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Neologism Winners Hail From Far and Wide

by Bob Levey

Last month, to pick a neologism contest winner, we went three time zones west, to the state of Washington. This month, we go eight zones east – all the way to Moscow.

There, James F. Schumaker is no doubt chuckling in his borscht. He is the champion of the April contest – because of the time difference.

Jim was one of 337 contestants to submit the same entry to our monthly make-up-a-word contest. But when he sat down at his computer to hack out his entry, it was only 2:54 a.m. in Washington, D.C. We here in the land of the free and the home of the sleepy were still in the sack.

The next earliest identical entry arrived four hours later. By then, Jim was halfway through his borscht and his day – and well on the way to the winner's circle.

The April challenge was:

You're beat after a long day of work. All you want to do is sink into the couch and watch TV. You turn on a show that you've been eagerly anticipating and have watched only once or twice. Yikes! It's a rerun! This aggravating phenomenon is called...

Jim's answer:

Deja View.

No explanation necessary – in English, French or Russian. And no wondering about whether Jim has experienced reruns in what used to be the capital of the Soviet Union.

"We not only get reruns here in Moscow," he says. "We get American reruns."

Jim says it's "rather odd" to see "Star Trek: The Next Generation" dubbed into Russian – and to see it for the umpteenth time. "But that's what we've got here, and we're stuck with it," he says.

Jim is a senior adviser at the U.S. Embassy. He works in the political section, and as an assistant to the ambassador. He joined the Foreign Service in 1973, right out of the Army.

He is on his third tour in Moscow. Previously, he was consul general in Vladivostok. Beside Russian, Jim writes and speaks Serbo-Croatian and Dari (Afghan Persian). And (obviously) Neologese.

Jim says he'll let me know the next time he's back in Washington, so he can collect his victory lunch. In the meantime, here's a word that works in any language, and in any rerun.


Almosts and nearlies for the April contest were:

Resitivism: Karen Kenworthy and (with a similar form) Tobalee Schatzberg.

Cabalvision: Dot Yufer of Newton, W. Va.

Channulled: Ex-champ Roger Gilkeson of Northwest Washington and (with a similar form) former champ Jennifer Sklarew of Arlington.

Viewtile: Andy Hellman of Arlington.

Repetitv: Carl Katz of Potomac.

Disappointment TV: David M. Guskin of Potomac and James Radack.

Re-Ruin: Melissa Loenesio of Paradise Valley, Ariz., Lomy R. Orzon of Quantico, Nancy Ferris of Durham, N.C., Sally Stokes of Silver Spring, Gary Kunz of Gaithersburg and Charlie Hendricks.

Resellevision: Former champ Tom Witte of Gaithersburg.

Dish Enchantment: Edith and Alan Stein of Silver Spring.

Rebroadcastigation: Sue Hankin of Gaithersburg.

Showbloating: Mark Zedella of Arlington.

Stubeidity: Former champ Marlene B. Cohen of Columbia.

Rerunnui: Caroline Hull.

Rewrung: Dann Sklarew.

Deja Phooey: Terri Crowl of Herndon.

Superfluitv: Karen Kenworthy again.

Lucyitis: Silvia Stewart of Arlington.

Sitbomb: Former champ Ruth Ruskin of Falls Church.

Ouch Potato: Sally Stokes again.

Rerundancy: Betty Y. Edge of Vienna, Marian Carlsson of Lexington, Va. and Roger Gilkeson again.

Synch-run-icity: Andrew Hartness.

Just Seen TV: Marla Baker and Jim Darling, both of Bethesda.

Againy: Former champ Hank Wallace first, 11 others right on his heels.

Entwicement: Peter Pover of Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Must-Flee TV: Teg Allen of Chicago and Clarence M. Johnson of Beltsville.

Tubelication: Former champ John O'Byrne of Dublin, Ireland.

Teledoubies: Howard Harrell of North Potomac.

Prestidigistation: Rick Cogswell of Chantilly.

T'Vine Retroviewtion: Heidi Stossel of Orrtanna, Pa.

Regrrence: Zora Margolis and former champ Lynda Gattozzi of Bethesda.

Anesdeja: Len Greenberg.

And a great one to go out on... Armchairgeddon: Karen Kenworthy again.

Strong work, gang. Without missing a beat, let's waltz right on to the May challenge. It's based on suggestions by Judy Konnert and Sylvia Hoskins:

What do you call the little shake that people give a packet of sugar or artificial sweetener to settle the contents before they rip it open? (Click to see winning entries)

First prize is sweeter than anything inside any packet. It's 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. 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 May contest must be received by May 30.

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

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