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To whatever extent this statement isn't a total oxymoron, we've thus far walked the high road in our Gawker Hotties competitions. We first considered the dignified First Amendment crusaders at The New York Times. Next came the fully rectitudinous shiksa goddesses of Conde Nast. Now, though, we're crawling back to the gutter — where, frankly, we're most comfortable — to name New York City's gossip-writing hotties.

We're not entirely sure how this will shape up, but here are the basic criteria. We're looking for men and women, gay and straight. (The point is whom you want to sleep with, not whether they'll sleep with you.) Columnists, reporters, and legmen from both of the big tabs are obviously in play, but, at least in the nominations phase, we'll tolerate a certain amount of definitional promiscuity. Times Boldfacer Campbell Robertson is a gossip, whether or not the Good Grey Lady chooses to call him one. (Also, we're utterly mystified by his poor performance among the Timesmen, and think he deserves a second chance.) Musto? Of course. Whipple and his eyebrows? Why not. (Menopause is also not a limiting factor, so Cindy Adams and Liz Smith are fair play.) You suggest anyone you think might make the cut; we're hoping to be surprised.

And there's also a catch, designed to keep this week's nominating process interesting. We've previously picked six finalists in each category, which works fine when dealing with the hundreds and hundres of employees at the Times and at Conde. In this case, though, because we're fishing from a far smaller (shallower?) pool, we're going to cut down on the number of finalists. So be sure to send in those nominations; don't just assume that, say, a certain tall, Waspy Lowdown legman is a shoo-in. (He won't be if no one nominates him.)

So remember: Nominations deadline is noon Wednesday. Voting opens Thursday morning. And with this crew, we're expecting all kinds of chicanery.

New York's Hot Gossips, let the nominations begin: