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A Torte and a 'Re-dijested' Neologism Contest

by Bob Levey

At his victory lunch, Sidney Secular lived up to his entry perfectly.

He ordered a rich, calorie-laden raspberry torte – and no other solid food. Then he washed down the torte with black coffee – no cream, no sugar.

So it goes in the world of weight-watchers. And so it goes for the winner of our December neologism contest.

Like about 3,000 fellow make-up-a-word enthusiasts, Sidney took on a challenge that had to do with calories, and fear of more. It was:

You walk into a fast-food restaurant and order a triple-decker hamburger with double cheese, barbecue sauce and extra pickles. Then you order a diet soft drink because you don't want to gain weight. A person who does this is called a...

His winning entry:

Dijester.

That looked to these calorie-addled eyes like a great mixture of "digestion" and "jesting." Valerie Chambers, of Indian Head, thought so, too. But she submitted "dijester" four days after Sidney. Under our rules, he alone gets first prize.

Sidney has been a dogged neologist for many years, and he proved that he's a dogged record-keeper, too. His entry sheet bore 18 brainstorms. They looked mighty familiar. After a while, I figured out why.

A year ago, I offered a very similar challenge. The idea then was to coin a word for he who has a seven-course dinner and washes it down with a diet soda because he's watching his weight. The winning word was "denieter."

Sidney saved that column – and submitted most of the entries that I had featured, including the winning one. This time, I elevated "dijester" from an also-ran to the winner's circle.

During our victory lunch (in his case, a victory dessert), Sidney was kind enough not to ask me how come I had essentially repeated a challenge only 12 months later. If he had, I would have blamed it on calories that rushed to my brain.

Our winner is a retired procurement officer for the U.S. government. Since 1990, he has served as a voice on Verizon's call-in weather forecast service. Dial 202-936-1212, and you may catch Sidney Secular doling out yet another forecast.

"I was always fascinated with weather forecasting," said Sidney, as he forked down torte at Crisfield, a seafood place in Silver Spring. The weather voice gig "is a lot of fun."

Not as much as "dijester." Or as being caught in my own mistake. Thanks, Sidney, for both.

Almosts and Nearlies for December were:

Denieter: Chevaun Suggs submitted it first this time. Then 23 others did.

Foodwinker: Zora Margolis, Nick Folkos, of McLean, and Kathy Grimmnitz, of North Potomac.

Fastidiot: Former champ John O'Byrne, of Dublin, and Sam Mecum, of Lancaster, Pa.

Scarflaw: Jan Verrey.

Hippocrite: Only 34 of you thought of this one this time around (67 last time). Former champ Tom Witte, of Gaithersburg, was first.

Sippocrite: Twenty-one of you submitted this brainstorm. Paul Everson, of Alexandria, was first.

Poptimist: Another popular choice – it attracted 16 votes. Jennifer Skousen Sudweeks led the way.

Slimpostor: Jan Verrey again.

Slimpersonator: Barry Pattison, of Des Moines.

Fationalizer: Angie Buckingham Melton, of Kensington.

Chewdas: Jan Verrey yet again.

Pantasizer: Rita M. Keays.

Fauxdietrist: Former champ Steve Smith, of Laurel, Sandy Drutz, of Vienna, Joan Runge and Bruce McAdam.

Weight Botcher: Edith and Alan Stein, of Silver Spring, Cheryl Gedzelman, and Nyal King, also of Silver Spring.

Avoirdupe: Michael Rahn.

Adiposeur: Don Juran.

Pignoramus: Joshua A. Glenn and none other than Sidney Secular.

De-lose-ionist: Kelli Kolling.

Soda Jerk: Karen Tomimatsu.

Gastrofizzicist: Sally Stokes, of Silver Spring.

Belly-Whopper: Jeff Miller, of Brookeville.

Dumbweighter: Clarence M. Johnson, of Beltsville, and Marian Carlsson, of Lexington, Va.

Confictioneer: Marc LeGoff, of Northwest Washington.

Suptimist: Karen Kenworthy.

Deli-lusionist: Jennifer Sklarew, of Arlington.

And Gastrocomic: Razel Solow, of Charlottesville.

Excellent work, gang. For next month, we trot out a seasonal challenge, even though the Redskins have finished their season:

You attend a social event, for couples, on a Sunday afternoon. Everyone is on his best behavior. But then some genius (male, of course) finds a TV set and flicks on the Redskins game. The men at the party try not to weaken. But they keep snatching glimpses at the screen. These flicks of the eye are called... (Click to see winning entries)

First prize remains the same, in favorable Redskins seasons or foul: a free lunch, at a restaurant of the winner's choice, in or sanely near Washington.

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) or 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, Washington, D.C. 20071. Entries must be received by Jan. 31.

© 2002 Bob Levey (leveyb@washpost.com).
This article is reproduced with the kind permission of the author.


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