Week 1280: A la‘ugh’ a minute with our ‘air quotes’ contest

*“Spa”ghetti: A plate of bean sprouts. (Melissa Balmain) *

*iP“hon”e: “Dear, we should talk. Can you look at me when we talk?”
(Ward Kay)*

*Se“dated”: Out for a romantic evening. — W. Cosby* (Kevin Dopart)

*Su“perv”isor: The boss who believes too strongly in “hands-on
management.”* (Brendan Beary)

For second place, a double from our Scatalogue. (Pat Myers/The
Washington Post )

Here’s a contest we’ve done five times over the past 18 years in exactly
the same way, but we never seem to run out of great material. So let’s
have at it one more time: *This week: Highlight part of a word, name or
short phrase in “air quotes” to give it a new meaning or description,*
as in the examples above, which all got ink in 2015 (Brendan Beary’s was
the winner). See this week’s Style Conversational column
— published late afternoon on Thursday, May 17
— for links to the previous sets of results.

Submit entries at the website *wapo.st/enter-invite-1280*
(all lowercase).

Winner gets the *Lose Cannon,

* our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a Double Whammy
from our Invite Scatalogue: both the Farts in a Can noise machine, with
“6 Fart Sounds” including “Loud and Proud,” “Booty Bomb” and “The
Squeaker”; and a roll of very thin toilet paper imprinted with 100-euro
currency (okay, pale pictures of 100-euro currency). Donated,
“respect”ively, by Nan Reiner and Roy Ashley.

*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, “We’ve Seen Better”
“IDiot Card.”

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

for their first ink). *Deadline is Tuesday night, May 29 *(go ahead,
enjoy your Memorial Day); results published June 17 (online June 14).
See general contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/InvRules
. The headline “A Show of Fours” is by Chris
Doyle; Kevin Dopart wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the
lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev
. “Like” Style Invitational Ink of the Day on
Facebook at bit.ly/inkofday ; follow
@StyleInvite on Twitter.

*The Style Conversational *The Empress’s weekly online column discusses
each new contest and set of results. Especially if you plan to enter,
check it out at wapo.st/styleconv

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

In *Week 1276, *we asked you to write a
limerick that ended in one of seven lines we supplied.

4th place

The front page I find to be vile,
While Metro just fills me with bile.
I’m a puppy in training,
but when I am straining
*I just like to do things in Style.*
(Kevin Tingley, Vienna, Va.)

3rd place

I give thanks to my papa and mama,
George Bush, and Michelle R. Obama —
Now don’t hiss, jeer or boo;
This thing proves it’s all true:
*A strategically placed Oxford comma.*
(Sharon Neeman, Kiryat Shmona, Israel, a First Offender)

2nd place

/and the Chia Uncle Si

plant “sculpture”:/
A magician’s assistant named Jen
Would be cut in half often, but then
She just disappeared
(With a stagehand, it’s feared)
*And they never saw her again. *(Dudley Thompson, Cary, N.C.)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:

Tweets, “There’s two terms for me, then I’m done,
Then Ivanka, then Jared, each son,
Then who? Was distressed
Till I met Kanye West,
*But now I have found Fifty-one.” *(Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

Four on the floor: Honorable mentions

With her, I did not go to bed!
I’ll sue to demand lots of bread!
She disclosed our embrace,
Which, uh, never took place.
*Well, that’s what the president said. *
(Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

Have your lawyer fork over a ton
So she won’t speak a word of your fun:
For leaving your lays,
Simon said “fifty ways,”
*But now I have found fifty-one! *(Jesse Frankovich, Grand Ledge, Mich.)

Was it dandruff? A stray bit of thread?
/Peut-être,/ a crumb of French bread?
Despite the strange dance
“It’s NOT a bromance.”
*(Well, that’s what the president said.)*
(John McCooey, Rehoboth Beach, Del.)

I once made a face at my brother,
A gnarled, ugly face like no other!
Alas, it got stuck!
Now I look like a duck!
*If only I’d listened to Mother!*
(Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.; Jesse Frankovich sent an almost
identical limerick)

In view of all Trump’s said and done,
A State of Despair has begun.
Fifty States, I recall,
And that once was all;
*But now I have found fifty-one.
*(Hugh Thirlway, The Hague)

At the sperm bank I left them a ton
For the money and, yes, for the fun
I thought that there’d be
A new kid, maybe three —
*But now I have found fifty-one.*
(Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.)

“Would you mind, while you’re making my bed,
Not inspiring our feelings of dread?
Though you work hard, that’s true,
Who brings crime? Why, it’s you!”
*(Well, that’s what the president said.) *
(Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

A tornado hit Twelve Hundred Penn
Wiping out just one small soundproof den.
We have learned from the past,
Mother Nature bats last.
*And they never saw Pruitt again. *(Beth Norcross, Arlington, Va., a
First Offender)

Said the Donald, “I’ve met Kim Jong Un,
And, believe me, I’m gaining a son.
Now we’ve married our fates,
We once had fifty states,
*But now I have found fifty-one.”*
(Frank Osen)

The ER nurse told me, “Oh, brother!
Such filth, I’ve ne’er seen on another.
Why didn’t you care
To wear clean underwear?”
*If only I’d listened to Mother. *(Rob Cohen, Potomac, Md.)

It’s ’36, Chelsea’s not calm:
Her campaign’s just been hit by a bomb:
Their brain wave discussions
Got leaked by the Russians —
*“If only I’d listened to Mom!” *(Duncan Stevens)

Fat Tuesday in N’Awlins? The bomb!
But today I roulayed les bon temps
Without aspirin to squeeze
’Tween my knees. Jeez Louise,
*If only I’d listened to Mom! *(Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

There was a young Fräulein, a cutie,
Who met a young prince from Djibouti.
“Der Prinz was divine,
But he’s left me, das Schwein!*
If only I’d listened to Mutti.” *(Ed Edwards, Worcester Park, Surrey,

My friends tried indulging their yen
For Spike Jonze flicks at Cinema 10,
But romantic sci-fi
Left them both high and dry.
*And they never saw “Her” again.* (Chris Doyle)

Nicolas Cage, who had captured a wren
Put the poor little bird in a pen,
But he felt so contrite
As it chirped through the night,
*And they never saw Nic cage again.* (Frank Osen)

The grammarians’ ball features drama,
As at last year’s big Grammararama,
Where one prof dressed for sin,
Clad, it seems, only in
*A strategically placed Oxford comma.* (Frank Osen)

/Fun with anagrams:
/DETER SPIN! That Times story you read
IS PRETEND! Try some Fox News instead.
Fair and balanced, Sean Hannity
ENDS TRIPE, restores sanity!
*(Well, that’s what the PRESIDENT said.)*
(Jesse Frankovich)

Two Welsh fellows, Trevor and Ken,
Had been sentenced to life in the pen.
They were busted in Swansea
For running a Ponzi,
*And they never saw
*Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch *again.*
(Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

/And Last:/ Though they be without rhyme or reason,
I write the best limericks and tweets
Cause I ignore the rules
Which are only for others.
*Well, that’s what the president said*.
(Howard Walderman, Columbia, Md.)

*Still running — deadline Monday night, May 21: Our contest for
“accurate” directions to use some product or complete a task. See
wapo.st/invite1279 . *