The Baby Name Pool: Guess the hottest names of last year!

Just like hemlines and hairstyles, baby names follow fashion. Did a Royal baby inspire a bumper crop of little Georges? Is Aubree just too 2012 for words? Guess America's fastest rising -- and fastest falling -- baby names of 2013 in the 9th annual Baby Name Pool.

Choose three names you think rose sharply in the USA last year and three you think fell sharply . Submit your entry by April 22, 2014. I'll tabulate the results once the official government figures arrive in May, and present the winners to international acclaim.

Ready now? Fill out your ballot.

Need more background and details? Read on.

Why a pool?

Baby names rise and fall in popularity, and it's possible to make educated guesses about where they're headed. Everybody has opinions -- we spot a hot new name in our local playgrounds, or watch a Hollywood star fall to Earth, or just notice that we're not seeing as many little Jasons as we used to. Then once a year, the government steps in with its official announcement of the top names.

Put it together and you have the classic ingredients of an office pool. So I'm turning to you all as my virtual officemates to pick the baby name champions of the year. No entry fee is required, though recommending my book to pregnant strangers is always a lovely gesture.

Down to brass tacks, I want to win. What exactly do you mean by "rose sharply"? And how do I know what's popular now?

Use the NameVoyager popularity grapher to get a handle on current trends, or browse the full top 1000 list.

For scoring, pinpointing the hottest names of the year can be dicey. In 2004 the number of Isabellas born in the U.S. rose by over 1000, for an 8% increase. The number of Sanaas rose by 89 for a 29% increase. So which was the hotter name? To even the playing field for popular and unpopular names, change will be calculated as a function of both absolute and percentage change. To reward bold, visionary guesswork, bonus points will be awarded to picks of hot names that didn't appear in the 2013 top 1000 lists at all. Scores for all 6 names will be summed together for a final score (with a weighting factor to balance rising and falling scores).

How many times can I enter?

Once. Seriously. It's just me and my laptop here, sorting out the scoring is going to be hard enough as it is.

Can I go for broke and put the same name on every line?

Nah. Gotta work for your glory, kids.

On to the entry form!