Style Invitational Week 1457: Ask Backwards XL
Our 40th sort-of-“Jeopardy!” contest — and Ken Jennings will help judge. Plus misinterpreted book titles.

(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
By Pat Myers
Today at 10:03 a.m. EDT

(Click here to skip down to the winning plays on book titles)

Ken Jennings
Zen Jennings
Spinal Jeopardy
Six hours without Facebook
Curry Spice
John Jacob Jingleheimer Fudd
Not the next TikTok dance craze
30,000 steps
Roads and Bridges
A self-driving pogo stick
3 1/2 pounds
A bun in the oven
Still a Googlenope
Not a future “Jeopardy!” category
Such a stupid question
Ask Backwards XL

At 40 go-rounds, it’s the most repeated Style Invitational contest over our almost 29-year history. Unlike the contest it’s vaguely modeled on, this one (like the Invite itself) passed from chief to chief without brouhaha (but, I hope, sufficient haha). This week: You are on “Jeopardy!”; above are various “answers.” You provide the questions, up to 25 of them to any or all. AND!!! “Jeopardy!” legend and now co-host Ken Jennings has volunteered — as he did last year — to weigh in on the Empress’s shortlist of Jeop-centric entries.

Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Oct. 18; results appear Nov. 7 in print, Nov. 4 online. See the entry form for easy formatting directions.

Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a real collector’s item: a mint-condition 2004-08 Style Invitational Loser T-shirt regifted by Invite GOAT Chris Doyle, who won it as one of his 188 runner-up prizes and never wore it, possibly because it’s a generous XL and Chris is a generous S. The pocket-dripping-ink motif was created by Bob Staake Himself based on a contest-winning idea by Sarah Worcester. Loser Steve Langer models his own shirt here; he sported it last month at the Losers’ Flushies awards.

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 “Read Herrings” is by Chris Doyle; 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, published late Thursday, Oct. 7, at

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago …

Read herrings: Misinterpreted book titles from Week 1453
In Week 1453 we asked you to add a subtitle to a book title that would totally change the subject of the book. Hundreds of the 2,200 entries were sent in by Captain Obvious and Friends; the Empress yawned through “A Farewell to Arms: The Story of Venus de Milo” or “A Brief History of Time: 100 Years of the Newsmagazine.” But the entries below woke her up.

4th place:
One Hundred Years of Solitude: A Jewish Mother Waits for Her Son’s Weekly Visit (Bill Kullman, Washington, a First Offender)

3rd place:
As I Lay Dying: Memoirs of America’s Worst Standups (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

2nd place
and the ‘naturally glowing edible scorpions’:

Left Behind: Thirty Days to a Better Butt (Vol. 1) (Seth Tucker, Washington)

And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:
Silent Spring: The Year I Forgot About Valentine's Day (Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)

Weakly readers: Honorable mentions
Go, Dog. Go! Ten Steps to Being the Perfect Wingman (Todd DeLap, Fairfax, Va.)

1984: The Year That Gave Us Khloé Kardashian (Ivars Kuskevics, Takoma Park, Md.)

A Farewell to Arms: How to Fit More Chairs at the Dining Table (Melissa Muckenhirn, Urbana, Ill., a First Offender)

A Raisin in the Sun: The Grapes of Wrath, Part 2 (Luke Baker, Columbia, Md.)

All Creatures Great and Small: A Carnivore’s Cookbook (Robyn Carlson, Keyser, W.Va.)

All Things Wise and Wonderful: Donald Trump, in My Own Words (Frank Mann, Washington)

And Then There Were None: How Three Persistent Kids Discover Where Mom Hid the Snickers (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

Apples Never Fall: The Flat Earth Society’s Guide to Gravity (Lee Graham, Rockville, Md.)

Becoming: My Life, by Melania Trump (Amanda Yanovitch, Midlothian, Va.)

Captain Underpants: History’s Worst Commando Unit Leader (Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.)

Catch-22: An Analysis of Last Season’s 601 Washington Football Team Passing Attempts (Jesse Rifkin, Arlington, Va.)

Dial “M” for Murder: How Automated Messages Have Slowed Down 911 (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

Fahrenheit 451: A Guide to Precision Baking (Dan Galef, Tallahassee)

For Whom the Bell Tolls: A Former “Gong Show” Insider Tells All (Diane Lucitt, Ellicott City, Md.)

Goodnight Moon: And Other Inappropriate Endings to Bad Dates (Dave Airozo, Silver Spring, Md.)

Great Expectations: That One Week in June Before the Delta Variant Hit (Todd DeLap)

Harold and the Purple Crayon: A Child’s Guide to Creating Their First NFT (Marc Sasseville, Burke, Va.)

Hop on Pop: Do You Know How Much Caffeine Is in Your Mountain Dew? (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

Howard’s End: The Shock Jock Tells About His Colonoscopy (Steve Fahey, Olney, Md.)

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie: . . . He’ll Ask for a Glass of Milk and Then Medicare: The Dangerous Creep of Socialism (Robin Rowland, Potomac, Md.)

It Ends With Us: 1001 Latin Singular Nouns (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

Mark Twain: A Maryland Commuter’s Daily Nightmare, by E. Fudd (Steve Glomb, Alexandria, Va.)

Never Let Me Go: My Quest for the Guinness World Record for Urine Retention (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

No Exit: 101 Cures for Constipation (Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)

Smiley’s People: The Creators of Emoji (Phyllis Reinhard, East Fallowfield, Pa.)

So Big: Nicki Minaj’s Cousin’s Friend’s Covid Vaccine Memoir (Marty Gold, Arlington,Va., a First Offender)

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Delegate, Delegate, Delegate, Delegate, Delegate, Delegate, Delegate (Dave Prevar)

The Bridges of Madison County: Highlights of Page 2,391 of the 2021 Infrastructure Bill (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

The Color Purple: A Photo Essay of Carpenters’ Thumbs (Bill Cromwell, Keswick, Va.)

The Hunt for Red October: The Leaf Peeper’s Guide to New England (John Klayman, Fairfax, Va.)

The Neverending Story: Climbing to the Next Floor at M.C. Escher’s House (Jesse Frankovich)

The Neverending Story: Mrs. Greene Next Door Talks About Her Bunions (Ellen Raphaeli, Falls Church, Va.)

The Overstory: How to Convince Friends and Family That the 2020 Election Is Done (Terri Berg Smith, Rockville, Md.)

The Ox-Bow Incident: Why You Shouldn’t Dress Your Farm Animals in Cutesy Costumes (Barbara Turner, Takoma Park, Md.)

The Poky Little Puppy: Caring for Your Dog After a Porcupine Encounter (Coleman Glenn, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.)

The Story of O: Part 2 of “Tic-Tac-Toe: A History” (Andrew Elby, Arlington, Va.)

The Tempest: My One-Hour Career With Kelly Services (David Terry, Arlington, Va., a First Offender)

Wuthering Heights: A Collection of the World’s Finest Wuthering (Todd DeLap; Peter Jenkins, Bethesda, Md.)

Little-Known Facts About Well-Known People: Did You Know Jeff Bezos Owns The Washington Post? (David Shombert, Harrisonburg, Va.)

And Last: Pat the Bunny: The Empress Goes Undercover at the Playboy Mansion (Jesse Frankovich; Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.; Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

Still running — deadline Monday night, Oct. 11: our contest for “Is that your ___, or …” insults. See