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Style Conversational Week 1392: The Style Invitational Empress on the caption contest and anagram results


Because it’s fun to see the variety of approaches, I always encourage Bob to include ambiguous elements in his cartoons. Could that animal be seen as a dog and a bear? Could that tan-faced person be seen as either Nancy Pelosi or Muriel Bowser? What are those giant spots in the window?

And running a list of entries lets me include a few that focus on small details in the pictures, often details that a reader might not even notice at first glance. Those entries don’t tend to win the whole contest, but they’re fun when they appear farther down the list of honorable mentions. At the top of this column are two HMs, both from Week 1256 in 2017, that make a reader say, “Oh! I didn’t even see that! Hah!” That approach would lose effect if I were to run several at a time along that line, so it’s not a surefire way to get ink (everyone knows that is only by Suck Up + Bribe). But you do get to submit 25 different entries, so maybe a joke about an obscure detail might work for one of the four cartoons in Week 1392.

By the way, did you know that you can buy the original sketch ($80) or pen-and-ink art ($125) for one of Bob’s many hundreds of cartoons? Contact and tell him you’re a Loser.

FWIW, the other inking entries for those two cartoons:

Third place: Today’s death metal music goes right over Harvey’s head. (Jon Gearhart)

Winthrop cleverly repurposed his old organ grinder. (Kevin Dopart)

Contemplating Nana’s disappearance, Chuck suddenly realized why the device was called a gramophone. (Rob Huffman)

Reginald occasionally lets his skeletons out of the closet for a dance party. (Tom Witte)

Armand really wanted a Victrola, but could only afford a Vitriola. (Jeff Hazle)

“Ethel, I said I wanted to hear ’76 TROMbones!’ ” (Hildy Zampella)

Edison was irked by the ribbing — and femuring, skulling and pelvising — that he received over his new invention, the bonograph. (Christy Tosatto)

The winner of the Lose Cannon: Judge Moore regretted hitting on Sabrina the Teenage Witch. (Mark Raffman)

“But Blair said that when I was in town I should look up his sister.” (Frank Osen)

“And if you think this is weird, let me show you what’s in my briefcase.” (Duncan Stevens)

Once again he lost his head and panted after the first pretty girl to walk by. (Dudley Thompson)

“Baby, I’m head over heel for you.” (Joanne Free; Edward Gordon)

“It’s called extreme ventriloquism — anyone can throw their voice . . .” (Jeff Shirley)

“Madam, I was not staring at your chest. I am a leg man.” (Andrew Hoenig; Ward Kay)

Bill should have read the consent form for his knee replacement more carefully. (John Hutchins)

No one was fooled by the guy shooting upskirt photos once the head fell off his dummy. (Tom Witte)

“You should see my sister — she wears her heart on her sleeve.” (Steve Fahey)

“Hey, baby, show me what you got!” yelled the knee jerk, hoping to get a reaction. (Art Grinath)

Fred lost his malpractice suit after the judge ruled that his face functioned perfectly. (Dave Prevar)

Greg suddenly realized why women weren’t interested in him: His jacket was missing half of its lapels. (Duncan Stevens)

The “Big Suit” worked for David Byrne but not so well for Peter Dinklage. (Bill Hilton, a First Offender) And Bill gets his second blot of ink this very week — as a runner-up.

“If you see me walking down the street / My head on my thigh, my chin by my feet / Walk on by …” (Tom Witte)

Meanwhile: I say it in the introduction to the contest and on the entry form: I’d like to judge all the Picture A entries together, then the B’s, etc. I could make you send them on different forms, but instead I’m asking only that you format each one like this:

Picture A: Text of caption

Picture C: Some other caption

Picture A: Another caption

Don’t bother using boldface, italics, tabs, underlines, etc. None of that makes it through the entry form. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, specifically the inferior vena cava.


*Too-long-for-print non-inking entry by Chris Doyle, who did get the honorable-mention subhead, ONE-SMIRK MONIKERS

Among the most jaw-droppingly clever humor that The Style Invitational has ever run has come from its numerous anagram contests; we’ve had anagrams of the presidential inaugural oath, various Bible quotes, even the entire Gettysburg Address. (All these from a single contest; those and more here).

Week 1388 was a shorter-form challenge, but we can add it to the classics. With a lot of new Losers, to boot. Suggested by Jeff “Losing Is a Science” Contompasis, the contest asked to combine some word or phrase plus its anagram into some sort of business, product, entity, etc.

I received about 1,500 entries from 180 Losers — and ended up with a “shortlist” of more than 100 inkworthies. Because most everyone filed the entries in the format I discuss above (I didn’t even ask!), I was able to sort all the entries alphabetically, which let me compare, say, both entries for ANAL GAS LASAGNA (both good, but I used a different “anal” joke and how many can I use?) and all five (not as great) for ANEMIC CINEMA. I marked a number of entries this week “BD” (for “better definition), referring to an interesting anagram whose description sold it short; I’m considering putting them all out there for the crowdmind in a future contest.

The Invite’s anagram contests are often the domain of specialists. In the earlier contest mentioned above, Jeff Contompasis offered this anagram:

Just give yet another large bucket of ink to Jesse Frankovich this week.

= Geeky objective favors King of Nuts’ cheekier wit. Uh, thanks a lot,

And yes, though it turned out to be Yet Again Kevin Dopart who walks off with the Lose Cannon for his ALIENS/MY ANUS INSANE ASYLUM, along with many of the Usual Suspects among the honorable mentions, the rest of this week’s Losers’ Circle are babes in the Invite woods: George Thompson, who wins the Lay’s Potato Chips socks (sorry, delivery delayed until at least July 22, I’m told) with BAD TO YOU AUTO BODY, gets just his fourth blot of Invite ink this week since his debut in Week 1323, and his first above the fold; while the other two runners-up, Bill Hilton and Byron Miller, just now hop off the One Hit Wonder list with their second inks of BACHELOR CARBHOLE and PATHETIC RUSE THERAPEUTICS, respectively. They get their choice of the Whole Fools Grossery Bag or, if they want to wait a few weeks, the Loser Mug. Let me know, guys.

OOPS/ POOS: Some otherwise good entries turned out not to be valid anagrams. For example, I had to scratch “Bad ‘n Continuous Idlers, Builders and Construction: Deadlines mean nothing to us” by Legitimate Hall of Famer Frank Osen. And even my broad parameters of “business, product, organization or similar entity” couldn’t encompass someone’s good-but “Second Wave= We caved, son. The uncertainty from facing certain bad reopenings.”

What pleased Ponch: Ace Copy Editor Ponch Garcia, in for the vacationing Ace Doug Norwood, was partial to Kevin’s winner and Bill Hilton’s runner-up, and also to the HMs BOREDOM BEDROOM (Gary Crockett), CHARGE MUCH MEGACHURCH (Frank Mann) FAKE SCAM FACE MASK (also Frank Mann) and Roy Ashley’s NOSY LOCO COP COLONOSCOPY — one of two for that anagram.

NO ON: The unprintables: Some anagrams that wouldn’t pass the taste/language bar for the Invitational:

Bordello Doorbell: One ring for liquor in the front and two rings for poker in the rear. (Laura Clairmont)

Boner Draw Wonderbra: Makes the boys really notice “the girls.” (Stephen Dudzik)

Presidential Rat Penis Deli: Opened nearly four years ago with abhorrent and disgusting offerings, but some people could keep eating for another four. (Sam Mertens)

Urine Cans Insurance: Worried you’ll be left without a pot to piss in? They can help. (Duncan Stevens)

Vagina Crosspieces Vaping Accessories: Your number one source for the most excruciatingly uncomfortable smoking accouterments. (Sam Mertens)

Still Running: No-COVID neologisms

No reason to wait till the Monday night, July 13, deadline to file for Week 1391, our contest for new terms that don’t include a C, O, V, I or D. No reason to rush, either; you get zero advantage on this end from sending an early entry. Except if you run out of time on Monday …


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