head" or subtitle. (Conversational textHEA   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Gary Crockett  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 22, 2015 1116  Punning in place  Create a new term using only the letters in a place name. You don't have to use all the letters, but you can't use a letter more often than it appears in the word. (Conversational textLET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Peter Jenkins  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 29, 2015 1117  You got another sing coming  Write a song about a topic or person lately in the news, set to a familiar tune. (Conversational textMUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Stephen Gold  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 5, 2015 1118  Breed 'em and weep  Breed any two of the provided 100 racehorses nominated for this year's Triple Crown events and name the foal the reflect both names. (Conversational textHOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Brad Alexander  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 12, 2015 1119  We want hue so bad  Invent a name for a color and describe it. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  John McCooey  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 19, 2015 1120  Celebrating our differences  Each of the provided 17 items appeared in a different Style Invitational compare/contrast contest from 1996 to 2014. Explain how any two of them are alike or different or otherwise linked. (Conversational textDIF   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jaclyn Yamada  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 26, 2015 1121  The an(n)als of civilization  Briefly describe some "bad day in history" -- you may be creative in what you classify as such -- and sum it up with a humorous heading. (Conversational textHIS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 3, 2015 1122  Colt Following: 'Grandfoals'  "Breed" any two of the 65 foal names that got ink this week and name the offspring to reflect the parents' names. (Conversational textHOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jonathan Paul  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 10, 2015 1123  The Tile Invitational III  Give us a five-, six-, or seven-letter word (or two words) by scrambling the letters of any of the provided seven-letter sets. (Conversational textLET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Ricardo Rodriguez  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 17, 2015 1124  Heed! Indeed: Advice verse  Write one of the provided reminders as a humorous poem of eight lines or fewer.  POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 24, 2015 1125  The song remains the sa  Supply a real song title that has the end or beginning -- or, what the heck, both -- chopped off and describe it. (Conversational textMUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Tom Panther  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 31, 2015 1126  Picture this  Provide a humorous caption for any of the cartoons provided. (Conversational textCAP CAR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jeff Shirley  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 7, 2015 1127  From the creators of …  Think up a spinoff of a real TV series, past or present, and furnish a description or bit of dialogue. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 14, 2015 1128  Drone for a loop  Give us some novel uses for a CICADA micro-drone, assuming that anyone can get one, and that it can have a micro-camera, micro-grips, etc. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Lawrence McGuire  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 21, 2015 1129  Right in the pampootie  Write a humorous short poem (eight lines or fewer) incorporating one of the 50 provided words. (Conversational textPOE WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 28, 2015 1130  Yux Redux: Play on a foreign phrase  Make a word play on a foreign phrase or term (or English phrase using foreign words) and describe it. (Conversational textWOR LAN   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Bird Waring  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 5, 2015 1131  One man's trash  Suggest a humorous way to reuse one or more of the items listed above -- or anything else advertised on RepurposedMaterialsinc.com. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  David Prevar  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 12, 2015 1132  You and what army? Military fictoids  Give us some comically bogus trivia about the military, past or present, ours or theirs. (Conversational textTRI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Danielle Nowlin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version (pub 8-9-15) 
July 19, 2015 1133  Are 'hew ready? A contest for clerihews  A clerihew is a humorous four-line rhyming poem about a person whose name is mentioned in the first line; in fact, the name must be at the end of that line (or constitute the whole line) so that it has to rhyme with something. The rhyme structure (and we don't want "lazy" rhymes) is AABB: the first line rhymes with the second, the third with the fourth. (Conversational textPOE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 26, 2015 1134  The 'Sty'le Invitational Red'ux'  Put quotation marks around part of a word, name or phrase and define the result. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 2, 2015 1135  The meter's running  Suggest actions in daily life that should require a time limit -- maximum or minimum -- and come with an appropriate penalty for running over (or under). (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Larry Carnahan  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 9, 2015   It's August. Give that little brain of yours a rest. Or …  There's no new contest this week: you and your fellow Losers get a week off to dust off your cranial synapses, write cranky letters to the editor, think of limericks featuring words beginning with ga-, whatever it is you people do.    Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version     
August 16, 2015 1136  Gaah! It's Limerixicon XII  Supply a humorous, previously unpublished limerick significantly featuring any English word, name or term beginning with "ga-". (Conversational textPOE LIM   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Nan Reiner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 23, 2015 1137  Be a published author!  Give us a spicy title for a boring book, real or imagined.  LIT   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Amy Harris  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 30, 2015 1138  Show us your touché  Offer an elegantly snide (and original) insult of anyone living or dead. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mae Scanlan  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 6, 2015 1139  A little sixty-four play  Fashion an entry by selecting one element from each of the provided menu groups. Make sure you indicate the combination you chose (e.g., 2-C-iii).    Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 13, 2015 1140  You're giving us a bad name  Cite a REAL brand name, past or present, note its original use, and then say what sort of product, organization, etc., that name would be bad for. (Conversational textBUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Drew Bennett  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 20, 2015 1141  Mess with our heads  Reinterpret (or comment wryly on) a headline appearing in the Post (print or online) Sept. 17-28 by writing a bankhead, or subtitle. (Conversational textHEA   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Danielle Nowlin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 27, 2015 1142  Two-faced tweets  Combine two well-known names into a Twitter handle, and write a tweet (no more than 140 characters and spaces) that that portmanteau person might write. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Gary Crockett  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 4, 2015 1143  Ask Backwards  Provided are 15 answers, separated by asterisks. You supply the questions. (Conversational textJEO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Tom Witte  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 11, 2015 1144  Someone else's business  Name a real brand, along with something else it would be a better name for. (Conversational textBUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Mann  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 18, 2015 1145  A DICEy situation  Coin a word or multi-word term that contains the letter block D-I-C-E. (Conversational textLET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Todd DeLap  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 25, 2015 1146  Stick it to us with a magnet  Suggest a new Style Invitational honorable-mention magnet. (Conversational textSTY   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Howard Walderman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 1, 2015 1147  It's E-Z find-a-word -- yours  Create a word or multi-word term that consists of adjacent letters -- in any direction or several directions -- in the provided grid, and provide a humorous definition. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jeff Shirley  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 8, 2015 1148  It's TankaWanka II  Write a TankaWanka about something that's been in the news lately. The poem must consist of five lines of 5, 7, 5, 7 and 7 syllables in that order. And it must include at least one rhyme. (Conversational textPOE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Nan Reiner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 15, 2015 1149  Gestures of depreciation  Suggest ways to celebrate National Love Your Lawyer Day -- or a made-up "holiday" celebrating some other profession.  CUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Melissa Balmain  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 22, 2015 1150  A deviant character  Change the name of person or animal -- real or fictional -- by adding or subtracting one letter; substituting one letter for another; or switching the positions of two nearby letters, and describing the results. (Conversational textLET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jeff Brechlin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 29, 2015 1151  To [a glass], snarkly  Write a short, snarky (but witty) note to one of the provided glassbowls. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 6, 2015 1152  Oops? You do it again.  Enter any Style Invitational contest from Week 1098 through Week 1148, except for Week 1101, last year's do-over. (Conversational textSTY PRE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Gregory Koch  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 13, 2015 1153  Be three-paired  Choose two or more entities represented by a single three-letter combination from IAA through LZZ, found at the provided link, and say how they are alike or different or have some connection.  LET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 20, 2015 1154  Tabby Road -- songs for cats  Write a song for -- or about -- cats or other animals, set to a familiar tune. (Conversational textMUS POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Stephen Gold  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 27, 2015 1155  Vowel movement  Choose a title of a book, movie, play or TV show; drop all the vowels (including Y when it's used as a vowel); then add your choice of vowels -- as many as you like -- to create a new work; and describe it.  LET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 3, 2016 1156  Dead letters  Write a humorous poem of no longer than eight lines about someone who died in 2015. (Conversational textPOE EPI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Kathy Fraeman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 10, 2016 1157  Clue us in -- a backward crossword  Supply clever, funny clues to up to 25 of the words and multi-word terms in the provided grid. (Conversational textCRO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jeffrey Contompasis  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 17, 2016 1158  What have we here?  Tell us what one or more of these objects really are. (Conversational textCAR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Melissa Balmain  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 24, 2016 1159  It's all in the game  Come up with a funny/ridiculous board-type game and describe it. (Conversational text   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Dion Black  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 31, 2016 1160  A remeaning task  Redefine an existing word or two-word term beginning with P through Z. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 7, 2016 1161  Give us four Pinocchios  Tell us some false "facts" about politicians, present or past. (Conversational textHIS POL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jeff Shirley  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 14, 2016 1162  An 8-year Re-Onion  Write a fictional Onion-type headline. (Conversational textHEA   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Neal Starkman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 21, 2016 1163  Put it in reverse  Spell a word, name or phrase backward and define the result in a way that relates to the original. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Ellen Ryan  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 28, 2016 1164  'Wait Wait' for us  Compose a multiple-choice question about a Ridiculous but True fact or event, with two entertaining wrong answers as well as the right one. One of the two wrong answers may be obviously untrue as long as it's funny. (Conversational textQUE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Larry Gray  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 6, 2016 1165  B all you can B  Change a word, phrase or name by adding one or more B's, and/or by replacing one or more letters with B's, and define your new term.  LET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Ivars Kuskevics  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
YEAR 24 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 13, 2016 1166  Questionable journalism  Take a sentence (or most of a sentence) that appears in text (not a headline) in The Washington Post or on washingtonpost.com dated March 10-21 and make up a question that the sentence could answer (Conversational textQUE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  John Hutchins  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 20, 2016 1167  So what's to liken?  Take any two items from the provided list and explain how they're similar or different, or connect them some other way. (Conversational textDIF   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mike Ostapiej  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 27, 2016 1168  Asterisky business  Tell us an original joke whose punchline can't be understood without knowledge -- not necessarily scientific -- that most of us don't have (which you'll supply with a concise explanation). (Conversational textJOK   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Duncan Stevens  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 3, 2016 1169  Be caustic by acrostic  Review or otherwise describe a movie, book, play or TV show (or Internet equivalent) with words whose first letters spell out the name of the work. (Conversational textMOV LET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Kurt Stahl  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 10, 2016 1170  Derby or not Derby  "Breed" any two of the provided racehorses nominated for this year's Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont; and name the foal to reflect both names. (Conversational textHOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Danielle Nowlin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 17, 2016 1171  What's my (next) line?  Take a line from any song and pair it with your own second line to make a humorous rhyming couplet; the second line should match the rhythm of the first, rather than the second line of the song itself. (Conversational textMUS POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jesse Etelson  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 24, 2016 1172  Pieces of 'Pie'  Write a short passage -- an observation, a joke, a dialogue, a poem, anything -- using only words that appear in the song "American Pie".  WOR MUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mary Kappus  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 1, 2016 1173  Tinker with the recipe  Slightly change the name of a food or brand of food (or something else in the food industry) and describe it, or write a slogan, jingle, etc. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jon Gearhart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 8, 2016 1174  Colt following -- It's time for the grandfoals  "Breed" any two of the 57 foal names that got ink this week and name the offspring to reflect both parents' names. (Conversational textHOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Larry Gray  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 15, 2016 1175  Good luck with 13  Make up a word whose Scrabble letter values add up to exactly 13, and define it. (Conversational textLET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Duncan Stevens  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 22, 2016 1176  Let 'er RIP: Write an obit line  Write a humorous line or two for someone's obituary -- either for a particular person (dead or not) or for a fictional or generic one. (Conversational textEPI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Drew Bennett  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 29, 2016 1177  The ballad box  Write a song related to this year's elections, set to a familiar tune.  MUS POL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Matt Monitto  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 5, 2016 1178  A ______ of collective nouns  Propose one or more funny new names for groups of things. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Dudley Thompson  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 12, 2016 1179  Blasted alphabetical contests . . .   Coin a three-word phrase whose words begin with A, B and C -- in any order -- and describe it.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chris Damm  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 19, 2016 1180  Strip search!  Find a line of text from any comic strip or panel that appears on the Post's comics pages or on washingtonpost.com/comics, dated anywhere between June 16 and June 27, and either (a) supply a question that the original line could answer, or (b) follow it with your own line of dialogue or reply. (Conversational textCOM QUE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Lawrence McGuire  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 26, 2016 1181  Put it in Bee-verse  Write a short, humorous poem using one of the 36 provided words, all from the 2016 National Spelling Bee. (Conversational textPOE WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 3, 2016 1182  Where in the wor(l)d?  (1) On What3words.com, find one or more humorously appropriate (or ironic) three-word codes at a particular place; or 2) find a three-word code, tell us where it is, and tell us what ought to be there. (Conversational text   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 10, 2016 1183  C'mon, be honest with us  Write something in roughly the form "If X were more honest, (then) Y." (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Annette Green  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 17, 2016 1184  Plan C -- a third candidate?  Explain why some novel person (or thing) should be president; you could also suggest a president-veep ticket. (Conversational textPOL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Annette Green  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 24, 2016 1185  The Rorschach of the crowd  Interpret one of more of the provided genuine inkblots. You may look at them upside down or sideways. (Conversational textROR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Hildy Zampella  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 31, 2016 1186  We're always happy to verse you   Write a humorous poem, of any form, about or “by” the anagram of anyone’s name.   POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jesse Frankovich  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 7, 2016 1187  Just drop it, okay?  Drop the last letter from an existing word, phrase or name and define the result. (Conversational textLET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Danielle Nowlin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 14, 2016 1188  Just short words, one more time  Explain some concept or philosophy entirely in words of one syllable.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Hildy Zampella  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 21, 2016 1189  Gee, it's Limerixicon XIII!  Supply a humorous, previously unpublished limerick significantly featuring any English word, name or term beginning with "ge". (Conversational textLIM POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Melissa Balmain  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 28, 2016 1190  You're workin' on a chain, gang  Create a chain of no more than 15 proper nouns — names of people (real or fictional), products, places, etc. — including one title of a work — in which each name relates somehow to the previous one. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 4, 2016 1191  Mess with our heads  Reinterpret (or comment wryly on) a headline appearing in The Post (print or online) and dated Sept. 1-12 by writing a bank head, or subtitle (Conversational textHEA   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Roy Ashley  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 11, 2016 1192  Ask Backwards  The 15 provided phrases above are the answers. You provide  the questions to as many as you’d like (up to 25 entries  total).  (Conversational textJEO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jeffrey Contompasis  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 18, 2016 1193  Poedtry  Write a Poed, which consists of four lines: The first line contains six one-syllable words. The second line contains three two-syllable words. The third line contains two three-syllable words. The fourth line contains one six-syllable word (or a name totaling six syllables.  And at least two of the lines must rhyme. (Conversational textPOE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Gary Crockett  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 25, 2016 1194  Nyetymologies: fake word origins  Provide a humorously untrue explanation for the derivation of a word. (Conversational textWOR TRI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jeffrey Contompasis  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 2, 2016 1195  Don't change a letter!  Alter a movie title only by changing word spacing, changing capitalization, and adding or deleting punctuation marks, accents, etc., then describe the result. (Conversational textMOV   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 9, 2016 1196  Hyphen the Terrible  Combine either half of a hyphenated word or compound term with either half of another such term to create a new hyphenated term, and describe the result humorously. (Conversational textHYP   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jeffrey Contompasis  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 16, 2016 1197  Picture This -- It's a Bob Staake caption contest  Write a caption for any of the cartoons provided. (Conversational textCAP CAR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Steven Steele Cawman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 23, 2016 1198  Give it to us straight  Take any sentence from an article or ad in any publication dated Oct. 20 to Oct. 31 — or from an online article dated within that period — and translate it into “plain English". (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Kevin Dopart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 30, 2016 1199  We want some bad choices  Offer one or more funny Questions for Terrible People, as shown.  QUE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Tom Witte  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 6, 2016 1200  The definitive dozen  Supply a word, name or multi-word term along with a wry definition or description; together, the term and description must total exactly 12 words. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Hildy Zampella  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 13, 2016 1201  Tour de Fours XIII: What's there to NOVE?  Coin a word or multi-word term that contains the letter block N-O-V-E. (Conversational textTDF   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Duncan Stevens  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 20, 2016 1202  Don't be afraid of the dark  Write lyrics to a song that, in some way, express hope. (Conversational textPOE MUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Nan Reiner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 27, 2016 1203  You've got the powers  Tell us what you would do if you had one or more of the six magical powers provided. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Rob Huffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 4, 2016 1204  Well, at least …  Note some good news for the coming year to comfort -- or "comfort" -- those who are depressed about the change of presidential administration. (Conversational textPOL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Kevin Dopart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 11, 2016 1205  Could we just have a do-over? Yes, we could.  Enter (or re-enter) any Style Invitational contest from Week 1149 to 1201, except for Week 1152, last year's do-over. (Conversational textPRE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  William C. Kennard  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 18, 2016 1206  Do-over the do-over -- enter any of the year's contests  Enter (or re-enter) any Style Invitational contest from Week 1149 to 1202, except for Week 1152, last year's do-over. (Conversational textPRE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Nan Reiner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 25, 2016 1207  Clue us in -- a reverse crossword  Supply clever, funny clues to up to 25 of the 72 words and multi-word terms in the provided grid. (Conversational textCRO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Hildy Zampella  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 1, 2017 1208  A RIP-roaring year: Obit poems  Write a humorous poem of no longer than eight lines about someone who died in 2016. (Conversational textPOE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Melissa Balmain  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 8, 2017 1209  Invented facts: A fictoid contest  Tell us a humorously untrue account of how a product or invention came to be, or got its name. (Conversational textHIS TRI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Rob Huffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
NEW MAGNETS ANNOUNCED
January 15, 2017 1210  Send us the bill: Our 'joint legislation' game  Combine two or more names from the provided list of members of Congress to “co-sponsor” a bill based on their combined last names, and state its purpose. (Conversational textLEG   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Amy Harris  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 22, 2017 1211  The best tweets in history  Write a stupidly disparaging tweet (140 characters or fewer, including spaces) about some laudable figure of past or present, true or fictional. (Conversational textHIS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Gary Crockett  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 29, 2017 1212  The Tile Invitational IV   Give us a five-, six- or seven-letter word (or two words) by scrambling the letters of any of the provided sets and define it. (Conversational textLET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  William C. Kennard  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 5, 2017 1213  Punku  Write a haiku that incorporates a pun.  POE WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jesse Frankovich  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 12, 2017 1214  The alternaugural address  Write a humorous passage — a “quote,” an observation, a joke, a dialogue, a poem, anything — using only words that appear in Trump’s inaugural address. (Conversational textWOR POL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 19, 2017 1215  A so-so contest (How so-so is it?)  Write a humorous exaggeration in the form "x is so y that …" (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jeff Shirley  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 26, 2017 1216  As the word turns  Create a word or multi-word term that consists of adjacent letters -- in any direction or several directions -- in the provided grid, and provide a humorous definition. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jesse Frankovich  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 5, 2017 1217  Mergers you wrote: Combine two businesses with puns  Give a clever name for a combination of two or more businesses. (Conversational textBUS WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Tom Witte  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
YEAR 25 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 12, 2017 1218  Mess with our -- or anyone else's -- heads  Reinterpret (or comment wryly on) a headline appearing in the Post (print or online or another publication dated March 9-20) by writing a bankhead, or subtitle. (Conversational textHEA   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Ellen Ryan  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 19, 2017 1219  Cast your Bred upon us  Write a Lik the Bred verse about someone in the news lately. (Conversational textPOE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  David "Charlestown" Lewis  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 26, 2017 1220  O pedantry, O pedantry  Give us some humorous pedantry. (Conversational text   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Kevin Dopart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 2, 2017 1221  Who's kidding whom?  Take two people from history, past or present, and tell what their child would be like  HIS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Dave Matuskey  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 9, 2017 1222  Foaling around  "Breed" any two of the provided racehorses nominated for this year's Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont; and name the foal to reflect both of them. (Conversational textHOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jon Gearhart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 16, 2017 1223  Post again out to mislead public!  Write a humorously sensationalistic, misleading headline on an otherwise mundane article or ad published in The Post or elsewhere from April 13 to April 24. (Conversational textHEA   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jon Gearhart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 23, 2017 1224  We beg you to differ  Explain how any two (or more) items in the provided list are the same or different, or otherwise connected. (Conversational textDIF   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Melissa Balmain  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 30, 2017 1225  The Ideas of March  Suggest a march for some group or field, along with one or more slogans. (You might also, or instead, comment on the march with some pertinent wordplay.)  SLO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Gary Crockett  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 7, 2017 1226  Colt following: The 'grandfoals'  "Breed" any two of the 61 foal names that got ink this week, and name the offspring to reflect both parents names. (Conversational textHOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 14, 2017 1227  Celebrate ortho-diversity!  Name and describe a new life form -- and no letter in the term may be used twice. (Conversational textLET SCI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Seth Tucker  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 21, 2017 1228  That movie is SO about you  Name someone who was the "secret inspiration" for a certain movie. (Conversational textMOV   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 28, 2017 1229  Gorey bits from A to Z  Send us one of more edgy rhyming alphabet-primer couplets. (Conversational textPOE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Stephen Gold
Maria Zimmerman 
Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 4, 2017 1230  What in creation . . . ?  Supply a brief monologue or dialogue about a Creator's specifications or planning for some living being. (Conversational textREL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Drew Bennett  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 11, 2017 1231  TankaWanka 3: Haiku Plus Tu  Write a TankaWanka about something that's been in the news lately. The poem must consist of five lines of 5, 7, 5, 7 and 7 syllables in that order. And at least two of the lines must rhyme. (Conversational textPOE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Nan Reiner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 18, 2017 1232  Picture this -- a caption contest  Write a caption for one or more of the provided cartoons. (Conversational textCAP CAR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jesse Frankovich  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 25, 2017 1233  Not  The Loser Community  gets a week off (actually  two) from writing contest  entries and will have to  find something else to do  during staff meetings,  sermons, romantic  breakups, etc. (Conversational text   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version     
July 2, 2017 1234  It's incontestable  Four weeks from now, the Empress will have just placed her dainty imperial toe back on our glittering shores. Which means that for the first time since January 2002, almost 800 contests ago—back during the late reign of her predecessor, theCzar—the Invitational will skip two contests in a row. (Conversational text   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version     
July 9, 2017 1235  The Sound of Science  Write humorous lyrics on the subject of science or technology, set to a well-known tune. (Conversational textPOE SCI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Hildy Zampella  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 16, 2017 1236  Portmanteaux faux  Explain--inaccurately but amusingly--how a real word is a combination of two or more words, with an illustrative sentence, as in the provided examples, or some other funny way.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 23, 2017 1237  Our alliteracy campaign  Rewrite an existing headline from any  publication, print or online — about something in the  news from July 20 to 31, by using alliteration.  HEA   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jeffrey Contompasis  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 30, 2017 1238  D-E-F Comedy Jam (or E-D-F, etc.)  Coin a threeword phrase (you may add an insignificant word or two)  whose words begin with D, E and F — in any order — and describe it.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Peter Shawhan  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 6, 2017 1239  MASH 3   Combine two movie titles and  describe the result. (Conversational textMOV   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jon Gearhart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 13, 2017 1240  We GIVE you Limerixicon XIV  Supply a humorous, previously unpublished limerick significantly featuring any English word, name or term beginning with "gh-" or "gi-". (Conversational textLIM POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Ann Martin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 20, 2017 1241  Less taste, more fill-in  Give us a novel clue for any word or phrase in which the remaining letters in the provided crossword puzzle fit, across or down. (Conversational textCRO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Barry Koch  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 27, 2017 1242  Generation Yux  Give us a "then/now" joke. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Bruce Carlson  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 3, 2017 1243  We bid you: No T-R-U-M-P  Coin a new term, or choose an existing one, whose letters do not include a T, R, U, M, or P, and write a humorous definition. (Conversational textWOR POL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 10, 2017 1244  Primed for product reviews  Send us a creative "review" for any of the provided items that are listed on Amazon. (Conversational textCUL BUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jesse Frankovich  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 17, 2017 1245  Call us reprehensible …  Complain in a humorously missing-the-point way about something that has appeared in The Washington Post (in print or online) recently, or in another publication. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Dave Garratt  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 24, 2017 1246  Questionable journalism  Find any sentence (or a substantive part of a sentence) that appears in The Post or another publication, in print or online, dated Sept. 21-Oct. 2, and pair it with a question it might answer. (Conversational textQUE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Steve Honley  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 1, 2017 1247  Script tease  Offer a quote from a script whose title you've given a different plot.  MOV   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Drew Bennett  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 8, 2017 1248  C'mon, fess up!  Send us a brief "confession" -- there will be categories for true and just-kidding.  CUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Rob Huffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 15, 2017 1249  Ask Backwards 36  Choose any of the 15 provided items and follow it with a question that it could humorously answer.  JEO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Debbie Stewart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 22, 2017 1250  Poems of the year(s)  Write a humorous poem incorporating three or more terms from a particular year or era listed on Time Traveler. (Conversational textPOE WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 29, 2017 1251  Thanking outside the box  Tell us something to be thankful for. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  John O'Byrne  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 5, 2017 1252  It's a med, med, med, med world  Invent a clever name for a new medical product, and specify the condition it would treat. (Conversational textSCI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  William Verkuilen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 12, 2017 1253  Fashion x fiction: More fake trivia  Tell us some totally bogus trivia about clothing or fashion. (Conversational textTRI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Warren Tanabe  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 19, 2017 1254  Inkorporation--a change-one-letter contest  Change the name of a present or past business, store or agency (not just a product) by adding one letter, deleting one letter, transposing two letters or substituting one letter for another. (Conversational textLET BUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Danielle Nowlin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 26, 2017 1255  Tour de Fours XIV: SANT is coming  Coin a word or multi-word term that contains the letter-block S-A-N-T; the letters may be in any order, but there may be no other letters between them. (Conversational textTDF   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Ann Martin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 3, 2017 1256  Picture this -- a caption contest  Provide a funny caption for any of the provided cartoons. (Conversational textCAP CAR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 10, 2017 1257  The year in redo, Part 1  Enter (or re-enter) any Style Invitational contest from Week 1203 through Week 1229, except for Weeks 1205 and 1206. (Conversational textPRE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Ivars Kuskevics  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 17, 2017 1258  The year in redo, Part 2  Enter (or reenter) any Style Invitational contest from Week 1230 through Week 1254. (Conversational textPRE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  William C. Kennard  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 24, 2017 1259  Beat the banned with euphemisms  Come up with creative euphemisms for the provided words, or for other words that might offend someone or other. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Melissa Balmain  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 31, 2017 1260  What lies (are) ahead for 2018  Jokingly predict some news event to happen in 2018. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Steve Honley  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 7, 2018 1261  Post mortems -- our annual obit poem contest  Write a humorous poem of no longer than eight lines about someone who died in 2017. (Conversational textPOE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Duncan Stevens  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 14, 2018 1262  Clue us in -- a backward crossword  Supply one or more creative clues for the provided filled-in crossword grid -- as many as 25 clues in all. (Conversational textCRO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Drew Bennett  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 21, 2018 1263  Playing the short game  Using the three-letter Olympic national abbreviations and/or the abbreviation for any college, tell what would happen if one abbreviated team played another. (Conversational textLET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Meg Winters  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 28, 2018 1264  A cry for Yelp: 'Review' any place  Write a humorous review, positive or negative, of anyplace (real of fictional) one might visit. (Conversational textCUL BUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 4, 2018 1265  Parody for the course  Write a song relating to a class or course of instruction, or to school in general. (Conversational textMUS POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Nan Reiner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 11, 2018 1266  The Tile Invitational V  Create a five-, six-, or seven-letter word (or phrase) by scrambling the letters of any of the provided sets and define it.  LET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jesse Frankovich  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 18, 2018 1267  Jingle bungle  Suggest an ill-advised spokesman (dead or alive, or fictional), along with a humorously noooo slogan or jingle. (Conversational textSLO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  John McCooey  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 25, 2018 1268  Playing pinocchio  Tell us some humorously bogus trivia about the news media or the publishing or broadcasting industries. (Conversational textTRI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Robert Schechter  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 4, 2018 1269  Mess with our (or other) heads  Reinterpret (or comment wryly on) a headline appearing in The Post (print or online) or another publication and dated March 1-12 by writing a bank head. (Conversational textHEA   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Elden Carnahan  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
YEAR 26 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 11, 2018 1270  The Style Invitational turns 5 x 5  Write a witty poem, on any subject, in any of these forms:
A. Five lines of five syllables each
B. Five lines of five words each
C. Five lines of iambic pentameter (Conversational text
POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 18, 2018 1271  Yodel Doyle's praises with a D-O-Y-L-E neologism  Coin a new word or phrase that contains the letters D, O, Y, L and E. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Brian Collins  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 25, 2018 1272  The hex files: creative curses  Come up with a creative curse. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Danielle Nowlin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 1, 2018 1273  Restocking the Cabinet  Explain why a particular person -- or thing -- ought to fill a Cabinet post or other U.S. government position. (Conversational textPOL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Duncan Stevens  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 8, 2018 1274  Heading for a foal -- our horse name 'breeding' contest  Your job is to "breed" any two names of the 360 horses nominated for this year's Triple Crown races and name the "foal" to reflect both names. (Conversational textHOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Luke Baker  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 15, 2018 1275  That is the question  Choose a line from Shakespeare (or a significant part of a line) and pair it with a question that the line could humorously answer. (Conversational textLIT QUE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 22, 2018 1276  What 4? A limerick contest  Use a limerick using one of the provided lines as Line 5.  LIM POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 29, 2018 1277  Come into Beeing with neologisms  From any of the 15 provided Spelling Bee letter sets, coin a new term of one or two words and define it humorously. You may also supply an especially clever or funny definition of a real term. (Conversational textWOR LET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jeff Hazle  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 6, 2018 1278  Colt following: The 'grandfoals'  "Breed" any two of the 68 foal names that got ink this week, and name the offspring to reflect both parents' names, in the style of today's inking entries. (Conversational textHOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  David Young  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 13, 2018 1279  Just do it -- the 'real' way  List some "accurate" directions for using some product or completing some task. (Conversational text   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 20, 2018 1280  A la'ugh' a minute with 'air quotes'  Highlight part of a word, name or short phrase in "air quotes" to give it a new meaning or description. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Brian Allgar  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 27, 2018 1281  We only have (googly) eyes for you  Send us a photo of something that you have made funny by pasting googly eyes on it; funny titles and captions are optional. (Conversational textPIX   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Hildy Zampella  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 3, 2018 1282  Picture This  Write a caption for one or more of the provided pictures. (Conversational textCAP CAR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Rick Haynes  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 10, 2018 1283  Put it in Bee-verse  Write a humorous poem of eight lines or fewer that includes one of the provided words, all from the 2018 National Spelling Bee. (Conversational textPOE WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 17, 2018 1284  Same difference  Explain how any two of the items in the provided list are similar, different or otherwise linked.  DIF   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jerome Uher  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 24, 2018 1285  That is so wrong!  Supply a trivia question along with both the correct answer and a cleverly "wrong" guess. (Conversational textTRI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Howard Walderman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 1, 2018 1286  Mind your P's and B's (and more)  Replace one or more P's in a word, name, or multi-word term with a B or with another letter and define or describe the results. (Conversational textLET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Robert Schechter  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 8, 2018 1287  It's parody time: Oldies for newsies  Write some song lyrics about something in the news these days, set to a familiar tune. (Conversational textMUS POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Nan Reiner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 15, 2018 1288  Your results may vary  Write a funny disclaimer or warning for some product or service. (Conversational textBUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Danielle Nowlin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 22, 2018 1289  Fake gnus: bogus animal trivia  Tell us a fictoid -- a humorously false "fact" -- about the nonhuman animal kingdom. (Conversational textTRI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  David Schwartz  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 29, 2018 1290  Bobbing for Witte words  Come up with both an object/situation and a neologism for it. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jesse Frankovich  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 5, 2018 1291  Film flam -- movie anagrams  Rearrange the letters of a title of a movie or play to make a new title, then describe the new work. (Conversational textMOV LET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chuck Helwig  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 12, 2018 1292  Golly gosh, it's Limerixicon XV  Supply a humorous, previously unpublished limerick significantly featuring any English word, name or term, beginning with "gl-" through "go-". (Conversational textLIM POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 19, 2018 1293  Constitutional unconvention  Humorously translate or explain some part of the U.S. Constitution. (Conversational textPOL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jon Gearhart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 26, 2018 1294  As the word turns  “Discover” a word or multiword term that consists of adjacent letters — in any direction or several directions — in the provided grid, and provide a humorous definition. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 2, 2018 1295  Really, now? A matter of degree.  Tell us an indication to some problem, followed by an even more dire sign. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Brian Allgar  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 9, 2018 1296  A, we're Adorbs: New-word poems  Use one or more of these words new to M-W.com in a humorous poem of eight lines max. (Conversational textWOR POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 16, 2018 1297  A different type o' headline contest  Change a letter in an article or ad in the Post or another publication dated Sept. 13-24 by adding or subtracting one letter; substituting a letter; transposing two letters; or changing spacing or punctuation; and then add a "bank head." (Conversational textHEA LET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 23, 2018 1298  It's IGH time for 3-word phrases  Make up some entity that might take a three-letter abbreviation of GHI, HGI, GGG, GHH, etc., and then humorously describe it. (Conversational textLET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Kevin Mettinger  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 30, 2018 1299  OK, hivemind! A contest with new Scrabble words  Choose any two of the words in the provided list as the beginning and end of a humorous word chain of 6 to 14 words or phrases. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Kevin Dopart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 7, 2018 1300  Botch office sensations  Add "13" to an existing movie title, and some humorous trouble to the plot. (Conversational textMOV   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Dave Matuskey  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 14, 2018 1301  Tell us a Fib(onacci)  Write a humorous poem of 20 syllables divided among six lines like this: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8. And a least two -- any two -- of the lines must rhyme. (Conversational textPOE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Duncan Stevens  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 21, 2018 1302  Ask Backwards 37  Fifteen "answers" are provided. Tell us the questions. Do one or more, up to a total of 25 A&Q's. (Conversational textJEO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Bob Kruger  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 28, 2018 1303  Neologisms to di- for  Replace a digraph in an existing word or phrase with another digraph to make a new term. (Conversational textWOR LET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Tom Gleason  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 4, 2018 1304  All the muse that's fit to print  Present a "what if" scenario and explain its effect.  HIS CUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jesse Frankovich  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 11, 2018 1305  Hits and Googles  Find us either a Googlenope -- a phrase in quotation marks that generates no previous hits -- or a Googleyup, a phrase that surprisingly does have hits.  GOO WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Eric Nelkin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 18, 2018 1306  PolitiCaroling: A song parody contest  Write a song about something in the news lately -- political or otherwise -- using a Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year's tune.  MUS POL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Duncan Stevens  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 25, 2018 1307  One-for-one for all  Replace one letter in an existing word, name or multi-word phrase with one different letter (in the same place in the word) and define or describe the result.  WOR LET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jesse Frankovich  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 2, 2018 1308  Picture this -- or these  This week you have two choices: (1) Write a caption for one or more of these pictures, or (2) explain what is wrong with the picture. You might also combine two pictures into one -- or all four into one.  CAP   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jesse Frankovich  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 9, 2018 1309  The Year in Redo, Part 1  Enter (or reenter) any Style Invitational contest from Week 1255 through Week 1281.  PRE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Ellen Ryan  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 16, 2018 1310  The Year in Redo, Part 2  Enter (or reenter) any Style Invitational contest from Week 1282 through Week 1306.  PRE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Hildy Zampella  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 23, 2018 1311  Nextra! Nextra! The year in preview  Name some humorous event to happen in 2019.  CUL POL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Ira Allen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 30, 2018 1312  Neologisms in TOUR de Fours XV  Coin a word or multi-word term that contains the letter block T-O-U-R and describe it. The letters may be in any order. (Conversational textTDF   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 6, 2019 1313  Dead Letters -- our obit poem contest  Write a poem of no longer than eight lines about someone who died in 2018.  POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Robert Schechter  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 13, 2019 1314  Bill Us Now -- 'joint legislation'  Combine two or more names from the provided list of the new members of Congress to “co-sponsor” a bill based on their combined last names, and state its purpose  LEG   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jeffrey Contompasis  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 20, 2019 1315  Clue us in -- our reverse crossword  Supply clever, funny clues for as many as 25 of the 74 words and multi-word terms in the provided grid.  CRO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Calandra  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 27, 2019 1316  Lies, damn lies, with statistics  Tell us some bogus trivia using "statistics" or some bogus quantitative meaure.  TRI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Todd DeLap  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 3, 2019 1317  Punku 2: Haiku with puns  Create a haiku containing a pun or similar wordplay.  POE WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 10, 2019 1318  Love the tiny tail stain!  Create an anagram -- a phrase or sentence with the letters rearranged -- of any text (except merely someone's name), of any length.  ANA   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  J. J. Gertler  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 17, 2019 1319  The Tile Invitational VI  Create a five-, six-, or seven-letter word (or phrase) by scrambling the letters of any of the provided sets and define it.  LET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Danielle Nowlin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 24, 2019 1320  Questionable journalism  Find any sentence (or a substantive part of a sentence) that appears in the Post or another publication, in print or online, dated Feb. 21-March 4, and pair it with a question it might answer.  QUE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Beverley Sharp  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 3, 2019 1321  Pumping Prime: Amazon reviews  Send us a humorous "review" (like the provided samples from our earlier contests) for any of the provided items.  BUS CUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  David Hammond  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
YEAR 27 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 10, 2019 1322  Back to the drawing board  Come up with an idea for an invention that still needs a bug ironed out.  SCI BUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jeffrey Contompasis  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 17, 2019 1323  Selected shortened subjects  Delete one or more letters from the beginning or end (or both) of a movie title and describe the resulting movie.  LET MOV   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  David Peckarsky  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 24, 2019 1324  Chapter and worse  Tell or describe a Bible story, or another classical or folk tale, very briefly (75 words would be lengthy) in the voice of a particular author or other person.  LIT   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 31, 2019 1325  Stand up and jeer  Give us some original standup jokes that would have been good at this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner.  POL JOK   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jesse Frankovich  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 7, 2019 1326  Foaling around  "Breed" any two names from the provided list of 100 horses and name the foal to reflect both names.  HOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Bill Dorner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 14, 2019 1327  Mess with our (or anyone's) heads  Reinterpret (or comment wryly on) a headline (or a big part of a headline) by writing a bank head, or subtitle.  HEA   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Duncan Stevens  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 21, 2019 1328  Hooked on 'classic': a do-over  Summarize a book or play by any author, or retell a scene (or even a moment) from one, in the style of some other person.  LIT   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 28, 2019 1329  Shakespeare + Thee: Tailgaters  Select any line from a work by Shakespeare (poetry or prose) and pair it with your own line to create a humorous rhyming couplet.  LIT   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Marni Penning Coleman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 5, 2019 1330  Spinoff x Time Is Now = Grandfoals Week!  "Breed" any two of the 65 foal names that got ink this week, and name the offspring to reflect both parents' names.  HOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jeff Hazle  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 12, 2019 1331  Paste Imperfect  Choose a headline or sentence from The Post or another publication, print or online, dated May 9-20, 2019. Then change that headline or other text by:
     A. Deleting up to 40 consecutive characters from it (put brackets around the deleted text);
     B. Adding up to 40 consecutive characters from the same article or ad (write the additions in capital letters);
     or C. Both A and B, as long as the added text goes at the end of your headline or sentence. 
HEA   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Duncan Stevens  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 19, 2019 1332  We'll call them Spellimericks  Write a humorous limerick that's an acrostic: a pertinent five-letter word or name spelled out by the first letter of each line.  LIM LET POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Hildy Zampella  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 26, 2019 1333  Check your (homo)phones  Invent a homophone--a word that sounds the same as an existing word but is spelled differently--and define it.  WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Richardson  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 2, 2019 1334  Mull 'er over: A search for collision  Combine any two words, names, abbreviations, etc., from anywhere in the redacted Mueller report, in a two-word or hyphenated phrase and define it.   WOR POL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Steve "Potomac" Smith  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 9, 2019 1335  Put it in bee-verse! Or . . .   Write a humorous poem of eight lines or fewer that includes at least one of the provided words, used in Round 9 or later of this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee; OR: write a joke in Q&A form that uses at least one of the words.  WOR POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jesse Frankovich  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 16, 2019 1336  Two ways about it  What's something (printable) you could say in two -- or more -- of the provided situations.    Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Rob Cohen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 23, 2019 1337  Lidder me this: anagram riddles  Write a Q&A joke (or an A followed by a Q, if you're into "Jeopardy!") in which the punchline contains an anagram or one or more relevant words or names.  ANA JEO JOK QUE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 30, 2019 1338  Picture This -- cartoon captions  Supply a caption for one or more of the provided cartoons.  CAP CAR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jean Sorensen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 7, 2019 1339  Songs for a modern error  Write humorous lyrics about some modern woe, set to a familiar tune. (Conversational textPOE MUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Duncan Stevens  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 14, 2019 1340  Not-ables -- slightly alter a famous name  Slightly alter the name (make sure the original is obvious) of a famous personage -- past or present, real or fictional -- and describe the resulting nonpersonage, or offer a quote from that person, or both.  LET CUL HIS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jonathan Jensen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 21, 2019 1341  Portmanteautapping from E to R  Coin a portmanteau word beginning with E through R, in which the words overlap by at least two letters, and describe it.  LET WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Gary Crockett  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 28, 2019 1342  MRGRS: Mash 2 abbrevs.  Combine two acronyms or other abbreviations, whether of entities or expressions, into one big one, and describe it, offer a slogan for the new organization, etc.  LET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Danielle Nowlin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 4, 2019 1343  The Empress pleads no contest  It's been a couple of years, but the Empress gives you a break this week from your sacred obligation to submit Style Invitational entries every seven days ad infinitum.    Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version     
August 11, 2019 1344  Well, that's just great -- It’s Limerixicon XVI  Supply a humorous, previously unpublished limerick significantly featuring any English word, name or term beginning with "gr-".  LIM LET WOR POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 18, 2019 1345  The confaketionary -- food fictoids  Tell us some comically false "fact" about food, drink or dining.  TRI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Byron Hoover  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 25, 2019 1346  AZ if -- balancing acts  Think of a new word or two-word phrase that begins and ends -- either way -- with one of the provided "alphabetically balanced" pairs.  LET WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Steve "Potomac" Smith  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 1, 2019 1347  Reologisms  Write a clever, funny definition for any of the provided Loser-concocted words and phrases, and/or show they'd be used.  WOR DEF   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Bob Kruger  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 8, 2019 1348  Same difference  Explain humorously how any two or more of the provided items are alike, different or otherwise connected.  DIF   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jon Ketzner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 15, 2019 1349  Revise and extend these remarks  Go to congress.gov/congressional-record and click on the PDF for any day's Congressional Record. Choose any sentence (or substantial part of one) and write a question that it could answer.  POL QUE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Sam Mertens  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 22, 2019 1350  Here's inspo for new-word poems  Write a poem of eight lines or fewer featuring one or more of these recent additions to m-w.com.  POE WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
September 29, 2019 1351  What concept will you be for Halloween?  Give us a creative, clever idea for a timely Halloween costume (for one or more people) or an idea for a party or other activity. You may even send us a photo of an actual new costume you've created this year.    Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Hildy Zampella  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 6, 2019 1352  Hee-rotica -- Steamy prose for unsteamy life  Write a short steamy scene (100 words would be considered long) about a non-steamy event. (Conversational textLAN   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jeff Strong  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 13, 2019 1353  What's playing at the retroplex  Change a movie title to its "opposite" by reversing one or more words; then describe the new movie. (Conversational textMOV WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jesse Rifkin  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 20, 2019 1354  As the Word turns 5: Taking our vowels  "Discover" a word or multiword term that consists of adjacent letters -- in any direction or several directions -- in the provided grid, and provide a humorous definition. (Conversational textWOR LET   Text file | Post PDF  Sam Mertens  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
October 27, 2019 1355  The inside word  Highlight part of a word, name or short phrase in "air quotes" to give the word a new meaning or description. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Hildy Zampella  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 3, 2019 1356  Ask Backwards 38  Sixteen "answers" are provided. Tell us the questions. (Conversational textJEP   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jonathan Jensen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 10, 2019 1357  It's parody time!  Write a satirical song about anything in the news right now, set to a familiar tune. (Conversational textMUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Hildy Zampella  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 17, 2019 1358  What to your wondering eyes will appear?  Write a humorous passage -- a "quote", an observation, a joke, a dialogue, a poem, anything -- using only words that appear in "A Visit From St. Nicholas" (a.k.a "The Night Before Christmas"). (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Duncan Stevens  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
November 24, 2019 1359  Back up in the air (quotes)  Write a sentence or two and highlight an "air quote" that spans two or more words (and two sentences if you like). (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Matt Monitto  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 1, 2019 1360  The lyin' in winter: Seasonal fictoids  Give us some untrue trivia about winter or things that occur in winter.  TRI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 8, 2019 1361  2020 vision -- the year in preview  Name some humorous news event to happen in 2020. (Conversational textCUL POL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Duncan Stevens  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 15, 2019 1362  The Year in Redo, Part 1  Enter (or reenter) any Style Invitational contest from Week 1307 through 1333, except for Weeks 1309-1311. (Conversational textPRE STY   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Kevin Dopart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 22, 2019 1363  The Year in Redo, Part 2  Enter (or reenter) any Style Invitational contest from Week 1334 through Week 1359. (Conversational textPRE STY   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Duncan Stevens  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
December 29, 2019 1364  Clue us in  Supply clever, funny clues for as many as 25 of the words and multi-word terms in the provided grid. (Conversational textCRO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Tom Witte  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 5, 2020 1365  Dead Letters, our obit poem contest  Write a poem of eight lines or fewer (plus an optional title) about someone who died in 2019. (Conversational textPOE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 12, 2020 1366  Tour de Fours XVI -- It's the LIAR club  Coin a word or multi-word term that contains the letter block L-I-A-R and describe it. (Conversational textTDF   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Bill Dorner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 19, 2020 1367  Pick me up at work, okay?  Give a pickup line from someone in a particular profession, or from a particular person or fictional character. (Conversational textCUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Alan Duxbury  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
January 26, 2020 1368  Picture This -- cartoon captions  Supply a caption for one or more of the provided cartoons. (Conversational textCAP   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Sam Mertens  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 2, 2020 1369  Shoot us some oops  Tell us a concise original joke that revolves around a typo or misheard word. (Conversational textJOK WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 9, 2020 1370  What's in a name?  Write something about a well-known person, real or fictional, using only the letters in that person's name. (Conversational textLET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Melissa Balmain  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 16, 2020 1371  The Tile Invitational VII  Create a five-, six-, or seven-letter word (or phrase) by scrambling the letters of any of the provided sets and define it. (Conversational textLET   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Duncan Stevens  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
February 23, 2020 1372  Trash talking, 1880-style  Write a quatrain or -- heck -- two of Balliol rhyme about some person. (Conversational textPOE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Nan Reiner  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 1, 2020 1373  Prime time for some Amazon reviews  Send us a humorous "review" for any of the provided Amazon-listed items. (Conversational textBUS CUL   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  David Prevar  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
YEAR 28 BEGINS
PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
March 8, 2020 1374  Versus' verses in a rap battle  Write a mini-"rap" between any two characters, real or fictional, as in the provided ERB example. (Conversational textPOE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Gary Crockett  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 15, 2020 1375  Mess With Our Heads  Reinterpret an actual headline (or a major part of it) by adding a bank head, or subtitle. (Conversational textHEA   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Michelle Christophorou  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 22, 2020 1376  Get thee to a funnery  Add a character (or more) to a Shakespeare play and supply some resulting dialogue. (Conversational textLIT   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mike Gips  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 29, 2020 1377  Make your own March Madness  Think of some sport, game, art project or other activity that you can conjure up using various items that you might find around the house. (Conversational textATH   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  John O'Byrne  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 5, 2020 1378  It's (emergency) Parody Time  Write a song about life in the Age of Corona, set to a familiar tune (or even one of your own, if you perform it on video). (Conversational textMUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 12, 2020 1379  Your wish: A pun -- a star  Tell a joke, in your choice of form, whose punchline is a pun on a song title or lyric. (Conversational textJOK WOR MUS   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chris Doyle  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 19, 2020 1380  Both sides now  Delete one or more letters (in a row) from a word or brief phrase to find another word, and define it. (Conversational textLET WOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Kevin Dopart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 26, 2020 1381  Let's be equinoxious with fictoids about spring  Tell us some untrue trivia about springtime or things that happen or happened in the spring. (Conversational textTRI FIC   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jonathan Jensen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 3, 2020 1382  For us, it's still Post Time  "Breed" any two names from the provided list of 100 of the 145 previous Kentucky Derby winners, from 1875 to 2019, and name the foal to humorously reflect the parents' names. (Conversational textHOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 10, 2020 1383  Questionable Journalism  Choose any sentence (not a headline) in an article or ad in The Washington Post or another publication dated May 7 through May 18, and write a question it might humorously answer. (Conversational textQUE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Ellen Raphaeli  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 17, 2020 1384  Of course there are stupid questions!  Give us stupid questions, especially ones reflecting Our Current Situation. (Conversational textQUE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Kevin Dopart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 24, 2020 1385  Don't you want to see new places?  Change any place name slightly and describe the new place. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Ben Sack  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
May 31, 2020 1386  Colt following: It's the grandfoals!  "Breed" any two of the 70 foal names that got ink this week and name the offspring to reflect both parents' names. (Conversational textHOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Steve Fahey  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 7, 2020 1387  Movie clips -- drop letters from the middle of a title  Delete one or more letters (they must be consecutive) from the middle of a movie title, and describe the resulting new movie. (Conversational textLET MOV   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Sue Lin Chong  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 14, 2020 1388  Turning around a business  Create a business, product, organization or similar entity that contains a word, name or phrase and its anagram, and describe it. (Conversational textBUS ANA   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Kevin Dopart  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 21, 2020 1389  TankaWanka 4: Haiku plus tu  Write a TankaWanka about something that's been in the news lately. (Conversational textPOE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
June 28, 2020 1390  'Same difference' for a new time  Explain how any two of the items in the provided list are similar, different or otherwise linked. (Conversational textDIF   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jesse Frankovich  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 5, 2020 1391  No-covid zone -- a neologism contest  Coin a new word or phrase that lacks C, O, V, I and D and describe it. (Conversational textWOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Jesse Frankovich  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 12, 2020 1392  Picture this -- caption these cartoons  Write a caption, either descriptive or in dialogue, for any of the provided Bob Staake cartoons. (Conversational textCAP CAR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 19, 2020 1393  Second chance (acned conches?) for anagrams  Describe any of the provided anagram businesses, or offer its slogan. (Conversational textANA BUS SLO   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Edmund Conti  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
July 26, 2020 1394  Two movies, one line  Cite a real or coined line, or give a description, that could work for two different movies, plays or TV shows. (Conversational textMOV   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Duncan Stevens  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 2, 2020 1395  Add nauseam: A plus-one contest  Add a "plus one" to some familiar numerical grouping, true or fictional (Conversational text   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Rob Cohen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 9, 2020 1396  Hail Limerixicon XVII: Write a limerick featuring a 'ha-' word  Supply a humorous, previously unpublished limerick significantly featuring any English word, name or term beginning with "ha-". (Conversational text) (Limerick GuideLIM POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Melissa Balmain  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 16, 2020 1397  Trope springs eternal  Use any of the four provided standard settings -- (a) desert island, (b) bartender at a bar, (c) desert, (d) psychiatrist next to a couch -- and describe a cartoon that includes your choice of characters, along with a caption. (Conversational textCAR CAP   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Rob Cohen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
August 23, 2020 1398  This is the year that is  Describe the year 2020 in a novel, colorful metaphor or simile. You may also offer an original graphic. (Conversational text   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version     
August 30, 2020 1399  The lie-zy days of summer  Tell us some bogus trivia about the summer or things that happen or have happened in the summer. (Conversational textTRI   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version     
September 6, 2020 1400  Back on track with our classic 'foal' contest  "Breed" any two of the provided names of the 100 horses nominated for the 2020 Triple Crown races and name the "foal" to humorously reflect the parents' names. (Conversational textHOR   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version     
September 13, 2020 1401  How hai? A joke-haiku contest  Write a joke (roughly) in the "It's so xxx" genre as a haiku. (Conversational textPOE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version     
September 20, 2020 1402             
September 27, 2020 1403             
October 4, 2020 1404             
October 11, 2020 1405             
October 18, 2020 1406             
October 25, 2020 1407             
November 1, 2020 1408             
November 8, 2020 1409             
November 15, 2020 1410             
November 22, 2020 1411             
November 29, 2020 1412             
December 6, 2020 1413             
December 13, 2020 1414             
December 20, 2020 1415             
December 27, 2020 1416             
January 3, 2021 1417             
January 10, 2021 1418             
January 17, 2021 1419             
January 24, 2021 1420             
January 31, 2021 1421             
February 7, 2021 1422             
February 14, 2021 1423             
February 21, 2021 1424             
February 28, 2021 1425             
YEAR 29 BEGINS