Style Invitational Week 1392: Picture This — a cartoon caption contest
Make ‘sense’ of these 4 Bob Staake pictures. Plus some amazing anagrams.
Image without a caption
(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
Pat Myers
July 9, 2020 at 10:05 a.m. EDT
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(Click here to skip down to the winning anagrams forming business names)

Back in late January, when we last did our cartoon caption contest, one of the random Bob Staake cartoons was of a woman sitting at home in an armchair and noticing that a bunch of giant circles — spots? bowling balls? dog noses? — had appeared outside her window. What we couldn’t yet have known was that they were coronaviruses (or they would have been, if some caption-writing Loser had found a way to make that funny).

Anyway, the point is that we often see things differently from how we did back in the Before Times. Which makes it a good time to try out a new stack of Staakes. This week: Write a caption, either descriptive or in dialogue, for any of the Bob Staake cartoons above. It’s inevitable that numerous Losers will come up with the same general idea, so the funniest writing will get the ink.


Help an Empress today! Please begin each entry with “Picture A:,” “Picture B:,” etc., followed on the same line by your caption. This will let Ms. E, with the “assistance” of Microsoft Word, group all the Picture A captions together, etc., before scorning the vast majority of them. Thank you — you’re so kind!

Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, July 20; results will appear Aug. 9 in print, Aug. 6 online.

Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives the latest of our Questionable Culinary Delights: It’s durian, the pineapple-size fruit that’s beloved in Southeast Asian cuisine. But it’s not the custardy pulp; it’s the part that’s not beloved: It’s a plastic vial of “durian aroma paste,” concentrating a smell that “has been said to reek of gym socks, garbage and rotting meat,” according to Science News. Loser Daphne Steinberg, who found it in a D.C.-area international supermarket, didn’t break the seal on the bottle, and neither did we.


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 “Style’s Slyest” is by Jeff Contompasis; Chris Doyle 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 9, 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 . . .

STYLE'S SLYEST: Winning anagrams from Week 1388
In Week 1388 we asked for businesses, products, etc. whose names contained a word or phrase plus its anagram. In other words, all the letters in the first half of the name are scrambled into the other half, like DREARY MISSES’ TENT/MATERNITY DRESSES. Amazingly clever finds this week!

4th place:
PATHETIC RUSE THERAPEUTICS: Our placebos are the most effective on the market. (Byron Miller, Cobble Hill, B.C.)

3rd place:
BACHELOR CARBHOLE: Beer & Fries R All U Need (Bill Hilton, Sebring, Fla.)

2nd place
and the potato chip package-motif socks:
BAD TO YOU AUTO BODY: We promise that your car will leave our shop more rusted, dinged and dented than when you brought it in — all for an outrageous price! (George Thompson, Springfield, Va.)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
‘ALIENS/MY ANUS’ INSANE ASYLUM: We get right to the bottom of abduction probe delusions. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

ONE-SMIRK MONIKERS: Honorable mentions
SPECIAL VOTERS POSTAL SERVICE: Agency created by the president that will accept mail-in ballots, but only from his supporters. (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)


ASCOT TACOS: Our truck is a Bentley. (Dave Letizia, Pinehurst, N.C.; Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)

RUBE UBER: A ride-sharing service for those without smartphones; a.k.a. a cab. (Steven Gerstein, Potomac, Md., a First Offender)

‘I LOST A BRA IN IT’ ITALIAN BISTRO: Trattoria known for its very strong drinks. (Diane Lucitt, Ellicott City, Md.)

AMPLE CONTOURS CRUMPET SALOON: Featuring an all-day snack and beer buffet. (Byron Miller)

BAKER’S FAT BREAKFAST: Start your day with a doughnut with cheesecake topping! (Raymond Gallucci, Frederick, Md.)

BOREDOM BEDROOM: The worst little whorehouse in Texas. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

BURLY DREAM LUMBERYARD: Shop here, ladies, and you’ll never need a stud finder. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

‘C’MON, EARN SPOUSE TIME’ TEA ’N’ SCONES EMPORIUM: A romantic outing, for one of you. (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)


CHARGE MUCH MEGACHURCH: If you want to find Jesus, you gotta grease some psalms. (Frank Mann, Washington)

CIA STOP-IN OPTICIANS: The White House has limited its stock to rose-colored glasses. (Mark Raffman, Reston)

‘HAD OUTHOUSE FOR ENTERTAINING’ SOUTHERN HERITAGE FOUNDATION: It operates the Museum of Unromanticized Dixie Culture. (Kevin Dopart)

CLEANSED SITE DELICATESSEN: Where we fumigate the food, staff and customers. (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)

COARSE APE AEROSPACE: When we throw bones in the air, they turn into satellites! Serving the industry since 2001. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

DIET TIDE: The detergent taste you crave, the convenience of pods — now sugar-free! (Elliott Shevin, Oak Park, Mich.)

DOORBELL BORDELLO: We’ll push your buttons and never expect a ring. (Kevin Dopart)


DREARY MISSES’ TENT MATERNITY DRESSES: Telling it like it is with the same styles since 1940. (Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)

EROS’S SORES: Your reliable STD clinic. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

FAKE SCAM FACE MASK: For those who think covid-19 is a hoax: It exposes your nose and mouth but covers your eyes and ears. (Frank Mann)

GAME OF THRONES FEARSOME THONG: Wear what the Night King wore beneath that armor! (Ken Liss, Brookline, Mass.)

GENITAL FERVOR FOREIGN TRAVEL: Your guide to Amsterdam’s red-light district. (Laura Clairmont, Venice, Fla.)

HOMER’S IPECAC ICE CREAM SHOP: If you keep these down, they’re free! Mmm, ipecac! (Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)

ICY TOES SOCIETY: Its members would really like to get together, but they have cold feet. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery Ala.)

MINIATURE GOLF FEATURING LIMO: Why walk all those inches between holes when you can travel in style? (Eric Nelkin, Silver Spring, Md.)


NOSY LOCO COP COLONOSCOPY: It’s a free procedure, but you might just want to pay the ticket. (Roy Ashley, Washington)

OCEANIC COCAINE: Ride the high seas on this cruise. (Bill Dorner, Indianapolis; Stephen Dudzik)

OCHER SLOP PRESCHOOL: The only place in town that welcomes your un-potty-trained child. (Melissa Balmain)

RICH MAN CHARMIN: Bath tissue designed for the effluent of the affluent. (Bob Kruger, Rockville, Md.)

TESLA LEAST: Reimagining the skateboard. Reserve yours now — delivery 2025. (Brett Dimaio, Cumberland, Md.)

A CERVIX SITE TAXI SERVICE: Many babies have been born — not to mention conceived — in our back seats. (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

ECONOMIC RUIN ADVISER: 2020 Problems Got You Down? Wire U$ Money, We Help All Your Troubles! (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)


And Last: LOSER CHOP PRESCHOOL: Where future Empresses learn to winnow the list. (J.J. Gertler, Arlington)

Still running — deadline Monday night, July 20: Our contest for new words and phrases that lack C, O, V, I and D. See

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