Style Invitational Week 1456: The hunting of the snark
Write an ‘Is that your ____, or ____?’ insult. Plus neologisms ‘found’ in a word find puzzle.

(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
By Pat Myers
September 30, 2021 at 9:59 a.m. EDT

(Click here to skip down to the winning word-search neologisms)

Is that your nose, or are you just happy to smell me? (Paul Kocak)

Is that your car, or is today the day you leave the recycling at the curb? (David Kleinbard)

Is that your wedding dress, or did you decide to wear the garment bag instead? (Sandra Hull)

We’ve been meaning to ask — or we’re meanly asking. This week: Ask an insulting rhetorical question in the form (or a variation) of “Is that your ____ or ____?” as in the examples above, all inking entries from Week 414 back in 2001. (We seem not to have redone this contest in the past 20 years.)

The computer-generated word search grid used in Week 1452.
The computer-generated word search grid used in Week 1452. (Grid generated at
Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Oct. 11; results appear Oct. 31 in print, Oct. 28 online.

Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a downright weird but presumably authentic mug commemorating the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force and featuring a crudely drawn cartoon of an evilly grinning Dracula-ish monster (or mabye a Joker in Gotham?) who’s aiming a handgun in one hand and holding a lighted fuse in the other. On the back it says “Taking Care of Business.” Donated by Loser Howard Walderman and I don’t want to know how he got it.

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 new lusted-after Loser magnets, “A Small Jester of Appreciation” or “Close, but Ceci N’est Pas un Cigare.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at The headline “Ha and Seek” is by Jesse Frankovich; both Jon Gearhart and Chris Doyle submitted 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.

Hey, terrorists, don't drink from this mug!
Hey, terrorists, don't drink from this mug!
The Style Conversational: The Empress’s weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. See this week’s, published late Thursday, Sept. 30, at

A new “You’re Invited” podcast episode! In Season 2, Episode 4, host Mike Gips features songs and more from the Flushies, the Losers’ recent annual awards bash. See or most podcast apps.


And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

Ha and seek: Winning word-search neologisms
In Week 1452 the Empress once again presented the computer-generated word search grid below — again, alas, it was laden with an unholy number of Q’s and Z’s — and invited the Loser Community to start with any letter, then snake around it in all directions, Boggle-style, to “discover” a new term. The E wishes to thank Loser Todd DeLap, who developed and ran a validating program that flagged any entries on her shortlist that skipped a letter or doubled back on the same ones. For his efforts, Todd gets no ink but, FWIW, her gratitude.

4th place:
Starting at H-14, then to G-14, H-13, G-12, F-11, G-11: NO-DOPE: The person who abstains long enough before the drug test. (Dan Helming, Whitemarsh, Pa.)

3rd place:
From A-11: MR TELLMA: The little brother everyone hates. (Ken Gallant, Sequim, Wash.)

2nd place
and the finger-callus creator:
From G-13: ADOREMAT: What you risk becoming if you enter a relationship with a dreamy jerk. (Coleman Glenn, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.)

And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:
From F-14: OM-ZAP: A meditation-induced inspiration. In full lotus, Ellen suddenly experienced an om-zap: "What if I created a dog fitness program called Labs of Steel"? (Leif Picoult, Rockville, Md.)

Off the B-10 path: Honorable mentions
A-13: REVOLTEDER: Many Democrats, if The Orange One runs in 2024. (Craig Dykstra, Centreville, Va.)

A-13: REVOTER: Scary boogeyman GOP operatives tell their kids about at night. (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)

B-13: VOLDEMELT: The least popular sandwich at the Hogwarts cafeteria. (Lee Graham, Rockville, Md.)

B-2: CALUTOPIA: The Golden State but without wildfires, earthquakes or Kardashians. (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

B-4: VULCANT: Mr. Spock’s cousin who couldn’t even do the finger thing. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

B-6: VAX RX: What we really need: a vaccine against vaccine hesitancy. (Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.)

B-7: XGRQX: Elon Musk’s next baby. “The gender-reveal party for XGRQX featured a cake in the shape of a hyperloop.” (Leif Picoult)

D-13: TEMPLETOG: A yarmulke or tallit. “Though he wouldn’t call himself observant, Josh would put on the templetogs once a year at Yom Kippur services.” (Stuart Rogers, Toronto)

C-11: TOTALLALY: You know, like, when something is, like, totally total. (Bill Gage, Nellysford, Va.)

C-4: QTOPIA: America’s return to greatness when President Trump is reinstated on March 4 Aug. 13 sometime this fall. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

C-9: WRYME: An Ogden Nash poem. (Warren Tanabe, Annapolis, Md.)

D-10: LIPLOAD: A lot of sass. “Don’t you give me that lipload, young lady!” (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

D-11: E-I-E-I-OWE: Old MacDonald had a mortgage. (Eric Nelkin, Silver Spring, Md.)

D-15: ABERANT: What Dixie newspapers called the Gettysburg Address. (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

D-16: CABOODLE: Half poodle, half mutt. (Andrew Elby, Arlington, Va.)

D-2: CACA-LURE: “Tonight on Fox News . . .” (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

E-12: MAT LIE: By “Welcome,” we don’t mean you and your pamphlet. (Lawrence McGuire)

E-12: MEATEOR: The chili dog that streaks through in the middle of the night. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

E-18: NIXT: To break up with someone over text. “I don’t know which is worse, nixting or ghosting. But at least with nixting, if he says something mean you can send a screen shot to his mom.” (Hannah Seidel, Alexandria, Va.)

E-8: WOOKER: One of Chewbacca’s especially attractive cousins. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

E-8: WUMMER: The season when it hits 78 in New York in February. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

F-13: REBRA: Dolly Parton’s industrial- strength underwire. (Chris Doyle)

G-15: ZOOMBEER: Beverage consumed from a ceramic mug with a fake tea bag tag sticking out. (Craig Dykstra)

H-8: QUAALOG: Bill Cosby’s dating journal. (Steve Fahey, Olney, Md.)

I-10: EGOPUTZ: A hopeless loser. “I alone can fix it,” declared the egoputz. (Mary Ellen McGlone, Gaithersburg, Md., a First Offender)

I-11: GOZINTER: Technical mathematical term for division. “Four gozinter 15 three times with three left over.” (Glen Matheson, Bay Shore, N.Y., a First Offender)

I-9: LEGO ZIT: The smallest tile in the Angry Teen People Pack. (George Thompson, Springfield, Va.)

K-12: ZAPTIVE: Entranced by watching your microwave tray turn. “So how have you been entertaining yourself while you’re working from home?” (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)

K-18: TANX: Shapewear you don’t have to squeeze into. (Frank Osen)

L-4: NIKEA: Purveyor of build-your-own shoes. Free Swedish meatballs when you buy a pair of Air Jörgens! (Coleman Glenn)

L-6: TEXAS UP: To pass laws that restrict voting and abortion rights. “GOP legislatures in 20 states are eager to Texas up.” (Marli Melton, Carmel Valley, Calif.)

N-11: MATTEL TEXAS: Maker of the Everything-Is-Bigger Barbie. (George Thompson)

O-16: EXMAN: Marvel’s first transgender superhero. (Brian Krupp, Lewes, Del., a First Offender)

Q-2: VIRTUE LENT: “This year, I’m giving up Patience.” (John Winant, Annandale, Va.)

S-5: PIDDLEE: What every parent of an infant becomes sooner or later. (Jonathan Jensen)

Q-12: PAGUN: One who believes in the God of Fire . . . arms. (Frank Mann, Washington)

And Last: L-1: LET ME INK: The Style Invitational Loser’s weekly mantra. (Chris Doyle)

Still running — deadline Monday, Oct. 4: our contest for “good idea/bad idea” jokes. See

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