Style Invitational Week 1359: Back up in the ‘air’
A new variation on this week’s ‘air quotes’ results
(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
Pat Myers
November 21, 2019 at 12:08 p.m. EST
(Click here to skip down to the winning “air quotes” entries.)

● Well, that’s a doo“zy. Go te”ll your father the news.

● We have added an impor“tant ric”hness to our lovemaking.

● If you go through life with the Penta“tuch as” your guide, you should be able to avoid making an ass of yourself.

This week we present the results of our Week 1355 “air quote” contest, in which you define a term by pointing out another, relevant word or short phrase within it. And when Longtime Loser Roy Ashley was working on his entries, he had an idea for a spinoff: This week: Write a sentence or two and highlight an “air quote” that spans two or more words (and two sentences if you like), as in Roy’s examples above. I’m not going to forbid bending the actual spelling of the word or phrase in the air quote, but I predict that correct spellings make for funnier jokes. If you submitted a words-spanning entry for Week 1355, feel free to recast it and send it again this week.


Well, they're good for the first six nights of Hanukkah. This week's second prize. (Pat Myers/The Washington Post)
Well, they're good for the first six nights of Hanukkah. This week's second prize. (Pat Myers/The Washington Post)
Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Dec. 2; results will appear Dec. 22 in print, Dec. 19 online.

Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives, just in time for the holiday, a pair of socks featuring “Happy Hanukkah” and a menorah with . . . seven candles. (That’s the regular rest-of-the-year menorah you’ll see in Jewish symbols; a Hanukkah menorah has nine candles, one for each day of the holiday plus one to light the other candles.) Donated by Eagle-Eyed Loser Marleen May.

Other runners-up win one of our last “You Gotta Play to Lose” Loser Mugs 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” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at The “C‘ha’llenge” headline is by Kevin Dopart; Chris Doyle 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. This week we also look back at the brilliant limericks of Hugh Thirlway, a renowned legal scholar who died last month. Check it out at

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

Meeting the c'ha'llenge: Winning 'air quotes' from Week 1355
In Week 1355, we once again asked you to define a word or phrase in the context of a word that appears within the word. The T“rump” joke is as old as the man himself, but it must have seemed totally fresh to the dozen people who sent it in as an entry.

4th place:
Cat“astro”phe: Losing all four home games in the World Series. (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

3rd place:
“Invent”ory: A complete list of the president’s strengths. (Warren Tanabe, Annapolis, Md.)


2nd place
and the coloring book ‘How Librarians Swear’:
Bir“DCA”ge: What National Airport feels (and smells) like when your flight has been delayed for seven hours. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
H"USB"and: Consider yourself lucky if you get it right on the first try. (Hildy Zampella, Alexandria, Va.)

The cleve'rest': Honorable mentions
Lib“I do”: What some people mysteriously lose soon after marrying. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

Ba“star”d: They let one of those get away with anything. (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

Bu“sin”ess: Capitalism. — B. Sanders (Steve Smith, Potomac, Md.)

Embr“yolo”gist: A specialist who encourages women, “Life is short — go for in vitro!” (Bill Dorner, Indianapolis)

N“ICE”ties: Little luxuries, like being given something other than a toilet to drink from. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)


Scap“ego”at: “Well, I know I handled it perfectly . . . hmm, let’s see . . . Okay, I’ll admit it was Rick Perry’s fault.” (Jesse Frankovich)

“Dem”entia: What those nutjobs Schiff and Pelosi must have! — D.J.T. (Jesse Frankovich)

“Hon”cho: The mayor of Baltimore. (Diana Guy, Smithburg, Md., a First Offender)

“Spur”ious: What certain draft deferments were. (Jesse Frankovich)

“Blur”b: A suspiciously indistinct review, “Intriguing! Words fail!” (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

“Bust”ed: “I admit it: I wasn’t looking exactly at your eyes.” (Warren Tanabe)

“Call”igraphy: The phone number scrawled on the bathroom door. (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)

“Garb”age: Off-brands, according to fashionistas. (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)

“Log”istics: Essential part of planning a bathroom. (Warren Tanabe)


“Sham”e: “I’m deeply sorry that mistakes have been made and that people failed to understand my intentions.” (Ellen Raphaeli, Falls Church, Va.)

Afr“AI”d: Fearful that a robot will take my job. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Am“eric”an: Preserving traditional values, such as nepotism. (Ann Martin, Brentwood, Md.)

Bam“boo”zled: The reaction on the president’s face when he realized that those weren’t cheers from the World Series fans. (Kathy El-Assal, Middleton, Wis.)

B“eat”les: The band behind “I Want to Hold Your Ham” and “Lucy in the Sky with Almonds.” (Jesse Rifkin, Arlington, Va.)

Br“ex”it: Creator of former prime ministers since 2016. (Warren Tanabe)

Ce“meter”y: Where they bury people only three feet under. (Raymond Gallucci, Frederick, Md.)

Co“nun”drum: How do you solve a problem like Maria? (Rivka Liss-Levinson, Washington)


Cods“wall”op: “. . . and Mexico’s going to pay for it.” (Jesse Frankovich; Mark Raffman)

Cr“ouch”: At a certain age, just seeing a catcher behind home plate on TV makes one’s knees hurt. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Defi“nit”ely: “Great idea — we should do it immediately. As soon as we make these 43 alterations . . .” (Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)

Diplo“mats”: People you wipe your feet on. — R. Giuliani (Kathy El-Assal)

E“con”omics: A system to make medical care and college free without raising anyone’s taxes. (Ellen Raphaeli)

E“rot”ica: Porno novels featuring zombies. (Jeff Contompasis)

Encou“rage”ment: Incitement. “At the rally, the speaker gave encou‘rage’ment to pat‘riots.’ ” (Jeff Contompasis)

For“tuna”te: Charlie finally got picked by StarKist! Wait . . . (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)


In“au”thentic: What “goldtone” jewelry is. (John McCooey, Rehoboth Beach, Del.)

In“compete”nce: When multiple teams decide to chase the top draft pick by losing as many games as possible. (Duncan Stevens)

Jo“urn”alist: An obit writer. (Gary Crockett)

Loy“alt”y: What Trump gets from his base. (Brian Halbert, Ashburn, Va.)

M“itch” McConnell: Annoyance that many hope to scratch in 2020. (Keith Ord, Potomac, Md.; Mark Raffman)

O“PAC”ity: The darkness where democracy is dying. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

P“last”ic: The enduring legacy of our time. (Dudley Thompson, Cary, N.C.)

P“run”es: There’s a reason they’re the eternal butt of toilet jokes. (Bill Spencer, Cockeysville, Md.)

Satis“fact”ion: When Google proves you are right and your spouse is wrong. (David Kleinbard, Mamaroneck, N.Y.)

Stephanie Gri“sham”: She shares the job of telling “alternative facts” with Kellyanne “Con”way. (Mark Raffman)


Recr“eat”ion: The main purpose of most cruises. (Drew Bennett)

Ser“IOU” sly : The check is in the mail, I promise. For real this time. (David Kleinbard)

S“tub”born: What belly fat is. (Barbara Turner, Takoma Park, Md.)

Syr“i”a: “Look how great it all worked out, thanks to me!” (Sam Mertens)

Toads“tool”: An inadequate piece of equipment. —S. Daniels (Jesse Frankovich)

Toilet t“raining”: Accidents will happen! (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

Tr“um”p: To claim a victory even if you don’t know what you’re talking about. (Neal Starkman, Seattle)

Tho“ugh”tful: “Aunt Doris, you really shouldn’t have.” (Frank Osen)

Uk“rain”e: Weather forecast for Trump’s parade. (Dudley Thompson)

And Last: A“pat”hy: “So you got no ink. Should I care?” (Rob Cohen, Potomac, Md.)

Two contests still running — deadline Monday, Nov. 25:
— Song parodies about current events:
— Write something using only words in “The Night Before Christmas”:

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