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Messages - Alan W

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1
Whatever / Re: Happy Birthday Jack.
« on: Yesterday at 09:28:51 AM »
Happy birthday, Jack.

Have a great day!

2
Words / Re: word suggestion - renally
« on: June 23, 2021, 04:52:55 PM »
Would anyone challenge it?

A tournament level Scrabble player would probably challenge it, because it's not in the Scrabble word list, and I think the really serious competitors aim to know precisely which words are allowed in their game. But probably none of us would challenge it.

One thing has changed since this question was previously considered - in addition to me adopting a more accepting attitude to obscure words. Previously renally was not listed in any dictionary. Now it is in Wiktionary, for what that's worth.

I guess the eventual diagnosis has to be that it is a word that satisfies all our criteria. It will be allowed from now on, as a rare word.

3
Words / Re: 12th June Standard RESONATOR puzzle
« on: June 22, 2021, 04:36:21 PM »
Rort has been raised a few times. It is a word used almost exclusively down under, so that's why it's not common.

4
Words / Re: suggested word
« on: June 22, 2021, 04:26:31 PM »
I can't find any reference to a plant called selvia. Perhaps you were thinking of salvia, Tom? That is allowed in Chi, as a rare word.

5
Say Hello / Re: Welcome, KatKal
« on: June 19, 2021, 08:23:57 PM »
Welcome aboard, KatKall.

By the way, people, take note of the double L. Pay attention folks!

6
Words / Re: 16th June 10-letter RECOMPENSE puzzle
« on: June 18, 2021, 04:24:18 PM »
This came up last year. See this topic, and in there you will see links to two previous discussions of compere. It is indeed a word little used in America, hence classed as rare.

The upshot then was to leave emcee as a common word, but I obviously wasn't totally convinced, as I said, "I'm leaving emcee as a common word for the time being." I'm happy to reconsider it in due course, but I think Les's point is well taken - despite my in-depth consideration of this question on previous occasions, I didn't spot emcee yesterday.

7
Word Games / Re: Word question/suggestion
« on: June 18, 2021, 03:15:07 PM »
Hello, KatKall. Welcome to our forum. As the person running the Chihuahua site, I'll try to answer your question.

The rule we aim to follow is that words written with an initial capital letter are not permitted. Applying this rule is fairly straightforward in the case of satanic vs Satan - the former is almost always written in all lower-case letters, while the latter has a capital S. Likewise with currencies (lower case) and country names (capitalized).

Things get a bit blurrier when a word can be written either way. I have to admit that Latino and Latina are almost always written with a capital L, but they have occasionally been written in all lower-case. Wiktionary is the only dictionary I could see that gave the lower-case version as an alternative form.

8
Words / Re: Redact redux
« on: June 17, 2021, 02:45:23 PM »
Mike raised the possibility of adding the word unredacted.

This word is listed in Wiktionary and in Dictionary.com at the end of the entry for redacted. The fact that a lot of dictionaries don't have it yet doesn't concern me, as it's only recently been used fairly often. And in any case it's an obvious derivation, with an obvious meaning.

The question is, though, should it be treated as common, and permitted to be used as a seed word for a 10-letter puzzle? If not, we won't actually be seeing the word, because the only other word made up of those letters, underacted, is classed as rare, and the word has 8 different letters, so can't come up in a 7-by-many.

I wish there were some simple way of quantifying the commonness of a word. The iWeb corpus has unredacted as number 52627 in its list of words ranked by frequency of use in the internet. This might seem to make it fairly common, but I find that other words with a similar ranking include some quite obscure terms, like bronchoconstriction, hilar and turbinate, along with some rather more common words, like backflip and complacently.

The News on the Web corpus has quite a few examples from recent years, but only a fraction as many as redacted. On the 15th of June alone, three publications used the word.

However, I don't feel the word has been in general use for long enough to be treated as common just yet. So I will add it as a rare word, and maybe in a while it could be reclassified and installed as a seed word.

9
Words / Re: 10 letter 4 June MINISTRIES puzzle
« on: June 17, 2021, 01:25:35 PM »
In another topic there was some discussion of this, and the apparent inconsistency of reist being allowed while reism is not. To cut a longish story short, reist was accepted in the Chihuahua lexicon because of other meanings, and as it happens Wiktionary (the source of the definitions displayed in Chi) is unaware of those meanings.

Reism does not seem to be in any general dictionary other than Wiktionary, not even in the massive OED. In recent times I've been more receptive to admitting extremely rare words. Reism tests this new-found tolerance almost to breaking point. I doubt if any player would have tried the word because of their familiarity with the philosophical writings of Kotarbinski in the 1920s. I checked out a few online glossaries of philosophical terms and none of them included reism. However it is discussed at some length in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, so I presume it's a term familiar to at least some scholars in that discipline.

I will admit reism as a rare word.

10
Words / Re: New word - seditious?
« on: June 10, 2021, 10:40:19 AM »
In fact there's nothing to stop you creating a puzzle with no 9 letter word recognised by Chihuahua. (There will be a warning message.)

As someone who also reads the Melbourne Age, and usually has a look at the Target puzzle, I think this is the first time Chi and the newspaper have had the same 9 letter word at the same time. However it's not the same puzzle, as the mandatory letter in the Age is D, not U.

11
Words / Re: airbrick
« on: June 09, 2021, 04:02:00 PM »
Airbrick as a single word is in the online Oxford and Collins dictionaries and Wiktionary. It's even in the Cambridge Advanced Learners' Dictionary. However I didn't see it in any US dictionary. Oxford labels it British, and Collins mainly British.

Most usage examples I found were indeed from British sources. Some people write it as two words and some as one.

I don't know whether such bricks are called something else in other parts of the world, or if they're simply not used.

At any rate, airbrick will be accepted in future, as a rare word.

12
Word Games / Re: Timer ?
« on: June 09, 2021, 03:43:45 PM »
There have been a couple of previous discussions of similar ideas. See here and here.

Possibly worth some further consideration.

13
Words / Re: Redact redux
« on: June 08, 2021, 04:08:34 PM »
I agree that redact now should be considered a common word. Its usage has blossomed over recent years, as indicated by this chart, from the Corpus of Contemporary American English, showing usage frequency of redact and derived words:



In my earlier comments I noted that William Safire had first encountered the word in the 1980s. And he was a self-proclaimed language maven, and a one-time speech writer for Richard Nixon! And in 2009 the UK Times felt it necessary to inform its readers of the word's meaning.

Redacted is the form of the word that is most often used but the derived noun redaction seems to appear more often than either redacting or redact itself. So in future redact, redacted, redacting and redaction will all be treated as common words.


14
Words / Re: ESPIER
« on: June 07, 2021, 04:14:40 PM »
The general answer to your question, Les, is that different dictionaries contain different collections of words. Obviously the great majority of words in any given dictionary will be found in any other dictionary of a similar size. But some of the very rarest words may be found in only one dictionary (or in none). There is no such thing as an agreed list of all the words in the English language.

The word list Chi started with, in 2005, had been compiled by other people, from various dictionaries, not including Wiktionary, which didn't exist in those days. At least half the words accepted by Chi are rare enough to be complete mysteries to me, but I would never claim that all possible words are included. If I thought that, there would be no point inviting people to submit suggestions. So far this year over 50 new words have been added. In the history of Chi around 1400 words have been added. So obviously the word list is a work in progress.

There are at least two words written as reist:

  • the word relating to the philosophical concept reism, presumably pronounced with two syllables, as ree-ist, or ray-ist;
  • an alternate spelling of reest, with several meanings, presumably pronounced with one syllable, to rhyme with beast.

The former word, along with reism, appears in Wiktionary, but in no other general dictionary as far as I can see. The second word is found in the online Merriam-Webster and Oxford dictionaries, but not in Wiktionary. Some of the meanings of reest are verbs - to cure fish or meat; (of a horse, etc) to stop suddenly - so reisted and reisting would also be words. And, indeed, reisted and reisting are accepted in Chi. And so are reest, reested and reesting.

In due course I'll consider ridethetalk's implied suggestion that reism be accepted.

15
Words / Re: ballistic
« on: June 04, 2021, 04:38:07 PM »
I was one of the 310 players who didn't play ballistics. I simply didn't think of it, but if I had thought of it, would I have assumed it would be ruled out because ballistic is playable? I'm not sure. (But I probably would have tried it anyway.) Undoubtedly it's correct to allow both words, because ballistic is not a noun - it's an adjective. But possibly ballistics should be classed as rare.

When I expanded the word list to include ten-letter words there were a number of words like this: acrobatics, ergonomics, etc.


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