Style Invitational Week 1471: Tour de Fours XVIII — B-I-D-E with us
Our annual neologism contest. Plus Part 1 of our Kook’s Tour retrospective.
By Pat Myers
January 13, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. EST
(Click here to skip down to the Week 1467 retrospective winners)
(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
EDIBELL: The triangle that the ranch cook hits at chow time in those old Westerns.
LOW-BARB DIET: Cutting back on the snideness. “Okay, starting January 1, I’m going on a severe low-barb diet — just two nasty tweets a day.”
DEBIG: Begin to fit into your pre-pandemic pants.
As Yes He Is the President’s second year begins, the Empress tips her tiara in our annual Tour de Fours neologism contest. This week: Coin a word or phrase containing the letters B-I-D-E — consecutively but in any order — and describe it, as in the examples above. Even with 24 possible permutations of the letters, there’s a good chance someone else will send in the same word you think of, so it could come down to the funniest description, especially if it shows how the neologism could be used in real life.
Submit up to 25 entries at wapo.st/enter-invite-1471 (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Jan. 24; results appear Feb. 13 in print, Feb. 10 online.
Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a prize that the New Yorker will never give you: It’s the Poo Doo Toilet Toss, a little bowl-shaped paddle that you strap onto your hand to try to catch a “mushy and sticky” poo emoji blob. A game for sadly immature people of all ages. Donated by Loser Marleen May.
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, “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 wapo.st/inviteFAQ. The headline “Happ-Redo Year” is by Jon Gearhart; Jon also wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev; “like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at bit.ly/inkofday; 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, Jan. 13, at wapo.st/conv1471.
And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .
Happ-Redo Year: Our 2021 Retrospective, Part 1
As she does each year, the Empress invited the Losers to have another go at any of the past year’s contests. In these Week 1467 results we tour the first half of the year, from everything from foal names to elaborate video parodies.
Week 1422, add a “collaborator” to a work and change the title:
Elton John with Sen. Joe Manchin: “Block-It Man.” (Jeff Hazle, San Antonio)
Week 1430, “breed” two Triple Crown nominees and name the “foal”:
Like the King x Troubadour = Henry VIII Iamb (Jonathan Paul, Garrett Park, Md.)
and the Darth Vader USB car charger:
Week 1420, song parodies about jobs:
A Famously Idle Tradesman (To “My Favorite Things”)
Candy Crush, solitaire, lots of sudoku,
Bingeing on YouTube and Netflix on Roku,
Playing the bagpipes and training my dog,
When I feel clever I work on the blog.
Read the Bible! I am liable
To peruse TikTok;
The point is I’m able to do what I wanna
And all the while on the clock!
Crawl in my hammock if I’m a bit lazy,
Take “Master Classes” from Martin Scorsese,
Starting some sourdough, learning Chinese,
Hand-churning ice cream and watching it freeze.
I’m not lonely! That’s baloney! That’s just for the ad!
I’m loving my life as the Maytag repairman,
The best gig I ever had!
(Roxi Slemp, Bariloche, Argentina)
And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:
Week 1429, a modern equivalent to a Shakespeare quote:
"I can again thy former light restore." ("Othello")
"I'll deal with Texas's electrical grid after I get back from Cancún." (Jesse Rifkin, Arlington, Va.)
Week 1421, work songs. The workers? Antibodies. (Video by Sophie Crafts, Somerville, Mass.; puppets and visual effects by her friend Alex Ezorsky-Lie) ANTIBODIES
Antibodies, protect me from a harmful disease, yes, please,
Infection’s going around,
Antibodies, so hurry down my bloodstream tonight
Antibodies, you get them through the covid-19 vaccine
Get that sweet immunity
Antibodies, you know that Dr Fauci is right
When you get an mRNA vaccine
Your body fabricates a decoy spike protein.
Your B-cells learn their foe, and win
So put away the darn hydroxychloroquine!
DIALOGUE (music vamps)
SOPHIE: Decoy spike protein? mRNA? What does all this mean? I wish I had somebody to explain this!
ANTIBODY: [offscreen] Makes noises
SOPHIE: Who are you?
ANTIBODY PUPPET: I’m an antibody! There’s a dang picture of me in your book!
SOPHIE: Well, am I glad to see you! Can you explain what I’m singing about?
AB: Sure! When you get a vaccine, your immune system learns what the germs look like. So if you get the real germs, antibodies like me are ready to destroy them!
SOPHIE: Wow, so because I’ve been vaccinated for covid, I have antibodies that know what corona virus looks like?
SOPHIE: Like this? SOPHIE HOLDS UP BOOK. AB grabs it and starts to eat it
SOPHIE: No no! This is a teaching tool!
AB: Oh, sorry. I can’t help it!
SOPHIE: So you go after everything that looks red and spiky like that?
AB: Yes I do. Delicious.
SOPHIE: Well now that we covered that, how about another verse?
AB: [TRIES TO EAT POMPOM] Take it away!
Antibodies, they’re working on approving a shot for tots
We wanna visit uncles and aunts
Antibodies, rockin’ round our lymph nodes tonight
Before all your holiday fun begins
Make sure you’re loaded with immunoglobulins
Or else this plague will take its toll
So booster up, and let the good times roll!
SOPHIE: So how many of these….hormonal goblins are there?
AB: Immunoglobulins! Millions! And not just for covid-19 – we fight other infections too!
SOPHIE: Wow! What does it look like when they fight infections?
AB: Do you have a microscope?
SOPHIE: Of course!
AB: Let’s take a look!
Chorus of ten little antibody puppets singing “Jingle Bell Rock” on a neutral syllable
SOPHIE: Wow, they do that?
AB: You betcha!
Instead of complaining about your rights
Grow a pair…of lymphocytes
So when you inhale a virion
It stops it in its tracks (even Omicron)
Antibodies are covid’s uttermost enemies, you see
Fighting for you and me
SOPHIE: Let’s end this epidemic tonight
AB: Let’s end this epidemic TONIGHHHHT
Baby antibodies: mee mee mee mee mee mee mee mmee meeeee
All: Let’s end this epidemic tonight!
If you don't see the video, click here.
Retrospecks: Honorable mentions
Week 1413, poems featuring new terms in the dictionary:
Said an anti-vax mom in defiance:
“You will never find me in compliance!
It’s a terrible trick
That could make my child sick!
(Also, ranting is more fun than science).” (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
Her pet zonkey makes every brow furrow.
The rebukes from the public are thorough.
“Miss, although it sounds crass,
You’ve got stripes on your ass!”
“It’s the foal of a zebra and burro.” (Bill Dorner, Indianapolis)
Week 1417, poems about people who died in 2020:
Jay Johnstone (1945-2020), Yankees and Dodgers outfielder and renowned prankster
Considering the snake he hid in bread,
The rooms he locked Lasorda in, then fled,
The brownie that he stuffed in Garvey’s mitt,
The cleats (on feet!) his sneaky Zippo lit,
The scissors that he used to cut a notch
Where Sutcliffe’s undies should have had a crotch,
You’ve got to figure that his family hopes
He’s still alive — and playing them for dopes.
(Melissa Balmain, Rochester, N.Y.)
CC the cat, the first cloned pet (2001-2020)
CC was her given name;
First cloned pet: her claim to fame.
Felines of the world, take heart:
“Nine lives” might be just the start!
Now you needn’t be “begat”;
You can be a copycat! (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
Week 1418, Tour de Fours: Neologisms containing “UNDO” in any order:
Tower of Loudoun: Where prisoners are sentenced to an unending commute. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)
Week 1419, combine congressional names in “joint legislation”:
Torres-Mann-Spartz Act to ban zippers in favor of button flies. (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)
Week 1420, work songs:
NFL Replacement Player
(to “I’m a Believer”)
I thought I would never make the NFL
Thanks to my bad hands and busted knee.
Wasn’t great in college,
Barely made the team,
All I had was shin splints and a dream.
Then they contact-traced, now I’m a receiver.
The team’s replaced with bums they could find.
I’m in luck — I’m a receiver
Thanks to a fever conference-wide . . . (Coleman Glenn, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.)
(To “Gaston” from “Beauty and the Beast”)
Gosh, it disturbs me to see who passed on, body decaying to dust.
Nobody here wants to be who passed on, even though someday we must.
If anyone’s full of surprises, it’s you, in death’s unpredictable whim.
No one in sight recognizes it’s you and they’ll cry, “Here we gather for . . . him?”
So… I’ll… dress who passed on, and express who passed on
So the mourners will not have to guess who passed on!
From the moment they look in the coffin,
Seeing you stiff as a plank,
They’ll be wondering every so often
How you’re looking so well, and it’s me they should thank!
Yes, I mold who passed on, young or old who passed on;
Now come forth to the grave and behold who passed on!
Though a few in the crowd find it nauseating,
Bye to the guy who passed on! (Matt Monitto, Bristol, Conn.)
(to “Comedy Tonight”)
Something insightful, do-what-is-rightful,
Work in at least two jokes: A homily tonight!
Cheery and ireless, brimstone-and-fireless,
“Man,” “gosh” and “holy smokes” — a homily tonight!
Okay, it’s sure no Speech on the Mount:
“Always restock the ol’ savings account!”
In pews: butts shifting? Quick, be uplifting!
Nothing obscure or recondite:
Dogma: no slogma! A homily tonight! (Duncan Stevens)
Uber Driver (to “Hey, Look Me Over”) written and sung by Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)
If you don’t see the video, click here.
HEY, BOOK AN UBER
By Jonathan Jensen, to “Hey, Look Me Over”
Video of Jonathan singing it:
Hey, book an Uber, just use the app.
Please don't be drunk or give me any crap.
Don't have a fight or yell at your phone.
And lovers, just wait till I drop you off before you pant and moan.
Well, I'll be up driving boozers home from the bar,
Druggies and losers puking in my car.
I can't take any more of the lunacy - get out and wave your thumb.
Unemployment, here I come!
Week 1421, write something using words from Biden’s inaugural address: “I was brought into the world ages ago. So was Lincoln. Another example: George Washington. But I am still HERE! So there!” (John O’Byrne, Dublin, Ireland)
This is my pledge as our
Face the most challenging
Time of their lives:
I promise all of you
Husbands and fathers that
I will make love to your
Daughters and wives. (Craig Dykstra, Centreville, Va.)
Week 1422, “collaborations”:
The Flamingos + Sen. Mitch McConnell: I Only Have Nays for You (Jon Gearhart)
Nathaniel Hawthorne + Clifford the Big Red Dog: The Scarlet Litter (Bob Kruger, Rockville, Md.)
John Green + Dr. Fauci: The Fault in Our SARS (Amanda Yanovitch, Midlothian, Va.)
Pat Conroy + Carlos Castañeda: “The Prince of Tildes” (Roy Ashley, Washington)
Kurt Vonnegut + Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Tina Fey, Jerry Seinfeld and Sarah Silverman = Laughterhouse-Five (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)
Joe Pesci + Ron Jeremy: Goodphallus (Bill Dorner)
Week 1424, neologisms from letter sets of the Spelling Bee game:
THILMNO > Nothin Mint: An inferior Girl Scout cookie knockoff. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)
YABELNZ > Yallzball: Alabama referee’s announcement of a turnover: “Well, now it’s yallzball.” (Drew Bennett, Rogers, Ark.)
Week 1425, captions for Bob Staake cartoons:
(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)
“Looks like the Boxers are planning a rumble — better warn the Briefs!” (Dottie Gray, Alexandria, Va.)
Week 1426, reinterpret a real headline with a “bank head”:
Headline: Covid-19 Pill Is Cleared by FDA
Bank: Agency okays Ted Cruz’s return to Senate (Dave Airozo, Silver Spring, Md.)
Week 1427, history puns in pairs:
1854-64, Gregor Mendel’s pioneering genetics experiments with legumes: Give Peas a Chance, or Plant Parenthood (Lee Graham, Rockville, Md.)
1848—55, the California Gold Rush: Financial Panning, or Get a Lode of This (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)
2021: Bruce Springsteen sells catalogue for $500 million: Adam Raised a Coin, or Blinded by the Loot (Bruce Carlson, Alexandria, Va.)
Week 1428, neologisms from ScrabbleGrams letter sets:
EEHMORT > Metr’oh!: Transit service that discovers half its cars don’t work. (Mark Raffman)
DGIOPRY: iProd: App that delivers task reminders with 50,000 volts. (Mike Gips)
Week 1429, modernize a Shakespeare quote:
“My strong imagination sees a crown dropping upon thy head.” (“The Tempest’)
“Cheer up, Charles. She can’t live forever.” (Lee Graham)
Week 1430, foal names:
Like the King x Chaos Reigns = Don T’s Inferno (Howard Walderman, Columbia, Md.)
Affable x Like the King = Jolly Rajah (Bruce Carlson)
Captain Fantastic x Defunded = Captain Meh (Lee Graham)
Week 1432, new takes on folk tales:
The Three Bears Defend Their Property
We’re tidy-minded, law-abiding bears,
But coming home today, what did we see?
The place was ransacked, full of shiny hairs —
A burglar in our house! Who could it be?
We found a girl with golden locks upstairs,
And ate a little honey for our tea. (Brian Allgar, Paris)
Week 1435, dioramas or other art featuring real cicadas:
(Entry and photo by Bill Dorner, Indianapolis, and by Kevin Dopart, Washington)
Week 1436, different plots for movies:
Cape Fear: Losing confidence in his powers, an aging Clark Kent is afraid to put on his Superman costume. (Jonathan Jensen)
And Last: Week 1433, Questionable Journalism: Choose a sentence from the paper and supply a question it could answer.
A. We’re human beings and we have a need for restrooms.
Q. Empress, why are you so confident that people are going to pick up The Style Invitational on Sunday morning? (Kevin Dopart)
And Even Laster: Week 1423, headline anagrams:
Real headline: As Omicron Variant Spreads, New England Hospitals Are Under Unprecedented Strain
Rearrange all those letters and get:
And Losers Are Under Unprecedented Strain as Invite Woman Plans to Spread Chagrin (Jesse Frankovich)
Still running — deadline Monday night, Jan. 17: Our contest to tack a “prefix” onto a name or phrase. See wapo.st/invite1470.
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.