A clown jumps above a trapeze.
Arcs over one-eighty degrees.
Out into mid-air,
Of his exiting billfold and keys. (Blanks are E and S.)
Then, just two years ago, Dave read an article about Scrabblegrams in Eric Chaikin’s blog Beyond Wordplay, tracing the form back to Britain in the 1970s and declaring Dave’s clown limerick the GOAT of the genre. And bam — Dave plunged in once again, “then got hooked for good.”
And so if Dave can Scrabblegram every single day on Twitter and his website, the Loser Community can surely come through for this week’s contest: Write a Scrabblegram — an anagram of all 100 tiles in an English-language Scrabble set (your choice for the two blanks). Any punctuation is fine. Your writing can be a funny thought, a poem, a dialogue, what-evah.
Here’s how many of each letter you’ll be working with: A-9, B-2, C-2, D-4, E-12, F-2, G-3, H-2, I-9, J-1, K-1, L-4, M-2, N-6, O-8, P-2, Q-1, R-6, S-4, T-6, U-4, V-2, W-2, X-1, Y-2, Z-1. Plus the two blanks of your choice.
There’s a fabulous — and necessary — tool for writing and checking your Scrabblegram, one we’ve used in previous anagram contests: It’s the Anagram Checker at wordsmith.org, devised by the brilliant and also very gracious Anu Garg. See the the bottom of this column for a string of the 100 characters you can copy into the tool to compare with your own anagram — and if it’s valid, the letters will jump around in celebration.
Submit up to 25 entries (if you’re some sort of freaky Dave-like anagramming wizard) at wapo.st/enter-invite-1504 (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Sept. 12; results appear Oct. 2 in print, Sept. 29 online.
Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a charming Yoda-head pail with handle, suitable for trick-or-treating, as a little planter, or as an excellent handbag for your more whimsical cocktail parties. Donated by Daphne Steinberg.
Other runners-up win their choice of our “For Best Results, Pour Into Top End” Loser Mug or our “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, “A Small Jester of Appreciation” or “Close, but Ceci N’est Pas un Cigare.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/inviteFAQ. The headline “Neolog15ms” is by Kevin Dopart; Tom Witte wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Loser David Smith alerted the Empress to the Twitter account Scrabblegrams by Dave. 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; and follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.
The Style Conversational: The Empress’s weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. See this week’s, published late Thursday, Sept. 1, at wapo.st/conv1504.
Neolog15ms: New 15-Scrabble-point words from Week 1500
To celebrate Week 1500, the Empress asked the Losers to think up new words whose letters would add up to 15 points in Scrabble. (It mattered not whether there were more P’s, say, in a word than there are in the game, or whether a word would have to land on a double space.)
Subpeony: The official flower of the Justice Department — it’s been in full bloom lately in Florida and Georgia. (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)
Vegenerates: The debased, un-American sort who would order plant-based sausage at Cracker Barrel. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)
QAnon: It is 15 points — you counted it wrong. (Erika Reinfeld, Medford, Mass.)
And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:
Dadolescent: A husband who spends every damn night playing Nintendo with the kids. “Okay, hold on, they’ll get to their homework in a bit …” (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)
… Lose sum: Honorable mentions
Demoncrats: Evil, Satan-worshiping opponents of true, Trump-worshiping Republicans. (Ward Foeller, Charlottesville, Va.)
Deppleted: What Amber Heard’s bank account got. (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)
Fadj: A “pilgrimage” to the latest hot destination. “Just everyone at our sorority is making the fadj to Cabo for spring break.” (Daniel Helming, Whitemarsh, Pa.)
Crashinals: D.C.’s baseball team ever since it won the pennant in 2019. (Frank Mann, Washington)
Geeze: To behave like your granddad. “Sheesh, 40 years old and he’s already starting to geeze about the kids’ music.” (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
Hollerpeño: The absolutely hottest pepper on the Scoville scale. (Lee Graham, Reston, Va.)
Ivanked: Asked to do something you’re totally unqualified to do. “My boss totally ivanked me by making me represent the agency at the diplomatic symposium. What do I know, I’m in marketing.” (Maria Avillo, Bethesda, Md., a First Offender)
Prepenting: Expressing regret over what you’re about to do anyway. “I know I’m going to get sick if I eat this whole Super Super Sundae. But you know, I can’t exactly take it home …” (Karen Lambert, Chevy Chase, Md.)
Ukrainium: A radioactive quagmire that’s located between Vladimir Putin’s ears. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)
Vladimort: He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Blamed. — D.J.T. (Jesse Frankovich)
Arkansaps: People who thought overturning Roe would lead red states to provide generous support for mothers. See also: Floridupe, Montanaive and Duhkota. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)
Beetbarf: Borscht. (Neil Kurland, Elkridge, Md.)
Boeberth: A measure of distance from a MAGA politician. “For your safety I’d recommend you stand at least 50 boeberths from Marjorie Taylor Greene.” (Stephen Dudzik, Olney, Md.)
Buoytoy: An oligarch’s yacht. (Beverley Sharp)
Chocolit: What your kids get after eating half of their Halloween candy at one go. (Jonathan Jensen)
Coatex: Maybe not the best brand name for a new house paint. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
Cusstoady: Where’s Michael Cohen these days? (Mark Raffman)
Fauxn: A handy fake handheld that you have to “answer” when you’re stuck in a boring conversation. (Sarah Walsh, Rockville, Md.)
Gaysayer: Someone Ron DeSantis does not want to hear from. (Duncan Stevens)
Gochya: Russian-English for checkmate. (Sudhir Vasudeva, McLean, Va., a First Offender)
Graycists: People of a certain age who miss the old days when “everyone knew their place.” (Dave Airozo, Silver Spring, Md.)
Gundamental: Apparently, the only type of right the Supreme Court believes in protecting absolutely. (Dave Airozo)
Hurlhood: Your fraternity years. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)
Impursonate: “She says it’s genuine, but I’m pretty sure it’s an impursonation. For one thing, the tag says ‘Louie Veton.’ ” (Michael Stein, Arlington, Va.)
Liarbility: The penalty for blatant defamation. “That $45 million liarbility on Alex Jones couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.” (Brian Krupp, Lewes, Del.)
Lowflutin: Using a jelly jar to drink champagne. (Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.)
Moptimist: Someone who’s convinced that one day someone besides me will clean up this #$$# kitchen! (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
Mt. Neverest: A goal that’s highly unlikely to happen. “Now Uncle Ernie says he’s going to learn fluent Navajo — there he goes, climbing Mount Neverest again!” (Karen Lambert)
Neighbrrr: The woman next door who answers your “good morning” with a withering stare. (Tom Witte)
Oughtful: With good intentions, anyway. “I really should stop rolling my eyes every time my idiot boss opens his mouth,” Tom reflected oughtfully. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)
Oz-tent: A temporary “home” in the state where you plan to run for office. (Mark Raffman)
Pilluminati: A shadowy group said to control big pharma. “The pilluminati made sure Medicare could negotiate prices for just 10 drugs, starting in 2026.” (Chris Doyle)
Plodometer: My Fitbit, usually. (Karen Lambert)
Pogroomers: Adults who manipulate teenage boys into growing up to be Proud ones. (Kevin Dopart)
Prepudiate: To reject before learning much relevant information. “She set her OkCupid to prepudiate anyone from West Virginia.” (Karen Lambert)
Rustorationists: People who “age” furniture to sell as antiques. (Jeff Contompasis)
Scotify: Struggling platform for all-bagpipe music. (Chris Doyle)
Starspangler: Singer with an unfortunate tendency to do vocal gymnastics during the free-and-the-brave bit. (Steve Bremner, Philadelphia)
Unsnydered: Not yet ruined. “Even as the tow truck hauled away the mangled heap of his once-beloved Camaro, Chad was already plotting how he could get his dad to buy him a new, unsnydered one.” — All Commanders fans, everywhere (Jerome Uher, Alexandria, Va.)
And Last: Empressario: The manager of a company of clowns. (Donald Norum, Charlottesville, Va.)
And Even Laster: Inksplain: “In case you don’t understand the humor of my entry, it’s a wordplay combining the Latin root …” (Karen Lambert)
Still running — deadline also Monday, Sept. 12: Our contest for songs about food (either parodies or originals). See wapo.st/invite1503.
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The 100 letters for validating your Week 1504 anagram
When validating your anagram at the Anagram Checker website, copy the following block of letters and paste it into the “source text” field — be sure to replace the question marks with the letters you’re using for the two blank tiles. Then copy in your anagram and click on “check anagrams.”