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You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at [[explain xkcd]]. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an [[xkcd]] web comic, it should be here.
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Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.
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Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.
  
 
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Revision as of 17:59, 4 March 2014

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 1577 xkcd comics, and only 18 (1%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Car Model Names
CLIMAX is good, but SEXCLIMAX is even better.
Title text: CLIMAX is good, but SEXCLIMAX is even better.

Explanation

In English, letters like X and Z are rarely used in the common vernacular. Marketers have found that names with these infrequently-appearing letters sell more products.

Scores

There are two explanations for scores. Both of them share the fact that Randall must have used a car-name database to calculate letter frequency in car models.

There are 19 positive scores and 17 negative scores, which is interpreted differently in each explanation.

Score(x) = Frecuency_in_cars(x) - Frequency_in_English(x)

This formula generates a positive number if a letter is more common in car models than in typical English (as X) which Randall then calls carlike. The formula generates a negative number if a letter's relative frequency in car models is lower than in typical English (as O) and Randall calls it English-like (more suitable for readable text). The letters F and B, with scores of 5 and -5, respectively, are about as common in English as in car models. With this nomenclature, the most English-like letter is Y because, while not the most common English letter, it is apparently extremely rare in car models. The most common letter in ordinary English is E, which is (presumably) fairly common in car models.

Score(x) = Frequency_in_cars(x)

It seems that Randall arbitrarily used positive and negative numbers: if a letter is very common in car models (as X) he calls it carlike. If a letter is very uncommon in car models (as O) he calls it English-like. With this nomenclature the most English-like letter is Y, but actually Y is the least carlike letter. The most common letter in ordinary English is E. Y on the other hand is just in the middle (place 13), which can't be called English-like.

Algorithm for the index

Randall devised an index for car models which is the score average divided by 10.

Example

We take 2Chainz and add the scores of its different numbers and letters: 6 +27 -44 -14 -21 -46 +83 = -9

Average is -9/7 = -1.29 and divided by 10 it's -0.129 or -0.13.

Names to avoid

  • Honda 2Chainz - 2 Chainz is an American rapper
  • Mitsubishi Fhqwhgads - A reference to a running joke on Homestar Runner. See http://www.hrwiki.org/wiki/Fhqwhgads
  • Kia 49andGothy - Gothy or gothic is a member of the goth subculture; most of its members are much younger than 49
  • Chevrolet Niceguy - A reference to the idiom "nice guys finish last".
  • Oldsmobile Goodwood - May be a reference to the Goodwood Festival of Speed
  • Infiniti Toothy69 - Possibly a reference to the sex position where you would not want teeth involved.
  • BMW Outhouse - Loose standing toilet, or Outhouse.
  • Volkswagen Woodpony 7oh7 - Wood ponies are wooden constructions to give kids (and sometimes adults) the feeling of riding a horse, but don't actually move. 7oh7 is a way to pronounce 707, which could be a reference to the Boeing 707 passenger jet series.
  • Chrysler Uh Iono - When pronounced, sounds roughly like someone slurring "Uh, I don't know" [1]
  • Nissan Doody - May reference the unfortunately named Nissan Moco, which is Spanish for snot

Potential Hits

  • Honda 3Chainz - A play on 2Chainz in the previous section; according to the table the number 2 has a score of 6 and the number 3 has a higher score of 55; the index will go up by (55-6)/7/10=0.7.
  • Subaru Andre3000 - André 3000 is an American rapper
  • Suzuki Sexism - Akihiro Suzuki is a Tokyo city assemblyman who made sexist remarks in June 2014.
  • Lincoln Marxism - Marxism is a political method of societal analysis which has been used to critique Capitalism. There are various essays noting its founder and Abraham Lincoln exchanged letters during the American civil war.
  • Hyundai Climax - In this context, an orgasm. The title text finds an excuse to add another "x" with the model SexClimax.
  • Porsche Zizek9000 - A portmanteau referencing academic Slavoj Žižek and the Saab 9000
  • Lexus 3×3Cutrix - 3×3 is a play on 4×4; this car presumably has 3 wheels. "Executrix" (in leet "3×3Cutrix") is the female counterpart of "executor", one who administers a will.
  • Acura PizzaJazz - The letter Z has a very high score, so using 4 of them in a fairly short name makes this a potential hit.
  • Ford SixAxle 4×4 - A contradictory name, as the 4×4 refers to a vehicle that has all four wheels connected to the drivetrain, which would only use two axles. May also be a reference to the Sony PlayStation's Sixaxis controller.
  • Toyota Cervixxx - A portmanteau of cervix and XXX rating used by pornographic industry to make titles seem more extreme (see X rating). It being the highest scoring item on the list may be an attempt to show that sex sells.

Note that Randall gives the symbol × the value of 126, which means he equates it with the letter x.

index(3×3Cutrix) = (+55 + score(×) +55 +27 -68 -18 +8 -21 +126)/9/10 = 3.22. This means that the score of the symbol × is 90×3.22 - 164 = 125.8

Title text

As mentioned in the comic, the index for the word "climax" is 2.48. However, applying the index to the phrase "sexclimax" yields a value of 2.72, higher than that for "climax".

Transcript

Certain letters and numbers are used
disproportionately often in car models
compared to regular text.
(see:"Rev-4 cr-x x3 G6 Maxx")
Letter and number scores based on relative frequency in car model names
Carlike 60 6 55 35 74 6 27 5 27 64 32 12 19 40 8 15 41 126 83
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
English-like -74 -58 -67 -37 -14 -5 -21 -45 -44 -21 -46 -80 -27 -18 -68 -20 -90
Based on these scores, here are a
few suggestions for car companies:
(with average letter scores)
Names to avoid Potential hits
Honda 2Chainz (-0.13) Honda 3Chainz (0.57)
Mitsubishi Fhqwhgads (-0.62) Subaru Andre3000 (1.30)
Kia 49AndGothy (-2.96) Suzuki Sexism (1.82)
Chevrolet Niceguy (-3.09) Lincoln Marxism (2.17)
Oldsmobile GoodWood (-4.44) Hyundai Climax (2.48)
Infinity Toothy69 (-4.51) Porsche Zizek9000 (3.06)
BMW Outhouse (-4.85) Lexus 3x3Cutrix (3.22)
Volkswagen Woodpony 7OH7 (-5.70) Acura PizzaJazz (3.56)
Chrysler Uh Iono (-5.65) Ford SixAxle 4x4 (3.95)
Nissan Doody (-5.84) Toyota Cervixxx (4.85)


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Lots of people contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account here.

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • Discussion about various parts of the wiki is going on at the Community portal. Share your 2¢!
  • List of all comics contains a table of most recent xkcd comics and links to the rest, and the corresponding explanations. There are incomplete explanations listed here. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
  • We sell advertising space to pay for our server costs. To learn more, go here.

Rules

Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited). Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

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