Favorite crossword author, Merl Reagle

honestrosewater

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Police officer, postage stamp, remote control? I've heard people call the remote control just the control. Rain shower? Hm, and looking up rain shower, I found shower bath. That's a rather slippery one though.

I wonder why bunny rabbit and kitty cat differ from puppy dog.
 
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Math Is Hard

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I like paycheck very much. I think the true test is if you can construct a sentence swapping either part of the compound word and then the word itself all smoothly and interchangeably without losing context:

I want my pay.
I want my check.
I want my paycheck.


Works! :approve:
 

Math Is Hard

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My best so far is jampack.
 
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Better rules would make this easier. For example, how common (in terms of the number/percentage of speakers) do you guys want the usages to be? There are more that are produced by narrowing and broadening the contexts, but to keep the usages rather common, I have to limit the contexts to common ones (e.g., in a home, around town).
Rules can easily be extrapolated from the list:

Math Is Hard said:
Bunnyrabbit
Ratfink
Sodapop
Taxicab
Forefront
Oleomargarine
Taperecord
Kittycat
Sumtotal
For instance, both parts have to be able to function as the same part of speech as the composite word. Tell an officer about it. Tell a police about it. Doesn't work.

"streamflow"?
No. This is your own neologism.
"electric current"
No, electric is an adjective here, current a noun. It's not two redundant nouns like "kittycat" or redundant verbs like "taperecord".
"stairstep(s)"
No. "stair" is an adjective here. "Steps" a noun.
"sunlight"
Possibly, by the same logic as "bathtub". Not all tubs can be used for bathing and not all light is from the sun, however you can mean the same thing if you say "Open the curtain and let the sun in." or "Open the curtain and let the light in."
"sunrays"
No. People mostly say "sun's rays".
market square
No.
paycheck?
Another possible "bathtub". Most "checks" imply "pay" (with the exception of gifts and prizes,) but most "pay" doesn't automatically imply a check.
 
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Math Is Hard said:
I think the true test is if you can construct a sentence swapping either part of the compound word and then the word itself all smoothly and interchangeably without losing context:

I want my pay.
I want my check.
I want my paycheck.


Works! :approve:
Whats wrong with choochootrain, pussycat, and barenaked?
 
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Math Is Hard said:
My best so far is jampack.
I was suspicious of this at first, since I'd only ever heard it used as an adjective, as in The meeting was jampacked. However, Webster's has "jam-pack" listed as a proper verb:

jam-pack
One entry found for jam-pack.
Main Entry: jam-pack
Pronunciation: 'jam-'pak
Function: transitive verb
: to pack tightly or to excess

Therefore I believe "jampack" is a completely valid trinonym (no "bathtub" iffyness about it).
 

honestrosewater

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zoobyshoe said:
Rules can easily be extrapolated from the list:
I don't assume that absence implies unacceptablity. By that argument, all trinonym compounds must be 7-13 letters long.

The only definite requirement that I took from the author's explanation was that they be three synonyms. I assumed they intended the pattern that two of them show up in the third (though it isn't clear how exactly they should show up). I thought this was just fun anyway and was asking for you guys' opinions and interests, i.e., whether anyone was interested in rarer usages (like highly-specialized terms). There might be a lot of those, and I imagine that could get boring.
For instance, both parts have to be able to function as the same part of speech as the composite word. Tell an officer about it. Tell a police about it. Doesn't work.
Those are both functioning as the same part of speech: noun. One is plural and one is singular. I do see your point though. Police officers passes your test.

1) Tell the [police/officers/police officers] about it.

"streamflow"?
No. This is your own neologism.
No, it is a rather highly-specialized term: http://www.onelook.com/?w=streamflow&ls=a
It was also just a joke.
"electric current"
No, electric is an adjective here, current a noun. It's not two redundant nouns like "kittycat" or redundant verbs like "taperecord".
I'm not assuming that the compound's components need to have the same category (noun, verb, etc.). I doubt the words on the list woiuld even fit that requirement. That they are on the list implies that they can be used as the same category. That doesn't mean that they were being used as the same category when the compounds were formed or even that they are being used as the same category in the compunds now. Do you have some evidence or analysis that suggests otherwise?

It seems to me that people use electric to mean electric current when they say

2) My electric was cut off.

Note that, in (2), electric is functioning as a noun.
"sunlight"
Possibly, by the same logic as "bathtub". Not all tubs can be used for bathing
Not all cabs are taxis, not all totals are sums, etc. This point was already addressed: word forms can be associated with more than one meaning (which often depends on the context). If one meaning of a word form is equivalent, or nearly equivalent, to one meaning of another word form, people usually say that those words are synonyms: http://www.onelook.com/?w=synonym&ls=a

Also, I even predicted that finding heads that weren't too general would be a problem and gave a reason why that might be the case.
"sunrays"
No. People mostly say "sun's rays".
Where are you getting these rules from? I can't remember the last time before seeing this thread that I said ratfink.

And how exactly do you know what people mostly say? Seriously, how much research did you do? I'd like to see your data if you have some. Sunrays is in dictionaries (many of which actually do research): http://www.onelook.com/?w=sunray&ls=a

Whether it's intentional or not, I really don't like the way that you talk to me, so I would appreciate it if you just didn't address me anymore after we can put this conversation to rest. So you aren't left in suspense, I'll probably ignore you after this. No hard feelings or whatever -- we just keep having this problem, and I can't seem to fix it, so I think it's better for everyone if we don't speak to each other until something changes. If you'd like, I won't even wish you a Happy Birthday.
 
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honestrosewater

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light bulb?

Q: Why did you turn off the light?
A: I didn't. The bulb burnt out.

Maybe light refers more to the lamp than to the bulb? Do people say change the light or the light burnt out? I think I've heard the light burnt out before, and it makes sense to me.
 
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honestrosewater said:
I do not consider it valid to assume that absence implies unacceptablity. By that argument, all trinonym compounds must be 7-13 letters long.
I don't know what this means: "absence implies unacceptibility."
Those are both functioning as the same part of speech: noun. One is plural and one is singular. I do see your point though. Police officers passes your test.
"Police" is a noun, yes. In the phrase "police officer" "police" functions as a "descriptor" which modifies "officer" making the type of officer specific. This is a different dynamic than the mere redundancy of bunnyrabbit or kittycat, which are the undisputed, pure forms of trinonyms. So, the question in my mind is how far, and by what logic, does "bathtub" allow us to deviate from the pure form? If we allow "police officer" then why not "executive officer"?
Your quite right. I apologize for thinking you coined the term, and I think it's an excellent example of a trinonym.
I'm not assuming that the compound's components need to have the same category (noun, verb, etc.). I doubt the words on the list woiuld even fit that requirement. That they are on the list implies that they can be used as the same category. That doesn't mean that they were being used as the same category when the compounds were formed or even that they are being used as the same category in the compunds now. Do you have some evidence or analysis that suggests otherwise?
They are all noun-noun, with the exception of "taperecord". I'm simply extrapolating from that.
It seems to me that people use electric to mean electric current when they say

2) My electric was cut off.

Note that, in (2), electric is functioning as a noun.
Yes, but in "electric current" electric is an adjective. It isn't being used there as the colloquial noun.
Not all cabs are taxis, not all totals are sums, etc. This point was already addressed: word forms can be associated with more than one meaning (which often depends on the context). If one meaning of a word form is equivalent, or nearly equivalent, with one meaning of another word form, people usually say that those words are synonyms: http://www.onelook.com/?w=synonym&ls=a
Your right about these. They are more "bathtubby" than I realized at first.
Where are you getting these rules from?
That's not a rule, it's an observation.
I can't remember the last time before seeing this thread that I said ratfink.
It's a very outdated term. It was in use when I was a young kid, but I haven't heard anyone use it in decades. "Oleomargarine" is also ancient, and no one much "taperecords" anything anymore.
And how exactly do you know what people mostly say? Seriously, how much research did you do? I'd like to see your data if you have some. Sunrays is in dictionaries (many of which actually do research): http://www.onelook.com/?w=sunray&ls=a
I listen to people talk, I read, watch tv. I have never heard anyone say "sunray". I've heard "sun's rays" quite a bit, as well as "sunbeam" but "sunray" only conjures up a brand of sunglasses. For me to say that people don't use it was probably not a proper objection to it being a trinonym, though. I think the reason it struck me as wrong is because sun and ray, while closely related, aren't broadly synonymous.
Whether it's intentional or not, I really don't like the way that you talk to me, so I would appreciate it if you just didn't address me anymore after we can put this conversation to rest. Just so you aren't left in suspense, I'll probably ignore you after this. No hard feelings or whatever -- I think it's just better for everyone if we don't speak to each other unless necessary. An early Happy Birthday!
No, an early Happy Birthday to you!
 

honestrosewater

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Suffixing -ed to verbs is a way to change them to adjectives, specifically, past participles. Jam, pack, jampack can become jammed, packed, jampacked. You can also form present participles: jamming, packing, jampacking. I think participle formation is productive (you can do it in the same way to any word in the category (with a few possible exceptions)), so it sort of illustrates what I was talking about with inflection, except that, with inflection, the change is required for grammaticality.
 

honestrosewater

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zoobyshoe said:
I don't know what this means: "absence implies unacceptibility."
I mean that something, a word or some property of words, not being on the list isn't a good enough reason to conclude that it was intentionally excluded from the list. There's no reason to think that the list is exhaustive (the author said those words were the only ones they had found). So being on that list of trinonyms (or one of a triple of trinonyms or whatever) is not necessarily the same as being a trinonym.

3) If a word is on the list, then i) the author became aware of the word and ii) the word was acceptable (as a trinonym).

4) If a word is not on the list, then i) the author did not become aware of the word or ii) the word was not acceptable.

(3) doesn't imply (4). (You might recognize that as the common fallacy called denying the antecedent.) And if you assume that (3) is true and that being on that list of trinonyms is not the same as being a trinonym, then you are forced to also assume that (4) is false, because if (3) and (4) were both true, then being on that list would be the same as being a trinonym.
"Police" is a noun, yes. In the phrase "police officer" "police" functions as a "descriptor" which modifies "officer" making the type of officer specific. This is a different dynamic than the mere redundancy of bunnyrabbit or kittycat, which are the undisputed, pure forms of trinonyms. So, the question in my mind is how far, and by what logic, does "bathtub" allow us to deviate from the pure form? If we allow "police officer" then why not "executive officer"?
Who says those two are undisputed or pure while the others are not? They are all on the author's list -- the author is the one who came up with the definition of trinonym and is the only authority on what is or is not what they themselves want to count as a trinonym.

If you want to take it upon yourself to add the requirement that they all must be compounds and must be noun-noun, verb-verb, [x]-[x] compounds, fine, good for you. I don't want to do that. I doubt all of the words on the list would even fit that requirement. But that's just a guess -- I haven't looked at histories and I can't yet think of anything that could help determine the category of the complements.

And again, even if there were, for example, no adjective-noun compounds on the list, that alone wouldn't mean that adjective-noun compounds were unacceptable. I don't think the author intended that [x]-[x] compound requirement, and I don't want to assume it.

What makes you think that kitty was a noun when kitty cat was formed? What makes you think it is functioning as a noun in the compound? Same questions for the other words. Categories are theoretical concepts, so you have to actually present evidence and an argument. (Well, you don't have to; I mean you in the more general sense.) Actaully, let me correct that. If you are presenting those as your judgments as an English speaker, as in "in my judgment as an English speaker, that word is a noun", then great; I have no objections. But if you're presenting that as an analysis, as in "according to such-and-such theory, the compound is structured like so...", you need the evidence and arguments.

In my opinion, the only reasons given that allow you to exclude a triple of words are that i) they aren't synonyms or ii) two of them don't appear in the third.

I haven't seen that use of descriptor before, but I guess that's not such a big deal.
Your quite right. I apologize for thinking you coined the term, and I think it's an excellent example of a trinonym.
Thanks, no problemo. I'm not sure whether I like it -- I'm not even sure what exactly streamflow means in the technical sense. :biggrin:
They are all noun-noun, with the exception of "taperecord". I'm simply extrapolating from that.
But why do you think they are noun-noun? They can be interpreted as noun-noun now. But, hm, did you read my rambling about sabertooth? In sabertoothed tiger, the -ed on sabertoothed suggests that sabertoothed is an adjective. But in sabertooth tiger, I can't think of anything to swing the vote either way. Sabertooth could be functioning an adjective or a noun.
Your right about these. They are more "bathtubby" than I realized at first.
Word forms can have more than one meaning. Cat and kitty are not synonymous in all contexts either, and neither are rabbit and bunny. Cat and bunny are sometimes used to refer to people. Kitty and bunny are sometimes used specifically for young cats and rabbits. Cat sometimes refers to any member of the family Felidae. And so on.

Q: How did you hurt yourself?
A: I slipped in the [bath/tub/bathtub].

I think the interpretation that this person slipped in some non-bathtub tub (say, crushing grapes for wine) is less common than the bathtub interpretation. In normal, everyday life, some English speakers can use tub to mean specifically bathtub, so for them, the words are synonymous. If you want to know how common that usage is, you can always check the dictionary, for starters.
That's not a rule, it's an observation.
Oh, it seemed that you were using it as a reason to reject sunrays.
I listen to people talk, I read, watch tv. I have never heard anyone say "sunray". I've heard "sun's rays" quite a bit, as well as "sunbeam" but "sunray" only conjures up a brand of sunglasses. For me to say that people don't use it was probably not a proper objection to it being a trinonym, though. I think the reason it struck me as wrong is because sun and ray, while closely related, aren't broadly synonymous.
Right, it might be a narrower context in which ray means specifically a sunray or ray of sunlight or whatever. I know I have heard catch some rays several times. In that phrase, it seems synonymous with sunrays.

(To see how else your version of English might differ from that of other English speakers, or just for fun, you might like this: http://cfprod01.imt.uwm.edu/Dept/FLL/linguistics/dialect/maps.html [Broken]. This question cracked me up: http://cfprod01.imt.uwm.edu/Dept/FLL/linguistics/dialect/staticmaps/q_59.html [Broken] :uhh:)

Anywho, if I seem angry, I'm not trying to be -- in fact, I'm trying not to be. I don't know what it is exactly; maybe I read something into your comments that isn't there. It often seems to me that you are just trying to pick a fight, as opposed to, say, have a discussion, with me, and me trying to have a discussion anyway hasn't worked, so I guess I'm giving up until I have a better idea.
 
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HRW, I have a theory about an unrelated matter, and it would be of interest to me to know what your speaking voice and speech patterns are like. I wonder if you could describe them to me. Hope that doesn't sound too off the wall.
 

honestrosewater

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zoobyshoe said:
HRW, I have a theory about an unrelated matter, and it would be of interest to me to know what your speaking voice and speech patterns are like. I wonder if you could describe them to me. Hope that doesn't sound too off the wall.
Sure, I could try, but I wouldn't know where to start, what kinds of properties you're looking for... like expressiveness, pitch, volume. Do you have some options, like a little questionnaire?
 
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honestrosewater said:
Sure, I could try, but I wouldn't know where to start, what kinds of properties you're looking for... like expressiveness, pitch, volume.
Those you mentioned, yes, plus pronounciation, enunciation, fluidity (meaning do you pause alot or throw in alot of "um"s and "er"s or does it all come "trippingly off the tongue"), plus anything distinctive you think people would notice.
 

honestrosewater

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zoobyshoe said:
Those you mentioned, yes, plus pronounciation, enunciation, fluidity (meaning do you pause alot or throw in alot of "um"s and "er"s or does it all come "trippingly off the tongue"), plus anything distinctive you think people would notice.
Okay, based on my own quick judgements...

My pronunciation is pretty much standard, or General, American English. I'm a rather careful, tidy speaker. I pay attention to details (I do write and study language, so I notice details). People rarely give any indication that they have trouble understanding me. I've tried to avoid getting into the habit of including fillers like um, uh, like. The range and quality of my voice seems normal for a woman. I don't have any speech impediments. I try to keep my volume at an appropriate level, be that very quiet or very loud. I take full advantage of the ability of intonation, stress, rhythm, etc. to convey meaning. My speech is generally effective and expressive, whether mellow, excited, cheerful, playful, sarcastic, sympathetic, tender, etc. You could probably easily tell from my voice what kind of mood (I want you to think that) I am in. (Though I almost never yell at people or use my voice aggressively.) My speech is probably characterized most by variety.

Is that helpful? Anything else?
 
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honestrosewater said:
Okay, based on my own quick judgements...

My pronunciation is pretty much standard, or General, American English. I'm a rather careful, tidy speaker. I pay attention to details (I do write and study language, so I notice details). People rarely give any indication that they have trouble understanding me. I've tried to avoid getting into the habit of including fillers like um, uh, like. The range and quality of my voice seems normal for a woman. I don't have any speech impediments. I try to keep my volume at an appropriate level, be that very quiet or very loud. I take full advantage of the ability of intonation, stress, rhythm, etc. to convey meaning. My speech is generally effective and expressive, whether mellow, excited, cheerful, playful, sarcastic, sympathetic, tender, etc. You could probably easily tell from my voice what kind of mood (I want you to think that) I am in. (Though I almost never yell at people or use my voice aggressively.) My speech is probably characterized most by variety.

Is that helpful? Anything else?
Yes, it's helpful: a good thorough description in that I get a clear picture from it. It also, as a side note, is what I would expect from your posts.

I've become interested in the phenomenon of the gap, if any, between people's prose and their speaking voices. You must have had the experience of reading alot of someone's writing and only later hearing a recording of their voice, and being surprised that it was nothing like you expected. When I first heard Feynman's voice, for instance, I was completely shocked: he had a thick American/Yiddish intonation thing, like comedian Jackie Mason. There's the sense that he's forcing his voice down deeper than it's natural register, the consonants are kind of thick: t's have an almost d sound, and he lapsed into this rising intonation at the end of words and sentences that I've only heard in Yiddish speakers who use English as a second language. It's kind of crude and uneducated sounding. In other recordings of him I heard after that he'd dropped alot of the sing-song and settled on a more standard NY accent.

For one reason or another I tend to create strong, and apparently specific, notions of how people must sound based on their posts. I've spoken to three people I met online on the phone and only one of them was close to what I thought they'd sound like. I'm not completely sure where I'm getting these ideas of what people probably sound like, but it is no more reliable than forming a picture of what they must look like.
 
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How about the opposite, where the 3 words have nothing to do with each other, like shuttlecock?
 

Math Is Hard

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LeBrad said:
How about the opposite, where the 3 words have nothing to do with each other, like shuttlecock?
Neat-o! At first, I thought it should be simple - but maybe not - if all three words have to be completely unrelated.

Also, there were a few compounds I thought of yesterday that involved antonyms. Wish I had written them down now. oh, I remember, bridegroom was one.
 
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honestrosewater

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LeBrad said:
How about the opposite, where the 3 words have nothing to do with each other, like shuttlecock?
Hm, no, I think shuttlecock is a trinonym in the context of your face.
 

honestrosewater

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Math Is Hard said:
Neat-o! At first, I thought it should be simple - but maybe not - if all three words have to be completely unrelated.

Also, there were a few compounds I thought of yesterday that involved antonyms. Wish I had written them down now. oh, I remember, bridegroom was one.
Be careful, MIH. Look at what happened to the last person who took one of LeBrad's suggestions seriously:
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http://xs68.xs.to/pics/06073/scary.jpg [Broken]


Hah, I could marry that picture, I love it so much!
 
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honestrosewater said:
Hm, no, I think shuttlecock is a trinonym in the context of your face.
NoseRoseToes, I'm flattered by your affection. Really, I am. But I'm afraid at this stage of my life I'm just not looking for a relationship with an internet psycho. Don't take it the wrong way, you're a nice girl, but you really have to stop hitting on me.
 

honestrosewater

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LeBrad said:
NoseRoseToes, I'm flattered by your affection. Really, I am. But I'm afraid at this stage of my life I'm just not looking for a relationship with an internet psycho. Don't take it the wrong way, you're a nice girl, but you really have to stop hitting on me.
That's not what you said last night on the phone to your girlfriend while you were eating a ham sandwich in those SpiderMan boxers your mom got you for Christmas. Who are you calling a peeping tom anyway?!
 
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honestrosewater said:
That's not what you said last night on the phone to your girlfriend while you were eating a ham sandwich in those SpiderMan boxers your mom got you for Christmas. Who are you calling a peeping tom anyway?!
Even though I was talking to my girlfriend on the phone last night, I had a ham sandwich for lunch today, have a Spiderman pillow, and wear Mets pajamas. Pfft, some stalker you are, you were way off.
 

honestrosewater

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LeBrad said:
Even though I was talking to my girlfriend on the phone last night, I had a ham sandwich for lunch today, have a Spiderman pillow, and wear Mets pajamas. Pfft, some stalker you are, you were way off.
Zebras have stripes. I know that much.
 

Math Is Hard

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You two are obviously meant for each other.

*Throws rice at HRW and LeBrad*
 

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