Style Invitational Week 1371: The Tile Invitational VII
Create new words from ScrabbleGrams letter sets; plus winning (or Losing) pickup lines
(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)

Pat Myers
Feb. 13, 2020 at 10:45 a.m. EST
(Click here to skip down to the winning pickup lines for different professions)

Yes, EGNORSU unscrambles to SURGEON. But you could also get:

EGNORSU > SNOG-RUE: Morning-after regret. “Caroline awoke with a queasy stomach from last night’s beer pong game at the office party, and a worse case of snog-rue from the final-round ‘encouragement’ from the guy in IT with the ‘frohawk.”

EGNORSU > GROUSEN: To make someone irritable. “The new neighbor’s Labradoodle may be cute, but his barking and poopage are grousening up half the street.”

EGNORSU > UNGORE: What the Supreme Court did to the 2000 election.

For the VIIth year in a row, at the bottom of this page is a list of 45 VII-letter sets taken from the 2005 “Big Book of ScrabbleGrams.” Each of them contains at least one real VII-letter word, but the Empress doesn’t care if you find it. This week: Create a five­-, six­- or seven-­letter word (or phrase) by scrambling the letters of any of the sets and define it, as in the examples above from one of this week’s sets.

These fantastic! pretty nice! um .... this week's second prize. (Pat Myers/The Washington Post)
These fantastic! pretty nice! um .... this week's second prize. (Pat Myers/The Washington Post)

Important! How to format your entry: Begin each entry with the letter set you’re unscrambling, as above, so the E can sort them all into 45 handy-dandy groups. Don’t number your entries, because then they won’t start with the seven letters, right?

Submit up to a total of 25 entries, from as many letter sets as you like, at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Feb. 24; results will appear March 15 in print, March 12 online.

Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place gets this handsome pair of cuff links — or they would be handsome had they not had the word “Meh” inexplicably printed in lowercase (it’s definitely not a monogram) within their translucent blue glass stones. How Loserly is that for the first-runner-up prize? Donated by Hall of Fame Loser Jeff Contompasis, who suggested the ScrabbleGrams contest back in 2013.


Other runners-up win their choice of our “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 “Flirtation Devices” is by Chris Doyle; Duncan Stevens 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 reviews each new contest and set of results. Check it out at

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. REALLY IMPORTANT NOTE: As of Feb. 13, the email will be coming directly from the Empress, so even if you’ve been getting the newsletter every week, you need to sign up again. Sorry — it takes just a second.


And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

Flirtation devices: Pickup lines from Week 1367
In Week 1367 we asked for pickup lines to be said by particular people, or people in various professions. At least a dozen of you had a dentist offering to fill the person’s cavity, and a librarian “checking out” the desired one. More creative but also submitted by too many people: Houston Astro: Hey, baby, I already know your sign.

4th place:
Prince Andrew: “Excuse me, don’t I not know you from somewhere?” (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

3rd place:
A plumber: “I’ll pick you up Friday night sometime between 6:30 and 9:45.” (Jesse Rifkin, Arlington, Va.)

2nd place
and the Trump “We Shall Overcomb” socks:
Kanye West: “I’ma let you finish. I swear.” (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
Orthopedic surgeon: "What's a joint like that doing in a nice girl like you?" (Alan Duxbury, Carlisle, Pa.)


So-solicitations: Honorable mentions
Computer programmer: “How about you and I go out, just the 10 of us?” (Alan Duxbury)

Carpenter: “How about a little tongue and groovin’?” (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

Lawyer: “Do you or do you not visit this establishment on a regular basis?” (Bob Kruger, Rockville, Md.)

London stockbroker: “Let’s play FTSE!” (Bill Spencer, Cockeysville, Md.)

Narcissist: “Is it just me, or am I hot in here?” (Frank Osen)

Serial killer: “You know, I have the body of an 18-year-old.” (Seth Tucker, Washington)

Sports radio host: “I can think about baseball for hours!” (Seth Tucker)

Virginia legislator (R): “If that’s a gun in your pocket, I’m happy to see you.”
Virginia legislator (D): “If that’s not a gun in your pocket, I’m VERY happy to see you.” (Allen Haywood, Washington)


ADA lawyer: “I’d like to make sure all your entrances are accessible.” (Kevin Mettinger, Warrenton, Va.)

Actuary: “Baby, if we get started now, we can enjoy each other 18,325 times before we die!” (Dottie Gray, Alexandria, Va.)

Amnesiac: “Do I come here often?” (Frank Osen)

Auto mechanic: “It looks like you’ve got a lot of play in that rear end.” (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

SAT tutor: “The number of drinks I want to buy you is twice what I want to buy Mary. The number of drinks I want to buy Mary is two fewer than I want to buy Sue. I want to buy Sue three drinks. How many do I want to buy you?” (David Kleinbard, Mamaroneck, N.Y.)

Andrew Yang: “You know, I’m good at more than math. Oh, and here’s a thousand bucks.” (Ira Allen, Bethesda, Md.)

Bill Cosby: “Here, drink this.” (Mark Raffman; Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.)


Brad Pitt: “Hi.” (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.; Eric Nelkin, Silver Spring, Md.; Joanne Free, Clifton, Va.)

Chimpanzee keeper: “I am happy to see you, but I also do have a banana in my pocket.” (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

911 operator:“Soooo, if your boyfriend doesn’t make it, I’ve already got your number!” (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)

Crossword constructor: “When you walked in, you turned 3 Down into 6 Across.” (Jesse Rifkin; Jon Gearhart)

Rep. Devin Nunes: “I, Devin Nunes, a totally impartial observer, recommend that you go out with Devin Nunes.” (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

Geico Camel: “Uh-oh! Guess what day it is!” (John Kupiec, Fairfax, Va.; Duncan Stevens)

Tax preparer: “You don’t need any help filling out your form. (Ed Scarbrough, Germantown, Md.)

Jeff Bezos: “I’m Jeff Bezos.” (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)


Larry David: “Care to come up and see my kvetchings?” (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)

Vice President Pence: “I can see by the fact that you’re biologically female that you want me.” (Lorraine McMillan, Alexandria, Va.)

Sen. Mitch McConnell: “Let’s get down to the floor and get cozy — and don’t worry, there won’t be any witnesses.” (Hildy Zampella, Alexandria, Va.)

Rudy Giuliani: “I am not coming on to you! Oh, wait, I am. Actually, I’m not. Of course I am!” (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)

Shirley MacLaine: “Where’ve you been all my lives?” (Jon Gearhart)

Sen. Susan Collins: “Ask me out and I’ll give it serious thought for a few weeks before saying no.” (Chris Doyle)

Wilt Chamberlain: “Next!” (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.; Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)

Abraham Lincoln: “My dear lady, would you be dedicated to my proposition for some three score and nine?” (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)


Carpenter: “Hey, lady, would you marry me? Would you have my baby?” (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

Customer service agent: “I am sorry you are having problems with your current marriage. How can I provide you with the highest possible romantic service today?” (David Kleinbard)

Woke mathematician: “May I approach you asymptotically?” (Jeff Contompasis)

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “Pardon me, miss, do you know where the men’s room is?” (Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.)

Haiku poet: “A nightingale falls/ The wind empty in its wings/ Girl, you’re a brick house.” (Jeff Shirley)

Noah: “How would you like to be my plus-one on an exclusive cruise?” (Bob Kruger)

NPR host: “Support for this proposition was provided by my Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.” (Duncan Stevens)

Pat Sajak: “You’ll never have to buy an O again.” (April Musser Brand, Alpharetta, Ga.)

Proctologist: “Excuse me, is this stool taken?” (Frank Osen)

Reality show host: “Hey, baby, how would you like to date a philandering, lying, six-times-bankrupt draft dodger?” (Bill Dorner, Indianapolis)

Washington Post Date Lab matchmaker: “Want to bump my success rate up to 3 percent ?” (Jesse Rifkin)

And Last: Style Invitational entrant: “Why, yes, I am a big Loser! How did you know?” (Bill Dorner)

Still running — deadline Monday night, Feb. 17: our contest to write about someone with only the letters of the person’s name. See (And once again, please make sure to sign up for the replacement newsletter.)

The letter sets for Week 1371. Be sure to begin each of your entries with the full letter set.