Wordplay Fun About the Media: What Was Wolf Blitzer’s Real Name?

The Style Invitational is a weekly humor/wordplay contest in the Washington Post. It runs in the newspaper’s Sunday Style section and the March 25 contest was headlined: “Hedlyin’ news: Media fictoids.”

From the contest’s editor, Pat Myers: “In week 1268, as part of The Style Invitational’s relentless crusade to unenlighten readers with bogus trivia, we asked for fictoids about the news media and publishing industry. Despite his obvious qualifications for this contest, the President of the United States failed to enter and therefore gets no ink.”

First place winner was “Jeff Bezos meant to buy only a single issue of The Washington Post but he didn’t have any small bills with him at the time.” It was sent in by Robert Schechter of Dix Hills, New York. [Amazon owner Bezos actually paid $250 million.]

Second place: “Communications major Baboon Blitzer wisely opted to change his name.” Sent in by Margaret L. Welsh of Oakton, Virginia.

Third place: “The term ‘yellow journalism’ derives from the 19th-century tradition of newsboys urinating on stacks of their rivals’ papers.” From Duncan Stevens of Vienna, Virginia.

Fourth place: “The scrolling ticker at the bottom of a newscast screen is called a crawl because it originally required someone to wriggle across the studio dragging a hand-painted sign.” From Frank Osen of Pasadena, California.

Some honorable mentions:

“The German word for ‘break wind’ is Blog.” Another Duncan Stevens entry.

“A newspaper article’s second paragraph is traditionally called the ‘nut graf’ because it’s where lunatics stop reading to start dictating angry rebuttals.” From Lawrence McGuire of Waldorf, Maryland.

“The HVAC system at NPR’s new headquarters is engineered to circulate a vaporized suffusion of valium.” From Bill Spencer of Cockeysville, Maryland.

“From 1973 to 1978, the Pulitzer Prizes were made of fabric in bright floral prints.” From Noah Meyerson of Washington, D.C.

“Ralph Nader unsuccessfully sued the producers of ’60 Minutes’ under truth in advertising laws, demanding that the store change its name to ’46 Minutes.'” From Seth Tucker of Washington,  D.C.

“After producing his historic Bible, Gutenberg gained much more financial success with his next publication, a set of amusing prints of cats.” From Larry McClemons of Annandale, Virginia.

“The first ‘hostile work environment’ lawsuit was filed in 1940 by female employees of the Daily Planet, who cited reporter Clark Kent’s frequent comments about the color and condition of their underwear.” From Gary Crockett of Chevy Chase, Maryland.

A previous post about the Invitational, in January 2017, was titled “When the Washington Post Has Some Wordplay Fun” and was about neologisms where readers were asked to give alternative meanings to common words. An example: “Flabbergasted: Appalled over how much weight you have gained.”

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