Style Invitational Week 1452: As the word turns
“Discover” new words by snaking around the grid. Plus winning limericks.

(Grid generated at
By Pat Myers
September 2, 2021 at 10:19 a.m. EDT

(Click here to skip down to the winning “he-” limericks)

Starting at P-10: DEMATING: Breaking up. “He gave me the ol’ demating call last night.”

Q-6: WIDDLE: What dat toot kitty cat is.

E-19: PIDDLEAK: What you get when the Huggies don’t hug enough.

It’s the sixth of our contests in which we provide a word search grid, generated by the Empress with the help of the nifty app at, and ask you to snake through it to “discover” a word or multi­word term that consists of adjacent letters — in any direction or several directions, up, down, back, forth, diagonally — in the grid above, and provide a humorous definition, as in the examples above. Don’t trace back over the same letters. You can either make up a new word, as above, or give a creative definition for an existing one. Using the word in a funny sentence can help you get the ink over someone else who “found” the same term.

How to format your entries so that the Empress doesn’t get all scowly: Begin each entry with the coordinates of the first letter of your term (e.g., C-­12) as in the second and third examples above; the E will trace it from there. First the letter, then a hyphen, then the number. And pleeeez put your coordinates, word and definition all on the same line — don’t hit Enter between them — or they’ll become separated in The Big Sort of thousands of entries.

Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Sept. 13; results appear Oct. 3 in print, Sept. 30 online.

Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our new Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a Ruff-Grip, a little ribbed plastic gadget that you squeeze your fingertips into in an attempt to build up calluses so you can play the guitar without slicing your digits. Loser Sam Mertens received a big box of these from Amazon, when he’d actually ordered a shipment of mealworms to feed his chickens. (Think how the Ruff-Grip orderers felt when they presumably got Sam’s box.)

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 “He-Haws” was suggested by both Chris Doyle and Jesse Frankovich; Jon Gearhart 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 . . .

He-haws: Limerixicon winners from Week 1448
Week 1448 was our 18th annual Limerixicon, in which we provide some material for, the slowly forming dictionary in which the entry for each word is one or more limericks. This year we did limericks that feature words and names beginning “he-.”

4th place:
Some people are sneerin’ and scoffin’
At jabs like some anti-vax Waffen.
But they’d better take heed,
Get those shots that they need,
Or they’re risking a bad fit of coffin.
(Ward Foeller, Charlottesville, Va.)

3rd place:
Henry Winkler was hoping to play
Old King Lear, perhaps Hamlet, one day,
But when “Happy Days” called,
His dramatic plans stalled,
And he went for a role in the heyyyy.
(Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

2nd place
and the dog-butt push pins:
There once was a powerful rooster
Who posed as a feminist booster
Till hen after hen
Decreed, “Never again!”
And revealed how that rooster had goosed her.
(Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y., about her former governor)

And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:
A rumor is also called hearsay;
It's what gossipy people, I fear, say.
And it might not be true —
Only something that you
(After three or four bottles of beer) say.
(Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

Slimmer 'ricks: Honorable mentions
“Bigger government”? Part of the lexicon.
It’s the altar the taxpayer’s neck’s upon.
Someday soon, we may see
An enhanced DoD
In its new, upsized building: the Hexagon.
(George Thompson, Springfield, Va.)

Junk food makers who want to get wealthy
Need not lie, but they need to be stealthy:
“We’ve no gluten, you know!
And we’re non-GMO!”
Bada-bing, now your ice cream is healthy!
(Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

“Acrophobia,” said my friend Paul,
“Fear of heights, and the chance I may fall,
Has me going half-mad —
Things have gotten so bad,
I dislike even being this tall!”
(Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

The Harley-packed herd that converges
Each summer in Sturgis brings surges
Of bikers and boozing.
Now again they are choosing
A fall filled with funeral dirges.
(Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

When my herbivore girlfriend repeats
How she loves all her vegan-ish treats
I just cut up my steak
And say, “Give me a break —
Girl, a salad’s what my dinner eats!”
(Craig Dykstra, Centreville, Va.)

Another one about Andrew Cuomo:
Our heartthrob spoke truth to D.T.,
And we swooned as he sought PPE.
“Presidential!” we sighed.
What a turn of the tide!
Just one more grabby creep on TV.
(Robin Rowland, Potomac, Md., a First Offender)

That old rapper’s demented now, maybe?
Teamed up with his no-good pal Abie,
Robbed a store — did it twice:
Stole vanilla, then ice.
Wrote a tune for the job: “Heist Heist Baby.”
(Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

So your sappy stuff sells, but you’re hitchin’
Your wagon to Real Art? Well, switchin’
Your focus might fire
Your customers’ ire:
If you can’t stand that heat, leave the kitsch in.
(Coleman Glenn, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.)

From the Hill we hear gibing and jeering,
All civility fast disappearing.
Are the rioters back?
Are we under attack?
No, it’s just a congressional hearing.
(George Thompson)

The lumberjacks train the new guy
To fell trees more than 20 feet high:
As you chop, hear it crack,
Shout “Tim-ber!” Step back.
You could say it’s a great hew and cry.
(Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)

I drive hearses. I might make a trip
To a gravesite, a church or a ship
With a coffin in back.
It’s like driving a hack,
But the guys in the back never tip.
(Paul VerNooy, Hockessin, Del.)

Two Aussies with good looks galore
Seem — next to their brother — quite poor.
But their surname is Hemsworth
And each one of them’s worth
Enough that they say, “We’re not thore.”
(Coleman Glenn)

Prince Harry sees thrones as mere chairs.
His birthright? He chuckles, “Who cares?”
He flew sea to sea
To be royalty-free.
Now that’s what you call splitting heirs.
(Bob Kruger, Rockville, Md.)

Our champions entered the fray
Making fast food for us at low pay.
While the lockdown endured
They bravely ensured
There were deli shop heroes each day.
(Kevin Dopart, Washington)

A man owned a yacht, quite a fair ship.
But his children thought it should be their ship.
So they shouted, “At last!”
When their rich father passed,
And they eagerly boarded their heirship.
(Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

The sins of my youth I repent; I
Rue all the time I misspent! I
Now have just scorn
For Japan’s cartoon porn,
So I’ve tossed my collection of hentai.
(Perry Beider, Silver Spring, Md.)

A Woke-Up Call
Heresy! (Shouted with hate.)
Silence! There’s no more debate!
We’ve canceled free speech!
Just accept what we teach
In our all-perfect one-party state!
(Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

I know as a sprinter, you’re fleet,
And you like sending fans a good tweet,
And, yes, you’re a star —
But it’s going too far
To be taking those selfies mid-heat.
(Paul VerNooy)

This coin is so lucky—what fun!
Its success rate is second to none.
Always flips what I choose—
I have still yet to lose!
(I guess two heads are better than one.)
(Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

Small-craft sailing was meant to be fun
But I’m banging the door: “Are you done?!”
When the waves make me ooze
And there’s no time to lose,
Know that two heads are better than one.
(Kevin Dopart)

It’s balloons for the children, en masse,
Now Cassandra turns 3, little lass,
But with helium leaking
There’s lots of high squeaking.
This party for Cass is a gas!
(Cornelia Davies, Kingsbridge, England, a First Offender)

In Dublin’s fair city, I’ve heard,
A population explosion’s occurred.
One cause of this grief
Is the Church’s belief
That about birth control, mum’s the word!
(Bob Turvey, Bristol, England)

Our planet is changing, I fear:
Too much carbon is warming this sphere.
If we don’t quickly act
It will soon be a fact
That hell will be cooler than here!
(Steve Leifer, Potomac, Md.)

“That’s a hernia, there’s not a doubt,”
Said the nurse, with a bit of a pout,
“And the surgeons aren’t here,
So, until they appear,
You are welcome to stay and hang out.”
(Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

William Herschel was thought to be smart;
He discovered Uranus, to start.
But he struggled a bit
In distinguishing it
From Urelbow, to tell them apart.
(Brendan Beary)

He was everything she could desire,
Till his perfidy filled her with ire.
Her revenge, it is said,
Was his headstone, which read:
“Here lieth the ultimate liar.”
(Beverley Sharp)

Byron claims that your ladies “hen-peck’d you all.”
You’ll find, though, when Death shall collect you all
At the end of your lives,
That it wasn’t your wives,
But the smoking and drinking that wrecked you all.
(Brian Allgar, Paris)

A Hebrew hermaphrodite knew
What the rabbi, one time, had to do.
He had said, “Given this,
We will start with a bris
And, in time, have a bat mitzvah, too.”
(Louise Dodenhoff Hauser, Sarasota, Fla.)

“Your heart is still beating, and so
Your blood will continue to flow,”
My doctor said; “yet
At your age I bet
There are places it simply won’t go.”
(Robert Schechter, Dix (yup) Hills, N.Y.)

I couldn’t keep pace, as a man,
With the two girls I met down in Cannes.
They were sexy and kinky
But I’m from Helsinki:
I was Finnish before we began. (Craig Dykstra)

And Last:
The Empress is oft put to sleep
By the entries she reads. Some she’ll keep
For the column to fill,
But the bulk of them will
Wind up tossed in a losery heap.
(Jesse Frankovich)

Still running — deadline Monday night, Sept. 6: our contest for “bad first drafts” of famous lines. See

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