Style Invitational Week 1399: The lie-zy days of summer
Tell us fake trivia about summer or summer events. Plus inking ‘plus-ones.’
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(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
Pat Myers
August 27, 2020 at 10:09 a.m. EDT
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(Click here to skip down to the winning “plus-one” jokes)

● On Aug. 24, 1969, the footage of the first moon landing was filmed in a Hollywood studio, but only because Buzz Aldrin had forgotten to remove the lens cap during the real event one month earlier. (Jason Russo)

● Synchronized swimmers are typically fitted with plastic mouth inserts to ensure that their smiles match. (Robert Schechter)

● Early in their history, the Yankees were frequent losers to their archrivals, the Yankers. (Steve McClemons)

It’s the third stop in our tour of false facts about the four seasons. This week: Tell us some bogus trivia about the summer or things that happen or have happened in the summer, like the examples above from earlier Style Invitational fictoid contests about history and sports.

Wow! Electricity! This week's second prize.
Wow! Electricity! This week's second prize.
Submit up to 25 entries total at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Sept. 7, in honor of the Unofficial Last Day of Summer; results will appear Sept. 27 in print, Sept. 24 online — which, yes, is after the Official Last Day of Summer. So we forgot.


Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives what could charitably be called “retro” and less charitably “srsly?”: It’s a gadget called Steve Spangler’s Energy Stick, which is a glass tube with some wires and light filaments inside. It’s marketed as a science toy because when you hold both ends of the tube, you “turn your body into a human conductor of electricity” with the electrons in your skin, thereby producing flashing lights and annoying noises. This is guaranteed to delight your junior biophysicist for multiple nanoseconds. Donated by Dave Prevar.

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, “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 “Jest One More” was submitted by both Chris Doyle and Beverley Sharp; Terri Berg Smith and Kevin Dopart both came up with the honorable-mentions subhead. Having contests for seasonal fictoids was suggested by Jeff Contompasis. Join the Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at; “like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at; follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.

Next week — more horses! To coincide with the Finally Gonna Happen 2020 Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5, we’ll be doing our venerable racehorse name “breeding” contest, using 100 of the names of this year’s Triple Crown nominees. Back in May we did the contest using the names of past winners, but now we’ll be back with the real thing.


The Style Conversational The Empress's weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. See this week's, published late afternoon Thursday, Aug. 27, at

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

Jest one more: The 'plus-ones' from Week 1395
In Week 1395 we asked you to add “plus-one” to something known by a number. The most frequently submitted entry was something like 45 presidents plus 1: Yes, please!

4th place:
The Sound of Two Hands Clapping: What begins the audio version of “Koans for Dummies.” (Harold Mantle, Walnut Creek, Calif.)

3rd place:
The Feeding of the 5,001: If Jesus had known how greedy that last guy was going to be, he’d have sent Peter out for another fish. (Michelle Christophorou, Guilford, Surrey, England)

2nd place
and the “Houston Asterisks” T-shirt:
Four and Twenty Blackbirds Plus One:
Once upon a midnight, baking pastries for the king’s partaking,
Slicing ouzels, merls and crows, I saw I’d gotten to a score—
Diced four grackles, kept on working, when I spied a blackbird lurking,
Eyeing me and blithely smirking, high above my kitchen door.
“Does this pie have room,” I asked him, “for another of your corps?”
Quoth the Raven, “Not one more.” (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
50 First Dates Plus 1: "C'mon, Mom, I don't need you to chaperone anymore!" (Rob Cohen, Potomac, Md.)

Limited additions: Honorable mentions
The 1-percenters plus 1 percent: “There goes the neighborhood!” (John McCooey, Rehoboth Beach, Del.)


10 Things I Hate About You plus 1: And you never appreciate all the lists I make! How can you live so disorganized? (Hannah Seidel, Alexandria, Va.)

100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall: Prequel to the musical saga. (Ben Aronin, Washington)

1984 + 1: The year 19841, when we finally emerge from the current dystopia. (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)

20,001 Leagues Under the Sea: The short sequel in which Captain Nemo finds the precise crush depth of the Nautilus. (Brett Dimaio, Cumberland, Md.)

The 50 states plus 1: [This entry blocked by the Republican Party] (Adam Nubbe, Falls Church, Va., a First Offender)

51 Ways to Leave Your Lover: Say you’ve got the virus, Cyrus. (John Glenn, Tyler, Tex.)

51 Ways to Leave Your Lover: Call out his vanity, Hannity! (Eric Nelkin, Silver Spring, Md.)

525,601 minutes: How you measure a year when your clock runs .0005 percent fast. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)


61 Minutes: Given the age of the show’s reporters, well, they just need a little more time. (Bill Lieberman, Ellicott City, Md.)

Around the World in 81 Days: An inattentive Phileas Fogg trips on the international date line. (John McCooey)

The Big Ten Plus One: And you’re still three short of the actual number of teams. (Adam Nubbe; Bill Lieberman)

Eight Days a Week Plus One: How long every week seems to be these days. (Jesse Aronson, Arlington, Va.)

The Five Corners: Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and the 4th Congressional District of North Carolina. (Zachary Levine, Rockville, Md.)

Four little words: “I love you, tonight.” (Howard Walderman, Columbia, Md.)

One Thousand and Two Nights: The king wants to hear Tale No. 432 again. (Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)

Pentathlon plus one: The drug test. (Wendy Shang, Falls Church, Va.)


Seven Brides for Eight Brothers: Sometimes you end up as the fifteenth wheel. (Hannah Seidel)

Seven Habits of Highly Successful People Plus One: 8. Be born to really rich parents. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park, Md.)

Six Easy Pieces: The president aces a jigsaw puzzle test. (Mike Mason, Centreville, Va.)

The Eighth Seal: Elmer’s. (Maja Keech, Bowie, Md.; Chuck Smith, Woodbridge, Va.)

The Four Questions Plus One: Why aren’t they called the Four Answers? (Rob Cohen)

The Four Tops plus a pair of sweatpants is all you need for your lockdown wardrobe. (Jeff Hazle, San Antonia)

The Seven Articles of the U.S. Constitution Plus One: “I’m told that Article 8 is written on the back of the Constitution in invisible ink, and gives me unilateral authority to postpone the election.” (Steve Smith, Potomac, Md.)


The Seven Deadly Sins plus 1: Pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, sloth, and not noticing the green left-turn arrow until it’s almost over. (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)

The Eight Deadly Sins: The eighth is pedantry. Actually, however, it should really remain at seven because greed and gluttony are basically the same. (Roy Ashley, Washington)

The Thirteen Days of Christmas: When you try to return a bunch of lords-a-leaping without a gift receipt. (John Hutchins, Silver Spring, Md.)

The Three Fates Plus One: The first sister spins the thread of life, the second sister measures it, the third cuts it, and the fourth turns you into a yo-yo. (Greg Dobbins, Boynton Beach, Fla.)

The whole 10 yards: Something the Washington Football Team hopes to achieve one day. (Luke Baker, Columbia, Md.)


The Sinister Six Plus One: Spider-Man’s nemeses — Dr. Octopus, Electro, Kraven, Mysterio, Sandman and Vulture — pale before ORKIN GUY. (Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.)

Three’s a crowd plus one: The biggest crowd ever, period! (George Smith, Frederick, Md.)

Two Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Many thought McMurphy was faking it, but no one questioned the admission of Louie Gohmert. (William Lomas, Haymarket, Va., who last got ink in Week 194 — 24 years ago)

Your Age Plus One: How old you will be when you really have your act together. (Jennifer Martin Broadway, Marquette, Mich.)

Still running — deadline Monday, Aug. 31: our contest for a metaphor or meme to describe 2020. See

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