"He borrowed a stamp from me," said his mother, Bonnie Korr, "but he didn't say what it was for. I never even saw his entry."
But I did, and that was good enough.
The winner of our September neologism contest has proven that you don't need to be an adult to be a witty wordsmith. In fact, you don't even need to be a teen-ager. Our victor is Jeremy Korr of College Park, who is all of 11 years old.
The September challenge was:
You pick up a pen but you don't know whether it contains any ink. So you scribble a few times with it on a piece of paper. What do you call those scribbles?
Jeremy's answer: apendeciding.
Just right, I thought. The word mentions pens and decisions, as many entries did. But it also suggests the belly-rumbles of anxiety that inkless pens can cause. And all in 12 letters. Hard to ask for more.
Our winner is a curly-headed seventh grader at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville. His father, Craig, is on the staff of the Freer Gallery of Art. His mother is a nursery school teacher in Greenbelt. He has an 8-year-old sister, Rachel, and a 4-year-old brother, Joshua. Like younger siblings everywhere, they were a bit underwhelmed at Jeremy's success.
"I think my sister was a little bit jealous," Jeremy recalled, over a six-course victory lunch at the Szechuan, a popular Chinese place on I Street. "I knew from the look on her face that she felt like killing me."
And Joshua? "All he said was, 'Oh, Jeremy, it's not fair.' "
Fair or not, Jeremy Korr's victory is easy to explain. "He's always bringing home word puzzle books from the library," his mother said. "Words have always been very big with him," added his Dad.
In fact, words may be leading this boy in an unsavory direction.
He wants to be a newspaperman.
"I've always wanted to do that," said Jeremy. In fact, he already has. Four years ago, he was editor and publisher of The Daily Bugle, a two-page sheet distributed to four neighbors on Fordham Road in College Park.
The Bugle contained "news, movies, racing, baseball -- and gossip I knew was true," said Jeremy. "But it didn't have any columnists."
"Surely that killed it," a certain columnist theorized.
No, said Jeremy. The Bugle died "because I ran out of carbon paper."
Here's hoping that's the worst thing that ever happens in Jeremy's newspaper career. And here's praising the following collection of also-goods. They were all nearlies.
Oh Limp Bic Trials: Neil Schuster of Oakton.
Tryinkles: Ellen Hughes of Herndon.
Script-sure: Gretchen Sohl of Alexandria.
Calligraffiti: Navtej S. Khandpur of Reston.
Feasidoodles: Maj. Gen. Earl G. Peck of Bolling Air Force Base.
Inkcapables: Aaron Frank of Potomac and Laura Jacobs of Rockville.
Wonderink: Gina M. Hetrick of Fairfax.
Trials and Scribulations: Chari Gurwitz-Goldman of Arlington.
Verifinkation: Ruth Simms of Baltimore.
And Old Testapent: Judy I. Feinberg of Brookeville, Md., who's 11 years old, too.
More than 100 of the entries played off the theme of Ink-a-do or Ink-a-don't. Many mentioned the old Jimmy Durante tune, "Inkadinkadoo." They still love ya, Schnozz -- wherever you are.
And speaking of love, you'll feel that way about this answer, I suspect. It comes from Lt. Col. John E. Stone of Arlington. He says he calls the ink squiggles Metro.
"They're either red lines or blue lines or yellow lines or green lines or out of service," John writes, "but there's no way to tell in advance."
On to October's challenge (suggested by Diane F. Sivacek of Alexandria):
You get on an empty elevator at the ground floor and push the button for the 10th floor. The elevator stops at the third floor and someone gets on. He can see that the "10" button is already pushed, but he pushes it again, anyway. What do you call this phenomenon?
As always, a free lunch awaits the inventor of the best answer, at the restaurant of his or her choice, with Levey along to finish the rolls. Entries close Monday, Oct. 29. Please send them to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. 20071.