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Paul Prevails, Thanks to Neologistic Study

by Bob Levey

He is a double rarity: a first-time entrant, and a guy who pored over dictionaries rather than letting inspiration strike. But who are we to question unusual methods? Paul M. Doubray is our champ – deservedly.

Paul was one of about 3,000 wordsmiths to enter the March edition of our monthly neologism contest. The challenge that the contestants faced was:

Veteran Metro riders know that Farecard-dispensing machines are very, very picky. They will reject bills that are even slightly folded, spindled or mutilated. These not-quite-ready- for-prime-time bills are called...

Paul's winning answer:


This is a neat fusion of "demur" (to hesitate) and "currency." It said "winner" to me the first time I saw it – and the second, third and 50th.

Our March champ is an actuarial analyst with Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a large consulting firm in downtown Washington. Paul's job is to "help consultants evaluate other companies' pension plans."

He graduated from Lee High School in Northern Virginia in 1993 and Roanoke College four years later. He lives in Lake Ridge with his wife, Leigh Anne. The couple expects their first child in November.

Paul's secret? "An overly analytic approach," says this analyst.

When he tackled the March challenge, he pulled rhyming dictionaries and thesauri off the shelves. "I said, 'Money, now what rhymes with money?,' " Paul said. "I just went on from there." When he got to "currency," the pathway was paved.

Our winner celebrated with a victory lunch of crab cakes, halibut and chocolate dacquoise at Kinkead's in Foggy Bottom. He pronounced the food excellent. I pronounce his entry the same. Well done!

Almosts and Nearlies for March were:

Negabucks: Bonnie Faulk, of Arlington.

Groanbacks: Phil Frankenfeld, of Northwest Washington, and Michael Stewart.

Careenbacks: Richard Stromberg.

Curlency: Kate Lynch, of Sterling, former champ Anne S. Rowan, of Northwest Washington, and the team of Edith and Alan Stein, of Silver Spring.

Nawbucks: Shelby Sadler, of Rockville, and Sean Collins, of Springfield.

Incorrigibills: Roger Gilkeson, of Northwest Washington.

Un-Stay-Bills: Eddie Van Slyke, of Germantown.

Unwhirrthy: Sandy Jude.

Ignomoney: Recent champ Julie Cunningham, of Charlottesville.

Sourdough: Jonathan A. Eisen, of Rockville, and Matthew Michael.

Fallibills: Susie Hairston, of Harrisonburg, Va., R.L. Simms, of Reston, and William Hicks, of Rockville.

Feejects: Former champ Colin E. Ramirez, of Charlottesville.

Bend Franklins: The team of Alan D. Lichtman and Jonina Duker, of North Bethesda.

Dolor Bills: Jill E. Thach, of Kensington, first, then 11 more just like hers.

Billge: Paul Bucher.

Flawbucks: Dina Petersen.

Billet-Don'ts: Howard Kaplan.

Dissed Kapital: Michael Gips, of Bethesda.

Sorebuck: Ronnie Hirschberg, of Potomac, and Neil Hochman, of Chevy Chase.

Deny-ro: Neil Isaacs, of Colesville, and Sharon M. Baetke, of Centreville.

Disharmoney: Jerry E. Sullivan, and former champ Ruth Ruskin.

Careenback Dollars: Christopher P. Nicholson, of Sterling.

Buckarang: Faith Vieno.

Greenbalks: Art Shaffer, of Springfield.

Returns to Bender: Lance Smith.

Scarfare: David Silberstein.

Regeorgitation: Michael Rahn, of McLean.

And Reoccurrency: Joan M. Verax.

Very strong, gang. Let's shoot for an equally strong performance as we contemplate the April challenge. It's based on a suggestion by reader Tom Lubey:

At a social-business event, you meet a person who's wearing a name tag. You know you'll never remember the person's name without a bit of cramming, so you surreptitiously steal glances at the tag. These sly, furtive looks are called... (Click to see winning entries)

First prize won't be furtive in the slightest. It's a free lunch, at a restaurant of the winner's choice, in or sensibly near Washington. You don't need to wear a name tag. Levey promises he'll remember.

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 April contest must be received by April 30.

© 1999 Bob Levey (
This article is reproduced with the kind permission of the author.

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