New con­test for Week 1220 O pedantry, O pedantry

The Washington Post Sunday - - DIVERSIONS -

When­ever a wo­man tells me that she loves me with all her heart, I pa­tiently ex­plain that the heart is an au­to­nomic blood pump in­ca­pable of emo­tion, and that her state­ment is there­fore with­out mean­ing. No wo­man has made that mis­take with me twice. (Joseph Romm) The ex­pres­sion “You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose” is woe­fully in­ac­cu­rate. There is no phys­i­cal bar­rier to pick­ing the nose of an­other per­son. The bar­rier would be one of so­cial ac­cept­abil­ity. A more ac­cu­rate state­ment would be “You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you may not etc.” (Jamie Eck­man) Those ever so help­ful clar­i­fi­ca­tions ar­rived via Style In­vi­ta­tional Week 330, in the sum­mer of 1999. That con­test was in­spired by those less imag­i­na­tive pedants who pointed out in­ces­santly that the next cen­tury would not start on New Year’s Day 2000, but on New Year’s Day 2001. Eigh­teen years later, no­body cares any­more when this cen­tury started (okay, maybe you do) but surely there’s plenty to faux­quib­ble about that would make even con­firmed acunerds (see to­day’s Week 1216 re­sults) roll their eyes (but how can they roll with so much con­nec­tive tis­sue around the iris?). This week: Give us

some hu­mor­ous pedantry, as in the ex­am­ples above. Don’t make them any longer than those; shorter ones are wel­come. Sub­mit en­tries at this web­site: bit.ly/en­ter-in­vite-1220 (all low­er­case). Win­ner gets the Inkin’ Me­mo­rial, the Lin­coln statue bob­ble­head that is the of­fi­cial Style In­vi­ta­tional tro­phy. Sec­ond place re­ceives a tall black­and­white ce­ramic travel mug with a pic­ture of a fly­ing saucer and the text “GET IN LOSER.” The Em­press, who be­lieves pas­sion­ately in the im­por­tance of com­mas, in­ter­prets that line in a way per­haps not in­tended. Do­nated bil­lions and bil­lions of years ago by the In Loser Brendan Beary. Other run­ners-up win our new “Gotta Play to Lose” Loser Mug or our Grossery Bag, “I Got a B in Pun­man­ship.” Hon­or­able men­tions get one of our new lusted­after Loser mag­nets, “No Child­ish­ness Left Be­hind” or “Mag­num Do­pus.” First Of­fend­ers re­ceive only a smelly tree­shaped air “fresh­ener” (FirStink for their first ink). Dead­line is Mon­day night, April 3; re­sults pub­lished April 23 (on­line April 20). See gen­eral con­test rules and guide­lines at wapo.st/In­vRules. “Witty­griddy” in the head­line was sent by both Jesse Frankovich and Stu­art Rogers, the hon­or­able­men­tions sub­head by Bev­er­ley Sharp and Jeff Con­tom­pa­sis. Join the Style In­vi­ta­tional Devo­tees group on Face­book at on.fb.me/in­vdev. “Like” Style In­vi­ta­tional Ink of the Day on Face­book at bit.ly/ inkof­day; fol­low @StyleIn­vite on Twit­ter.

THE 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.

BOB STAAKE FOR THE WASH­ING­TON POST

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