Style Invitational Week 1448: Hear, hear, it’s Limerixicon XVIII
Write a limerick featuring a word starting with he-. Plus winners of our new-sport contest.

(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
Pat Myers
August 5, 2021 at 10:21 a.m. EDT

(Click here to skip down to the winning ideas for new sports)

Though she sang with a voice operatic,
She ate marshmallows like a fanatic.
But then it got tricky —
Her tonsils got sticky!
Now all we can hear is s’more static. (Beverley Sharp)

Just about a year ago, we checked in for the 17th time with limerick guru Chris Strolin, whose mission to create a full English dictionary with every entry in limerick form had worked its way up to the ha- words. (Chris’s current estimate for completion at Oct. 15, 2061. “I’ll live to see the Z- section open if I can just make it to my 109th birthday.”) And now for our 18th sliver of the dictionary: Supply a humorous, previously unpublished limerick significantly featuring any word, name or term beginning with “he-,” as in the example above from a 2010 limerick contest. By “significantly,” we mean that a “he” or “her” won’t qualify your limerick unless it were really focused on that word.

In case you'd like to pet your bulletin board: Dog butt push pins, this week’s second prize.
In case you'd like to pet your bulletin board: Dog butt push pins, this week’s second prize.
Please see our guide “Get Your ’Rick Rolling” at for our fairly strict rules on limerick rhyme and meter (in a nutshell: “perfect” rhyme, and a strong “hickory-dickory-dock” rhythm in Lines 1, 2 and 5; a “dickory-dock” in Lines 3 and 4; additional unaccented syllables on either side are fine). Read the example above out loud, with big accents on the accented syllables, and you’ll see what we mean. See about submitting limericks there, if you like, after this contest is over.

Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Aug. 16; results appear Sept. 5 in print, Sept. 2 online.

Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a set of Dog Butt push pins, the adorable inch-long rears of five assorted breeds plus a bonus half a fire hydrant. The Empress is thinking they could be modified into lapel pins as well. Donated by Style Invitational Devotees member Sheri Sutherland.

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 “The Puntathlon” was submitted by both Chris Doyle and Jesse Frankovich; Tom Witte wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the lively 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 weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. See this week’s at

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

The puntathlon: Altered sports names from Week 1444
In Week 1444 the Empress asked you to slightly change the name of a sport (or sport-related term) and describe the new one. Too many people to credit among some 1,800 entries offered the tryathlon (everyone gets a trophy), BMX changed to BM (you can imagine), the snot put (ditto) and the shot putt, hitting a 16-pound iron ball with a golf club.

4th place:
Offencing: Talk-show hosts compete to say the most reprehensible, dangerous things. The winner gets a prime-time spot on cable so they can complain every night about being “censored.” (John Hutchins, Silver Spring, Md.)

3rd place:
Worstminton: Instead of a shuttlecock, it’s played with a grenade. (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)

2nd place
and the winner of the book “The Gas We Pass”:
American Ninja Worrier: Anxious parents must surmount a series of extreme obstacles, from the devilishly sensible “He’ll probably text us in the morning” to the terrifyingly reasonable “She’s an adult; she can make her own choices.” (Hannah Seidel, Alexandria, Va.)

And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:
Marrython: The only endurance sport where you try not to reach the finish line. (Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)

Gave only 109 percent: Honorable mentions
Blaséball: Whatever it is that the Orioles do year after year. (Bruce Carlson, Alexandria, Va.)

Splatform diving: The world’s foremost bellyfloppers show what gravity and mass can do to an unsuspecting body of water. (Diana Oertel, San Francisco)

Antennis: Contestants find it’s really hard to hit a ball with a racket strapped to your head. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Lagrosse: Players drink huge quantities of beer and try to score by vomiting into the opposing team’s goal. (Frank Mann, Washington)

March Adness: Three weeks of commercials, occasionally interrupted by a few minutes of basketball. (Eric Nelkin, Silver Spring, Md.)

The 20K talk: Two-person teams recite one of Aaron Sorkin’s walking dialogues without taking a breath. (Ira Allen, Bethesda, Md.)

Microsoftball: Every few innings the umpire updates the rule book, often requiring the game to restart. (Eric Nelkin)

Moderna pentathlon: Comprises the Vaccination Booking, the Serpentine Queue Dash, the Immediate Selfie Post, the Info-Sheet-Into-Recycling-Bin Toss and the Two-Days-Later Sore-Armed Sports Bra Removal. (Pam Sweeney, Burlington, Mass.)

Poll vault: Would-be voters try to clear the high bar set by their state legislators. (Diana Oertel)

100x4-meter relay: It’s all about the baton pass. (John Klayman, Fairfax, Md.)

Bandminton: Replace rackets with instruments: Amateur level: banjo; pro level: clarinet. (Craig Dykstra, Centreville, Va.)

Badmitten:Competitors must carry a tray full of cookies straight from the oven across the room wearing only thin gloves. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park, Md.)

Vladminton: Racket sport played shirtless on horseback. Strongly advised you let him win. (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

2x4x100 relay: Long pieces of lumber ensure socially distanced handoffs. Just watch for splinters. (Pam Sweeney)

50-meter crash: All runners must change lanes before the finish line. (Marleen May, Rockville, Md.)

Slam donk: Bouncing the ball off a defender’s head and into the basket. Two points. (Brett Dimaio, Cumberland, Md.)

Archerry: Shooting an apple off someone’s head? That’s for novices! (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.; Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)

Anarchery: No targets, just shoot at whatever you want. Not a highly attended event. (Brian Collins, Olney, Md.)

Fartchery: Silent but deadly arrows pierce through the air, misting their marks with pinpoint accuracy. Extra points for duration, volume and linger time. (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines; Dave Ferry, Purvis, Miss.)

Hibocce: Lawn bowling on a red-hot grill keeps the action moving. (Connie Ostrowski, Niskayuna, N.Y., a First Offender)

Arrhythmic gymnastics: Me trying to do a cartwheel. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

Baskeetball: When a player shoots a hoop, an opposing player blasts at the ball with a shotgun. Shooting another player draws two free throws (not by the fouled player). (John Kammer, South Riding, Va.)

Blobsled: A Winter/Summer Games crossover: Two sumo wrestlers ride down an iced and greased track in pursuit of a bowl of chankonabe. (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)

Canoedling: Not much paddling happens in this sport, unless your teammate is Christian Grey. (Lee Graham, Rockville, Md.)

Clickit: Chinese and Russian teams vie to entice naive Americans into opening email attachments. (Craig Schopmeyer, Kensington, Md.)

Fig skating: Instead of a garish costume, each skater wears nothing but a simple, elegant leaf. Not for the shy or the easily chilled. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

I’ll Pine skiing: Southerners sit around and long for snow. (Drew Bennett)

IdidArod: Madonna and J.Lo are among the participants in this popular New York sport. (Mark Turco, McLean, Va.)

Mototoss: Bodybuilders compete to see who can fling a Mini Cooper the farthest. (Terri Berg Smith, Rockville, Md.)

NASCARA: Competitors use the rearview mirror to put on eye makeup while driving 200 miles an hour. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

Po’lo: A street game played on bikes with sticks and a soda can. (Tom Witte)

Duper Bowl: The Republican primary. (Ward Foeller, Charlottesville, Va.)

Ruder Cup: A golf tournament featuring strategic coughing and tactical arm farts. (Jim Reagan, Herndon, Va.)

Earobics: The athletic contortions you undergo to get rid of the pool water that’s sloshing around your cochlea. (Duncan Stevens)

The 1,500-meeter: Politicians and sales reps compete in a networking marathon. Points for double handshaking, deep eye contact and addressing each person by name. (John Bunyan, Cincinnati) ‘

Greco-ramen wrestling: Using just their upper bodies, athletes try to pin each other in a giant tub of noodles. (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

Greco-romantic wrestling: Manly grappling featuring intimate and provocative holds. Spectators often blush at the climactic “pin.” (Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg, Va.)

Heavyweight doxing: Forget trash talk — if you really want to rattle your opponent in the ring, shout his street address to the crowd. (Melissa Balmain)

Serfing: Participants try to keep their heads above water as they are buffeted by wave after wave. (Joe Neff, Warrington, Pa.)

Stanley Cup Wayoffs: The NHL regular season just ended — which means seven more months of hockey. (Warren Tanabe, Annapolis, Md.)

Herptathlon: Seven competitors spin the bottle. The object is to avoid kissing the one with the cold sore. (Greg Dobbins, Boynton Beach, Fla.)

DiscUSPS:Contestants vie for the longest throw — measured in time to destination. (Mark Raffman)

Casketball: Last one in wins it. (Craig Dykstra)

Still running — deadline Monday night, Aug. 9: Our contest to translate a sentence in the paper into “plain English.” See

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