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Rozi's Riveting (and Winning) Neologism

by Bob Levey

Our October neologism challenge was a bit of a sight gag. It turned on a remarkable coincidence. Here's how I described it in my column of Oct. 7:

Two cartoons ran in The Post on the same day in August. Each was drawn by a different artist. Yet the themes and content were nearly identical. This comics coincidence is called...

Bob Rozier won first prize without even seeing the two comics.

Bob, who lives in Northwest Washington, reads Levey's gems on the Internet. On Oct. 7, because of a fumble, the two comics snippets appeared only in the ink-on-tree version of The Post.

But that didn't stop more than 3,000 contestants – many of them "Internet babies" – from trying their luck at a wordsmith-y solution. Nor did it keep Bob Rozier from the winner's circle.

His winning entry:

Syncgrinicity.

That's a neat force-fit of "synchronicity" and "grin." As soon as my eyes beheld it, I placed it in the "strong possibilities" stack. A few hours later, there was nothing else in the stack.

Oh, yes. In case you, too, happened to read the October challenge on the Internet: Both comic strips ended with a man reading a book stuck between his toes.

Our October champion prefers to be known as Rozi "because there are so many Bobs in the world." And don't you dare mispronounce his last name.

As his mother likes to say, "it's Rozier-rhymes- with-enclosure, not Rozier-rhymes-with- brassiere." No wonder her son grew up to be so crisply witty.

Rozi was born and reared in Riverton, Wyo. He holds two degrees from MIT. He spent four years in the Navy, rising to the rank of lieutenant. He has spent 10 years working in Washington's high-tech canyons, on such projects as nuclear waste disposal and his current assignment, air traffic control.

But his truest, dearest love may be puns. "I don't care how bad they are," he said, over a victory lunch of grilled fish at the Tabard Inn.

Rozi is especially fond of punsterish headlines. Thus the one atop today's column, fashioned by your friendly neighborhood comics-page columnist. If you don't get it, you need to brush up on your World War II history.

Bob Rozier needs to brush up on nothing when it comes to imaginative coinages. His was one of the best I've received in the nearly two decades this contest has been roaming the landscape. Thanks to him, and congratulations.

Almosts and Nearlies for October included:

Zingchronization: Mark Sobolewski.

Serenstripity: Emily Roisman of Great Falls first, then at least four dozen imitators.

Yuxtoposition: Bob Seevers and (with a similar form) Mark Williams of Odenton. Many others offered Jokestaposition.

Cornvergance: Mitch Edelman.

Syngroanicity: Karen Kenworthy.

Concomictance: Cassie Corbin of New York City first, then 10 others.

Retoondancy: Jan Verrey.

Doppelgagger: Jan Verrey again.

Karmacal: Sharon Whyte of Charlottesville.

Cartwoning: Betty Y. Edge.

Identickle: Rick Millward of Myersville, Md., and Karen Kenworthy again.

Co-wince-idence: Jeaneen Jernigan.

Double Entendraw: Caitlin James.

Cowinkidence: Jim Bowman of Springfield and (with a similar form) Roz Hopenfeld of Rockville.

Inkronicity: James Calder, then 33 others.

Pairogrination: Former champ Colin Ramirez.

Simultooneity: Ryan Jawetz (age 12), Bill Mandle and Fred Zusman, both of Silver Spring, Colin Ramirez again and (with a similar form) Marshall Donley Jr.

Comicurrence: Terri Dawson of Orlando.

Car2oon: Bob Heaton.

Parroty: Edith and Alan Stein of Silver Spring.

Simhilarity: Former champ Cathy Smith Caviness of Clifton, then 16 others.

Bihokel: Former champ Roger Szemraj of Northwest Washington.

Comiccordance: Shannon Fahey.

Cartoonplicity: Constance C. Richardson of Alexandria.

Comicopia: Patrick D. Noon of Alexandria.

Haha-mogeny: Jennifer Cohen.

Karmic Strip: Richard Jaffe of North Potomac.

Symfunnies: Rosemary Sokas.

Striptwos: Julie Ziring.

Bidea: Nancy Ferris of Durham, N.C.

And Comicopy: Susan England of Fairfax.

Superb, gang. But I expect no less. Now that I've buttered you up, let's see how you do with the November challenge. It is:

Ink pen, spending money, sailing ship... What do you call these two-word redundancies that seem to clog the language? (Click to see winning entries)

There's nothing redundant about first prize. It's a free lunch, at a restaurant of the winner's choice, in or sanely close to 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 for the November contest must be received by Nov. 29.

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


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