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Never an Auction, But Ron's Still a Winner

by Bob Levey

Ron Jackson looked a little sheepish as he spilled the beans.

"I've never been to an auction," he confessed.

But that hardly mattered. Ron took aim at an auction-related neologism challenge and carted away first prize.

Our winner was one of approximately 3,000 make-up-a-word enthusiasts who submitted entries to the December installment of our monthly contest. The December challenge was:

He likes to go to auctions and bid, bid, bid 'em up. But he only drives the eventual winning bidder to a higher level. Somehow, he never gets stuck with the item. This "bumper-but-never-buyer" at auctions is called a...

Ron's winning entry:


That's a neat force-fit of "buy" with "bridesmaid." It filled the new-word bill with style, I thought – even if its creator hasn't seen an auction bumper in the flesh.

Our winner is a lawyer for the U.S. Department of Transportation. He serves in the office of chief counsel of the Federal Transit Administration. He advises on what federal transit dollars can be used for, on the financing of deals and on whatever else might need a legal eye.

Ron has been in Washington for about two years. He spent the previous dozen as a lawyer in private practice in New York.

He's a graduate of Northwestern University and the New York University law school. He and his wife of just over a year, Alix Steier, live in Woodley Park.

Before their marriage, Alix still lived in New York. The couple conducted a two-city romance. "We were very good customers of Amtrak," Ron said.

Our winner happily downed a victory lunch of Caesar salad, well-done salmon steak and decaffeinated coffee at D.C. Coast. He had a few bites of his wife's luscious creme brulee for good measure.

But the former New Yorkers won't be truly satisfied until they can find good New York-style pizza here in the sunny south.

"We spent a whole Saturday looking for good pizza" around the Washington area, Ron confided. They weren't successful.

In fact, they were especially unsuccessful at places that advertised "New York-style pizza." Go figure, as they like to say in the five boroughs.

When it comes to coining words, Ron is as successful as Washington pizza isn't. Hearty congratulations to a worthy winner.

Almosts and Nearlies for December were:

Racheteur: Phil Frankenfeld of Northwest Washington.

eBaiter: Roz Hopenfeld and Stacie Larson of Falls Church.

Bluffoon: Gail Karp of Bethesda first, then several others.

Bidstigator: Nami Huggins of Fairfax.

Jack-Up-All-Trades: Neil Shawen of Falls Church.

Vergin': Former champ Tom Witte of Gaithersburg.

Bidsmaid: Bob Robbins and Sandra Pancoast.

Inst-rig-ator: Former champ Hank Wallace of Northwest Washington.

Winducer: Former champ Sidney Secular of Silver Spring.

Bidiot: Ed Sweeney of Triangle first, then 11 others just like his.

Balksioneer: Peter Young of Charlotte.

Shillevator: Former champs Rich and Carol Weaver.

Buyeur: Zora Margolis of Northwest Washington, then seven others just like hers.

Fauxtioneer: Larry Jackson.

Nighilist: Tom Witte again.

Yescalator: Judith W. Wood of Culpeper, Va.

Highena: Jan Verrey.

Hikester: Jason K. Schechner.

Ratchet Man: Sidney Secular again.

Soshill Climber: Former champ Phil Ehrenkranz of Taylorstown, Va.

One-Downsman: Gerald Kahn of Bowie.

Rebidivist: Stephen Behnen of Normandy Park, Wash., first, then eight more just like his.

Tender-Riser: Mike and Avis Silver of Derwood.

Second Biddle: Jim Taylor of Alexandria.

Shamplifier: Jan Verrey again.

Winkubator: Carolyn Kelly Lindell of Alexandria.

Auction-near: Former champ Jim Munnis of Downingtown, Pa.

No-Getter: Stu Solomon of Springfield.

Pumpfaker: Al Toner of Arlington.

And Bumpster: Sam Mecum of Lancaster, Pa.

A very nice way to end a year, gang. Let's begin the next with another neologism challenge, in honor of the family-packed holidays we've all just observed (and endured?). The challenge is:

The one relative that all the other relatives hate is called a... (Click to see winning entries)

As always, there'll be nothing to hate about first prize. It's a free lunch, at a restaurant of the winner's choice, in or sensibly close to Washington. Intolerable relatives are not welcome.

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

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 January contest must be received by Jan. 31.

© 2003 Bob Levey (
This article is reproduced with the kind permission of the author.

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