The Invitational Week 66: Seeds of Change
Make an anagram of a name-brand product. Plus winning 15-name chains.
APR 05, 2024

BURPEE’S > PEE RUBS: A diaper rash product.

PREGO SPAGHETTI SAUCE > STAGIER CHEAPO GETUPS: Your one-stop shop for chicken-feather boas and genuine plastic Swaroffsky crystals!

FROSTED MINI-WHEATS > DIRTIEST AF SHOWMEN: Liven up your mornings with an assortment of these goodies — even better served with a Pop-Tart.

Hello! Today we present a brand-new® contest that we’ve never done before, at least in the last 6,000 years of The Invitational, though we can’t be certain because our memories aren’t what they used to be back before we were pre-menopausal and had prostate glands smaller than beanbag chairs. Anyhoo, here’s the contest:

Choose any company name or name-brand product and rearrange all its letters into another business or product, and describe it. You might or might not include both the company name and the product name (e.g., either Frosted Mini-Wheats or Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats is fine) but don't do something purely generic, like "spaghetti sauce." While you must use all the letters in the original, you may delete or add punctuation as you like.

Click here for this week’s entry form, or go to As usual, you may submit up to 25 entries for this week’s contest, preferably all on the same form. Format them as you’d like to see them published.

Deadline is Saturday, April 13, at 9 p.m. ET. Results will run here in The Gene Pool on Thursday, April 18.

The winner gets a vintage Toilet Hunting Game, discovered at a thrift store by Invite Fan Since Toddlerhood Valerie Holt. We normally recommend devoting one’s reign on the throne to writing Invitational entries, but we’re also seeing possibilities for inspiration here.

They TOLD you to improve your aim, right? This week’s prize.
Runners-up get autographed fake money featuring the Czar or Empress, in one of eight nifty designs. Honorable mentions get bupkis, except for a personal email from the E, plus the Fir Stink for First Ink for First Offenders.

Nudge Nudge, Link Link: The name chains of Week 64
In Week 64 we asked you to make a chain of up to fifteen names — of people, brands, titles of works, etc. — in which each name somehow related to the one before it, as simply as a similar surname, or something else less obvious: some shared experience, a reference to the person’s work, or, best, some clever joke (see Elton JOHN → W.C. Fields below). The chain could begin and end with the same name, or the two ends could relate in some way, even as opposites. Some of the chain-links below might evince a whaaa?; feel free to ask about them today in the comments or questions, and we’ll hash them out.

Even though we’d explicitly specified that the chain was to be made up of proper nouns, dozens of entries included such non-names as “genetic code,” “urine,” and “hand job.” (Although, yes, each of those would be a good name for a rock band, and probably is one somewhere.) As Loser Since Year 1 Dave Zarrow noted when the Empress lamented the non-names on Facebook, wondering if people didn’t understand the directions: “I was an English major and I assure you I know what a proper noun is. What I don’t know is what directions is.”

Third runner-up:
Joe Biden; Joe Namath; “Bennie and the Jets”; Elton John; W.C. Fields; “Strawberry Fields Forever”; Darryl Strawberry; Lou Gehrig; “The Pride of the Yankees”; “Death Be Not Proud”; John Donne; Brooks & Dunn; Mel Brooks; “The 2000 Year Old Man”; Joe Biden. (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)

Second runner-up:
Barbie; Skipper; “Gilligan’s Island,” Newton Minow; “The Waste Land”; Baba O’Riley; Ali Baba; Ali Hakim; Curly; the Three Stooges; Trinity; “Oppenheimer.” (Kevin Dopart, Washington, D.C.)

First runner-up:
Jesus Christ; Christmas; New Year’s Day; Election Day; Donald Trump? JESUS CHRIST! (Rob Cohen, Potomac, Md.)

And the winner of the alligator socks:
Beyoncé; “Texas Hold ’Em”; “Poker Face”; Lady Gaga; “Shallow”; Bradley Cooper; Leonard Bernstein; Leonardo DiCaprio; “Gangs of New York”; York Peppermint Pattie; Schroeder; Beethoven; Def Jam; Jay-Z; Beyoncé. (Chris Doyle)

Trail of Nears: Honorable mentions
DJT; Melania Trump; Melanie Griffith; Griffith Park; Los Angeles; “Angel from Montgomery”; Rosa Parks; “Parks and Recreation”; Amy Poehler; “The Polar Express”; Tom Hanks; Mister Rogers. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

Jack Smith; Captain John Smith; Jamestown; King James; Martin Luther King; Ebenezer Baptist Church; Ebenezer Scrooge; Tiny Tim; Miss Vicki; Victoria Beckham; the Spice Girls; “Who Do You Think You Are”; Donald Trump. (Steve Smith, Potomac, Md.)

Alex Ovechkin; Magic 8 Ball; Magic Johnson; Boris Johnson; Winston Churchill; Winnie-the-Pooh; Christopher Robin; Christopher Marlowe; William Shakespeare; Puck; Alex Ovechkin. (Stephanie Martin, Arlington, Va., whose only previous Invitational ink was in 1996)

Barbie; Roald Dahl; “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”; Charlie Parker; Tweety Bird; Sylvester Stallone; Rocky and Bullwinkle; Boris Johnson; Blondie; Debbie Harry; “When Harry Met Sally”; Meg Ryan; Ryan Gosling; Ken; Barbie. (Chris Doyle)

Elizabeth Holmes; “Bitch Better Have My Money”; Rihanna; “Shut Up and Drive”; Jack Nicklaus; Jack London; London, England; Queen Elizabeth; Elizabeth Holmes. (Roy Ashley, Washington, D.C.)

Hannibal Lecter; Hannibal the general; Robert E. Lee; Francis Lightfoot Lee; Gordon Lightfoot; Gordon Ramsay. (Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.)

Harriet Tubman; the Underground Railroad; the Velvet Underground; Lou Reed; “Venus in Furs”; Venus Williams; Essie Mae Washington-Williams; Strom Thurmond. (Roy Ashley)

Henry Gibson; “Laugh-In”; Ruth Buzzi; Babe Ruth; “Baseball”; Ken Burns; Ken; Barbie; “A Doll’s House”; Henrik Ibsen. (Pam Shermeyer, Lathrup Village, Mich.)

Batman; Robin Hood; Little John; John Major; 10 Downing Street; White House; “Casablanca”; Ingrid Bergman; Ingmar Bergman; “Wild Strawberries”; Captain Queeg; Cap’n Crunch; Count Chocula; Count Dracula; Batman. (Chris Doyle)

Bruce Springsteen; Boss Tweed; Thomas Nast; Condé Nast; Vogue; Madonna; Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil; Popeye the Sailor Man; Captain Jack Sparrow; Johnny Depp; Hunter S. Thompson, Raoul Duke; “The Dukes of Hazzard"; Boss Hogg; Bruce Springsteen. (Chris Doyle)

Cap’n Crunch; Captain Stubing; “The Love Boat”; Banana Boat; Chiquita Juice & Smoothie; “Beetlejuice;” Lauren Boebert; Quinn Gallagher; “Do That To Me One More Time”; the Captain and Tennille. (Leif Picoult, Rockville, Md.)

Hunter Biden; Holly Hunter; Holly Golightly; Audrey Hepburn; “My Fair Lady”; Judge Judy; Judy Garland; Dorothy; Kansas; “Carry On Wayward Son”; Hunter Biden. (Jesse Frankovich, Laingsburg, Mich.)

Jack Black; “Billy Jack”; Bill Murray; “Stripes”; the White Stripes; Jack White. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

“The Art of the Deal”; Art Garfunkel; “America”; Kraft American Cheese; Minecraft; “Mein Kampf.” (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

The Dalai Lama; “Hello, Dolly!”’ Carol Channing; “Gentleman Prefer Blondes”; Marilyn Monroe; Joe DiMaggio; Mr. Coffee; Mr. Peanut; George Washington Carver; Sonny Perdue; Frank Perdue; Chicken Little; Josh Hawley. (Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)

Josh Hawley; Holly Golightly; “The Light Fantastic”; “Fantastic Mr. Fox”; Fox News; Leni Riefenstahl; Lenny Bruce; Bruce Springsteen; “Born to Run”; Josh Hawley. (Duncan Stevens)

Nancy Pelosi; the Wicked Witch; “The Wizard of Oz”; “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”; Elton John; “Bennie and the Jets”; Jack Benny; Jack the Ripper; Nancy Pelosi. (Jesse Frankovich)

Mao Zedong; Henry Kissinger; Zsa Zsa Gabor; Conrad Hilton; Joseph Conrad; “Heart of Darkness”; “Heartbreak Hotel”; “Hotel California”; Arnold Schwarzenegger; Maria Shriver; Jack Kennedy; Richard Nixon; Mao Zedong. (Kenneth Enright, Setubal, Portugal)

Donald Trump; Donald Duck; Walt Disney; Walt Whitman; “O Captain! My Captain!”; Captain Underpants; “Below the Belt”; Pussy Galore; Donald Trump. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

Donald Trump; Ronald McDonald; Michael McDonald; the Doobie Brothers; “What a Fool Believes”; Donald Trump. (Steve Smith)

The Gardens of Versailles; Louis XIV; Le Grand Dauphin; Flipper; Florida Keys; Jimmy Buffett; “Why Don’t We Get Drunk”; Rudy Giuliani; Four Seasons Total Landscaping. (Pam Shermeyer)

Tom Thumb; Thumbelina; Hans Christian Andersen; Anderson Cooper; the Mini Cooper; Minnie Mouse; Mao Zedong; Cultural Revolution; Revolutionary War; Paul Revere; Paul Bunyan. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

Twitter; the Bluebird of Happiness; “Happy Days”; Henry Winkler; Henry James; James Bond; “Skyfall”; Chicken Little; Malcolm Little; X. (Kevin Dopart)

Yogi Berra; “Damn Yankees”; “You Gotta Have Heart”; “Heart of Gold”; Neil Young; Neil Diamond; Diamond Jim Brady; Jim Henson; Fozzie Bear; Yogi Bear. (Jonathan Jensen)

Batman; Babe Ruth; Homer Simpson; Play-Doh; “The Republic”; Richard Stans; “American Bandstand”; Dick Clark; Clark Kent; Superman. (Malcolm Fleschner, Palo Alto, Calif.)

Debbie Harry; Dirty Harry; “Dirty Dancing”; Baby; Donald J. Trump; Stormy Daniels; Blondie; Debbie Harry. (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)

Zbigniew Brzezinski; Mika Brzezinski; MSNBC; NBC News; New York Daily News; The Daily Planet; Clark Kent; Superman; Mr. Mxyzptlk. (Neil Kurland, Elkridge, Md.)

And Last: Vladimir Putin; “Puttin’ On the Ritz”; “Young Frankenstein”; Gene Wilder; Gene Weingarten; Czar Nicholas II. (Gary Crockett)

The headline “Nudge Nudge, Link Link” is by Tom Witte; Neil Kurland wrote the honorable-mentions subhead.

Still running — deadline 9 p.m. ET Saturday, March 6: Our Week 65 contest to write a funny poem about the work of art of your choice. Click on the link below.

Idea: ()
Examples: ()
Title: (Tom Witte)
Subhead: (Neil Kurland)
Prize: (Valerie Holt)
Add:H:1584:(Dave Zarrow)