Difference between revisions of "1750: Life Goals"

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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(Explanation: Syzygy is not limited to planets (and, in fact, commonly references the Moon, Sun, and Earth).)
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| [http://villains.wikia.com/wiki/Hexxus Hexxus] || An evil spirit from the animated movie [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FernGully:_The_Last_Rainforest FernGully] || Fictional || No || With a blank as X || 23 || 15 || No
| [http://villains.wikia.com/wiki/Hexxus Hexxus] || An evil spirit from the animated movie [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FernGully:_The_Last_Rainforest FernGully] || Fictional || No || With a blank as X || 23 || 15 || No
| {{w|Syzygy (astronomy)|Syzygy}} || An astronomical event where three planets form a straight line. || || Yes || With a blank as Y || 25 || 21 || No  
| {{w|Syzygy (astronomy)|Syzygy}} || An astronomical event where three celestial bodies form a straight line. || || Yes || With a blank as Y || 25 || 21 || No  
| {{w|Zzyzx, California|Zzyzx}} || An unincorporated community in California || Proper noun. Recently mentioned in [http://what-if.xkcd.com/152/ this what-if] || No || Yes, with both blanks as Z || 42 || 22 || No
| {{w|Zzyzx, California|Zzyzx}} || An unincorporated community in California || Proper noun. Recently mentioned in [http://what-if.xkcd.com/152/ this what-if] || No || Yes, with both blanks as Z || 42 || 22 || No

Revision as of 17:01, 24 October 2016

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


This index of goals features many words containing an excess of the letters X and Z, most of which are fictional, obscure, or proper nouns. (Note that none of the goals on this list are checked off.) The punchline climax expresses that the writer (presumably Randall) often uses these unexpected and bizarre words in Scrabble games, which exasperates his opponents to a great extent, to the point of him getting punched.

All of these words would theoretically earn a player the prize of many points. 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.

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 With a blank as X 23 15 No
Syzygy An astronomical event where three celestial bodies form a straight line. 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 With a blank as X 31 23 No
Xbox A series of home video game consoles developed by Microsoft. Proper noun No 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 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. Unclear (at least 39)
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 With a blank as Z 55 45 Yes
xkcd See 207: What xkcd Means. From title text No Yes 18 18 No

The distance between Xhafzotaj in Albania and Quazaxbeyli in Azerbaijan is about 2800km. 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.

The title text explains naming something xkcd "xkcd" was also a goal.

It seems likely that Randall created this comic after doing research for this what if article (http://what-if.xkcd.com/152/), and came across the city Zzyzx as the shortest way to dig a channel to flood Death Valley.


[A list entitled "Life Goals", where each item has an empty box, like a to-do list.]
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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The last line is actually a real punch-line... 14:51, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

With "Unfortunately (the two protobirds) lived in different time periods, so we can only speculate which one would win a fight.", as per current explanation text, I first of all thought 'the latter, as it was alive and the other had already died' (so maybe not a fair fight, but definitely indicates a survivor), but I'm not entirelysure whether I'd even overcome an Australopithocus (despite the height advantage), if I ever suddenly encountered a suitably enraged (and live) one whilst not equipped with my own contemporary tools, so maybe I ought to be less certain about the other fight if it happened in sight of an artist... 14:54, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

I'll call John Hammond. Jacky720 (talk) 00:28, 25 October 2016 (UTC)
We can easily speculate, and just as well as if they lived during the same time. We would have as little chance of guessing who would have won just because they might actually have had such a fight in reality. I think the flying petrosaurs with a wings span four times the length of the feathered (and only proto bird) would have won. The petrosaurs where not the kind that went on to becoming birds as far as I know. --Kynde (talk) 21:01, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

A lot of these are proper nouns and so shall not be used in scrabble. 16:21, 24 October 2016 (UTC)BLuDgeons

A first-fight is how all Scrabble games end in languages that have composite words like Danish or German. That or knockout. Footnotefontsizeselection, quizmasterfluffer, telemarketercounterharassment... 17:02, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

Whoever added "you could put an E tile down upside down" should win a prize. Maplestrip (talk) 17:57, 24 October 2016 (UTC) O I'm gonna go out on a limb and say this isn't actually about the last three letters of the alphabet, but about the five "power letters" in Scrabble (hence the last line): J, K, Q, X, Z. Schiffy (Speak to me|What I've done) 18:09, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

I would agree that there is a couple of other letters but there is hardly enough Q, K and J to make it worth mentioning... --Kynde (talk) 21:01, 24 October 2016 (UTC)
But it's about Scrabble point count, not just letters toward the end of the alphabet. The fact that many rare (and thus high-ranking) tiles happen to be toward the end is irrelevant. The focus is on high-ranking Scrabble tiles, no matter where in the alphabet they are. I thought I might as well verify this, though, so I put the words (without "Mister") onto a letter frequency counter, then looked up the letter frequencies in English on Wikipedia to compare to the average frequencies. The letters that appeared at least 1% LESS often than expected were C, D, E, F, H, I, N, O, R, S, T, and W, and all of these letters are worth fewer than 5 points in Scrabble. (E, N, and S appeared more than 4% less often, and these are very common letters worth very few points.) The letters that appeared at least 1% MORE often than expected were J, K, P, Q, X, Y, and Z. All of those are worth multiple points. Only two of those (P and Y) are worth fewer than 5 points, and Y is worth 4 points, very close... and its unique position as the only vowel worth more than 1 point elevates its status somewhat. P was only slightly over 1% increased. (All tiles except X, Y, and Z have less than a 2% increase. Y has a 7.66% increase, while X and Z each have an increase of about 14%.) It's true that X, Y, and Z show the most dramatic increase (though E shows nearly as dramatic a decrease), but the analysis certainly shows that Randall might have had some bias toward using J (1.33% increased), K (1.45% increased), and Q (1.39% increased) as well as the obvious X, Y, and Z. 04:26, 25 October 2016 (UTC)
My impression of the comic was not that it was just about Scrabble (too many words are impossible under typical Scrabble tile distributions) or specifically the last three letters of the alphabet (there's a decent amount of Qs in the comic), but the difficulty in reading/pronouncing the words. I was following along fine at first, but by the end of the comic had no phonetics in my head to describe what I was reading. I think the title-text supports that interpretation. From xkcd's About page: "It's just a word with no phonetic pronunciation". 05:01, 25 October 2016 (UTC)
There are only two Q's in the comic. I have now removed the Q from the table. It is only XYZ heavy words that are used excessively. I do not think this comic is about scrabble point. It is just a way to list all these weird words Randall has found. And the to make a joke he put in the scrabble goal. (Also just fixed a problem with the post two above here, which was divided in two, and then the next post was posted in the middle of that post...) --Kynde (talk) 19:33, 25 October 2016 (UTC)

I didn't feel that the release schedule (or the lack of such) of the What if? mentioned is in any means important for the explanation. So I removed it... Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 08:37, 25 October 2016 (UTC)

Well he post a rare what if release and within a week has referenced it from the next three comics. He usually do not refer to any what if post directly although he has done so recently (but rare due to the longer and longer span of time between posts). But this is the first time he does so several comics in a row! So in that sense it was relevant that it was the first in 12 weeks. And that it is rare that he has so long spans between two releases. This was the longest this year (and the year ends within 12 weeks so it will stay the longest), and the third longest so far. But now the fact can remain here in the comment. --Kynde (talk) 19:38, 25 October 2016 (UTC)
I already noticed that you are somewhat obsessed from the release schedule. No offense, that's absolutely fine. I on the other hand tend to think that there is no release schedule anymore. So yes, I agree in saying that the references are remarkable, but no, I don't see any connection to the time of release. As the explanation here suggests I think the research for the What If? inspired this (and maybe the other) comic - not vice versa. Plus, imho the connection to the What If? described in the explanation of 1749 is a bit far fetched. "Strange records and trivia" is like saying "there are words" - especially on xkcd. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 07:11, 26 October 2016 (UTC)

Wow. These pages get a ton of edits in a relatively short timespan, when you see them go live, one at a time. It's awe-inspiring. Jacky720 (talk) 00:28, 25 October 2016 (UTC)

The problem with making long edits is that you end up in edit conflicts, so short ones are better. Then it is also easier for others to look in the history and add their own conflicted changes to the new edits. That is why I often make a ton of edits in a short time. Have been locked in a jam of conflicts enough time with new comics editing --Kynde (talk) 19:38, 25 October 2016 (UTC)

I hate to be pedantic, but the game "Zzyzzyxx" (with a clone known as "Blox") was not about navigating a labyrinth. You'd think with a name like that, it'd be something high-tech and sci-fi-ish. No. It's a little green man running back and forth through scrolling walls of bricks to pick up gifts for his girlfriend. It's really one of the dumbest games ever made, and it's hard to find (partly because it was really unpopular). KieferSkunk (talk) 16:38, 29 October 2016 (UTC)

Too bad he missed one goal: Compose a zydeco for xylephone and zzxjoanw. 04:33, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

Zzxjoanw isn't a real instrument, it's a hoax word. 03:50, 16 November 2016 (UTC)

Maybe I'm missing something but why does the "In SOWPODS?" column for muzquizopteryx say "No" when it says "Yes" for archaeopteryx? Neither are proper nouns and I can't think of any other reason that muzquizopteryx should be excluded. 21:47, 23 September 2017 (UTC)

Is it possible to add 7 tiles to an existing word or words to make some of the long ones? For instance, is there a possible intermediate game state allowing addition of up to 7 tiles to complete the word "Muzquizopteryx"?