Kristine Ecker, of Laurel. Sue Erdman, of Hot Springs, Va. Mark Friend, of Warrenton, Va. Allan B. Ensign, of Arlington.

Then Mary Farley, of Clarksville, Md. Shanna Busman, of Annandale. Allan Herridge, of Easton, Md. John Warren, of Bethesda. Ron Schreibman, of McLean. Dick Brett, of Bowie.

(Are you getting the idea yet?)

Soon to be followed by Thomas J. Moskal, of Monrovia, Md. Carol A. Minick, of Landover. Michael Sanders, of Alexandria

. . . .

You've gotten the idea. Our January neologism contest saw 174 of you readers tie for first place.

In the eight-plus years I've run this monthly word exercise, we have had two winners on many occasions and three winners on four occasions. Last month, for the first time, we had cleverness clutter.

The January challenge that so many of you answered equally well was:

You park your car in the driveway when you come home from work. It snows several inches overnight. When you move your car the next morning, the entire world is white except for the patch of concrete that had been beneath your car. This snow-free area is called . . . .

The runaway winning answer: Snoasis.

That was an entry that shouted "winner!" to me. The combination of "snow" and "oasis" was exactly what the challenge demanded.

Alas, I am going to have to pass on offering 174 first prizes. If I took every one of you out for the customary victory lunch, it would cost as much as the car that creates the snoasis. Our accounting department has a sense of humor. But if I wrote "Lunch for 174 contest winners -- $8,472.24" on an expense account, the joke would be on me. So would the job hunt.

Therefore, next month's winner can have an extra dessert. To this month's winners, hats off for a standout selection.

These entries were almost winner's-circle material themselves:

Snow-Away Zone: Palmer A. Orlandi, of Silver Spring, followed by dozens more.

Winter Underland: Emily Green, of Arlington, then a cascade of imitators.

Snowmission: Melody and Lloyd Yavener, of North Potomac.

White-Out: Amy L. Kimmel, also of north Potomac, then 15 others.

Snowpening: Rob Walker, of Reston.

Brrrrmuda Rectangle: Linda and Carrick Herbert, of Alexandria.

Carneige: Herman Travis, of Bethesda, and Charles Rowan, of McLean.

Undercarment: Two-time former champ Catherine Nichols Klein, of Bethesda.

Snow Rift: Peggy Morrissette, of Brandywine.

Snaux Pas: Gerry Thrasher, of Ellicott City.

O-Zone: Carter Ide, of Vienna; Charles McFarland, of Burke; and Gloria Shirley, of Vienna.

Snociopath: Lyle Lieberman, of Bethesda.

Cab-Etched Patch: Laura S. Genuario, of Alexandria.

Bare Apparent: Pat Robertson, of Beltsville.

Desnouement: David W. Saxton, of La Plata, Md.

Dug-Free Zone: Wilma Schachter, of Gaithersburg.

Car Blanche: Charlie and Katrin Thomas, of Arlington, and E. James Lieberman, of Northwest Washington.

Cementdipity: Patrick and Catherine Bushby, of Chestertown, Md.

Pavula Rasa: Betsy Platt, of Southeast Washington.

Bare Ice-ential: Aimee P. Kullman, of Alexandria.

Berthmark: Kathryn M. Rheuark, of Falls Church.

And Carsitsnowma: Stephen H. McCaskill, of Springfield.

Let's see if the shortest month will bring more such brainstorms. The February challenge:

You and your spouse hire a teenaged babysitter so you can have a night on the town. However, you both get tired earlier than you planned, so you arrive home at 10 p.m. instead of midnight. As you walk in the door, a great deal of rumbling and fumbling is heard from the den. After a few seconds, the babysitter and a visitor of the opposite sex emerge, hurriedly smoothing out their clothes. This tell-tale tableau is called . . . .

Our prize is the same as ever: a free lunch at a restaurant of the winner's choice, in or sensibly near Washington. If you're real good, Levey will tell you about his former career as a babysitter. Yes, the X as well as the PG.

Rules of the contest: You may enter as often as you like, on one piece of paper or many. Each entry must bear a daytime and evening phone number, including area code. All entries become my property. Entries will not be accepted by phone or returned. In case of duplicate entries, the one I receive earliest wins.

Please mail entries to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. 20071. Entries for the February contest must be received by Feb. 28.