Style Invitational Week 1387: Movie clips
Delete letters from the middle of a movie title; plus Questionable Journalism winners
Image without a caption
(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
Pat Myers
June 4, 2020 at 10:01 a.m. EDT
(Click here to skip down to the Questionable Journalism winners)

FINDING(N)EMO: A father tries to reconcile with his estranged son by pretending to love angsty teenage music.

THE (L)EGO MOVIE: “Everything is Awesome” about the Dear Leader. Brought to you by Fox News.

BA(b)E: PIG IN THE CITY: A Manhattan millennial introduces her boyfriend from Flyover Country to her snotty parents.

Just over a year ago, the Empress ran a contest asking readers to delete letters from the beginning or end of a movie title to make a new film. Now, at the suggestion of Hopelessly Addicted to Loserdom Duncan Stevens, we present the sequel. This week: Delete one or more letters (they must be consecutive) from the middle of a movie title, and describe the resulting new movie, as in Duncan’s suggestions above. You may change spacing, capitalization and punctuation. (Added June 6: You may also delete one or more numbers from the movie title.)

GOP in the Before Times: This week's second prize.
GOP in the Before Times: This week's second prize.

Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Indicate the deleted letter(s) in parentheses; don’t use contrasting typefaces, strike-throughs, etc.; the entry form’s primitive little brain can’t handle them. Deadline is Monday, June 15; results will appear July 5 in print, July 2 online.

Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a genuine big Bush-Quayle campaign button, from either 1988 or 1992, so it was for either a winning effort or a losing one. Picked up by the Empress at an estate sale, it’s sure to evoke a little nostalgia even from your lefties for An Era of Some Sanity.

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 “Ask Capades” is by Chris Doyle; Roy Ashley wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the 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. See

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

Ask Capades: The inking questions from Week 1383
Week 1383 was an installment of our Questionable Journalism contest, in which readers chose a sentence from The Post or another paper and paired it with a question — totally out of context — that the sentence could answer.

4th place:
A. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
Q. What advice is not usually given at drama school orientation? (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

3rd place:
A. “It is a great transportation option for folks as states and localities start to reopen.”
Q. Why are car manufacturers eagerly announcing new lines of hearses? (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)


2nd place
and the Japanese version of Dave Barry’s American history book:
A. “Will some people be affected badly?”
Q. Stephen Miller, what goal do you set for yourself at the start of each workday? (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
A. "The District will open 20 voting centers from May 22 to June 2 so voters can stagger the days they go to the polls."
Q. What's being done to encourage drunks to vote? (Ellen Raphaeli, Falls Church, Va.)

Who chose THESE? Honorable mentions
A. It received a $10 million loan.
Q. How is the pandemic affecting the Kushner tots’ lemonade stand? (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

A. At the moment, social distancing is the only effective countermeasure.
Q. How do I get my parents to stop asking me when I’m going to give them grandchildren? (Hannah Seidel, Alexandria, Va., a First Offender)


A. “I’m just a big lump,” he yells out. “Poopyhead. Poopyhead!”
Q. How is the president practicing for this fall’s debates? (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

A. “If you don’t need it, don’t apply.”
Q. What instructions are on every bottle of Three-Alarm Habanero Crab Lice Ointment? (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

A. There would still be time for hockey on the trampoline.
Q. What’s a line from “The Love Song of Salvador Dali”? (Duncan Stevens)

A. It’s become a movement.
Q. Mr. President, how is your famed gut instinct today? (Kevin Dopart)

A. “I nap more than I ever did before.”
Q. Jen O’Malley Dillon, what’s it like being Joe Biden’s campaign manager? (Steve Smith, Potomac, Md.)

A. “He eventually dumped me, and with distance and perspective I saw that he was obviously a terrible match for me — and one who treated me poorly in public.”
Q. What sentence appears simultaneously in the memoirs of Jeff Sessions, Sarah Sanders, Rick Perry, Kirstjen Nielsen, John Kelly, James Mattis, Rex Tillerson . . . (Tom Panther, Sharps, Va.)


A. 52 percent agreed there is a “significant” reproducibility crisis in science.
Q. Do most physicists and biologists report having too little sex? (John Hutchins, Silver Spring, Md.)

A. This is close to a carbon copy — maybe just a few degrees cooler.”
Q. Isn’t this newfangled mimeograph machine awesome? (Adrienne Cadik, Alexandria, Va.)

A. “You do need to do that dance — how far away can I stand without you being able to reach the thing?”
Q. How did Adam remember his early awkwardness with Eve? (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

A. Add cilantro to the pot.
Q. How does one stretch one’s stash while in isolation? (Asking for a friend.) (Sue Lin Chong, Baltimore)

A. “This is a humbling job.”
Q. What tweet immediately led the FBI to realize that the President’s Twitter feed had been hacked? (John Hutchins)


A. Now here we are in our homes, and we have to face the domestic sphere.
Q. So has your spouse gained any weight during the lockdown? (Duncan Stevens)

A. “Despite its smaller size, it had better airflow and speed.”
Q. How did John Bobbitt see the silver lining? (Chris Damm, Charles Town, W.Va.)

A. You’ll love the way people light up around you.
Q. What’s the best thing about cleaning up a nuclear plant after an accident? (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

A. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are not knocking on doors right now. They stopped back in March.
Q. Why have two women been standing on my front porch for three months? (Steve Smith)

A. “Write down everything you’ve done today starting from the moment you woke up.”
Q. What did your bride say on the second day of your marriage that made you say “whuh-oh”? (Chris Doyle)


A. Fifty arms, no brain at all.
Q. So who showed up at the Michigan capitol to protest the stay-at-home order? (Chris Doyle; the original was describing certain starfish)

A. “Some of us could make a party of just the fried appetizers.”
Q. What did the alligators say about the people flocking to Florida beaches? (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

A. “In key ways, America’s representatives in Washington aren’t much like America.”

Q. Did you know that most members of Congress can name their district’s member of Congress? (Jesse Rifkin, Arlington, Va.)

A. “If you can change the world, why can’t you change your appearance?”
Q. What was the one question everyone wanted to ask Bill Gates? (Alex Steelsmith, Kailua, Hawaii)

A. To the delight of the kids, the family decided to add more concrete.
Q. What creative solution did the Smiths use to win the world record for the heaviest stuffed turkey? (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)


A. Depending on market conditions, it could also be at or even below fair market rental value.
Q. Why shouldn’t I supplement my income by selling my body to the night? (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

A. A flexible putty knife, a stiff brush and a vacuum might be helpful.
Q. “I need to fill in for the president’s valet and do his hair and makeup! How will I even start?” (Frank Mann, Washington)

A. “Toes allowed agile locomotion by distributing control among multiple compliant, redundant structures that mitigate the risks of moving on challenging terrain.”
Q. What did the engineer say with a shrug after stepping on Katie’s Lego in the dark? (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

A. “He wrote that $170 had come from ‘our red brethren of the Choctaw nation.’ ”
Q. What did Daniel Snyder tweet after a couple of guys from Oklahoma ordered tickets to a game? (Bill Dorner, Indianapolis)

A. “We’ve got to get to the bottom of it.”
Q. What’s the first thing we have to do when taking the dog’s temperature? (Beverley Sharp)

A. Harrison has been offering free group challenges each month that are open to anyone; the goal is to accrue as many points as possible.
Q. Why was nutritionist Rhonda Harrison fired from her job at Weight Watchers? (Hannah Seidel)

A. All the while, a fluid situation becomes more challenging.
Q. What’s it like to see “Next Rest Stop 24 Mi” and you really should have stopped at the last one? (Sam Mertens)

A. “I wanted to be a part of his act and I wanted to be with my cheetah again.”
Q. Ms. First Lady, why did you decide to stand by him through all these revelations? (Tom Panther)

A. Teens scheme to have sex, but no one actually winds up having it.
Q. What is the plot of the least viewed video on Pornhub? (Mark Raffman)

A. Turn the news on, see a headline, then immediately turn the news off.
Q. What is the breakthrough exercise to strengthen your wrist? (Sue Lin Chong)

A. It’s a safe space in the palm of one’s hand.
Q. How do you feel about self-isolating in your apartment with no opportunity to date women? (Michelle Christophorou, Guildford, England)

A. “It’s nearly 372,000 words covering more than 700 pages, single-spaced.”
Q. Hey. Empress, why didn’t my hilarious shaggy-dog joke get ink? (Beverley Sharp)

A. “This is not a joke.”
Q. What does the Empress say about most of my Invite entries? (Sam Mertens)

Still running — deadline Monday night, June 8: Our annual “grandfoals” contest. 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.