Style Invitational Week 1400: Back on track
It’s finally Derby weekend, and we have our classic contest. Plus winning limericks.
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(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
Pat Myers
September 3, 2020 at 9:58 a.m. EDT
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(Click here to skip down to this week’s winning “ha-” limericks.)

●Breed Poe with Screech and name the foal Raven Maniac

●Gimme Some Mo x Finite = OK, Guess I’m Good

● Informative x Thousand Words = tl; dr

Like almost everything else this year, The Style Invitational’s most popular contest faced a what-now? moment this past spring: The Kentucky Derby was rescheduled, tentatively, for Sept. 5. The Empress, not renowned for her Annie-like optimism, decided we’d better do something now than have nothing later: Instead of “breeding” the names of this year’s Triple Crown nominees, the Losers worked with the names of previous Derby winners.

Racehorse not included: This week's second prize.
Racehorse not included: This week's second prize.
But now: We have Actual Derby! So what the heck, let’s do it again with the current crop: This week: Below is a list of 100 of the horses nominated for the 2020 Triple Crown races — including the 18 scheduled to run in this weekend’s Kentucky Derby. “Breed” any two of the names and name the “foal” to humorously reflect the parents’ names, as in the examples above.


As in actual thoroughbred racing, a name may not exceed 18 characters including spaces, but may include punctuation and numerals. You may run words together to save space, but the name should be easy to read. Please note the formatting instructions on this week’s entry form. They’re very simple but very necessary, so that the E may sort the entries and be sure to see your fabulous work among the thousands of foal names submitted.

Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Sept. 14; results will appear Oct. 4 in print, Oct. 1 online — the same weekend as the similarly postponed Preakness Stakes.

Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives an official 1983 Kentucky Derby souvenir mint julep glass, donated by Loser Steve Smith. I understand that this is the same glass used to give 1983 winner Sunny’s Halo his daily julep, on the rocks.


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 “Punder-achiever.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at The headline “Wizards of HAs” is by Jon Gearhart; David Peckarsky 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

BRAND-NEW PODCAST! Check out “You’re Invited,” all about The Style Invitational! Hear Episode 1, hosted by Loser Mike Gips, at

The Style Conversational The Empress's weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. See this week's, published late Thursday afternoon, Sept. 3, at


And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago …

The Wizards of HAs: Inking limericks
In Week 1396, our 17th annual Limerixicon contest in conjunction with the all-limerick dictionary, we sought lims that featured “ha-” words.

4th place:
On Twitter, it’s rinse and repeat.
He shares, but is slow to delete
What some bigot has posted,
And then he gets roasted
For beating a hasty retweet. (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

3rd place:
Our football club’s flailing regime,
In hopes that a change might redeem
Its poor image, took aim
At that godawful name.
So this fall we can all yell “Hail team!” (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

2nd place and the Poo-Pourri toilet spritzer:
Will they hack the election? You bet!
We know Putin’s not quitting his pet.
Four more years of submission
Is their hoped-for condition.
Say the Russians: We aren’t done — nyet! (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
Here’s a fact that you simply can’t airbrush:
Nothing’s worse than a hairy old hairbrush —
Till the dread morning when
(As is feared by most men)
You have got to admit it’s a bare brush. (Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)

Hackery dackery dock: Honorable mentions
I got fired from Hallmark. Boss Fred
Hated all of my cards that he read.
I just couldn’t do sappy —
Instead, they were snappy,
Like: “Eat your damn cake. Now drop dead.” (Paul VerNooy, Hockessin, Del.)


I love coffee. Each day I drink lots —
At least two, maybe three or four pots!
But it must be supreme;
I will only take cream.
Call me one of the half-and-half-nots. (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

“A three-weeks-dead whale?” you might ask,
“Or a spilled toxic-chemical cask?”
The olfactory sin
Is produced from within:
Halitosis while wearing a mask. (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

For your health, just ignore what Trump preaches,
Like how beneficial your bleach is.
Take no medical cue
From the guy with weird hue;
Ignore the harangue-a-tan’s speeches. (Duncan Stevens; the sobriquet “harangutan” was coined by Jesse Frankovich in Week 1391)

A ’70s pop duo votes
To leave fame behind and raise goats.
John’s in back, Daryl’s lead
As they carry the feed —
Even now, they are still haulin’ oats. (Jesse Rifkin, Arlington, Va.)


With tempers still running red-hot,
Alexander and Aaron are not,
Sadly, changing their minds.
That’s how Hamilton finds
He will soon give away his last shot. (Chris Doyle)

While his life ebbed away from a duel,
And he pondered a fate that was cruel,
What did Hamilton think
As he lay on the brink?
“I wish Burr weren’t such a big tuel.” (Mark Raffman)

On Broadway, no cheering or clappin’,
No chance to hear Hamilton rappin’.
But I won’t make a fuss
’Cause I’ve got Disney Plus —
Now the living room’s where it will happen. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

The halberd’s a weapon of yore,
An ax with a spike at the fore.
’Twas not like a mace,
Which, too, had its place —
The difference was bash versus gore. (Perry Beider, Silver Spring, Md.)

Tom Swifty was known to be dreamy,
So Miss West asked him up to get steamy.
“I’m happy,” she said
From the edge of her bed,
“That you’re hardly excited to see me.” (Kevin Dopart, Washington)


Said Hippocrates, “First do no harm.”
Were he living, he’d sound this alarm:
There’s a pillow guy’s cure
For Corona? Yeah, sure.
You buy that, and you might buy the farm. (Chris Doyle)

The police can be brutal, we saw,
As a video left us in awe.
Though we must deter crime,
Most agree that it’s time
To reform the long harm of the law. (Jesse Frankovich)

“I will spin.” All my nerves became icier;
With ten thousand, my choice was much dicier.
But I watched it revolve …
“Lose a turn.” “I will solve!”
Seems that “Wheel” is just hangman, but pricier. (Matt Monitto, Bristol, Conn., who won on “Wheel of Fortune” in 2014)

The spelling of words such as “half”
Is a bane for an editor’s stalf.
But English is tough
If you don’t know your stough.
So sometimes, you’ve just gotta lalf. (Rob Cohen, Potomac, Md.)


Said the pigeon: “My greetings are warm,
But certainly far from the norm:
I just say, ‘Hi! Coo!’
I’ve produced something new —
A haiku that’s in limerick form.” (Ann Martin, Brentwood, Md.)

The onslaught of Hurricane Papi
De-roofed Pharrell’s bungalow. Crappy!
Yet the house seemed renewed,
In a lighthearted mood;
Each room of the remnant was happy. (Duncan Stevens)

On a hairpin, a vehicle’s drift
May allow for a turn that is swift.
If the torque isn’t low,
The transmission can blow
And result in a pile of shift. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

Our mother took in a new mister
Who frequently cuddled and kissed her.
It wasn’t until
We were reading her will
That we found out we had a half sister. (Mark Calandra, Wenham, Mass.)

The germ that makes covid-19
Is a virus that’s largely unseen.
But in eight weeks, I fear
Boorish clods will appear
Dressed as pathogens for Halloween. (Frank Mann, Washington)


A rabbi renowned for his noshin’
Told students to exercise caution.
We avoid by all means
Ham ’n’ eggs, ham ’n’ beans
But delight in some nice ham ’n’ taschen. (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)

Snotty clerk: “These have nary a blemish:
Hand-stitched handkerchiefs, sewn by the Rhemish!”
I replied, though, unthwarted,
“All mine, too, are imported!
See this one in my pocket? It’s phlegmish.” (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

My young daughter said, “Coffee with lime
Is useful at hangover time.”
It’s good information —
But what consternation:
My kid’s more drink-savvy than I’m! (Sharon Neeman, Pardes Hannah, Israel)

This Brexit approval I’m killing!
Whatever it takes, I am willing —
Bring back the old system!
I’m sure you’ve all missed ’em:
The ha’penny, farthing and shilling. (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)

Though Passover last left us reeling,
Next year’s will be much more appealing.
The ’21 Seder
Won’t reach a new nadir —
Let’s just say Haggadah good feeling. (Jesse RIfkin)

“The back-to-school season’s so cute —
How I love watching little Sam scoot
With his backpack and lunch,
And his socks in a bunch,
And his state-of-the-art hazmat suit!” (Melissa Balmain)

In the Louvre they sustained some bad luck;
A suicide bomber had struck.
Covered in remnants
Of Rubens and Rembrandts,
The Venus de Milo said, “Flipping heck! What on earth just happened?” (Bob Turvey, Bristol, England)

Still running — deadline Monday night, Sept. 7: our contest for fake trivia about summer. 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.

Below: The 2020 Triple Crown nominees (among almost 400) to use as “parents” in Week 1400.

See the list in three columns of text here.

Amen Corner
American Baby
Ancient Land
Art Collector
As Seen on TV
Attachment Rate
Believe Now
By Your Side
Candy Machine
Close Shave
Cool Runnings
Dances With Stars
Disc Jockey
Double Crown
Dr Post
Eight Rings
Fancy Liquor
Fantastic Day
Farmington Road
Fast Enough
Finnick the Fierce
Fore Left
Fort Knox
Full Flat
Gimme Some Mo
Great Power
Hail to the Chief
High Velocity
Hit the Road
Honor A.P.
Kid Mercury
King Guillermo
Laser Show
Life on the Road
Major Fed
Market Analysis
Max Player
Money Moves
Mr. Kringle
Necker Island
No Salt
No Shirt No Shoes
Ny Traffic
Party Town
Positively Awesome
Ready to Roll
Relentless Dancer
Say When
Semper Fi
Shooters Shoot
Sole Volante
Something Natural
South Bend
Special Day
Spice Is Nice
Storm the Court
Super John
Talkin Malice
Tap It to Win
Telephone Talker
The Falcon
Thousand Words
Tiz the Law
Tons of Gold
Top Draw
Weekend in Court
Well Connected
Winning Impression
Wrecking Crew