Style Invitational Week 1486: No can do
Give us a clue that someone is incompetent in a particular field. Plus new words drawn from ScrabbleGrams letter sets.
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By Pat Myers
April 28, 2022 at 8:15 a.m. EDT

This week's Style Invitational contest; Signs of incompetence in some field. This one was submitted by both Garrett Thomson and Mel Loftus in Week 439. (For The Washington Post)

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Sign of an incompetent fast-food worker: You order fries and he asks if you want fries with that. (Garrett Thomson; Mel Loftus)

Sign of an incompetent phone-sex operator: "I’m 39 and sort of dumpy, wearing a pink housecoat . . . " (Marc Leibert)

Sign of an incompetent sommelier: “Do you want a glass with that?” (Kyle Bonney)

Sign of an incompetent optometrist: “Can you read the FELOPZ line?” (Sue Lin Chong)

Here’s a contest that The Style Invitational seems to have done only once before — 20 years ago. It’s a straightforward one: Give us a clue that someone was incompetent in a particular field, as in the examples above that got ink in Week 439. (The Empress’s predecessor, the Czar, gave the win to the sommelier.)

Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, May 9, 2022; results appear May 29 in print, May 26 online.

Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a pair of stretchy yellow tube socks that, when you hold your legs very close together, combine to form an excellent representation of a bag of Crunchy Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. They taste better than the real thing, too.

They should call these socks CheeToes: This week's second prize. (Pat Myers/TWP)
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 The headline “Rack of Ribs” is by Jon Gearhart; Chris Doyle 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, April 28, at

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago ...

Rack of ribs: Neologisms from ScrabbleGrams letter sets
In Week 1482, for the ninth time, we presented dozens of seven-letter “racks” from the ScrabbleGrams word game that appears on The Post’s comics pages, and asked the Loser Community to find new terms of five, six or all seven letters. Among the 1,600 entries, lotsa Losers looked at ADDEISY and saw YESDAD, the guy who lets Junior do what NOMOM won’t.

4th place:
AADMNNS > AND-MAN: Worse than a yes-man. “You’re right, sir, we should definitely contest the election – and I’ll call in Rudy Giuliani to lead the effort.” (John Hutchins, Silver Spring, Md.)

3rd place:
ABGLNOO > BLOGNA: Nonsense on the Internet. “She prefaces the recipe with a long story about how she learned it from an old Tuscan woman, but I bet it’s a bunch of blogna.” (Coleman Glenn, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.)

2nd place
and the mini-brain and music box:


ACDEGOR CAR ODE: About the virtues of my Civic
I wax, distinctly, unequivoc.
There’s not a thing of which I’m fonda
Than this, my ’87 Honda. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:
ACEFFIN > FACE-FIN: Someone who might hear this: “I’m not saying that nose is big, I’m just sayin’ if he was doing the backstroke at the beach, they’d be clearing the water and putting up a red flag.” (Jamie S. Martindale, Samutprakan, Thailand)

ACHINNU > NAH: Honorable mentions
BELMPRU > PURE MLB: A once-fun event that’s become excruciatingly long and boring. “That staff retreat was pure MLB.” (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

BEIMSTU > MISTUBE: To find a very different video from the one you’re looking for. “I wanted to watch the latest Samantha Bee, but, boy, did I mistube! I guess I shouldn’t have searched on ‘full frontal.’ ” (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)

AABCITX > TAXI-CAB: Red wine served in first class en route to the runway. (Bill Hole, Silver Spring, Md., who last got Invite ink in 1999)

AABCITX > AB-TAX: The painful price of exercise. “Ow, that 50th sit-up – man, will I be paying ab-tax tomorrow!” (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

AABNNOZ > ANAZON: A copycat site that sells even cheaper knockoffs of cheap knockoffs. (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)

AABNNOZ > A-Z-ANON: Q doesn’t have enough conspiracies for you? Try this cult! (Eric Nelkin, Silver Spring, Md.)

AABNNOZ > BAANO: The lead singer of Ewe2. (Bill Dorner, Indianapolis)

AABNNOZ > BOZANNA: A shout of worshipful praise for an orange-haired clown. (Michael Stein, Arlington, Va., a First Offender)

AADMNNS > NADA, MN: Even less happens here than in Lake Wobegon. (Duncan Stevens)

AAEKMRR > AKRAMER: With abandon. “He threw open the door and slid into the apartment all akramer.” (Coleman Glenn)

AAEKMRR > KRAMERA: A recording device present at just the right moment to end a career. (Don Norum, Charlottesville, Va.)

AAHPTWY > PAYWHAT: An oath uttered in grocery stores and gas stations circa 2022. Strong emphasis on the second syllable. (Coleman Glenn)

AAHPTWY > PAHTWAY: Bostonian for “somewhat.” “We scored some sausages from a street vendor pahtway between Kenmore Square and the T.” (Boston native Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

AAKLOOP > LAKAPOO: A new breed of dog genetically engineered to last weeks without having to go outside. (Rick Franklin, Alexandria, Va.)

AAKLOOP > LOOKAAP: The last thing you hear before you’re hit in the head by a flyball at Fenway Park. (David Blair, Madison, Wis., a First Offender)

ABBMOST > ATOM BS: The clearly absurd claim that every-thing is made of invisible particles. “After the break, Tucker will debunk science’s atom BS.” (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

ABEIKLT > ABLET: The goal was six-pack abs, but the result was more a single pony can. (Ellen Raphaeli, Falls Church, Va.)

ABEIKLT > TIKABLE: Inane enough to go viral. (Scott Richards, Hollywood, Md.)

ABEIKLT > BILK-TEA: What a MAGA voter drinks after the Kool-Aid. (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)

ABEIKLT > BEAKLIT: How you end up when a selfie gives you a big shiny nose and a close-up on your pores. (Joy Sibley, Fairfax, Va.)

ABEIKLT > IKEA-BLT: A box containing bread, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, a wordless diagram, and a few extra ingredients just to confuse you. (Richard Lorentz, Woodland Hills, Calif.)

ABGLNOO > LOO NAG: “Everybody try to go potty, even if you don’t need to!” (Bill Dorner)

ABGLNOO > B-LOOGA: Cut-rate caviar that tastes like phlegm. (,William Kennard, Arlington, Va.)

ABGLNOO > LOOBANG: How one earns membership in British Airways’ 1.6 Kilometer Club (Rob Wolf, Gaithersburg, Md.)

ABGLNOO > BANGOLO: A honeymoon cottage. (Rob Cohen, Potomac)

ABGLNOO > BONGALO: A much mellower abode than a crack house. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

ACDEGOR > GODCARE: A health plan offering unlimited access to thoughts and prayers. (Stephen Gilberg, Silver Spring; Jamie Martindale)

ACDEGOR > GROCE: What a grocer does, of course. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

ACDEGOR > GROCED: Overfed. “I’ve gained 20 pounds! I’m totally groced out.” (Beverley Sharp)

ACHINNU > UNI-CHA: A simplified Latin dance for the two-left-feet crowd. (Tom Witte)

ACHINNU > UNCHIN: Get a facelift. “I was really bothered by the gobble-wobble I had going on, so I’ve made an appointment to unchin back down to a single.” (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)

ADDEISY > DIS DAY: In this new Hallmark holiday, you send cards to your enemies. (Peggy Blair, Rockville, Md., a First Offender)

ADEOPPS > DOPE SPA: Upscale facility where celebrities go for pre-hab. (Mark Raffman)

ADEOPPS > DOPE-SAP: Drool. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

ADEOPPS > SODA PEP: Aftermath of “doin’ the Dew.” (Neil Kurland, Elkridge, Md., a First Offender)

ADEOPPS > POPADE: When life gives you popes, you make this. (Duncan Stevens)

AELNPPY > APELY: Strong and hairy. “She walked through my door without opening it first, a raven-haired Amazon goddess so apely I couldn’t tell where her grass skirt ended and her legs began.” (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

BEIMSTU > BUS TIME: Three minutes ago, or an hour from now. (Sam Mertens)

BEIMSTU > BUS TIME: The moment when gas goes over five bucks a gallon. (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

CDEEILN > INCELED: How Melania handled her husband after the Stormy scandal. (Frank Mann, Washington)

CEHIKTT > TECH KIT: A geezer’s essential computer accessory, consisting of the grandchild’s phone number. (Beverley Sharp)

CEHIKTT > TIKTECH: Where nerds post videos of themselves solving calculus problems in 30 seconds. (Richard Friedman, Silver Spring, Md.)

DDEILOT > iTODDLE: To annoy everyone behind you by meandering down the sidewalk while checking your phone. (Stuart Rogers, Toronto)

DGOOOW > ODDGOO: It’s a face cream! No it’s a car wax! It’s face cream and a car wax! (Barbara Turner, Takoma Park, Md.)

DDGOOOW > OW-GOD: A vengeful deity. Chuck happily skipped church to play golf . . . and Ow-God sent him tumbling down the stairs when he got home. (Leif Picoult, Rockville, Md.)

EENSTVY > ENVY ST: It’s on the other side of the tracks from Easy St. (Jeff Rackow, Bethesda, Md.; Bill Hole)

EGGIRRT > RIGGRET: What Donald Trump felt after losing the 2020 election to Joe Biden – and what Hillary Clinton felt after losing the 2016 election to Vladimir Putin. (David Heller, Silver Spring, Md., last here in 2011)

ACHINNU > UN-CHINA: To bring manufacturing back home. “We better un-China our microchip production.” (May Jampathom, Oakhurst, N.J.)

EENSTVY > EENSY-TV: The municipal-access channel. “Joyce thinks everyone recognizes her because she reads the police reports on eensy-TV.” (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

EENSTVY > STEVENY: Aspiring to the nobility of being a Steven, but can’t quite achieve this exalted state. (Steven Honley, Washington)

And Last: AAHPTWY > HA-PAY: Style Invitational magnets. (The well-paid Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

Still running — deadline Monday night, May 2: Our contest to switch the positions of two letters in a word or name and describe the result. See

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