August 19, 2010

"A simple question from a six-year-old about hangman turned into another analysis obsession that made me play 15 million games of hangman recently."

Bottom line: the best hangman word is "jazz."

Via Metafilter.

24 comments:

E.M. Davis said...

I suppose jizz has nuttin' on jazz in the toughest hangman words contest.


Too soon?

Jim said...

I'm OUTRAGED that you would use the word jizz.

If you want to open dialogue and build bridges with the Ewok community, then you would know better than to use such an OFFENSIVE term.

I will now accept your abject apology as well as demand that you allow me to build an Ewok Awareness museum in your front yard.

And if you don't like it, it's only because you're bigoted against Ewoks.

Methadras said...

Jim said...

I'm OUTRAGED that you would use the word jizz.

If you want to open dialogue and build bridges with the Ewok community, then you would know better than to use such an OFFENSIVE term.

I will now accept your abject apology as well as demand that you allow me to build an Ewok Awareness museum in your front yard.

And if you don't like it, it's only because you're bigoted against Ewoks.


The ewok community had to get jizzed in so they could get outraged about not getting jizzed on by the grand mama grizzly herself.

E.M. Davis said...

I will now accept your abject apology as well as demand that you allow me to build an Ewok Awareness museum in your front yard.

My trees aren't tall enough to support such a structure. Next!

Roger O said...

No, the best Hangman word is "syzygy".

Stan Smith said...

...or "rhythm"...

edutcher said...

It's like playing Scrabble with only on Z.

Jason said...

Durned naggers.

knox said...

I played hangman once and the word was "kept." I never got the answer.

Stan Smith said...

ETAOIN SHRDLU

This is the key to hangman. The series of letters corresponds to their frequency of use in the English language; i.e., "e" is the most frequently used, "t" is next, etc.

It's also a "name" used frequently in the past in Mad Magazine.

Gabriel Hanna said...

I'm with RogerO: with "syzygy" you can beat anyone the first time.

First, it's a short word (shorter words are harder) and second it uses letters which are hardly ever used.

For a four letter word, "quiz" is probably really good; "u" is less common than "a" and nobody is going to guess "q" unless they already have the "u".

Skyler said...

13?!! He has a strange way of playing. That's half the alphabet. We played with five elements of the hanged man and you had to guess each letter in sequence.

stevenehrbar said...

For a four letter word, "quiz" is probably really good

It's 16th for 8- and 9-guess Hangman, 19th for 10-guess, 21st for 11-guess, and below 25 for 12- or 13-guess. Utterly crushed by jazz, buzz, fizz, fuzz, and hajj.

Skyler said...

Oops. I miscounted. We had six elements.

FWBuff said...

The best Hangman word is also one of the Professor's favorite words (and animals)-- lynx.

D. B. Light said...

Oh great! Just what I needed -- another timewaster.

Ann Althouse said...

"No, the best Hangman word is "syzygy"."

No. You go through all the vowels, and the hangman gets a lot of boy parts. But you have to say "y" at that point. Then you see the 3 ys in place and it becomes easy (unless you are unaware of the word... which makes any strange word equally good).

Crimso said...

Don't look now Althouse, but that first spurt of comments is making this joint look like Ace's. NTTAWWT.

c3 said...

___________
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___ ____ ___ ___ ___

Ann Althouse said...

I mean BODY parts.

LOL.

Ann Althouse said...

I found the first comment funny. "Too soon?" made me laugh.

Also "jizz" is probably better than "jazz."

"If the truth were known about the origin of the word 'Jazz' it would never be mentioned in polite society."

ken in sc said...

Jazz was originally a slang term for sex in the red light district of New Orleans. A jazz joint was a whore house. The music that grew up there got the name later.

rhhardin said...

I always favored moo.

You have a 5-letter word to be guessed. The other guy has a 5-letter word to be guessed. No letters appear in these secret words more than once.

You alternate asking words.

Each letter in the asked word that's in the secret word is a cow. Each letter that's also in the right position is both a cow and a bull.

So you'd answer, eg, "2 cows 1 bull," meaning that two of the letters are in the secret word and one of them is in the right place.

(if the asked word has a repeated letter, they each add to the score on their own.)

"Adieu" is a good word to ask first.

A good strategy is always ask a word that it might be on the basis of all the results so far. So you'd never ask words with repeated letters, and those might as well be outlawed.

This game has successfully passed time on trips of short and long duration. You do need paper and pencil, though; so it won't work for a driver.

Jim S. said...

I've always liked the word "rhythms" for hangman. People always try to figure out what the vowels are first, and by the time they get to "y" and it only gives them one space, the game's almost over.