Style Invitational Week 1368: Picture this — a cartoon caption contest
Help explain these Bob Staake drawings to us! Plus creative crossword clues.
(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)

Pat Myers
Jan. 23, 2020 at 9:39 a.m. EST
(Click here to skip down to the winning crossword clues)

A new year and, once again, a set of brand-new WHA??? from Style Invitational Cartoonist Almost Forever Bob Staake. This week: Supply a caption for one or more of the cartoons above. As always, a number of people will come up with the same general idea, so the funniest descriptions or dialogue will get the ink.

YO! It would help the Empress a great deal if you began each entry with “Picture A,” “Picture B,” etc., so that she might not have to take all day to sort the captions and can instead leave the task to Ms. Word. So don’t start them with numbers, cute little symbols, your opinion that it’s the best entry ever, etc. Just “Picture B” or whatever. The E thanks you in advance.

Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Feb. 3; results will appear Feb. 23 in print, Feb. 20 online.


Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a “family” game called “Fart!” in which your various family members try to get rid of playing cards “while being serenaded by a fast ’n’ frantic Fart chorus” (CD soundtrack included). Can you just imagine the marketing meeting where they decided to sell this game? (“Oh! Oh! We include a CD of farts!”) Donated by Loser Daphne Steinberg, who’s always on the lookout for the finest prizes.

Other runners-up win one of our new “For Best Results, Pour Into Top End” 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 “Cluenacy” is by Kevin Dopart; Howard Walderman 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, Jan. 23, reviews each new contest and set of results. This week, some Bob Staake cartoons we didn’t use. Check it out at


The crossword we used for Week 1364 contained 136 answers; inkworthy clues weren't quite as numerous. (L.A. Times Crossword by Paul Coulter/Tribune Content Agency)
The crossword we used for Week 1364 contained 136 answers; inkworthy clues weren't quite as numerous. (L.A. Times Crossword by Paul Coulter/Tribune Content Agency)
And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

Cluenacy: The reverse crossword of Week 1364
Week 1364 was our annual Clue Us In contest, in which the Empress presented a filled-in crossword grid and asked for novel clues. This year, for the first time, we used a Sunday grid, which has dozens more words and phrases, but they still generated a lot of duplication among the entries. Still, lots of fun answers, with some requiring a bit of flexible thinking: ELOPE can be read as El Ope, LOCALTIME as Lo-Cal Time, THEME as The Me.

4th place:
BOTS: The one news source Americans seem to trust (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)

3rd place:
MOOLA: It’s obtained by milking a cash cow (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

2nd place and the genuine taxidermied jackalope:
OHOH: A snack cake that’s way past its sell-by date (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)


And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
INTHELAPOFLUXURY: A better place to be than in the armpit of luxury (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

Clue less: Honorable mentions
AAR: What a doctor tells a pirate to say (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

AAR: An organization for the not-so-OK boomers who can’t hold their P (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

AIRS: Something to put on for the Met Gala (Gary Crockett)

ALLS: Where to find boughs of olly (Jeff Loren, Seattle)

ALTO: Alfredo Pacino, ____ his friends (Mark Calandra, Wenham, Mass.)

AMO: Cupid’s stockpile of arrows (David Ballard, Reston, Va.)

AMOEBAS: “The Three ___,” a group Rick Perry thought he was in (Frank Osen)

AONE: Rep. Schiff, on a scale of 1 to 100, how would you rate the Trump presidency? (Richard Franklin, Alexandria, Va.)

CALLSONTHECARPET: Why Aladdin’s phone bill was so high (Ben Aronin, Washington)


CALLSONTHECARPET: Strange command to say, “Okay, son, you’re the carpet” (Frank Mann, Washington)

CATHODE: It begins, “I think that I shall never see / A tube so nice for draining pee” (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

CCED: Misspelled “Botticelli” again (Gary Crockett)

COUCHPOTATO: Boob tuber. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

COUCHPOTATO: A leftover french fry between the cushions, or the person who dropped it there (Jeff Loren)

ELOPE: What they still call Ron Howard in Mexico (Frank Osen; Roger Dalrymple, Gettysburg, Pa.; Sam Mertens)

EMO: He wore eyeliner and a man-bun on Sesame Street. (Frank Osen; Jeff Contompasis)

FAMILYTREE: Common source of nuts (Ivars Kuskevics, Takoma Park, Md.; Peter Boice, Rockville, Md.)

FAMILYTREE: For Giuliani, it’s the sic-em-more (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

ETSY: Feeling that ets are crawling all over you (Frank Mann)


GERMANS: ß (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)

GLIDING: Some people have guiding principles; Trump uses this kind (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)

GREATS: What a grizzly says, and then does, when he meets a camper in the forest (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

HOPES: Where the children of Hoptown go to first grade (Brian Collins, Olney, Md.)

HOTMESS: Fantasy of every combat soldier on K rations (Howard Walderman, Columbia, Md.)

HOTMESS: What can be caused by a hot Miss (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

ICECAPS: After MAGA hats, the second best-selling merchandise at Trump rallies (Eric Nelkin, Silver Spring, Md.)

ITER: More in vogue than, say, things that are so 2019 (Eric Nelkin)

LOCALTIME: Weight-loss resolution period that typically ends by Jan. 15 (Kevin Dopart)

NEEDS: First World’s wants (Sarah Walsh)


NOIR: Answer to “R U not?” (Neil Greenberg, Melrose Park, Pa., a First Offender)

NOSES: Where toddlers find easy pickings (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

NOSES: A GS-15 without hope of promotion (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)

OHOH: When Santa’s sleigh is stuck in reverse (Hildy Zampella, Alexandria, Va.; Sarah Walsh)

OLEO: “Ahem, Mr. DiCaprio?”(John Folse, Bryans Road, Md.)

OMA: Gawd’s first name (Mike Hammer, Arlington, Va.)

PLEA: Bassist for the Red Hot Chili Perps. (Frank Osen)

RAILROADBED: Where trains go to couple (Neal Starkman, Seattle)

RIPEN: Cal with a strikeout (Brian Collins)

SCATS: Musical about Dungojerrie and Old Doodooronomy (Chris Doyle)

SENSORS: Devices invented so mechanics could charge to fix something that isn’t really a problem (James Scarborough, Arlington, Va.)

SETON: What Miz Muffet did with her tuffet (Bill Rippey, Montgomery Village, Md.)


SLIM: One of the Chance brothers (Richard Franklin)

TEN: “This many Supreme Court justices think I shouldn’t release my tax returns!” (Drew Bennett)

TEN: Type of hut used by the military (Roy Ashley, Washington)

THEME: “The Donald,” to Donald (Mark Raffman)

TONI: How to get a knight to provide a shrubbery (Barbara Turner, Takoma Park, Md.)

TONI: Prefix for ght (Steve Langer, Chevy Chase, Md.)

TSETSES: Where to kick a fly to make it hurt (Sam Mertens)

And Last: TRUNCATE: What the E will do if my wording becomes too (Joanne Free, Clifton, Va.)

Still running — deadline Monday night, Jan. 27: Our contest for job- or person-specific pickup lines. See

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