Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

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Kieran Child
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Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

Post by Kieran Child » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:02 am

1) Which monosyllabic word can be a conundrum?
2) What's the shortest (legal) word that cannot be played in scrabble?
3) Which vegetable can be spellt out by playing the letters on a piano?
4) Which word has all the vowels in REVERSE alphabetical order?
5) What's the lowest number you can multiply by two to give an anagram?
6) Which body part scores the lowest in scrabble?

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Re: Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

Post by Joseph Bolas » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:11 am

Here's my guesses for three of them:

1. STRENGTHS?
3. CABBAGE
6. TOE?

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Re: Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

Post by Phil Reynolds » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:17 am

Kieran Child wrote:5) What's the lowest number you can multiply by two to give an anagram?
ONE. Multiplied by 2 is TWO which is an anagram of TOW.

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Re: Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

Post by Matt Morrison » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:56 am

Joseph Bolas wrote:6. TOE?
6. There must be a two-letter answer or something, as the question suggests a singular body part, and EAR is worth 3 points, like TOE.

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Re: Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

Post by Dinos Sfyris » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:11 am

First attempt without looking at other people's answers

1. STAUNCHED and GRAUNCHED can technically be used as conundrums if thier anagrams UNSCATHED and UNCHARGED are used as the scramble.
2. PIZZAZZ. There's only one Z and 2 blank tiles.
3. CABBAGE.
4. Don't know
5) What's the lowest number you can multiply by two to give an anagram? Do you mean an anagram of the original number or of any word? For the latter ONE x 2 = TWO = TOW
6. EAR

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Re: Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

Post by Dinos Sfyris » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:13 am

Joseph Bolas wrote:1. STRENGTHS?
My first thought, but plurals are not allowed as conundrums.

Having another think about this one I think I've found the answer in white below:

SCHMOOZED
Last edited by Dinos Sfyris on Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

Post by Joseph Bolas » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:19 am

Dinos Sfyris wrote:
Joseph Bolas wrote:1. STRENGTHS?
My first thought, but plurals are not allowed as conundrums.
I thought that too, but I couldn't think of anything else at the time :oops:. I think I am wrong with that guess.

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Re: Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

Post by Simon Myers » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:31 pm

I suppose if you want to be cheeky, for (5) you could go 2 * NOUGHT = NOUGHT = HOGNUT.

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Re: Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

Post by David Roe » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:39 pm

Kieran Child wrote:2) What's the shortest (legal) word that cannot be played in scrabble?
A or I? :)

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Re: Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

Post by Kirk Bevins » Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:20 pm

David Roe wrote:
Kieran Child wrote:2) What's the shortest (legal) word that cannot be played in scrabble?
A or I? :)
Yeah, good shout.

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Re: Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:08 pm

Dinos Sfyris wrote:
Joseph Bolas wrote:1. STRENGTHS?
My first thought, but plurals are not allowed as conundrums.

Having another think about this one I think I've found the answer in white below:

SCHMOOZED
What about SCREECHED?

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Re: Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

Post by Kai Laddiman » Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:26 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Dinos Sfyris wrote:
Joseph Bolas wrote:1. STRENGTHS?
My first thought, but plurals are not allowed as conundrums.

Having another think about this one I think I've found the answer in white below:

SCHMOOZED
What about SCREECHED?
I make it STRETCHED.
16/10/2007 - Episode 4460
Dinos Sfyris 76 - 78 Dorian Lidell
Proof that even idiots can get well and truly mainwheeled.

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Re: Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

Post by Peter Mabey » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:34 pm

4. SUBCONTINENTAL

With thanks to Quinapalus ;)

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Re: Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

Post by Martin Gardner » Sat May 02, 2009 7:53 am

David Roe wrote:
Kieran Child wrote:2) What's the shortest (legal) word that cannot be played in scrabble?
A or I? :)
Actually I don't think they are in the Scrabble dictionary. In French you'd be right, sort of. A is listed as a conjugated form of 'avoir', but the rules say 'for every move, the player has to play a word of two or more letters'. So if you played A when the other word formed was ATYPIQUE then that would be a legal play, not that I'd try it personally.
If you cut a gandiseeg in half, do you get two gandiseegs or two halves of a gandiseeg?

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Re: Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

Post by Neil Zussman » Sat May 02, 2009 5:13 pm

Martin Gardner wrote:
David Roe wrote:
Kieran Child wrote:2) What's the shortest (legal) word that cannot be played in scrabble?
A or I? :)
Actually I don't think they are in the Scrabble dictionary. In French you'd be right, sort of. A is listed as a conjugated form of 'avoir', but the rules say 'for every move, the player has to play a word of two or more letters'. So if you played A when the other word formed was ATYPIQUE then that would be a legal play, not that I'd try it personally.
Would you not be allowed to place just one tile on the first go (provided it spelt out a valid word, obviously not just a random Q)? I can see why one letter words aren't allowed in play after that, but it seems like it should be allowed on the first go, because then there is no ambiguity about which word you are playing (whereas later in the game, you'd have to be playing a valid word in another direction when you placed your tile).

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Re: Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

Post by Charlie Reams » Sat May 02, 2009 5:18 pm

Neil Zussman wrote: Would you not be allowed to place just one tile on the first go
Nope. Words have to be at least 2 letters long.

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Re: Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

Post by Neil Zussman » Sat May 02, 2009 5:32 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:
Neil Zussman wrote: Would you not be allowed to place just one tile on the first go
Nope. Words have to be at least 2 letters long.
Is there any good reason for that? I can't think of many situations where it would be advantageous to place a one-letter word on the first go, but even so, that doesn't mean it has to be illegal.
In any event, since A and I are not legal, they don't answer the question posed.

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Re: Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

Post by Charlie Reams » Sat May 02, 2009 5:39 pm

Neil Zussman wrote: Is there any good reason for that? I can't think of many situations where it would be advantageous to place a one-letter word on the first go, but even so, that doesn't mean it has to be illegal.
In any event, since A and I are not legal, they don't answer the question posed.
I guess "good" reason depends on your point of view, but I think it's fair enough that you can't just plonk down a single Q on the first turn and expect your opponent to play on that board. Most dictionaries include the letters as head entries, so all of the one-letter words would be valid, and that just makes it a bit easy to block up the board with a super-defensive first turn. But I can see that not everyone would agree with it, I don't think a particularly rigorous argument could be made either way.

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Re: Curious Words Round 3: The Nemesis of Xerxes

Post by Neil Zussman » Sat May 02, 2009 5:46 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:
Neil Zussman wrote: Is there any good reason for that? I can't think of many situations where it would be advantageous to place a one-letter word on the first go, but even so, that doesn't mean it has to be illegal.
In any event, since A and I are not legal, they don't answer the question posed.
I guess "good" reason depends on your point of view, but I think it's fair enough that you can't just plonk down a single Q on the first turn and expect your opponent to play on that board. Most dictionaries include the letters as head entries, so all of the one-letter words would be valid, and that just makes it a bit easy to block up the board with a super-defensive first turn. But I can see that not everyone would agree with it, I don't think a particularly rigorous argument could be made either way.
That's fair enough. Not having studied a wide variety of dictionaries, I assumed (naively) that only obvious things like 'a' would be included. Having had a quick look at a 'Little Oxford Dictionary' I can see it includes such words as 'n: noun, Math. Indefinite number.' I can understand totally why things like that shouldn't be allowed ('nth' on the other hand, is a totally different matter).

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