Style Invitational Week 1362: The Year in Redo, Part 1
Enter any — or all — of 24 Invite contests from the past year. Plus winning rearrangements of ‘Night Before Christmas.’
(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)

Pat Myers
Dec. 12, 2019 at 9:32 a.m. EST
(Click here to skip down to the winning rearrangements of words from “The Night Before Christmas”)

Winner of Week 1319, new words from ScrabbleGrams “racks”:

DDEELMR > MEDDLR: App designed for yentas to make dating profiles for other people (Danielle Nowlin)

Winner of Week 1327, reinterpret a headline by adding a bank head:
Real headline: Easy ways to keep your home green without breaking the bank
Bank head: 1. Don’t paint it another color (Duncan Stevens)

Winner of Week 1326, “breed” two of the year’s Kentucky Derby nominees: Breed Improbable with Skywriting and name the foal WillYouDivorceMe? (Bill Dorner)

Did you start reading The Style Invitational just recently? Or did you ever think of the perfect entry to an Invite contest — after the results ran? The Empress is here for you. This week and next, you get another shot at the past year’s contests with our annual retrospective. This week we’ll cover 24 Invite contests from last November through May, a period that includes such favorites as “joint legislation,” foal “breeding,” cartoon captions and various neologism contests, plus some one-offs like jokes for the White House correspondents’ dinner, and acrostic limericks.

Yes, Paper Joan Crawford (not pictured) fits these clothes because she's wearing a girdle. This week's second prize. (From "Joan Crawford Paper Dolls in Full Color" (1983) by Tom Tierney; Dover Publications)
Yes, Paper Joan Crawford (not pictured) fits these clothes because she's wearing a girdle. This week's second prize. (From "Joan Crawford Paper Dolls in Full Color" (1983) by Tom Tierney; Dover Publications)

Enter (or reenter) any Style Invitational contest from Week 1307 through 1333, except for Weeks 1309-1311, which are last year’s retrospectives plus the 2019 “Year in Preview” (we’re previewing 2020 in a contest that’s still running). You may enter multiple contests as long as you don’t submit more than 25 entries in all. For contests asking you to use that week’s paper, use papers and online articles dated Dec. 12-23. For the obit poems, Week 1313, continue to write about people who died in 2018. For the dinner jokes, your references shouldn’t be out of date. You may resubmit non-inking entries from earlier contests; for various reasons, some “noinks” have scored in past retrospectives.

See descriptions and links for all the old contests in this week’s Style Conversational column at (published late Thursday afternoon, Dec. 12). Please check the results of that week’s contest (four weeks down the list) to make sure your idea didn’t already get ink. Please give the week number plus a brief ID of the contest your entry is for (e.g., “Week 1321, problematic inventions”). If you don’t subscribe to The Post, email me at and, after I ask you why the heck not, I’ll give you alternative directions.

Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Don’t use the entry forms for the earlier contests! Deadline is Monday, Dec. 23; results will appear Jan. 12 in print, Jan. 9 online.


Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a fabulous book of Joan Crawford paper dolls featuring the screen goddess in various foundation garments onto which you could (if you wanted to mess up the book) cut out and attach 28 glamorous costumes from her films from the 1920s through the ’60s. Donated by the Glamorous Herself Pie Snelson, 82-time Loser and Loser Brunch Archivist.

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 headline “The Wizards of ’Twas” is by Tom Witte; Roy Ashley 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, reviews each new contest and set of results. Especially if you plan to enter — I'll include synopses and links for of the contests you can use for this week's recap — check it out at


And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

The Wizards of 'Twas: Week 1358 winners
In Week 1358, the Empress asked readers to write something using only the words appearing in the 1823 poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” a.k.a. “The Night Before Christmas.” We used an older version that used the spelling “pedler” and, instead of “had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,” said, “had just settled our brains . . .” Losers who wrote entries playing dirty on the word “hung” do not get ink.

Thanks to Loser Gary Crockett for devising a program to validate the entries to ensure that all words did come from the poem, and weren’t used more times than in the poem.

4th place:
A chubby jerk came to clatter down my chimney. He shouted that his name was Nicholas, but he laughed with a “he he he,” so I knew he was not St. Nick. I threw him out. (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)


3rd place:
Nick: “What up, sugar cheeks? My white teeth, full beard and tight belly must be a happy sight. Head to my house for a wild night?”
Cherry: “I just threw up a little in my mouth. Jerk!” (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)

2nd place and the jelly bean-pooping Santa and reindeer:
When What-His-Name spoke and gave up the what and the when and how it all went down in the White House, I just knew that more of the pack that work there would soon be hung out to dry by “Old Tiny-Finger.” (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
The jerk that settled in the old house there was not around to bundle his leaves . . . and then they were on my lawn! So I flung them on his roof, in his window, down his chimney, on his bed, in his stockings, on his mamma, and in his sugar and jelly. And then I gave him the finger. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)


Mistletoenails: Honorable mentions
As he went all around out on the stump, a lively old elf with wild white fur on his head shouted that he would not be happy ere he tore down each top pedler on Wall St. (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

I would not back a team with that nick-name. All-so, they were out of it before the leaves had fallen. Not good. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

“A-a-a-a-a!” I exclaim with dread, my eyes filled with the flash of the merry, jolly twinkling from the house in back of our house. “The miniature sleigh and reindeer appear too soon before Christmas! Thistle be the night I dash them all away, jerk! (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)

A Visit From Zombie St. Nicholas
A dread elf tore open my roof and came down. He was pawing my belly; I saw long teeth. Nothing was in his eyes; he had a white face, with cheeks like ashes. His finger was a stump. I gave him a bowlful of jelly; he shook his head. “BRAINS!” he shouted. (Duncan Stevens)


There was a flash, and the roof rose as the hurricane encircled them. They were not white. Then they heard the spite-filled creature exclaim, “Like I care.” (William Kennard, Arlington, Va.)

Prancer spoke to the A. A. team: “I had fallen and was not happy. I would down a night cap before bed. I had the shutters and dread visions and threw up too.” The reindeer held him and fur-gave him. (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)

When Mamma danced the twist dressed in tight clothes, them back cheeks shook like a pack of plums in a hurricane! (Brendan Beary)

’Twas a while before Christmas, when all through the House,
Each creature was stirring around like a mouse;
New word was then heard on a matter with care,
In hopes the top jerk-face would soon not be there.
The Right was then filled with such visions of dread
As all that had spoke there had turned on their head!
(Jesse Frankovich)


Wondering how reindeer fly? They down a bowlful of eagles’ brains each day. (John Hutchins, Silver Spring, Md.)

Me: Meet up in my house? Care to see a jolly pack of toys? All there right on the bed!
Her: I would dash out my eyes and open my belly to eagles before that. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

Jerk-mouth: For the moment, not an obstacle to be in the White House. (Kevin Dopart)

When I would just smoke “happy leaves,” my head was right and I was good with myself. But then I turned to “snow” (all-so called “sugar”). And a for-chin went straight up my nose. (Mark Raffman)

I looked too long on her full, round breast — what visions! — ere the vixen spoke: “My eyes be appear, jerk!” (Brendan Beary)

He held on tight and turned with a jerk, but how it flew was not good, so he shouted and flung his driver. (But when his round was through, he went on to exclaim that he had eight eagles.) (Jesse Frankovich)


How Mamma and I came up with children: ’Twas a merry night ... there was a bed ... and then [dash-dash-dash] (wink!) ... before long, snug in her belly, a tiny creature stirring! ... And then, out the opening came the head, and all of it. And that was that. (Mark Raffman)

“I knew from what I heard a while back (not visions in my head) that they were bound to face a bundle of dread from the hurricane... and just then it went and turned to the right. See that there? All settled now! What? I just drew that myself? NOT!!” —Your Perfect National Weather Authority (Jesse Frankovich)

Good news from The Style Invitational: The driver had flung it on to my porch — it was open. I looked through the leaves — my name was not there. Dash it all! Then I saw, below all the more droll brains, my word on a “Mamma” (plump, on back). I settled down. (Duncan Stevens)

Bad news from The Style Invitational: I gave her all I had, but the Dasher of My Hopes had flung my work aside: My name would not appear. (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)

Still running — deadline Monday night, Dec. 16: Our contest for funny 2020 predictions. See

DON’T MISS AN INVITE! Sign up here to receive a once-a-week email from the Empress as soon as The Style Invitational and Style Conversational go online every Thursday, complete with links to the columns.