Style Invitational Week 1391: ‘Covid’-free zone!
Coin a word or phrase without a C, O, V, I or D. Plus altered movie titles.
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(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
Pat Myers
July 2, 2020 at 9:24 a.m. EDT
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(Click here to skip down to the inking shortened movie titles)

Gymgerly: How one handles the equipment at the newly reopened Planet Fitness.

Texass: A Sun Belt resident who insists that wearing a mask in a bar infringes upon his freedom.

Tallsa tale: “Our other 994,000 supporters didn’t show up because they were afraid of protesters!”

It makes a certain sense, we concede, for The Washington Post to be Corona All the Time. But sometimes we need a reprieve. Well, a fake one, anyway. In Week 1243 we did a contest for new terms that didn’t have a T, R, U, M or P; this week: Coin a new word or phrase that lacks C, O, V, I and D and describe it, as in the examples above by 24-7 Loser Duncan Stevens, who suggested this contest. Note that while the letters are off limits, the subject isn’t.

Not really. This week’s second prize.
Not really. This week’s second prize.
Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, July 13; results will appear Aug. 2 in print, July 30 online.


Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives something that’s for giving away: It’s a prank gift box labeled “Emma Dean’s Earwax Candle Kit,” complete with a big photo of a huge gobby brownish candle. “Wax Extraction Cap Included!” On the side is a promo for Ms. Dean’s other alleged craft creations, like “Human Hair Wall Hangings.” Donated by the eternally pranky Loser Mike Creveling.

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 new lusted-after Loser magnets, “No ’Bility” or “Punderachiever.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at The headline “Cut!” was suggested by half a dozen Losers; Jon Gearhart 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, July 2, discusses each new contest and set of results. Especially if you plan to enter, check it out at


And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

Cut! Shortened movie titles from Week 1387
In Week 1387 the Empress asked you to delete one or more letters from the middle of a movie title, then describe the new film. Too many Losers suggested THE MAN(ch)URIAN CANDIDATE (you can guess the rest). More than 2,300 total entries later, let’s roll ’em.

4th place:
AN INCONVENIENT (t)RUTH: Alito and Kavanaugh find their plans stymied at every turn by a supernatural force. (Frank Mullen III, Aledo, Ill.)

3rd place:
DEAD P(o)ETS SOCIETY: Heartbroken by the success of “Springtime for Hitler,” Max Bialystock is convinced he’s finally picked the musical that will send everyone heading for the exits. (Frank Mann, Washington)

2nd place and the Bush-Quayle campaign button:
FOUR (wed)DINGS AND A FUNERAL: A cautionary tale of what happens when you’re not careful with the mob boss’s car. (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD (st)ILL: Prequel of "The Three Months and Counting When the Earth Stood Ill." (Sue Lin Chong, Baltimore)

THE PLOT (th)ICKENS: Honorable mentions
FOR YOUR (e)YES ONLY: A documentary about the current White House’s hiring standards for advisers. (Ryan Martinez, Takoma Park, Md.)


FRIED GREEN (toma)TOES: While teaching Kermit to cook, Miss Piggy realizes something has gone terribly wrong. (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

GHOST(bust)ERS: “Who ya gonna call — who won’t pick up?” (Ben Aronin, Washington)

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOB(let) OF FIRE: Hermione’s clever spell causes Draco Malfoy to hawk up a gusher of flaming loogies. (Jerry Birchmore, Springfield, Va.)

ALICE DOESN’T LI(v)E HERE ANYMORE: The president dismisses another press secretary. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

MY (f)AIR LADY: A lifelong bachelor decides he prefers the company of an inflatable woman. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

THE [h]AUNTING: A woman wishes she’d never volunteered to babysit her sister’s children. (Michelle Christophorou, Guildford, England)

THE P(o)PE OF GREENWICH VILLAGE: Even the singers wear masks onstage at this covid-conscious folk club. (Bruce Alter, Fairfax Station, Va.)


THE CHI(n)A SYNDROME: A nuclear accident brings on unsettling changes in the growth of men’s beards. (Mark Raffman)

THE GIRL WITH THE D(rag)ON TATTOO: A True Trumper dispenses with a MAGA hat and gets his picture inked on her forehead. (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

THE IMITATION (ga)ME: Madonna expresses annoyance at Lady Gaga’s success. (Mark Raffman)

THE KIN(g)’S SPEECH: The best man desperately tries to think of funny but not too humiliating stories about his brother to use in the wedding toast. (Richard Wexler, Alexandria, Va.)

THE LAST OF THE (Mohi)CANS: City residents search in vain for an open restroom during the lockdown. (William Kennard, Arlington, VA.)

THE (Afri)CAN QUEEN: The Kim Kardashian story. (Mark Nocera, Alexandria, Va., a First Offender)

MR. S(m)ITH GOES TO WASHINGTON: How a young, naive Dick Cheney was lured to the Dark Side. (Andrew Wells-Dang, Arlington, Va.)


NO COUNT(ry for) OLD MEN: Tarzan explains why pollsters got the 2016 presidential race wrong. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

ON THE (water)FRONT: Instructional video on the best way to wear your mask. (Jeff Rackow, Bethesda, Md.)

ALL QUI(e)T ON THE WESTERN FRONT: They hold a war and nobody comes. (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)

ALL QUIET ON THE (wes)TERN FRONT: Hitchcock’s less suspenseful sequel to “The Birds.” (Larry Passar, Reston, Va.)

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN F(r)ONT: After an epic shootout, the graphics team finally settles on Rio Grande Bold for the saloon sign. (Gary Crockett)

THE (ja)ZZ SINGER: A young emigre defies his family to chase his dream of singing lullabies for a living. (Harold Mantle, Walnut Creek, Calif.)

THE (phan)TOM OF THE OPERA: Believe it or not, they managed to make an even worse movie musical about cats. (Jesse Frankovich)


THE BEST (y)EARS OF OUR LIVES: Three Iowa corn farmers discover the lucrative business of ethanol. (Chuck Helwig, Centreville, Va.)

THE BLUE (la)GOON: The Democrats decide they need a ruthless, irrational bully of their own. (Maggie Haring, Leesburg, Va.)

P(r)ETTY WOMAN: We follow Karen from store to store as she demands to see every manager. (Jerry Birchmore)

PE(yt)ON PLACE: The lives of the downstairs staff at Mar-a-Lago. (Bill Lieberman, Ellicott City, Md.)

RO(semar)Y’S BABY: An Alabama judge goes “shopping” at a local mall. (Jesse Frankovich)

J(F)K: Oliver Stone’s new film admits that, okay seriously, it was just Lee Harvey Oswald. (Bob Kruger, Rockville, Md.)

F(ive easy pi)ECES: Jack Nicholson plays a young well-to-do who renounces his life of privilege and takes a series of crap jobs. (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)


BEAUTY AND THE BE(a)ST: The Donald and Melania story, produced by One America News Network. (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)

AROUND THE WORLD IN 8(0) DAYS: On their most grueling tour, the Beatles circumnavigate the globe in a week. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore; Steve Smith, Potomac, Md.)

2001(: A space) ODYSSEY: In this promotional short, Honda touts improved cupholders and far-back seats in its new minivan. (Frank Mann)

STAR TREK: THE SEARCH FOR S(p)OCK: Even with the advanced laundry technology of the future, hosiery continues to disappear mysteriously. (Tom Witte)

G(oldi)LOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS: Responding at the wrong house to a reported burglary, a SWAT team pulls a no-knock raid on a couple and their child. (Chris Doyle)

FUNNY (g)IRL: Fanny dreams of being a stand-up comedian. But will her Internet jokes fall flat in front of a live audience? (Hannah Seidel, Alexandria, Va.)


INVASION OF THE (body snat)CHERS: Drag queens descend on New Orleans for the annual celebrity lookalike contest. (Chris Doyle)

INVASION OF THE BO(dy sna)TCHERS: Citizens discover that competent government officials have all been replaced by inept political appointees. (Sam Mertens)

THE SILENCE OF THE (lam)BS: Trump takes a Twitter break. (Michelle Christophorou)

THE TOWERING (infer)NO: The Mitch McConnell Story. (Jesse Rifkin, Arlington, Va.)

F(ro)ZEN: A frustrated monk abandons his path to enlightenment. (Ryan Martinez)

Still running — deadline Monday night, July 6: Our contest to compare any two items from our zany list. See

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