Style Invitational Week 1409: Skip a groove
Drop a letter or more from the middle of a song title. Plus winning ‘grandfoals.’
Image without a caption
(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
Pat Myers
November 5, 2020 at 9:45 a.m. EST
Add to list
(Click here to skip down to the winning “grandfoals”)

How Do You Solve a Problem Like M[ari]a?: Theme song to “Throw Momma From the Train 2.”

W[A]P: Cardi and Megan recut their song so that all the lyrics are printable in The Washington Post. It’s now five seconds long.

Old Town Ro[a]d: Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, berated by Trump, takes off and rides until he can’t no more.

Hello! You okay? The Empress wrote up this contest before Election Day so that she could go hide in a dark room and breathe slow, slow breaths. So here’s something totally unrelated to The Matters at Hand (unless, of course, you choose to make it so . . .)

Aroma one's own: The "stank cards" in the game What’s That Smell, this week's second prize.
Aroma one's own: The "stank cards" in the game What’s That Smell, this week's second prize.
Here’s a variation on some earlier Style Invitational contests: We’ve had ones to delete letters from the beginnings and ends of song titles, and one for dropping some middle letters from movie names. So: This week: Drop one or more letters from somewhere in the middle of a song title and describe the new song, and/or quote some lyrics from it, as in the examples above from Overwhelmingly Successful Loser Duncan Stevens, who suggested this contest. (Empress: “We didn’t do that one already? Huh.” It’s hard to keep track of 1,409 contests, even with the indispensable Master Contest List kept by Loser Elden Carnahan at .) By “middle” we mean anywhere between the first letter and the last letter; i.e., don’t chop off an end. If you drop more than one letter, they must be next to each other, or divided only by a space or punctuation.


Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Nov. 16; results will appear Dec. 6 in print, Dec. 3 online.

Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy, or its replacement trophy (TBA). Second place receives — in anticipation of When We Can Get Together Again — What’s That Smell? “The party game that stinks.” It includes 48 “mystery whiff cards” plus four “stank cards” such as “hot chunky vomit” and “smothered in B.O.” Incredibly, Loser Dave Prevar was able to find this item on the clearance rack.

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 “More Fall Foaliage” is by Kevin Dopart; Chris Doyle and Jesse Frankovich both submitted the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at; “like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at; and follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.


The Style Conversational: The Empress’s online column will return next week.

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

More fall foaliage: Winning 'grandfoals'
Week 1405 was Part 2 of our special fall horse name “breeding” contest. First, in Week 1400, we asked you to “breed” any two names on a list of the year’s Triple Crown nominees and name the foal; for example, the horse As Seen on TV was “bred” to Censored to produce the “foal” ** *een on TV. Then in Week 1405 we asked you to breed any two of the foals to make “grandfoals.”

4th place:
Arraign in Spain x Cardi O = Twerquemada (Steve Smith, Potomac, Md.) [LISTED AS HM IN PRINT BECAUSE OF A PRODUCTION ERROR BY THE EMPRESS.]

3rd place:
Cuss and Make Up x St. Knickerless = Estee Lewder (Rob Wolf, Gaithersburg, Md.)

2nd place
and the socks that look like fox paws:
Two Corinthians x First Draft = Hi It’s Paul Again (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
Hello, Mother x House of Flusher = You Never Kohler (Kathy El-Assal, Middleton, Wis.)

Ixneigh: Honorable mentions
** *een on TV x Mad Don and Child = ***es Seen on TV (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)


Halls of Montezoom x ** *een on TV = Zooms of MontyHall (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

Mayor Peat x ** *een on TV = ****igieg (Laurie Brink, Mineola, N.Y.)

Amen Coroner x Arraign in Spain = IThinkSheShotIt! (Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park, Md.)

Amen Coroner x Art Corrector = More Titian (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

Amen Coroner x Bone Spurious = Dead Over Heels (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

Avoid x Cardi O = Bypass (Mike Hammer, Arlington, Va.)

First Draft x Avoid = A-Version (Vinnie Perrone, Burtonsville, Md., a First Offender)

Avoid x Lenooorrrrre! = Swipe Leffffttttt! (Lee Graham, Rockville, Md.)

Avoid x Saint Nick = Escape Claus (Bill Dorner, Indianapolis)

BAMboozle x Blame the Dog = Emeril LaGassy (John Hutchins, Silver Spring, Md.)

Halls of Montezoom x Sermonotonous = Bores of Tripoli (Pamela Love, Columbia, Md.)


Belle of the Bald x KnowWellKnowWell = Yule Brainer (Bruce Carlson, Alexandria, Va.)

BigMisunderstandin x Fire at Will = Barred From Avon (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)

BigMisunderstandin x Mad Don and Child = Tiff (Judith Wright, Indian Hills, Colo.)

Blame the Dog x Avoid = Fartful Dodger (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.; Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

Blame the Dog x Jarhead Kushner = Distemper Fi (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)

Blame the Dog x KnowWellKnowWell = Toto Recall (Mary Kappus, Washington)

Bomb in Gilead x Amen Coroner = Embalm in Gilead (Chris Doyle)

Bone Spurious x Flatley Denied = Tibia Not to Be (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

Brazilianaire x Fraud Astaire = Wax On, Rip Off (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Cardi O x Hello, Mother = Heartburn (Vinnie Perrone, Burtonsville, Md.)

Cuss and Make Up x Fertile Crescent = Cuss and Make Kids (Diana Oertel, San Francisco)


Darth Wader x Arraign in Spain = Rogue Juan (Chuck Helwig, Centreville, Va.)

Darth Wader x The Credible Hulk = Now on DisneyMinus (Andrew Hatziyannis, Rockville, Md.)

Darth Wader x Fire at Will = I Am Your Fodder (Rob Wolf)

Drool Runnings x Expialidocious = Droolie Andrews (Greg Dobbins, Boynton Beach, Fla.)

Drool Runnings x First Draft = JamaicanMeThirsty (Richard Franklin, Alexandria, Va.)

Expialidocious x House of Flusher = Mary Ploppins (Chuck Helwig)

Finnegans Woke x Fire at Will = Trigger Warning (Jonathan Jensen; Jesse Rifkin, Arlington, Va.)

Finnegans Woke x JamWow = PC & J (Laurie Brink)

Fire at Will x Regret Later = Oops, It Wasn’t Will (G.T. Bowman, Falls Church, Va.)

First Draft x Amen Coroner = Last Writes (Laura Bennett Peterson, Washington)

First Draft x Hello, Mother = Wear Your Sweater! (Joanne Free, Clifton, Va.)


Fraud Astaire x Belle of the Bald = Ziegfeld Follicles (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge, Va.)

Fraud Astaire x Octopi Wall Street = Eight Left Feet (Richard Franklin)

Goo-Google x Bomb in Gilead = Barney Rubble (Bernard Brink, Cleveland, Mo.)

Goo-Google x Regret Later = What’s 2Girls1Cup? (Laurie Brink)

Hello, Mother x Fraud Astaire = Freud Astaire (Kim Martin, Greencastle, Pa.)

Hello, Mother x Regret Later = Oedipus’ Ex (Ellen Raphaeli, Falls Church, Va.)

Hello, Mother x Venus de Miler = Look Ma, No Hands! (Rob Wolf; Greg Dobbins)

Hoosier Data? x Howls of Montezuma = IndyGestion (Rob Wolf)

House of Flusher x Flatley Denied = Not a Clogger (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

JamWow x ** *een on TV = HomeBoppingNetwork (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)

JamWow x St. NaCl-less = Jammy Buffett (Laurie Brink)

Jarhead Kushner x Howls of Montezuma = Lanced Corporal (Roger Dalrymple, Gettysburg, Pa.)


KnowWellKnowWell x Bone Spurious = KnowWell Coward (John Winant, Annandale, Va.; Scott Straub, Winchester, Va.)

KnowWellKnowWell x Regret Later = Nah, Just Deny It (Jeff Loren, Seattle)

Kvetch-O-Matic x Cuss and Make Up = Marital Bliss (Carol Blauvelt, Manassas, Va., a First Offender)

Kvetch-O-Matic x Stubble Genius = Bitchy & Scratchy (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

Lenooorrrrre! x Sermonotonous = Snooorrrre! (Duncan Stevens)

Little Bunny FU FU x Belle of the Bald = Hare Today . . . (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

Little Bunny FU FU x Fraud Astaire = PeterCaughtInTale (Matt Monitto, Bristol, Conn.)

Mad Don and Child x Art Corrector = Mad Don Is Child (Harold Mantle, Walnut Creek, Calif.; Jonathan Paul)

Manafort Knox x Little Bunny FU FU = Gold Finger (Matt Monitto)

Octopi Wall Street x BAMboozle = Suckers (Janet Griffin, Madison, Wis.)


Puttin’OnTheWrits x Little Bunny FU FU = The Torts & Hare (Pam Sweeney, Burlington, Mass.)

Hello, Mother x Bomb in Gilead = Camp Grenade (Pamela Love)

Anise-thesia x Flatley Denied = N₂O Way, José (Laurie Brink)

Bone Spurious x What’sYoursIsMayan = Chicken Itza (Mark Raffman; Laurie Brink)

Dress to the Left x Fraud Astaire = Ballroom (Rick Haynes, Boynton Beach, Fla.)

Dress to the Left x ** *een on TV = Dress to the Cleft (Tom Witte)

Drool Runnings x Doris and Natasha = Spit Toon (Rick Haynes)

Finnegans Woke x First Draft = MadeTooMuchSense (Laurie Brink)

Still running — deadline Monday night, Nov. 9: our contest for tweaked names of charities. 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.