Author Topic: Common? Really??  (Read 457 times)

Alan W

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Common? Really??
« on: June 24, 2020, 08:42:51 PM »
In yesterday's 7-by-many puzzle (Tuesday 23 June) only 34 players out of 277 played one of the "common" words. Surely a candidate for re-grading to rare?

The word? CHIHUAHUA.

(I wasn't one of those 34 players.)
Alan Walker
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jancsika

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Re: Common? Really??
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2020, 10:53:02 PM »
I think, particularly with the 7-by-many puzzle, a word might get a low score not only because it is relatively rare, but because it’s combination of letters make it difficult to pick out (chihuahua, having 3 h’s, two u’s and two a’s being a case in point). In fact, it is this very feature which differentiate it from the other puzzles, in my mind.

 (From this you might have guessed that a) I ‘m a 7-by-many fan and b) I managed to get chihuahua!)

Dragonman

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Re: Common? Really??
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2020, 11:56:12 PM »
I got it too, it was helpfully spelled out on the page  ;D

Barbaram

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Re: Common? Really??
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2020, 11:51:06 AM »
I often kick myself for the common words I don’t get (not so much for heterodox, tourney or some of the other recent examples) but for sure for this one! I am so pleased it wasn’t just me!!

Alan W

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Re: Common? Really??
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2020, 10:16:11 PM »
I've had an email from oldpaul, who's been having trouble posting to the forum. He wanted to post this:

Quote
The word chihuahua meets all the criteria for “commonness”.  It is simply hard to see because of the unusual repetition of letters and its unlikely form.  It is “commoner” than baobab which I am pleased is classed as common.  I was sorry to see rococo and recherche downgraded to rare.  The 7-by-many puzzles have introduced quite a few words that seldom showed up before.  Muumuu is one which I suggest should be treated as rare.

Alan, You should be pleased that the word chihuahua will sometimes appear in your puzzles!
Alan Walker
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Alan W

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Re: Common? Really??
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2020, 03:15:44 PM »
Actually, my tongue was in my cheek when I suggested chihuahua should be treated as a rare word.

I was alluding to the use of such statistics by forumites in challenging the commonness of words. No doubt the paucity of players who found a word is of some relevance, but there can be many reasons for that happening.

Incidentally, the second most elusive common word in that puzzle, chitchat, was also prominent on the page at one time, as it was the original name of the Chinwag comment panel.
Alan Walker
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mkenuk

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Re: Common? Really??
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2020, 03:27:35 AM »
... oldpaul, who's been having trouble posting to the forum.

A pity.
From a personal point of view, oldpaul has been one of my 'benchmark' players for some time now.
It would be very interesting to hear more from him on the forum.

Alan W

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Re: Common? Really??
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2020, 04:15:24 PM »
In oldpaul's email that I quoted, he suggested muumuu should be treated as rare.

It may be that he was thinking of the fact that it's sometimes hyphenated, as muu-muu or written as two words (or should that be one word twice?): muu muu. If these three variant forms were used to a similar extent, that could be a reason for classing muumuu as rare, since some players who know the term might not realise it can be written as a single word. However, it looks to me as if the single word is used far more frequently than either of the other forms.

(The word can also be written mumu, accepted in Chi as a rare word.)

Still, is the word, however written, really common? It seems to be used fairly often in news articles, without any explanation of what a muumuu is. For example, an article last month in the New York Magazine offshoot The Strategist:

Quote
"If there was ever a fitting time to embrace the housedress, this housebound moment is it," writes Alexandra Ilyashov in her quest to find the best housedress. She asked a dozen stylish women — including writers, stylists, and one former costume designer — about the caftans, muumuus, and all other manner of housedresses they wear.

The word is freely used in British publications too. In March this year, The Spectator wrote about Hollywood mogul Jack Warner:

Quote
His second marriage was to a monster called Ann, last glimpsed in a muumuu, demanding that her chauffeur stop so that she could gorge herself at a welfare restaurant on chicken wings, much to his humiliation...

I feel things should stay as they are, with muumuu treated as common.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2020, 05:07:49 PM by Alan W »
Alan Walker
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