Style Invitational Week 1464: Picture this — our cartoon caption contest
Plus: From the OG: Look at these poems using new dictionary terms!

(Cartoons by Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
By Pat Myers
November 24, 2021 at 9:33 a.m. EST

(Click here to skip down to the winning poems using new dictionary words)

We have it on excellent authority (i.e., the Empress’s crossed fingers) that there is a perfect caption for each of the cartoons above — a hilarious quote, a deft description — that will seem as if Bob Staake had that very joke in mind when he drew it. It’s just waiting for you to come up with it and send it to us. (Okay, maybe someone else will; we don’t care who, TBH.) This week: Write a caption, either descriptive or in dialogue, for any of the cartoons above, up to a total of 25 entries.

In the spirit of this holiday season, let’s keep the E semi-sane and please format your entries like this: Begin each entry with “Picture A:,”“Picture B:,” etc. (no, not with the quotation marks, silly), then follow it on the same line with your caption. This will let the E click on “Sort” with her trusty laptop and vwoom all the Picture A’s are in one giant list. Since these cartoons will appear in black-and-white in the print Post, any captions that refer to the colors will run only in our online results. (Duh.)


Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Dec. 6; results appear Dec. 26 in print, Dec. 23 online. (Hmm, could there be a holiday-themed caption or two lying in wait?)

Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a deck of playing cards featuring 54 fun facts about New Jersey, including, on the 8 of spades, what the state’s tallest building is. Win this deck to find out! Donated by Loser Mike Gips, native of New York.

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 “New-Word Oders” is by Tom Witte, while Chris Doyle pitched in “Def Poetry.” And William Kennard 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 made a holiday progress over the river and through the woods, so her supplementary online column will return next week.

The “You’re Invited” podcast: A new game-show-themed episode (No. 18!) with a half-dozen Losers, to be posted late Wednesday, Nov. 24. See

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .

New-word oders: Def poetry from dictionary additions
In Week 1460, we once again asked for poems using words (or usages) newly added to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary at

4th place:
FTW means “for the win”
But to fans’ never-ending chagrin
It’s not hard to foresee
That our WFT
Will have gone FTL yet agin.
(Craig Dykstra, Centreville, Va.)

3rd place:
I’ve a typical dad bod, that’s clear:
Chubby cheeks, flabby arms, pudgy rear.
On my head, hair I lack,
But there’s lots on my back,
And the six-pack I carry is beer.
(Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

2nd place
and the cute plush coronavirus:
“Because” as a preposition:
If ever, oh ever, a Wiz there was
The Wizard of Oz is one because
Because, because, because, because, because,
Because reasons.
(Steve Bremner, Philadelphia)

And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:
The fourth trimester, the months after the birth:
We cuddled you close for the whole fourth trimester —
We cherished that bond, and the closeness was heaven.
And dear, we still love you; we don't mean to pester —
But . . . leave. It's trimester one hundred and seven.
(Coleman Glenn, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.)

No-ha Webster:
Honorable mentions
TBH (“to be honest”):
My mama said: “Truth is the key.
So an honest man’s what you must be!”
But I so love to lie — It’s the way I get by.
TBH, TBH is not me.
(Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

Petaflops and teraflops, huge units of computing speed:
In Loudoun, massive edifices sprang up overnight.
Now petaflops and teraflops are stored there.
And meanwhile, all their school board meetings end up in a fight.
With ordinary courtesies ignored there.
(Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

The speed of his servers in petaflops
Won’t matter when Zuckerberg’s Meta flops.
(Kevin Dopart, Washington)

Cellie (cellmate):
My cellie informed me the very first day
To steer clear in the yard of a convict called Jethro,
A Tennessee man who in high school, they say,
Was once voted most likely to wind up on death row.
(Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

Dad bod:
Bring me a burger, with bacon and cheese
Fries on the side, and some onion rings, please.
Forget that kale salad and freshly steamed cod —
I’m too busy sculpting my summer dad bod.
(Frank Mann, Washington)

“Aquaman” hunk Jason Momoa body-shamed on Twitter for a photo showing a bit of belly fat:
Hubbida bubbida
Jason Momoa has
Shoulders like boulders and
Arms like a god.

Dads who are striving for
Might want to settle for
Jason’s dad bod!
(Amanda Yanovitch, Midlothian, Va.)

My doorbell camera makes my privacy complete!
(Not so much for people walking down the street.) (Kevin Dopart)

Pregnancy has knocked me flat.
Baby’s born; what’s left is fat!
Fourth trimester’s not so hot:
Wait is over; weight is not.
(Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

An “air fryer’s” really an oven; it
Will not fry a thing that you shove in it.
I’ve tried the same lie —
“This spud tastes like a fry!” —
But I can’t trick my kids into lovin’ it. (Coleman Glenn)

A rash from poison oak,
A sunburn raw and red,
Some gorp that made me choke,
A branch that whacked my head.
This camping trip was dire,
But here’s what hurt the most:
Stood too close to the fire,
And had a wiener roast. (Mark Raffman)

Give Donald Trump
An elbow bump
’Cause when he shakes
Your hand it takes
A while to end
For he can tend
To be too slow
To let things go. (Jesse Frankovich)

OG: (Original Gangster, or the true original):
In order to bring younger folks to the fold,
My church sings a rewritten key:
They scoff at our texts as outdated and old,
Replete with “thy,” “art thou” and “thee.”
But I’m grinding my teeth when we read “Jesus LOLed”
And refer to our Lord as “OG.”
(Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

“Because” as a preposition:
I love levity
But this haiku has to end
Because brevity
(Frank Mann)

I mourn the tragic loss of “of”
In many an online yammer;
The shortened form I do not love.
Why not? Because, well, grammar. (Duncan Stevens)

’Twas last night that I had a sublime dream
Where I conquered K2 with my climb team.
That is all, there’s no pun.
Now this limerick’s done.
The last line is just here because rhyme scheme. (Gary Crockett)

Still running — deadline Monday night, Nov. 29: Our contest for spoonerism jokes. 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.