Style Invitational Week 1511: The inside word—our ‘air quote’ contest
Find a telling word inside another -- like The ‘Sty’le Invitational. Plus state slogans created from map routes!

By Pat Myers

October 20, 2022 at 9:38 a.m. EDT

Click here to skip down to the inking state slogans

satis“fact”ion: When Google proves you are right and your spouse is wrong. (David Kleinbard)

bir“DCA”ge: What National Airport feels (and smells) like when your flight has been delayed for seven hours. (Duncan Stevens)

h“USB”and: Consider yourself lucky if you get it right on the first try. (Hildy Zampella)

It’s the contest that keeps on giving, even though we do it over and over in exactly the same way. So by request, for (by the Empress’s count) the seventh time since 2000: Highlight part of a word, name or short phrase in “air quotes” to give the word a new meaning or description, as in the examples above from our 2019 contest (“h‘USB’and” was the winner). You can’t change the spelling of the original but may tinker with capitalization, punctuation and spacing. So you don’t send us what we’ve already published — we do not want to see “T‘rump’” — check the links to our previous air quotes in this week’s Style Conversational at

Submit up to 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday night, Oct. 31 (boo!); results appear Nov. 20 in print, Nov. 17 online.

Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of “100 Pooping Puppies,” a painted landscape full of possibly 100 breeds of (adult) dogs dooing their thing on a lawn. Actually, fortunately, only getting ready to doo their thing. Donated by Loser Marcy Alvo.

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 “QuipTiks” is by Kevin Dopart; Beverley Sharp and Jeff Contompasis both submitted the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at; follow Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at; 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 at

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago ...

QuipTiks: State slogans with a mappy twist from Week 1507

In Week 1507 the Empress presented an offbeat challenge, straight from the offbeat mind of Bob Staake: One part was totally typical: Write a funny slogan about a U.S. state.

Now the offbeat part: The first letters of your slogan’s words would be the first letters of the states along a route you’d trace from your chosen state. So, for example, Jon Ketzner’s “Alabama: God, Football and Guns” traces Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Georgia. (You could add small words like “and”; those words are lowercase below.) For two-word states you could use either the first word or both.

We’ll spell out the first few routes; after that, if you can’t figure out some snaky path of adjacent states, see this week’s Style Conversational — or just look at a U.S. map.

4th place:

CALIFORNIA: Our Weather Is Wonderful, Not Counting Our Mudslides, Avalanches, Temblors, Aftershocks, Fires, Gales, Smog, Negative Vortexes, Monsoons and Drought [Ore., Wash., Idaho, Wyo., Neb., Colo., Okla., Mo., Ark., Tenn., Ala., Fla., Ga., S.C., N.C., Va., Md., Del.] (Jon Carter, Fredericksburg, Va., a First Offender)

3rd place:

NORTH DAKOTA: Making Icicles With Snot [Mont., Idaho, Wyo., S.D.] (Leif Picoult, Rockville, Md.)

2nd place

and the genuine Whoopee Cushion:

COLORADO: Kiss Our Aspens [Kan., Okla., Ark.] (Pete Morelewicz, Fredericksburg, Va.)

And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:

ALABAMA: More Advanced Than Mississippi! [Miss., Ala., Tenn., Miss.] (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

Lost: Honorable mentions

ARIZONA: Nutty Conspiracies, Unbearable Warmth and a Canyon! (Karen Lambert, Chevy Chase, Md.)

ARKANSAS: Two Letters More Than Kansas! (Mike Caslin, Round Hill, Va.)

CALIFORNIA: No, All Californians Are Not Completely Wacko, Crazy Kooks! (Only Most Of Them.) (Karen Lambert, Chevy Chase, Md.)

CALIFORNIA: Necesitamos Agua! (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

CALIFORNIA: Attention New Tourists: Our Citizens Understand With Movie Stars It’s Not Wise Calling Out Their Names And Clapping Unless Cameras Are Nearby and They Are On a Crimson Walkway Smiling and Waving [29 states from Arizona to Wyoming] (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

COLORADO: We Inhale (Ward Kay, Vienna, Va.)

FLORIDA: God’s Senior Center (Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.)

FLORIDA: Fanatic Governor, Alligators, Terrible Mosquitoes, Irma, Ian. Oh, Please, Now, Y’all Visit! (Rob Cohen, Potomac, Md.)

GEORGIA: Find Any Missing Trump Votes? Nope! (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

IDAHO: No Californians Need Arrive (Karen Lambert)

IOWA: We Matter Solely When Caucuses Occur (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

MAINE: No Hotels! Mosquitoes! C-c-cold! Nobody’s Young! = Must Visit! (Pam Shermeyer, Lathrup Village, Mich.)

MICHIGAN: We Make Our Politicians Maintain Valid Kidnapping Insurance (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

MISSISSIPPI: The Most “Last” Titles (Rob Cohen)

MISSOURI: Our Most Acclaimed Landmark Makes Americans Think Of McDonald’s (Brian Cohen, Winston-Salem, N.C.)

NORTH DAKOTA: Snow Definitely Will Melt In May (Eric Nelkin, Silver Spring, Md.)

OHIO: It’s Kinda Mayo And That’s Okay-o (Lee Graham, Reston, Va.)

OREGON: Come And Unwind In a Microbrewery With Sasquatch (Jon Carter)

TEXAS: Liberty and Autonomy! (Only Applies To Men) (Marty Gold, Arlington, Va.)

TEXAS: Objects Appear Larger Than Normal (Drew Bennett, Rogers, Ark.)

TEXAS: Where Cowboys, Oil, Armadillos, Longhorns And, Oh, Maybe Two Million Armed Grannies Are Found (Chris Doyle, also found in Texas)

UTAH: We Come Knocking (Leif Picoult)

WEST VIRGINIA: What, Me Vaccinate? (Bob Kruger, Rockville, Md.)

WYOMING: We Shun Democrats (and a Noted Congresswoman Who Isn’t) (Neil Kurland, Elkridge, Md.)

D.C.: a Memorable Place Where Philadelphians Watch the Phillies Win (Steve Smith)

D.C.: Man Who Owns Washington Post Needs Proclamation Of It In Multitude Of Articles (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

ARKANSAS: We Don’t Know What Contiguous Means [Wash., Del., Ky., Wyo., Conn., Minn.] (Jon Gearhart)

These honorable mentions for Week 1507 were cut by editors several hours after they were first posted online (they will count as ink in the Loser Stats):

ALABAMA: Find God And Try Meth (Daniel Galef, Tallahassee, Fla.)

FLORIDA: A Map Appendage That Looks Awfully Like A Misshapen And Flaccid Gherkin (Leif Picoult)

FLORIDA: All Migrants Leaving Texas, Onboard Now! (Dave Ferry, Purvis, Miss.)

IDAHO: Our Country Needs Unruly White Militias! (Mark Raffman)

IOWA: So Darn White It Makes North Dakota Seem Diverse (So Darn White Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

LOUISIANA: Love Them Ol’ Confederate Wavy Symbols (Carol Lasky, Boston)

LOUISIANA: The Anus of the Lower Mississippi (Scott Richards, Hollywood, Md.)

MISSISSIPPI: Literacy Ain’t Our Top Objective (Kevin Dopart)

NORTH CAROLINA: Visitors Welcome. “Made-up” Pronouns Not. (Pete Morelewicz)

TEXAS: Teachers, Lock And Load! (Emma Daley, Greenfield, Mass.)

VIRGINIA: Non-Conforming Gender? Think Maryland! (Steve Smith, Potomac)

WEST VIRGINIA: Welcome! Our Paté Of Possum Never Disappoints! (Pam Shermeyer)

Still running — deadline Monday night, Oct. 24: Our contest to write a poem using just one of vowels A, E, I, O and U. See

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Examples:(David Kleinbard; Duncan Stevens; Hildy Zampella)
Title:(Kevin Dopart)
Subhead:(Beverley Sharp; Jeff Contompasis)
Prize:(Marcy Alvo)
Add:H:1507:(Jon Ketzner)