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From Fort Wayne, a Neologistic Winner

by Bob Levey

His sister, Anastasia Krutulis, of Ijamsville, Md., was his partner in crime.

"She mailed me your column and The Style Invitational," said George H. Gensic. George hasn't won the Invitational yet. But Levey' s May neologism contest belongs to him and him alone.

Like about 3,000 fellow make-up-a-word enthusiasts, George took a swing at our May challenge, which was:

What do you call the subtle maneuver used to escape someone who corners you at one of these name-tag-type events and won't set you free?

George's winning entry:


That's a blend of "exit" and "etiquette," of course. It also suggests the dab of politeness that those who escape from bores need. All in all, I thought it was a perfect coinage.

Our winner lives in Fort Wayne, Ind., where for the last 25 years, he has owned and operated Gensic Enviro Metal (and where he answers the phone himself). G.E.M. is an industrial fabrication shop that will make whatever a business might need – in metal, fiberglass or plastic. George also designs those "whatevers."

But under that practical businessman exterior beat the heart and fingers of a writer.

George has recently finished a 160,000-word historical novel, he told me, and he gets all sorts of wordsmithing practice by writing to his six children and stepchildren, who are scattered all over the place.

In fact, he wrote his novel in the form of 655 postcards mailed to his daughter, Monica. Tell me Faulkner ever worked in such a painstaking, clever way.

George told me that he has never before won a word contest, and he has never before entered this one. But there's a first time for everything, and now, for both of those things.

Congratulations to a worthy midwestern winner. And many thanks to him for transferring his prize (a free lunch) to his Washington area sister. I look forward to breaking bread with her.

Almosts and Nearlies for May were:

Skiplomacy: Recent winner Paul Droubay, and Michele Civan, of Bethesda.

Paleaver: Hank Wallace, of Northwest Washington.

Skilled-ditchery: Nelle Wade, of Macon, Ga.

Avoid-dance: Mike Guillory, of Falls Church.

Slyanara: Roger Gilkeson, of Northwest Washington.

Pretexit: Former champ Bobbie Liegus.

Sigh-yonara: Clarence M. Johnson, of Beltsville, and Pat Wadsworth.

Scategem: Susan Petty, of Memphis.

Gabdication: Former champ Tom Witte, of Gaithersburg.

Greener Pastyours: Vicky Simmons, of Dayton, Va.

Jabberwalky: P. J. Siegel, of Greenbelt.

Exborcism: Karen E. Holt, of Charlottesville.

DodgeBull: David Hicks, of Bethesda.

Goodrid Dance: Paul J. Crystal, of Arlington.

Gigabye: Recent champ Julie Cunningham, of Charlottesville.

Receptshun: Moia Gruber.

Disentagglement: Greg L. Dobbins, of Arlington.

Dipartyure: Michael Gips, of Bethesda.

Duck-Swoop: The team of Edith and Alan Stein, of Silver Spring.

Antipesto: Edmundo Ortazar.

Seducktion: Former champ Marlene B. Cohen, of Columbia.

Skip-to-the-loo: Barbara Rich, of Charlottesville.

Pestaslide: Lance Smith.

Shunanigan: Joyce Small, of Herndon.

I'll-be-right-bactic: Annette Y. Mitchell.

And Shakewalk: M. S. Simms, of Philadelphia.

Great going, gang. Let's see if momentum and marvelousness both hold as you contemplate the June neologism challenge, which is:

The hype has hooked you, so there you sit, at a showing of a hot new movie. You have spent $8 to get in and $3 more for popcorn. You have budgeted two hours of your busy life. But you are no more than eight minutes into this "hit" when you realize that it's a total, hopeless dog. The early realization that you have misspent your time and your movie money is called... (Click to see winning entries)

First prize is always a hit: a free lunch, at a restaurant of the winner's choice, in Washington or near enough not to get my financial overlords too excited. I promise the fare will be better (and more expensive) than popcorn.

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 June contest must be received by June 30.

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

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