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Life Goals
I got to check off 'Make something called xkcd' early.
Title text: I got to check off 'Make something called xkcd' early.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: What does the note section of the table mean when it reefers to Proper noun or noun? Similar with "Score (ignoring blanks)" and 50 points

All nine unchecked goals on this to-do list features one or more strange words often containing an excess of the last three letters of the alphabet (X, Y and Z) as well as Q, often using several off them in the same words, even several of the same rare letter in a row.

All of these words can be looked up in the English version of Wikipedia, but only a few are common noun, the rest being names (fictional or animals) or obscure names for places or games, i.e. proper nouns. The first goal is the one with fewest of these letters, only using two x's, and only the first word is strange, Skrillex being the artist name of a musician. All later entries has at least three of these letters, and often used in strange words.

The punchline, in the final goal, expresses that the writer of this list often uses these unexpected and bizarre words in Scrabble games, which exasperates his opponents to such a great extent, that he has yet to finish a game without getting punched.

In the title text, a reference is made to the fact that none of these goals have been checked off yet. It also turns out that it is indeed Randall's list, since the writer of the list, did manage to check of the goal Make something called xkcd early. But sadly there are neither y's nor z's or even more than one x in that four letter combo.

All of these words would theoretically earn a player the prize of many points in Scrabble (see the table below). However, most of them would not be found in SOWPODS, the combined list of all words valid in either British or North American Scrabble, and many include too many X's, Y's or Z's (there's 1 X, 2 Y's, 1 Z in a standard set), meaning at least one would have to be substituted for a blank (which is not worth any points). Some words would also be very difficult to play in reality, since there are only 7 letters in a Scrabble hand, so they could only be played in extremely rare circumstances (there are only a couple of ways to play MUZQUIZOPTERYX: for instance, from MU and OPTER; or MU, QUIZ and ER; or an astonishingly unlikely set of crossing letters). Many are long enough that, in theory, they could net the player the additional 50 point bonus for using all seven letters in a hand if played right.

The distance between Xhafzotaj in Albania and Quazaxbeyli in Azerbaijan is about 2800km (about 1700 miles). Doing this trip by bike would be challenging, but possible.

Unfortunately Archaeopteryx and Muzquizopteryx lived in different time periods, so we can only speculate which one would win a fight.

This comic was published the week after the what if? Flood Death Valley, which referred directly to the city Zzyzx in one of the pictures. It was the first what if? post in almost three months, the longest break between two posts during 2016 (and third longest of all time at the time of release). This makes it the third comic in a row released after that what if? post that references it more or less directly, the previous two being 1748: Future Archaeology and 1749: Mushrooms. It seems likely that Randall created this comic after doing research for this what if? post, and came across the city Zzyzx as the shortest way to dig a channel to flood Death Valley.

Table of life goals

Goal Explanation #Q #X #Y #Z Total
Meet Skrillex in Phoenix 0 2 0 2
Study zymurgy 0 3 1 4
Get a pet axolotl named Hexxus 0 3 0 0 3
Observe a syzygy from Zzyzx, California 0 1 4 4 9
Port the games Zzyzzyxx and Xexyz to Xbox 0 5 3 5 13
Publish a Zzzax/Mister Mxyzptlk crossover 0 2 1 4 7
Bike from Xhafzotaj, Albania to Qazaxbəyli, Azerbaijan 1 2 1 2 6
Paint an archaeopteryx fighting a muzquizopteryx 1 2 2 2 7
Finish a game of Scrabble without getting punched 0 0 0 0 0
Make something called xkcd Title text 0 1 0 0 1

Table of xyz words

  • Explanation of the columns:
    • Word: With xyz
    • Definition: Of the word
    • Notes: ??
    • In SOWPODS?: Is the word a valid Scrabble word.
    • Enough tiles (...): Are there enough tiles in the standards English version of Scrabble to write the word?
    • Score: What would the score in Scrabble be for this word. (Without any bonuses.)
    • Score (ignoring blanks): ??? If the word can only be written using blanks, and these are set to zero what would the score then be?
    • 50 points possible?: ??? Is it possible to use all seven letters writing the word? If so it will give 50 points extra.
Word Definition Notes In SOWPODS? Enough tiles (in English version)? Score Score (ignoring blanks) 50 points possible?
Skrillex A dubstep musician Proper noun No Yes 19 19 Yes
Phoenix A city in Arizona (and a mythological bird) Proper noun and noun Yes (but only in lower-case) Yes 19 19 Yes
Zymurgy The study of fermentation. Yes Yes 25 25 Yes
Axolotl A kind of water-breathing salamander which lives on the bottom of lakes. Yes Yes 14 14 Yes
Hexxus An evil spirit from the animated movie FernGully Fictional No Yes, With a blank as X 23 15 No
Syzygy An astronomical event where three celestial bodies form a straight line. Yes Yes, With a blank as Y 25 21 No
Zzyzx An unincorporated community in California Proper noun. Recently mentioned in this what-if No Yes, with both blanks as Z 42 22 No
Zzyzzyxx A 1982 arcade video game about navigating a labyrinth Proper noun No No 64 26 (assuming infinite blanks) Yes
Xexyz A 1988 game for the Nintendo Entertainment System with platformer and shoot-em-up gameplay. Proper noun No Yes, With a blank as X 31 23 No
Xbox A series of home video game consoles developed by Microsoft. Proper noun No Yes, With a blank as X 20 12 No
Zzzax A Marvel comic book villain. See below No With both blanks as Z 39 19 No
Mister Mxyzptlk A DC Comics villain. Fictional. Since Zzzax and Mxyzptlk come from different companies, a crossover story involving them both might run into license problems. No Yes 42 (8 for Mister, 35 for Mxyzptlk) 42 Yes
Xhafzotaj A village in Albania Proper noun No Yes 38 38 Yes
Qazaxbəyli A village in Azerbaijan Proper noun. It can alternatively be spelled "Kazakhbeyli". No No, because it's spelled with a schwa (ə, upper case Ə), this word would be impossible to spell in English-language Scrabble, although you could put an E tile down upside down (Ǝ) or use a blank. 39 (at least, unclear)
36 for Kazakhbeyli
39 Yes
Azerbaijan A country in the Caucasus Proper noun No Yes 28 28 Yes
Archaeopteryx A famous small feathered dinosaur Yes Yes 30 30 Yes
Muzquizopteryx A pterosaur No Yes, With a blank as Z 55 45 Yes
xkcd See 207: What xkcd Means. From title text No Yes 18 18 No


[A to-do list with a caption above:]
Life Goals
☐ Meet Skrillex in Phoenix
☐ Study zymurgy
☐ Get a pet axolotl named Hexxus
☐ Observe a syzygy from Zzyzx, California
☐ Port the games Zzyzzyxx and Xexyz to Xbox
☐ Publish a Zzzax/Mister Mxyzptlk crossover
☐ Bike from Xhafzotaj, Albania to Qazaxbəyli, Azerbaijan
☐ Paint an archaeopteryx fighting a muzquizopteryx
☐ Finish a game of Scrabble without getting punched

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