New contest for Week 1129: Right in the pampootie
Pyopoiesis! The word is a doozy. It’s not about matters poetic. It’s all about pustules that smell and are oozy! (How’s that for a morning emetic?)
Last month’s National Spelling Bee, like last year’s, ended in a tie between the top two kids: Midwestern eighth-graders Gokul Venkatachalam and Vanya Shivashankar both correctly spelled every word put to them — 20 rounds’ worth — until the judges declared them both winners, packed up their Webster’s Thirds and went home.
While each speller gained national fame along with $37,000 in money and prizes, their shared pursuit always brings out the critics who call spelling bees a colossal waste of time and effort put into memorizing lists of words that nobody ever uses.
Nobody? That’s us! We’ll use them! This week: Write a humorous short poem (eight lines or fewer) incorporating
one of the 50 words listed below, as in the example above by that, er, udite man of letters (usually the letter F) Gene Weingarten; each was used at some point in this year’s bee. The poems have to make sense with the words’ true meanings; you can’t just pretend they mean something else. (Most of the real meanings aren’t brain-achers; they include “horseshoeshaped,” “freckles” and “a wasp nest.” A Google search for any of these words should give you the definition and pronunciation on the first page of results. You may use the word in a different form, such as a plural or a different tense.
Winner gets the Inkin’ Memorial, the Lincoln statue bobblehead that is the official Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives, in keeping with this week’s literary theme, two varied books: “Nature’s Nether Regions,” “a tour of evolution’s most inventive — and essential — creations: animal genitalia”; and the out-of-print “The Art of the Fart,” featuring historical anecdotes and various other observations attempting to stretch it out into at least a gift-size book. Donated by Loser Pie Snelson.
Other runners-up win their choice of a yearned-for Loser Mug or the ardently desired “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get a lusted-after Loser magnet designed by Bob Staake: either “The Wit Hit the Fan” or “Hardly HarHar.” First Offenders receive a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). E-mail entries to email@example.com or, if you were born in the 19th century, fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Monday night, June 29; results published July 19 (online July 16). You may submit up to 25 entries per contest. Include “Week 1129” in your e-mail subject line or it might be ignored as spam. Include your real name, postal address and phone number with your entry. See contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/InvRules. The headline for this week’s results is by Jeff Contompasis; the honorablementions subhead is by Mae Scanlan. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev. “Like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at bit.ly/inkofday.
3THE STYLE CONVERSATIONAL The Empress’s weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. Especially if you plan to enter, check it out at wapo.st/styleconv.