Style Invitational Week 1354: As the Word Turns 5

‘Discover’ neologisms in a word search grid. Plus poems using new
dictionary words.

Not your standard word search puzzle: (1) You can snake around the grid
in every direction; (2) you can make up the words, like “kidburger” and
“pharmy.” Just tell us where your word starts. (Grid constructed at
Not your standard word search puzzle: (1) You can snake around the grid
in every direction; (2) you can make up the words, like “kidburger” and
“pharmy.” Just tell us where your word starts. (Grid constructed at

Pat Myers

Image without a caption

Pat Myers
Editor and judge of The Style Invitational since December 2003



Oct. 17, 2019 at 9:15 a.m. EDT

(Click here to skip down <#report> to the winning poems featuring new
dictionary words)

*Starting at J-17: PHARMY: A brigade of drug company reps on a mission
to infiltrate doctors’ offices and ethics.*

*E-13: KIDBURGER: Ground goat on a bun. *

Here’s the fifth of our neologism contests based on a computer-generated
word search grid. SuperLoser Jesse Frankovich, reminding the Empress
that we hadn’t done this contest in more than a year, also noted that
last year’s grid was notably short on vowels for our purposes. So this
time, instead of using an online word generator to form the basis for
the grid, the E found a Web page of “words heavy in vowels,”
chose some more
while paging through a dictionary, and went back to the generator

for the last few. There are 24, including “aureolae” and “eleemosynary,”
but it doesn’t really matter; we’re not asking you to find those words.
We want you to find ones that you invent.

That job is actually pretty easy because you can snake your word through
the grid, in every direction, rather than the usual straight line. *This
week: “Discover” a word or multi­word term that consists of adjacent
letters — in any direction or several directions — in the grid above, *
*and provide a humorous definition,* as in the examples above. Don’t
trace back over the same letters. You may also give a novel definition
for an existing term. And you may use the word in a sentence, if that
makes your entry funnier; several people will inevitably come up with
some of the same words, so it may well be the description that wins the ink.

*You MUST* begin each entry with the coordinates of the first letter of
your term (e.g., C-­12) as above; the Emp can trace it from there. If
you don’t give me those coordinates, I’m going to skip your word. Please
*make those coordinates the first characters of each entry,* so I can
sort what will surely be thousands of words.

Submit up to 25 entries at **
(no capitals in the Web address).

Winner gets the *Lose Cannon,

* our Style Invitational trophy. And speaking of tracing circuitous
routes, second place receives the book *“Where Underpants Come From,” *
which New Zealand-based author Joe Bennett follows the production path
of his five-pack of skivvies all over China and Southeast Asia.
Hand-delivered to the Empress by Kiwi Loser Andy Bassett when he visited
Washington this past summer.

*Other runners-up *win our “You Gotta Play to Lose”
Mug or our “Whole Fools”

Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser
magnets, “Too-Weak Notice”

or “Certificate of (de) Merit.”

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

for their first ink). *Deadline is Monday, Oct. 28;* results published
Nov. 17 in print, Nov. 14 online. See general contest rules and
guidelines at . The headline
“Merriam Jesters” is by Jesse Frankovich; Jesse also wrote the
honorable-mentions subhead. 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 four weeks ago . . .

Merriam Jesters: The new-word poems of Week 1350

In*Week 1350 *we asked you to write a poem
featuring one of dozens of terms added in the past year to
Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary .

4th place:

They called up Ukraine’s president;
A *skeezy* deal was floated.
The transcript tells us how it went,
’Cause Trump was quid pro quoted. /(Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.) /

3rd place:

*Rhotic * /(pronouncing the R in a word, rather than with a British or
Boston accent):/
My man from the States is hypnotic,
(Hope that, this time, it won’t end in farce.)
Love his humour, and consonants *rhotic: *
There is nothing as firm as his R’s. /(Michelle Christoforou, Guildford,
England) /

2nd place

/and the dashboard bobbler of the Orioles mascot in a hula skirt

*(Financial) haircut
*Economists fear a recession looms soon.
We’ll all take a*haircut* should stock prices swoon.
So much for Trump’s claim he’s a great fiscal whiz.
Let’s just hope our haircut does not look like his. /(Bob Kruger,
Rockville, Md.)/

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:

This *escape room's* the worst, everybody agrees;
We feel trapped, with a lingering sense of unease
That we'll never get out of here, try as we may —
We get sullen or spiteful, our nerves start to fray
Till at last we're released, overjoyed to survive . . .
And we come every weekday, 8:30 to 5. /(Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)/

Underdoggerel: Honorable mentions

“A profit? Well, you didn’t net one,”
Frowned my broker. “A *haircut, * you’ll get one.”
All I managed to say
Was “A haircut’s okay —
Just not a Marie Antoinette one.” /(Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.) /

*Cross-sell (as in “you might also like” . . .) *
Once upon a midnight creepy, while I purchased, feeling sleepy,
Somewhere online a quaint and curious item I’d been looking for,
As my checkout started ending, suddenly they’re recommending,
For a bit of extra spending, other items from their store.
“No, no thanks,” I clicked to say, “cross-selling I shall just ignore —
I’m buying this and nothing more.” (/Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.) /

*Free solo (mountain climbing without safety equipment)
* **I was certain some free solo action
Would deliver me peak satisfaction.
But I found only dopes
Don’t use harness or ropes,
Which is why I now lie here in traction. /(Stephen Gold, London)/

On a *free solo *climb, you must not be a dunce —
If you make a mistake, it will just be that once. /(Jesse Frankovich)/

*Swole (super-muscular)
*So, massive muscles are your goal?
Use steroids and you’ll end up *swole *
Like me and all my weight room besties.
(Too bad about our shrunken testes.) /(Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)/

On New Year’s Day I set a goal:
“I’ll join a gym and get real *swole!*”
But see me now, and there’s no doubt:
My plan (and I) ain’t working out. /(Brendan Beary) /

*Stan (superfan) *
Gushed a guy at the gate, who seemed loopy,
I’m their greatest of stans — like, a groupie —
Though I love all the crew
And the cast of “The View,”
For today, I’ve come here to make Whoopi.” /(Frank Osen) /

// *Fatberg (huge blob of fat that clogs sewers) *
Sewery gooery,
What is that slimy mon-
Strosity clogging the
Pipes like a cork?*
Fatbergs *are famous for
Therefore, fugehdabout
Flushing New York.
/(Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)/

*Screen time *
I saw the meltdown on its way,
But held the line: “No more today!
You’ve stared at pixels quite enough!”
All done!” He stomped out in a huff.
My job (I’m trained as toddler-sitter)
Is keeping Donald Trump off Twitter. /(Duncan Stevens) /

*Sesh (session)
*“I need therapy, doctor, and how!”
“Book a *sesh,”* she said, wrinkling her brow.
“Doc, I know it seems risible,
But I’m feeling invisible!”
She replied, “I just can’t see you now.” /(Frank Osen) /

I know our stock portfolios are prone to rise and drop.
And sometimes market jitters take “a little off the top.”
But lately talk of tariff wars has added to our fears.
Our stocks may get a *haircut* — and it’s Trump who holds the shears.
/(Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore) /

*Coulrophobia (aversion to clowns) *
If you suffer from *coulrophobia, *You must treat this as a tenet:
For your mental health, I beg you please,
Eschew the House and Senate. /(Ward Kay, Vienna, Va.) /

Higgledy, piggledy,
Silly buffoons cause you
Terrible fear.
Luckily there is a
Counter-clown remedy:
We can vote out all those
Bozos next year. /(Jesse Frankovich)/

On the lift, he was affable, easy
To talk to, engaging and breezy.
We skied several slopes,
Then he dashed all my hopes
Over drinks, when he got après-*skeezy. * /(Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)/

*Aphantasia (inability to form mental images)*
You call up an image, your brain hits a bump:
To the gallery you simply won’t add it;
When Stormy told stories of mushrooms and Trump,
*Aphantasia: *I wished I, too, had it. /(Duncan Stevens) /

*Bug-out bag (packed for emergency departures)*
The country’s going down the tubes, yet politicians brag
With lies believed by clueless rubes. I’ve packed my *bug-out bag.*
There’s chaos now, not order. A tyrant hugs the flag.
Head north and cross the border. And bring your bug-out bag.
The joke’s no longer funny. At first it seemed a gag.
But now it’s even money you’ll need your bug-out bag.
Our precious Constitution is now a parchment rag.
Alas, the best solution may be your bug-out bag. /(Robert Schechter, Dix
Hills, N.Y.)/

*Still running — deadline Monday night, Oct. 21: our contest to change a
word in a movie title to its opposite. See
. *