Style Invitational Week 1379: You wish: a pun — a star
Give us wordplay on song titles and lyrics. Plus Mess With Our Heads winners.
Image without a caption
(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
Pat Myers
April 9, 2020 at 10:17 a.m. EDT
(Click here to skip down to the winner and losers of our bank head contest)

Short form: How are Donald Trump’s coronavirus news conferences like Elvis Presley’s hound dog? They’re ’quine, all the time. (Duncan Stevens)

Long form: Intrigued by rumors that a group of Tennessee Jews has been marketing a brand of chewing tobacco, kosher food giant Manischewitz sends someone to investigate. He approaches a group of men loitering outside a Baptist church, spitting into cans, and he asks: “Pardon me, goys, is that the Chattanooga Jews’ chew?” (Charles Frick, Style Invitational Week 347, 2000)

This week’s contest was suggested by Loser All the Time Duncan Stevens: Tell a joke, in your choice of form, whose punchline is a pun on a song title or lyric, as in Duncan’s obviously brand-new example as well as one from a long-ago contest for groaner puns on any expression or passage.


If you’re not already bleating pathetically: The Screaming Goat, this week’s second prize.
If you’re not already bleating pathetically: The Screaming Goat, this week’s second prize. (Pat Myers/The Washington Post)
Submit up to a total of 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, April 20; results will appear May 10 in print, May 7 online.

Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives The Screaming Goat, which is a tiny plastic goat, maybe two inches high, that is perched on a plastic tree stump. When you push down on the goat, it emits a goatlike scream. You’re guaranteed to have several seconds of fun listening to “the high-pitched bleats that caused the screaming goat sensation to go viral,” according to the box. On the other hand, by now, several seconds might be more fun than you’ve had lately. Donated by Longtime Loser Drew Bennett.

Other runners-up win their choice of our “For Best Results, Pour Into Top End” Loser 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” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at The headline “Torquing Heads” is by Kevin Dopart; Jon Gearhart wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the 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 afternoon Thursday, April 9, reviews each new contest and set of results. This week, more results from that long-form pun contest in 2000 as well as the one in Week 1100 from 2014. Check it out at

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

Torquing heads: Winning bank headlines
Week 1375 was our perennial Mess With Our Heads contest, in which readers added a bank head, or subtitle, to a real headline from The Post or elsewhere. Many used “remote learning” as How to Teach Gramps to Use the Clicker.

4th place:
Major Universities Stop Lab Research
‘Who’s a good dog?’ to remain a mystery (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)

3rd place:
My Co-worker Burps Loudly and Engages in Self-Talk
Title set for tell-all book by Pence (John Hutchins, Silver Spring, Md.)


2nd place
and the defibrillator T-shirt:
Amid outbreak, Meals on Wheels is changing the way food is delivered
Frustrated, dizzy customers long to return to Meals on Tables (Alex Steelsmith, Kailua, Hawaii)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
Queen's message of solidarity to the nation
'Fat-bottomed girls make the rockin' world go round' inspires Britons in time of need (Michelle Christophorou, Guildford, Surrey, England)

Banks for nothing: Honorable mentions
NFL changes draft to TV-only event
55-inch Samsung expected to be first pick (John McCooey, Rehoboth Beach, Del.)

(Ad for kitchen cabinet remodeling) Don’t Replace — Reface!
Plastic surgery helping more couples avoid expensive divorces (Marli Melton, Carmel Valley, Calif.)

What’s still open in D.C.
Hole in presidential face continues to spout misinformation (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)


Fauci throws cold water on Trump’s declaration that chloroquine is a ‘game changer’
‘I couldn’t push him down, so I just splashed his paper with my drink’ (Dave Zarrow, Reston, Va.)

1 in 8 Trump voters lives in a county with no ICU beds
ICE beds deemed more essential (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

U-Haul offers 30-day storage free for college students
Parents must retrieve offspring from lockers by May 1 (Jesse Aronson, Arlington, Va.)

‘We’ll improvise and make it work’
Copies of next week’s Post to have perforations, cardboard tube (Howard Ausden, Damascus, Md., a First Offender)

Living in the present
Woman given isolation cottage by husband (Dan Helming, Trenton, N.J.)

Broadway to dim lights for a month
‘Maybe virus won’t see us’ strategy questioned (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

Coronavirus slowdown seen from space
Extreme social distancing proves effective (Alex Steelsmith)


Crocs to close all North American stores through end of month
CDC sics carnivorous reptiles on nonessential businesses (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

D.C. Council to consider emergency measures this week
Will vote Thursday on whether to put out raging fire in downtown building (Jesse Rifkin, Arlington, Va.)

From castle to cubicle
On-his-own Prince Harry starts as admin assistant at real estate office (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.; Roy Ashley, Washington)

How many rolls do you really need?
White House physician boldly questions Trump about his diet (Steve Smith, Potomac, Md.)

Kitchen trends for 2020
Faucet that plays “Happy Birthday” twice tops the list (Bill Dorner, Indianapolis)

House, Senate leaders start to make changes to congressional routines
Lobbyists must now leave bags of cash in designated touch-free drop zones (Allen Haywood, Washington)


Effort is underway to thin jail population

Inmates complain of forced Jazzercise (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)

Influential French chef elevated British cuisine
Proclaimed ‘Zees stuff is terrible,’ threw it at ceiling (Duncan Stevens)

‘It still doesn’t seem real’
Even Trump’s fiercest supporters have doubts about his hair (Bill Dorner)

Many who died had health problems
Captain Obvious releases annual report (Frank Mann, Washington)

Maryland casinos will cut visitors
CDC insists ‘no proven cure for coronavirus through bloodletting’ (Sue Lin Chong, Baltimore)

Openings that just went poof
Another good reason to practice social distancing at Taco Bell (Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.)

Sharks, Blue Jackets set to play without any fans
Dan Snyder offers tips (Sam Mertens)

The new Virginia looks a lot like the old Virginia
Disappointed woman sues plastic surgeon (Lee Graham, Rockville, Md.; Rob Cohen, Potomac, Md.)


This is the biggest blunder in presidential history
At least until tomorrow (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)

VIPs get quick test access, highlighting system inequities
Hollywood, Wall Street big shots pay others to take virus test for them (Allen Haywood)

We Make Flooring Easy — We Come to You
Our customers don’t have to bring their old floors to us (Marli Melton)

WHO declares virus a global pandemic
President demands identity of this whistleblower (Howard Walderman, Columbia, Md.)

Model prompts policy U-turn
Melania persuades CDC to change guidance to ‘Be Best’ (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

How to cook if cooped up with the kids
Hansel & Gretel witch starts ‘Coven Oven’ blog (Steve Honley, Washington)

The benefits of an immersion blender
Sorry, this is the most upbeat news we can provide during a global pandemic (Bill Dorner)


Man gets jail for video of himself licking ice cream tub
Toy Rikers Island ‘weirdest prize yet,’ says Style Invitational stunt contest runner-up (Alex Steelsmith)

My co-worker burps loudly and engages in self-talk
Royal Consort chafes at sharing home office space with Empress (Drew Bennett)

Still running — deadline also April 20: our contest for songs (including videos) about Life in the Time of Corona. See

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