Contest 7: Geonymnastics

The Marquise de Pompadour and Joseph Ignace Guillotin live on in infamy as examples of eponyms, persons for whom something is named -- in this case, the pompadour and the guillotine. This week's contest explores "geonyms," a term we've invented to describe place names that have become common words. "Shanghai," for example, is a geonym derived from the days when sailors were often drugged, then kidnapped into service for long voyages to the Orient; now the verb "to shanghai" has the more generic meaning of getting someone to do something by unscrupulous means.

Now it's your turn: Invent a geonym -- a place name that has a new meaning as a noun or verb -- and use it in a sentence.


Chernobyl: "Pewww. Smells like someone chernobyled their microwave popcorn in here."

Venice: "His basement was totally veniced during the last hurricane."

Bayonne, N.J.: "These white-tire planters really bayonne the place up."

Deadline for Contest 7 entries is Friday, Nov. 12, at 10 a.m. Send entries by e-mail (; put the words "Extreme Travel Trivia" in the subject field), fax (202-334-1069) or U.S. mail (Extreme Travel Trivia, Washington Post Travel section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071). Winners, who are chosen at random from among all correct entries, receive a Travel section mug. One entry per person per contest. Employees of The Washington Post are ineligible to win prizes. Entries become property of The Washington Post, which may edit, publish, distribute and republish the information in any form, including paper and electronic media.

Results from Contest 5: Identity Crisis

In Contest 5 we tested your jigsaw puzzle skills by asking you to identify a mystery country from the outline of its borders. Clearly it was a slow workweek, because of the 140 persons who weighed in, two-thirds correctly guessed Armenia. Not surprisingly, 34 of you chose another seven-letter country beginning with "A" and ending in "ia" -- Austria. Congratulations to our winner, Richard P. Stevens of Chevy Chase, who was randomly chosen from our panel of expert Armeniologists. We imagine Stevens sitting in a outdoor Yerevan cafe sipping thick Armenian coffee from his prized Travel mug and wondering when they're going to play the Viennese waltz.

Next week: Winner from Contest 6, Most-Flavored Nation