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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.

THEME: WOR

PUB DATE WEEK TITLE SYNOPSIS THEMES LINKS TO THIS CONTEST WINNER LINKS TO RESULTS OF THIS CONTEST (usually published 2-4 Weeks later)
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 
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 
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 
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 
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 
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 
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 
May 28, 1995 115  THE MNEMONIC PLAGUE  Come up with new mnemonic devices to remember complicated lists.  WOR   Text file  Jacob Weinstein  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 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 
April 7, 1996 160  SEEKING WISE GUYS  Come up with cool new bad-guy terms.  WOR   Text file  Moe Hammond  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 
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 
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 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 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 
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 
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 
November 23, 1997 245  LIKE FUN  Complete any of the provided "A is like B because" sentences.  WOR   Text file  Dave Ferry  Text file 
December 28, 1997 250  OH, GREAT  Complete the sentence "Wouldn't it be great if …"  WOR   Text file  Barry Blyveis  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 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 
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 
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 
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 
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 
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 
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) 
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 
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 
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 
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 
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 
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 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 
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 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 
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 
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 
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 
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 
April 6, 2003 500  Ergo-Nomics  Create a sillygism--a syllogism that doesn't quite work.  WOR   Text file  Dan Dunn  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 
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 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 
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 
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 
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 
June 27, 2004 564  Redefine Print  Redefine any word from the dictionary.  WOR   Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
July 25, 2004 568  Tome Deftness  Make a pun or similar wordplay on a book title.  WOR LIT   Text file  Wayne Rodgers  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 
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 
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 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 
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 
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 
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 
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 
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 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 
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 
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 
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 
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 
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 
November 12, 2006 688  Making Short Work  Write a humorous six-word story.  LIT WOR   Text file  Michael Levy  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 
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 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 
August 12, 2007 726  Limerixicon 4  Supply a humorous limerick based on any word in the dictionary beginning with cl- through co-.  LIM WOR   Text file  Chris Strolin  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 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 
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 
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) 
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 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 
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 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 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 9, 2008 777  Limerixicon 5  Supply a humorous limerick featuring any English word, name or term beginning with the letters da-.  LIM WOR   Text file  Chris Doyle  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 
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 
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 
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 16, 2009 817  Flopflip  Reverse the first half and second half of a word or name and define the result.  WOR   Text file     
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 
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   Text file | Post e-version  Andrew Burnet  Text file | Post e-version 
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 
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 
November 28, 2009 845  Reologisms  Write a description for any of 50 genuine Loser-created neologisms.  WOR   Text file  Russell Beland  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 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 
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 13, 2010 860  Ten, Anyone?  Humorously define or describe something or someone in exactly 10 words.  WOR   Text file  Phil Frankenfeld  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 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 
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 
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) 
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 
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 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 
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 
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)  
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 
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 
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 
August 21, 2011 933  Stories that count (to 56)  Write a humorous story in exactly 56 words.  WOR   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 
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 
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 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 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 
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 
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 
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 
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) 
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 
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 
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 
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 
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 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 
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 
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 
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 
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 
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 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 
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 
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 
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 
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)
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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 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 
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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 
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 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 
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 
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 
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 
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 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 
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 
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 
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 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 
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 
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 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 
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 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 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 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 
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 
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 
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 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 
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 
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 
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 
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 
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 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 
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 
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 
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 
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 
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 
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   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  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 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 
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 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 
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 
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 
May 24, 2020 1385  Don't you want to see new places?  Change any place name slightly and describe the new place. (Conversational textWOR