Week 684: Backtricking

Skrod: Fish that are always swimming upstream.

eFink: An online writer known for ad hominem attacks.

Nword: Something that gets you in really deep trouble.

Here's an elegantly simple contest we did 139 weeks ago that produced a
wondrous bounty of results, including the conveniently short examples
above, by Losers Tom Witte, Mike Cisneros and Russell Beland,
respectively: Spell a word backward and define the result, somehow
relating the definition to the original word . The backward versions of
proper nouns are welcome. You can see the results of the original
contest, Week 545, here. Don't send those entries again, please, even
though this leaves you with only tens of thousands of other words to
choose from.

Winner gets the Inker, the official Style Invitational trophy. First
runner-up receives the book "Everything I Ate: A Year in the Life of My
Mouth," which contains a photograph of each thing the author ate for all
366 days of 2004, from Cheerios to blanquette de veau. (If the Empress
had compiled this book, it would have been twice its 496 pages.)

Here's the latest generation of Loser Magnets for Honorable Mention
winners, created of course by the Honorable Bob Staake. The wording was
suggested by Losers long ago in the form of titles for HM results. These
magnets will do us for about another year; suggestions are always welcome
for the next set.

Other runners-up win a coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt.
Honorable Mentions (or whatever they're called this week) get one of the
lusted-after Style Invitational Magnets. One prize per entrant per week.
Send your entries by e-mail to losers@washpost.comor by fax to
202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday, Oct. 23. Put "Week 684" in the subject
line of your e-mail, or it risks being ignored as spam. Include your
name, postal address and phone number with your entry. Contests are
judged on the basis of humor and originality. All entries become the
property of The Washington Post. Entries may be edited for taste or
content. Results will be published Nov. 12. No purchase required for
entry. Employees of The Washington Post, and their immediate relatives,
are not eligible for prizes. Pseudonymous entries will be disqualified.
The Honorable Mentions name is by Tom Witte. The revised title for next
week's contest is by Phyllis Reinhard.

Report From Week 680, in which we asked for dialogue to fill the balloons of these four Bob
Staake cartoons.

Lots of people -- one of whom gets ink -- went with the
Goldilocks theme for Cartoon C.

4 Cartoon C: "The ranger called again."

"I told you I never saw that hiker. Want some of this power bar?"

(Ned Bent, Oak Hill)

3 Cartoon A: "It's not what you think, dear -- I mistook your bra for my

"Just stay away from me -- it hurts to run right now!"

(Kerry Humphrey, Woodbridge)

2 The winner of lunch with the Empress at the "Wafle Shop" in Alexandria:
Cartoon B: "Is this a good thing to eat on Yom Kippur?"

"Okaaay, Senator Allen, let's back up a little . . ."

(Kevin Dopart, Washington)
And the Winner of the Inker

Cartoon D: "I need that cheese for energy."

"Go for it. You'll be greeted as a liberator."

(Ned Bent, Oak Hill)


Cartoon A

"Soylent Green is spinach!"

"Is that why we've got the runs?"

(Stephen Dudzik, Olney)

"Isn't it great how much gas we're saving by jogging to work?"

"I just think it's dumb to have to run right beside you so we can use the
HOV lane."

(Roger Dalrymple, Gettysburg, Pa.)

"I hear caffeine may increase excitability, but I have yet to see the


(Jay Shuck, Minneapolis)

"Our shadows are freakishly distorted!"

"I knew if they messed with Pluto there'd be repercussions!"

(Stephen Dudzik)

"These hurdler's stretches would be easier if we changed out of our
church clothes."

"It'd also be nice if you didn't leave your socks lying around the room."

(Greg McGrew, Leesburg)

"Quick! before they run out of flying hats!"

"Oh, no! I think I see a 'sold out' sign on the fingers booth!"

(Joe Newman, Middletown, Conn.)

"Hurry up, they're right behind us!"

"I miss the days when The Post just called to ask us to subscribe."

(Jeff Brechlin, Eagan, Minn.)

"But see, Empress, wait, what made my entry the best was that the
bartender was in fact a chicken, and -- "

"Russell, you gotta get a life!"

(Jeff Brechlin; Tom Witte, Montgomery Village)

Cartoon B

"What did I do wrong here?"

"I think the recipe meant put the lobster in beer, dear, not put beer in
the lobster."

(Ed Gordon, Hollywood, Fla.)

"You're the one who wanted to go out."

"Yes, but I thought dinner and a horror movie would be separate events."

(Drew Bennett, Alexandria)

"Madame Zena, shouldn't you be using a crystal ball for this?"

"Usually I do, but it's my husband's bowling night."

(Elliott Schiff, Allentown, Pa.)

"They didn't give us any lobster picks."

"We could use our noses."

(Roy Ashley, Washington)

Cartoon C

"Mother is visiting this weekend."

"Okay, but I can't promise I won't disembowel her."

(Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

"Here. One beer: not too hot, not too cold, yada yada yada."

"Okay, great. Now go make the bed. And remember, not too hard this time."

(Jessica Lynne Mathews, Arlington)


"Yeah, otherwise, I'm up till February."

(Jay Shuck)

"Ease up, Martha, I'm not feeling well. And I AM man's best friend."

"I am not a man. You are not my best friend. So take your own #$%$& urine
sample to the vet."

(Judith Cottrill, New York)

"You call it hibernating, I call it vegging out -- you're watching people
play CARDS, for pete's sake!"

"You call it antiquing, I call it paying good money for someone else's
junk. You're going to DUMFRIES, for pete's sake!"

(Cy Gardner, Arlington)

Cartoon D

Mouse: "Your dad gave me this present."

Bee: "Oh, good. I thought he didn't approve of our relationship."

(Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

"We face this Weapon of Mouse Destruction every day."

"As your national security adviser, I suggest you learn to make your own

(Howard Walderman, Columbia)

"I think the people who live here are trying to kill me."

"Well, maybe they don't know you're lactose-intolerant."

(Kerry Humphrey)

"What is this, some kind of trick?"

"Yeah, looks like the old bait-and-squish."

(Dave Prevar, Annapolis)

"Hmm, this'll be tough."

"Hey, try pollinating a Venus fly trap."

(Jay Shuck)

"In that sleep of death what dreams may come

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil . . ."

"Hey, buddy, can you hurry it up? I'm on day 20 of a 21-day life cycle,
and I'm hungry!

(Elwood Fitzner, Valley City, N.D.)

"I knew it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart!"

"Michael, ya gotta believe me! They said you wouldn't get hurt. They just
wanted to scare you. But I never thought it would be . . . a trap."

(Cy Gardner)

Next Week: Ticket to Write, or Apple Turnovers