Style Invitational Week 1185: The Rorschach of the Crowd — interpret
these ink blots

Plus the winning funny poems using spelling bee words like
‘epistaxis’ (nosebleed)

Tell us what you see in these ink blots, and we’ll decide (but won’t
tell) what that says about you. (Inkblots personally blotted by Bob
Staake for The Washington Post)
By Pat Myers Entertainment
July 21

(Click here to skip down <#report> to the winning funny poems that
feature spelling bee words)

Here’s a contest that the Empress’s predecessor, the Czar, did three
times in the 1990s, way back in Weeks 30, 77 and 148 (the last one
labeled “IV.” Whatever). The contest is obvious: *This week: Interpret
one or more of these genuine symmetrical inkblots. You may look at them
upside down or sideways, * but you need to let us know. In return, we
will diagnose (but not publicly disclose) your humor affliction.

*Submit entries at this website: (all
lowercase) . *

Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial
the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational
trophy. Second place receives this utterly fabulous fuzzy spiked
dinosaur/dragon hat with a train of soft spikes. Donated by Dave Prevar
and modeled at a recent Loser brunch by Margaret Stevens, the adorable
6-year-old daughter of Ubiquitous Loser Duncan Stevens.

Loserling Margaret Stevens, 6-year-old daughter of Loser Duncan Stevens,
modeled this week’s second prize at a recent Loser brunch. Then we
snatched it back from her. (Pat Myers/The Washington Post)

*Other runners-up* win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug,
the older-model
“This Is Your Brain on Mugs” mug

or a vintage Loser T-shirt. Honorable mentions get one of our
lusted-after Loser magnets, “Magnet Dum Laude”

or “Falling Jest Short.”

First Offenders receive a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink

for their first ink). Deadline is Monday night, Aug. 1; results
published Aug. 21 (online Aug. 18). You may submit up to 25 entries per
contest. See contest rules and guidelines at
. The headline for this week’s results is by
Nan Reiner; the honorable-mentions subhead is by Chris Doyle. Join the
lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at /
./ “Like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day
on Facebook at /; / follow @StyleInvite
on Twitter.

*The Style Conversational *The Empress’s weekly online column, published
late Thursday afternoon, discusses each new contest and set of results.
Especially if you plan to enter, check it out at

And from The Style Invitational contest announced four weeks ago . . .

In Week 1181 we gave you a list of words that
were used in this year’s National Spelling Bee and asked you to include
one in a funny poem. Donald Trump is no doubt writing these down so he
can use them in his speeches.

4th place:

*Tourelle (tour-ELLE): a small tower or turret:
* “The towers I build all excel,”
Boasted Trump, “and the one where I dwell
Is the pinnacle — theirs
Hardly even compares!
They should call it the Eiffel Tourelle.”
(Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

3rd place:

*Solenoglyphous (Sol-e-NOG-li-fus), having fangs that fold into the
mouth: *
“Your solenoglyphous fangs are spectaculah!
They are awesome (to use the vernaculah)
’Cause they fold up inside
Till you open up wide —
I asp-pire to be like you!” Signed: Dracula
(Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

2nd place

/and the books “How Animals Have Sex” and “Humpy the Moose”:


// *Solmizate, to sing musical notes with their letter names, as in
do-re-mi (aka solfeggio):
*The music teacher warbled, “This vocation can elate!
I tested all my pupils on how well they solmizate.
It warmed my heart to hear them; from each Do to So to Do,
They made my spirit sing with their divine solfeggio.
They passed with flying colors — all but little Donny T.
No matter what the music said, he just sang ‘Mi, Mi, Mi.’ ” (Nan Reiner,
Boca Raton, Fla.)

And the winner of the Inkin’ Memorial:

*Mischsprache (mish-SHPRA-cha[throad-clearing sound]), a language
combining two or more languages:*
In Paris, Rhett Butler knew well not to mock a
Young lady who spoke in a form of mischsprache.
“Mon English eez mal, sir; how stupide I am!”
“Franglais, my dear? Ah just don’t give a damn.” (Chris Doyle, Denton,

Mis-bee-gotten: honorable mentions

*Ochlocracy (ock-LOCK-ra-see):
The rule by mob.
The rule by snob.
The rule by grump.
The rule by Trump. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

*Sophrosyne (suh-FROSS-uh-nee): prudence, self-control:*
*I.* If a don makes an offer you might just refuse,
Here’s advice from a guy with a leg he can’t use:
A goombah’s unlikely to practice sophrosyne
Whacking a Louisville slugger across a knee. (Chris Doyle)

*II.* /A Modern Mantra/
Wisdom, judgment, wit and sense;
Sophrosyne, intelligence;
Keep these close and you will live a life without regret.
This is what will happen if you argue on the Internet. (Danielle Nowlin,
Fairfax Station, Va.)

*III.* How can we put a person forth to be the nation’s boss, and he
Be utterly devoid of any semblance of sophrosyne? (Nan Reiner)

*Strepitous (STREP-itous): noisy, boisterous:*
*I.* Here’s why geezers aren’t strepitous:
They are, simply too decrepitous. (Mae Scanlan, Washington)

*II.* It was placid on my street in Boise,
Till new neighbors moved in — wow, they’re noisy!
With this strepitous crew,
There’s not much I can do —
Who would shush “the Sopranos, from Joisey”? (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

*Alpargata (AL-par-GAH-ta), a canvas slip-on shoe with a rope sole: *
You wonder if I am a dork?
I think you’ll see there’s not a
Doubt I am — I’m wearing socks
inside my alpargata. (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)

*Aplustre (a-PLUS-tree), the curved ornamental stern of a Greek or Roman
* /The Climax of “The Little Mermaid”/
The Sea Witch gets speared with a broken aplustre,
Thus turning the maritime weather less blustery. (Matt Monitto, Bristol,

*Piqueur (pee-CUR), the supervisor of hounds during a hunt:*
From some disagreement on when they should let the hounds out for the fox,
Two hot-tempered hunt club attendants pulled up and proceeded to box.
The huntsman, embarrassed in front of the riders all up in their saddles,
Apologetically glanced at the pair and just shrugged, “Piqueur battles.”
(Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

*Epistaxis (epi-STAX-is), a nosebleed:
* He took her to a concert, and they got there right on time;
But little did she know they’d have a monumental climb.
As up up up they made their way, down down went her affection;
He’d bought the cheapest seats up in the epistaxis-section. (Beverley

*Pilcrow (pill-crow), a paragraph symbol:
*“Oh, honey,” the editor’s email lamented,
“The car is [a pilcrow]” (read “slightly indented”). (Rob Cohen,
Potomac, Md.)

*Myiasis (my-EYE-a-sis), maggot infestation:
* Myiasis occurs when maggots make their home in you
And tunnel through your flesh like you are human barbecue.
It’s thoroughly disgusting and I hope this poem’s a winner
’Cause when I did the image search I nearly lost my dinner. (George-Ann
Rosenberg, Washington)

*Tyee (tye-ee), a large salmon:*
Here’s a curious case you might like to examine:
One sale, two arrivals concurrent.
Tom had run to the store: “I was first to that salmon!”
Said Jimmy, a cyclist: “You weren’t!”
Very shortly, the magistrate pounded his gavel;
His verdict was clearly a stunner:
“When the gentlemen differ in manner of travel,
The tyee must go to the runner.” (Matt Monitto)

*Campagnol (CAM-pa-NYOL), the European field vole*
*I. *. . . In there stepped a tiny rodent, rather smaller than a mole.
Not a bit of cheddar ate he, not a bit of time would wait he,
Before, acting nice and matey, he curled up upon the sole,
Curled upon the ridgèd rubber of my tattered sneaker’s sole.
Curled, and sniffed: a little vole.

Then this fuzzy beast a-lurking set my countenance to smirking
By the big incisors working on the footwear that it stole —
“Though my tears be all too bitter, thou,” I said, “art one cute critter.
What art thou, to choose to fritter time away in this sad hole?
Tell me what the people call thee, in this European hole!”
Quoth the rodent, “Campagnol.”
(Sarah Jay, Churchville, Md.)

*II.* I’d never seen a mushroom with a head
or four legs and a tail; I was distraught!
I asked to have the soup du jour instead,
and checked the menu. Ah, what I had thought
was /champignon/

was campagnol, a vole
from Europe (not a tasty fungus – no)
that’s roasted slowly and you eat it whole.
“. . . No, wait! Forget the soup . . . I think I’ll go.”
(Jayne Osborn, Wellingborough. England)

*Chremslach ([throat-clearing sound]rems-la[throat-clear]): pancakes
made of matzah, often filled with prunes, served during Passover*
When it’s Pesach, we toss out the bread,
And we eat only matzoh instead,
So some chremslach is needed
To unstick what’s impeded
‘Cause the prunes bring relief in the head. (Mark Raffman)

*Still running — deadline Monday night, July 25: our contest to nominate
another presidential candidate. See
. *