Gene Weingarten reported on his January 8, 2008 chat:
Some alert readers noticed with outrage something odd about the Opuses of Dec. 9 and Dec. 16. What they noticed, specifically, was that every pun in the strips was lifted from a Style Invitational from 1998.
What they didn't notice, specifically, was that Breathed acknowledged the thievery: Note what Steve Dallas is reading in week one.
To give credit where credit is due, here are the names of the original entrants, and their entries:
Flabbergasted -- adj., appalled over how much weight you have gained. (Michelle Feeley, Arlington)
Coffee -- n., a person who is coughed upon. (David Hoffman, San Diego)
Willy-nilly -- adj., impotent. (Beth Benson, Lanham)
Flatulence -- n., the emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller. (Russell Beland, Springfield)
Abdicate -- v., to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)
Later, he also says:
Raleigh, N.C.: I wanted to apprise you of the following depressing sentence on the front page of the section our comics are in, in the Raleigh N & O. "Cathy's coming back, as are Drabble and Hagar!" How will they ever make this betrayal up to me?
Gene Weingarten: Omigod.
How can the same newspaper that chooses to carry my column choose to do something as humor-impaire as that.
Hagar the Horrible has not had an actual joke in it since 1973.