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Punster Lee Becomes a Neologism Champ

by Bob Levey

Lee Jackson has a very cool job: music and sound director for a company that makes computer games. But he has an even cooler hobby: making up puns and entering pun contests.

Lee has won punning competitions three times. As a result of his well-honed wordsmithing skill, he has now won our monthly neologism contest once.

The December challenge, to which Lee and about 3,000 fellow make-up-a-word fans responded, was:

You're a well-known Washingtonian, and you're often asked to send out publicity pictures. But honesty crumbles in the face of vanity. You routinely send out photos of yourself that are seven years old. They fail to show the lines and gray hairs that the bathroom mirror knows you possess. The habit of hiding your age behind old publicity photos is called...

Lee's winning answer:

Photoyearnalism.

What a delicious "play" on "photojournalism"! I immediately put Lee's entry aside, in the "good" stack. Four hours later, when I was finished reading and sorting, no other entry had topped his.

Our winner is 36 (which means he's too young to send out phony-baloney publicity photos). He was born in Austin and now lives in Garland, a suburb of Dallas. Since 1986, he has been a member of Punsters United Nearly Yearly, a group of groan-inflicters who are shameless – and funny.

Once, Lee won a P.U.N.Y. contest where participants had five seconds to create a disease out of a body part. Lee invented the "knee-sles." It grabbed the brass ring.

Another time, he was asked to build a marriage between a great political leader and spices. Lee's effort: "Ask not what your cumin tree cayenne do for you. Ask what you cayenne do for your cumin tree."

Since we live 1,000 miles apart, Lee and I had to shelve any immediate plans to get together for his victory lunch. But I owe him, whenever he's here or I'm there. In the meantime, congratulations to a Texas-sized champ.

Almosts and Nearlies for December were:

Peterpanity: Sandy Drutz.

Kodacting: Jim Taylor, of Alexandria.

Hy-pic-crisy: Michael Gips, of Bethesda.

Obstillescence: Greg Dobbins, of Arlington.

Kodachronism: Jamie King, of Bowie.

Blas-Filmy: Craig M. Muckle.

PReening: Former champ Rick Hatch, of Cabin John.

Ob-face-cation: Harold M. Silver.

Fauxtospinthesis: Phil Frankenfeld, of Northwest Washington, first, then 11 more like his.

Revisageism: Former champ Anne S. Rowan, of Northwest Washington, and Michael L. Rahn, of McLean.

Artiface: Sally Stokes.

Reshycling: Dan Lange.

Ni-Konning: Dian McDonald, of Alexandria.

PhysiogNewMe: Hank Wallace, of Northwest Washington.

Picanery: Former champ Tom Witte, of Gaithersburg, and Clarence M. Johnson, of Beltsville.

Cameraflage: Vast hordes.

Filmflamming: Vaster hordes.

Fauxtography: Still vaster hordes.

Photoploy: Joel Knanishu, of Rock Island, Ill.

Daguerreohype: Albert P. Toner, of Arlington.

Subterfuji: Former champ Marlene B. Cohen, of Columbia.

Deline-e-ation: The team of Edith and Alan Stein, of Silver Spring.

Redo-venation: Former champ Phil Ehrenkranz, of Taylorstown, Va.

Hocusfocus: Sabine Pratsch, of Bethesda.

Fantageia: Jerry LaFraniere, of Sterling.

Republicant: Kia Brown.

Pictocrisy: Dave Roberts, of Arlington.

Yearbrushing: Jon Batterman.

And Pictofoggery: Maura C. Roan, of Potomac.

You had your lenses trained on this one, gang.

Nice work!

Let's give the January contest a go. If the December contest did not star Levey (and who ever said he was talking about his own head shots?), this one surely does:

You are reading Bob Levey's Washington on the subway. The column is so captivating, so brilliant, so richly written, that you keep on reading and reading – and you miss your stop. When you realize it, the spark of recognition is called... (Click to see winning entries)

As always, first prize is a free lunch, at a restaurant of the winner's choice, at a restaurant in or sensibly near Washington. If you come by subway and miss your stop, we'll both know why.

Contest rules: You may enter as often as you like, on one piece of paper or several. Joint entries are welcome. So are entries submitted by fax (202-334-5150) and by e-mail (leveyb@washpost.com). Entries must bear day and evening phone numbers, including area code(s). All entries become my property. Entries will not be accepted by phone or returned. In case of duplicate winning entries, I'll choose the one I receive first.

Please mail entries to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.

Entries for the January contest must be received by Jan. 31.

© 2000 Bob Levey (leveyb@washpost.com).
This article is reproduced with the kind permission of the author.


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