Style Invitational Week 1388: Turning around a business
It’s an anagram contest. Plus winning stupid questions for These Trying Times.
Image without a caption
(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
Pat Myers
June 11, 2020 at 10:02 a.m. EDT
(Click here to skip down to the inking stupid questions)

OAF ODES SEAFOOD: A restaurant with clumsy waiters who insist on singing sea chanteys.

ALLERGY GALLERY: The Museum of Natural Histamine.

LEGATO GELATO: The smoothest ice cream around.

This week’s contest was suggested by Absolutely Obsessive Loser Jeff Contompasis. Are you seeing what he did here? This week: Create a business, product, organization or similar entity that contains a word, name or phrase and its anagram, and describe it, as in Jeff’s own examples above. (“Allergy Gallery” was his inking entry in a similar contest, Week 955 in 2010.) An anagram is a word or group of words that rearranges all the letters in another word or group of words, without omitting or duplicating any of them. Just think of having a bunch of Scrabble tiles and moving them around. There’s a really good chance that someone else will send the Empress the same anagram you did, so the ink would go to the funnier description.

Bet you can't ... well, who'd want to wear just one, anyway? This week’s 2nd-prize socks.
Bet you can't ... well, who'd want to wear just one, anyway? This week’s 2nd-prize socks. (

Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, June 22; results will appear July 12 in print, July 9 online.

Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a pair of knee-length socks that, together, depict a bag of Lay’s sour cream and onion potato chips. These are simply de rigueur for the Loser wardrobe, but only after Memorial Day. Sandals optional.

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 “What Duh . . .” is by Stephen Dudzik; Nan Reiner 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, published late Thursday afternoon, June 11, reviews each new contest and set of results. See

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

What duh . . .: Stupid questions from Week 1384
In Week 1384 the Empress asked for stupid questions, especially relating to The Current Situation, but more timeless ones as well.

Several Losers just quoted verbatim: “I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute, and is there a way you can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning?”

A couple of questions were too good to be called stupid, and so they get nothing: Todd DeLap asked, “Did you realize that ‘Fauci’ backward is ‘I Cuaf’?” and Eric Nelkin wondered, “Wait, when were the Certain Times?”


4th place:
“Don’t you think I look a lot more manly without that stupid mask?” (Marli Melton, Carmel Valley, Calif.)

3rd place:
“Why are my neighbor’s black-eyed Susans staring at me?” (Paul Duffy, Geneseo, N.Y., a First Offender)

2nd place
and the shower cap-style Ear Guards:
“Anyone want to carpool over with me to the testing site?” (Bill Bouyer, Ocoee, Fla.)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
If ignorance is bliss, why is Trump so cranky all the time? (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

. . . and dumber: Honorable mentions
“Do you agree with the president on that point, Mr. Vice President?” (John Glenn, Tyler, Tex.)

“Since you have to be on a ventilator for a month now, can I borrow your masks?” (Joe Neff, Warrington, Pa.)

“Is it too much to ask for a plane door that’s bigger than my umbrella?” — D.J.T. (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)


They say that it is loss that teaches us about the worth of things, but what has it taught us about socks? (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge, Va.)

“Can you and your sister stop fighting and be quiet for the next hour while I lead a Zoom meeting?” (Marli Melton)

“Hi, do you offer Zoom acupuncture?” (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)

“A notorious multiple-bankruptcy con artist sent me a $1,200 ‘check.’ Should I call the FTC to report this obvious scam?” (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

“Officer, do you even know how to use that Taser?” (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)

Can you believe those greedy teachers, asking for raises after we’ve been doing their job for them all this time? (Josh Feldblyum, Springfield, Pa.)

“Alexa, how far is six feet in a size 8 shoe?” (Bill Bouyer)

“Did you hear that the virus comes from Chinese penguins?” (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)


“Are you wondering if those pants make you look fat?” (Kyle Hendrickson, Frederick, Md.)

Can we shake left-handed since I only wipe my nose with my right hand? (Rob Cohen, Potomac, Md.)

“Come on, wasn’t that the best two minutes you’ve ever had?” (Tom Witte)

“Do you take this excrescence to be your husband?” (Dan Steinbrocker, Los Angeles)

“Does hydroxychloroquine make your hands grow?” (Jesse Frankovich)

“Does this face mask come in mesh?” (Jean Sorensen, Herndon, Va.)

“Doesn’t anyone here still care about Brexit?” (Ken Gallant, Sequim, Wash.)

“For a Wonder Bread fan like me, is there somewhere that I can get a sourdough ender?” (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Has anyone ever watched paint dry all the way to make sure the whole process is boring? (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

“Honey, with your promotion to inspector general, why don’t we buy a new house?” (Steve Smith, Potomac, Md.)


“How can Governor Cuomo’s sign language interpreter even hear him from inside that box?” (Lil Tompkins, Laurel, Md., a First Offender)

“I’m teaching my children at home. Where do I call to get a substitute?” (Robyn Carlson, Keyser, W.Va.)

“I crammed a Q-Tip up my nose, and when I pulled it out it was covered in red and greenish goo, but I didn’t see any of those little spiky balls. So I’m good, right?” (Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.)

“If I maintain a 12-foot distance from my wife, can I be within zero feet of my girlfriend?” (Bob Kruger, Rockville, Md.)

“Why does this mask make everything look so dark?” (Wendy Sheng, Falls Church, Va., a First Offender)

“If I mix hydroxychloroquine with meth, will it work faster?” (Lee Graham, Rockville, Md.)

If you’re not allowed to eat a sandwich on the Metro, why is it called a subway? (Jesse Frankovich)


“Mr. President, could you explain your long-term strategy on this issue?” (Eric Nelkin, Silver Spring, Md.)

“Since I’m an essential employee, I’m going to be paid more, right?” (Terri Berg Smith, Rockville, Md.)

“Since school is canceled, shouldn’t we gather all the neighborhood kids and put them together in a room to teach them something?” (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)

“Since we can’t shake hands anymore, why don’t we start rubbing noses?” (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

“I’d feel safe if I kept my mask on, like you do, during the dental exam, okay?” (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)

Why do female politicians do so many things that get Donald Trump in a lather? Are they out to provoke him or something? (Duncan Stevens)

Why is it that every time Anthony Fauci is asked to testify before Congress, a new disease appears in the United States? (David Kleinbard, Mamaroneck, N.Y.)


“Will my blood still be red after I drink the bleach? How will I know when I’m bleeding?” (Nancy Della Rovere, Silver Spring, Md.)

“Would you like to see my PowerPoint on people I have observed in our neighborhood who are not practicing social distancing?” (Roy Ashley, Washington)

Why don’t we eliminate the security risk of cloth-covered faces (bank robbers, much?) by covering our noses and mouths with nice clear Saran Wrap? (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station)

Still running — deadline Monday night, June 15: Our contest to delete letters from the middle of a movie title. See

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