Style Conversational Week 1491: The Style Invitational Empress on this week’s contest and results

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Looking at Bob Staake’s sketch above – I chose his other alternative for this week’s contest example – I think it would have made for a funny cartoon, funnier in fact than the one that aired this week. I decided against it not because of the image, but because I thought Bob’s own neologism was not a good example for the contest: First, the primary spelling of Merriam-Webster for the plural of “domino” is “dominoes”; “dominoes” is listed as a less common spelling. So “dominosis” could well be read as transposing the S and E at the end, rather than adding an E. Also, I tend to prefer neologisms that have some connection to the real world, rather than being concepts that wouldn’t exist except to give a word to this contest. The visual of the nose line is hilarious, but as a simple written definition, not so much. But the spelling – when it’s the subject of the contest – practically doomed it as a choice.

Bob, by the way, offers all of his Invite pencil sketches and pen works available for sale to the loser community on If you have a favorite photo from the past and need to know when it was posted, etc., write to me and I’ll try to help.

Your announcement here: The neologism contest of the week 1491

It’s our stock in the trade, really: the 1.2 billion times we’ve asked you to slightly change a word/name/phrase and create a new one; it’s just a matter of limiting the pool somehow. This time it is (A) adding a letter, rather than dropping the letter, replacing one letter with another, etc.; plus (B) limit original words to those starting with A through E. (Note that the letter you ADD can be any letter, not just AE) and that your the neologism does not have to start with AE; you can start the word with your added letter.) On the other hand, we also add a small (and I expect it to be small) expander: you can take that single letter and add it multiple times to create your new term.

I say “that single letter” to emphasize that adding one letter in two places is not the same as adding two different letters. I say this only because a dear man whose name is not Blob Stuck did not notice this requirement when he offered examples of possible competitions.

The best way to see if a certain neologism has already been used in the Invitational is to take a look at the All invitation text files, which currently ends at week 1476 (its compiler, Loser Elden Carnahan, is still dealing with some health issues) but should suffice for now. Just search for the word you plan to use.

A word about formatting: Usually, in a neologism contest, I don’t tell the reader what your original word was; I just show the modified one. And so this relationship must be clear to the reader, otherwise the humor dies. But in our recent contest to change the position of two letters, I asked you to show me the original, and I ended up including it in about half of the results (including Frank Osen’s winner, who changed from “today” to “toady” and then described as what’s on House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy’s daily calendar). So if you think your entry works best with the original given first – which would be hard to get on its own, but quoting the original doesn’t work on humor – go for it. I will decide whether to use it or not.

And since I’d like to sort the entries alphabetically, please don’t press the enter key in an individual entry; if you do that, the two halves will scatter to different areas of my list and it will be very difficult to take advantage of them.

For Ye Olde Guidance and Inspiration, here are some neologisms added to the letter from previous contests whose original word begins with AE, in addition to those at the top of this week’s contest.

Alexandria: A city known for its buffet restaurants. (Tom Witt)

Apocalyptic: The little stain I came home with on my collar that makes my wife act like it’s the end of the world. (Brendan Beary)

Defenestration: A trick to distract the cop while you throw the evidence out the window. (Seth Brown)

Amebra: Underwear that lifts and separates and separates and separates. (Eric Murphy)

Dyspepsia: The result of eating too much Easter candy. (Maria Phelps)

Capital disappeared: What was in your wallet? (Jerome Uher)

Jockeylarity:* The “little foals” of the week 1487

* Earlier inking title by Jon Gearhart

Combining two fictional names rather than those of real horses, and almost forcing you to ignore some elements of the puns they include, The Style Invitational’s “grandfoal” contests aren’t quite as sublime as the main game challenge of words each year to “raise” two Triple Crown nominees and name the colt. Yet this spin-off competition still brings punters out – this year, in week 1487, to the tune of some 2,200 entries (plus another 250 for title and subtitle suggestions with honorable mention). And nearly a tenth of those entries made my initial ink list, which I eventually narrowed down to 67 little colts in this week’s results. (Your clearly superior colts haven’t gotten any ink? So hang on to your horses for the second chance contest in December.) Since I don’t see the names of the entrants when I judge, I don’t wouldn’t know unless I went back and did some research, but I’m pretty sure there are a few brand new losers entering the grandfoal contest; submissions tend to be more targeted than many in the first round. The only part of judging that isn’t fun is saying, “Okay, that’s absolutely the last one I can include” – and there are all those clever entries I have to ignore.

Today’s Clowning Achievement winner, Laurie Brink, started competing in the Invitational well over 15 years ago, after her friend Seth Brown, who was an Invitational sensation, told her about it. And ba-ding, his first ink was a finalist in the 2007 foal show: Warn x Gentle Romeo = She’s not dead! Since then, Laurie has accumulated a variety of ink, but horses are her specialty: Laurie has marked ink in twenty eight Invite horse naming contests, often several blots at once: in the grandfoal contest of the week 1405, she won Seven. And this year’s foal show won her four: Vladimirror, Mona Visa, Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: and Sweeney Toad were all hers. And it was a small colt that brought Laurie her previous victory: Round Yon Virgin x Free Brrr = Madonna & Chilled, from week 1020 in 2013. Winner of today’s clown, Atom and Heave x Pig Penn = Hurls before the pigs, will surely get some more hay in Laurie’s ink stable.

Shortly after catching the horse show bug, Laurie recruited her father, Bernard, to compete as well; it has also received regular ink over the years – and has a stain today: Dead Gunfighter x Heir Jordans = Billy the GOAT. And last year, Laurie showed us another talent: she made a video of herself singing “Rudy is mad” a hilarious parody of “Sherry Baby”. I hope she will send something for our current song contest, Week 1490 (deadline June 13).

On the other hand, this is the first horse name ink for Pam Shermeyer, but this rookie has been inking the seal since her debut in December. Pam gets the flesh-eating bacteria hug for Catch Some Z’s x I the People = Nap Bonaparte. Andrew Hatziyannis gets his first ‘above the fold’ ink, his sixth overall, for finals today are x Catch Some Z’s = I have F’s and our latest loser of the year, Frank Mann, continues to break the 200 ink mark with No-Knock Warrant x Lake Flaccid = DEA’d in the Water. (Frank’s colleagues at the Drug Enforcement Administration should like this one.)

Too many people have had the same idea with multiple puns, often with different pairings: Half a dozen people submitted CloningAchievement x The Wee Peephole = Twin glances. Other too-manys: Abe Blinkin’ x I the People = Observe people; Sharp Trainer x Vladimirror = Poutine at the Ritz (in fact, I got too much for Poutine at the Ritz in several contests); Lava First Sight x Not a B there = Magma Cum Laude; Trad _ _ ark x Missing Everything = _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _; Lake Flaccid x Via Gra = Erect Lake, Lake Turgid, Lake Superior, etc.

Knowing I’d be swimming in smart entries, I didn’t spend much time deciphering the ones I didn’t get. Including: Wait, Mr. Lincoln! x The model itself! = Model #1-4-D Road!; Zulu Zulu Top x Dead Gunfighter = QuickerNguniOnDraw; and Trad__ark x Smear Is Tomorrow= Appearance of Noah Q. Other people have included helpful explainers – helpful in their explanations, not helpful in the humor department: Decoder Ring x ShavingPrivateRyan = GNPastVNavyHairier (anagram of “foal” #2) and, my favorite in this category: “AlexanderTheGrape x Snippitydoodah = BloodAmidDaVinciOp (reference: the Da Vinci Remote Surgical Precision System was first demonstrated on the skin of a grape, creating the 2018 meme). AHA!!

What Doug dug up: Doug Norwood, editor of Ace Copy, supported my picks for the top four winners and listed them among the honorable mentions as well: CloningAchievement x Across the Road = One to Many (Dave Matuskey), one that takes a second or two to fully process; IV League x Fat Man = Prince Ton (Ward Foeller); G Whiz x Missing Everything = G Wizards (a dig into DC’s mediocre NBA team by Jesse Rifkin); Resting Rich Face x LiedAboutThatToo = Resting Mitch Face (Stephen Dudzik); and LiedAboutThatToo x Catch Some Z = Bull Dozer (Jeff Contompasis).

Blue colored horse: Some unprintables: I thought anyone who read 67 of these entries would not feel discouraged to see, at the bottom of the list, Mr Red x Anywhere on the road = Marx Skid (Barbara Turner) and Erupt to No Good x Lake Flaccid = Erupt to No Wood (Leif Picoult). But I didn’t think it was a good idea to run one of these:

MoltenJoeDiMaggio x Whackatoa = New York Yankers (Jeff Shirley)

The Wee Peephole x Decoder Ring = Inspect His Gadget (John Hutchins)

Via Gra x Wine and Jeez = Hardonnay (Jeff Shirley, again)

Hair on a G String x Veto Corleone (or Give It Arrest) = Pubic Enemy #1 (multiple people)

Die Happy x Whackatoa = Die Fappy (Jeff Shirley, AGAIN) Oh, Jeff.


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