Style Invitational Week 1262: Clue us in

An especially challenging backward-crossword; plus Part 2 of our
1217 Kook’s Tour

(Grid by Evan Birnholz/
By Pat Myers By Pat Myers

January 11

Follow @PatMyersTWP //

(Click here to skip down <#report> to the winning entries in our
retrospective contest)

*ANTIQUE: Phone more than two years old*

*FAQ: Useful tips at*

*ITSPAT: What the camel did when asked to pass through the eye of a needle

Once again, we present a filled-in crossword grid and ask you to supply
clues for one or more of the answers. But it looks to be more of a
challenge than usual: This time, Washington Post Sunday Puzzle Guy Evan
Birnholz has supplied the Empress with a crossword from his own
archives, at, that’s, well, devilish: For one thing, it
has a lot of people’s names. For another, some of Evan’s own wordplay is
inkworthy in itself: For instance, his clue for ERASES is “Draws a
blank?” But let’s give it a go: *This week: Supply one or more creative
clues for the filled-in crossword grid above — as many as 25 clues in all.*

Week 1232: Despite Peg’s best efforts, her co-workers continued to
misinterpret “Me too” as “Meat? Ooh!” (Steve Honley, Washington) "It's
okay, it’s okay — I said Mr. CROSBY would like to meet you." (Roger
Dalrymple, Gettysburg, Pa.) (Bob Staake/for The Washington Post )

Please write each entry on its own line, as “WORDFROMTHEGRID (without
spaces even if you interpret it as multiple words): [your clue],” as in
the examples at the top of the column. This will let the Empress sort
the entries without producing her famous Howls of Utter Judging Despair.
You can see Evan’s clues at
or in list form in this week’s Style
Conversational column at
(published late Thursday afternoon).

Submit your entries at the website **
(all lowercase).

Winner gets the *Lose Cannon,

* our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives /such/ a Loserly
prize: It’s a how-to video for doing something that hardly anyone does
anymore — in a medium that’s also almost entirely obsolete. And so
deepest thanks to Daphne Steinberg for donating a mint-condition copy of
“Dance the Macarena”
— on VHS tape.

*Other runners-up *win our “You Gotta Play to Lose”
Mug or our Grossery Bag, “I Got a B in Punmanship.”
Honorable mentions get one of our
lusted-after Loser magnets, “No Childishness Left Behind”
“Magnum Dopus,”

or more likely their successors, now being created. First Offenders
receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink

for their first ink). *Deadline is Monday night, Jan. 22; *results
published Feb. 11 (online Feb. 8). See general contest rules and
guidelines at . The headline
for this week’s results is by Beverley Sharp; Tom Witte wrote the
honorable-mentions subhead. Join the Style Invitational Devotees group
on Facebook at / ./ “Like” 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 four weeks ago . . .

In *Week 1258, * the second half of our
Kook’s Tour of last year’s contests, the Empress invited you to enter
(or reenter) Weeks 1230 through 1254, which ran June through November;
some entries focus on more recent events.

4th place

*// * *Week 1251, things to be thankful for:// *
I’m thankful for my favorite things to eat, puppies, and Oxford commas.
(Jesse Frankovich, Grand Ledge, Mich.)

3rd place

*Week 1242, then/now jokes: *
/Then:/ Nazis marching in the streets.
/Now:/ . . . Well, technically, they’re neo-Nazis.
(Thor Rudebeck, Chicago)

2nd place

and the nose-basketball game:
*Week 1235, song parodies about science: *
/To the tune of “Under the Sea”
from “The Little
New houses built on the ocean
Are truly a sad mistake.
You dream about water views, bud?
Best find yourself some nice lake.
Antarctica’s calving icebergs;
Warm water fills up more space.
The coastline you see today will
Soon be in a different place.
Under the sea, under the sea,
Thermal expansion won’t let your mansion stay water-free.
We’ve got no precious little tyke
To keep his finger in the dike.
Miami Beachers may become creatures
Under the sea.
(Perry Beider, Silver Spring, Md.)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:

*Week 1254, change a company name by one letter:* *
Philip Mortis:* The tobacco company adopts a name that better reflects
its business. (William Kennard, Arlington, Va.)

So last year: Honorable mentions

*Week 1230, creation dialogues: * /The chicken:/ “And at the exact
instant, I shall create its egg, thereby vexing humans for eternity!”
(Bill Dorner, Indianapolis)

*Week 1230, creation dialogues: *
Labor1: Someone left bar codes on some of the horses!
Labor2: I am /so/ sorry. Want me to fix it now?
Creator: Meh. Accidents happen and it’s too late now.
Labor3: Someone left bar codes on some of the big cats!
Creator: You had ONE job… (David Friedman, Los Angeles)

*Week 1232, cartoon captions: *
/See the captions by Steve Honley and Roger Dalrymple in the cartoon on
the left side of this page. /

*Week 1235, song parodies about science and technology:
* To “Cocaine”
If your head’s getting bare, it’s time to grow some hair: Rogaine.
If you’re hoping to sprout, come try this stuff out: Rogaine.
On your top, it won’t stop--grow a mop!

When a follicle’s dead, it can restart your head, Rogaine.
Give the ladies a thrill, use minoxidil, Rogaine.
Baldness gone, chicks will fawn — grow a lawn!
Rogaine. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna , Va.)

** *Week 1239, combine two or more movie titles: *
“Doctor Zhivago, This Is Spinal Tap”: A poorly trained Russian immigrant
physician must rely on his nurse’s expertise to avert medical disaster.
(Hildy Zampella, Falls Church, Va.)

*Week 1240, limericks with a gh- or gi- word:*
Said the daughter, “Let’s not have a tiff:
Use a hard ‘g’ like ‘giving’ or ‘glyph.’
For this kind of a file,
There is only one style —”
No, said Mom: “Choosy mothers choose ‘.gif.’ (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

*Week 1242, then/now jokes: *
Then: Coal jobs,
Now: LOL! Jobs?! (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

Then: Going to a dictionary to find out what “online” means.
Now: Going online to find out what “dictionary” means. (Neal Starkman,

Then: The Reagan years — More Ron! More Ron!
Now: The Trump years – (homophone redacted) (Bruce Carlson, Alexandria,

Then: You look forward to your senior prom.
Now: You look forward to your senior discount. (Beverley Sharp,
Montgomery, Ala.)

*Week 1243, neologisms that don’t include a T, R, U, M or P:*
Slease: What you sign to rent a room by the hour. (Warren Tanabe,
Annapolis, Md.)

*Week 1245, stupid complaints to the editor:
* On the front page, you wrote “Tomorrow shower.” Please be advised that
I shower every day and don’t need personal hygiene tips from you! (Mark

*Week 1246, pair a sentence from a Post article with a question it might
A. “We’re dealing with it.”
Q. “President Trump, what are you and your team doing with that not-full
deck? (Beverley Sharp)

A. “They got me a stool.”
Q. Secretary Mnuchin, what birthday gift did “the American people” leave
on your doorstep? (Ellen Ryan, Rockville, Md.)

A. Santa arrived by helicopter in Panama City, Fla.; by parachute in
Thousand Oaks, Calif; and alongside a marching band in Minneapolis.
Q. How has the animal rights movement affected the North Pole
transportation system? (Ellen Ryan)

*Week 1247, dialogue from a reinterpreted movie title: *
“Twelve Angry Men”: “And with that penalty for too many players on the
field, the Redskins are once again forced to punt . . .” (Roy Ashley,

“The Dirty Dozen”: “Ew, what happened to these bagels?” (Jonathan
Caws-Elwitt, Northampton, Mass.)

*Week 1248, (Un)True Confessions: *
You know that person at the coffee shop who orders a small (but in a
large cup please so it can cool) peppermint half-cappuccino, half-latte
with two espresso shots, almond milk, and coffee grinds only from
countries that operate sustainable agriculture cooperatives? Well,
that’s me. (Sean Bender-Prouty, Arlington, Va.)

I like to fill an unused poop bag with Tootsie Rolls and eat them at the
dog park. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

*Week 1250, poems featuring words used in a certain year for the first
time:* /
When my kid goes to the potty
I am there to supervise him
And all day I send him emails
(With his dad a :BCC)
Just to tell him he’s my baby
Though he just turned 23. (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)

*Week 1251, things to be thankful for: *
That when I got his email I noticed “The Central Bank of Nigeria”
rearranges to BET ON THE REAL AFRICAN KING. I almost didn’t give him my
PIN! (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

*Week 1252, new medications:
* ** Yomamamine: Treats extreme ugliness, obesity, stupidity and
easiness. (Jesse Frankovich)

Effineffin: Provides temporary relief of bad language among teens
hanging out, meeting Grandma, etc. Proven as effective as adult-strength
Bleepitol. (Frank Osen)

*Week 1253, fictoids about clothing and fashion: *
The now-infamous clothier Frederic Jacque stole the design of the
athletic supporter from German clothier Otto Schlongrabbë, to the relief
of athletes worldwide. (Stephen Litterst, Newark, Del.)

What Al Gore actually invented was the hairnet. (Jesse Frankovich)

A Chicago haberdasher named his new fur hand-covers “Mittens” in honor
of his beloved, /very/ recently deceased cat. (Christy Tosatto,
Brookeville, Md.)

*Week 1254, change a company name by one letter (or switch two letters):*
Breibtart News: Scooping the most prurient political dirt. (David Patch,

*Still running — deadline Monday night, Jan. 15: our obit-poem contest,
See . *