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My first contribution to the What is a Word/Phrase™ puzzle series started by JLee over a year ago.

If a word conforms to a special rule, I call it a Close-Knit Word™.

Use the list of examples below to find out what this rule is.

$$\begin{array}{|c|c|} \hline \textbf{Close-Knit Words™}&\textbf{Not Close-Knit Words™}\\ \hline \text{EDUCATION}&\text{LEARNING}\\ \hline \text{FOGHORN}&\text{KLAXON}\\ \hline \text{ARTISTIC}&\text{IMAGINATIVE}\\ \hline \text{BOOTSTRAPS}&\text{SHOELACES}\\ \hline \text{ELIMINATE}&\text{EXTERMINATE}\\ \hline \text{PONYTAIL}&\text{PLAIT}\\ \hline \text{HIKING}&\text{WALKING}\\ \hline \text{REMUNERATION}&\text{RETURN}\\ \hline \text{FAVOURITE}&\text{BOOKMARK}\\ \hline \text{BACKDROP}&\text{SCENERY}\\ \hline \text{FENCED}&\text{PRIVATE}\\ \hline \text{JAYWALKING}&\text{BURGLARY}\\ \hline \text{INQUIRIES}&\text{INVESTIGATION}\\ \hline \text{DISGUSTING}&\text{REVOLTING}\\ \hline \end{array} $$

Text-only version for analysis:

EDUCATION     LEARNING
FOGHORN       KLAXON
ARTISTIC      IMAGINATIVE
BOOTSTRAPS    SHOELACES
ELIMINATE     EXTERMINATE
PONYTAIL      PLAIT
HIKING        WALKING
REMUNERATION  RETURN
FAVOURITE     BOOKMARK
BACKDROP      SCENERY
FENCED        PRIVATE
JAYWALKING    BURGLARY
INQUIRIES     INVESTIGATION
DISGUSTING    REVOLTING
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  • $\begingroup$ I copied the table formatting from Puck in this puzzle. The fact that T's appear smaller than the other letters is irrelevant. $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 8 '16 at 0:21
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    $\begingroup$ Whether they do depends on details of your computer and your web browser. E.g., right now for me they don't appear smaller, but on my computer at work they do :-). $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Sep 8 '16 at 0:25
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    $\begingroup$ Ah! You don't have the yellow background! UNACCEPTABLE! $\endgroup$ – user58 Sep 8 '16 at 8:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithrandir Umm... he's not Engineer Toast, why should he have them? Anyways, I have the file for these. $\endgroup$ – EKons Sep 8 '16 at 10:38
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I think "close-knit words" are

ones with three consecutive letters of the alphabet in them.

Thus:

CDE EDUCATION
FGH FOGHORN
RST ARTISTIC
RST BOOTSTRAPS
LMN ELIMINATE
NOP PONYTAIL
GHI HIKING
MNO REMUNERATION
TUV FAVOURITE
ABC BACKDROP
DEF FENCED
JKL JAYWALKING
QRS INQUIRIES
STU DISGUSTING

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Jesus, that was fast. Clearly I made this one too easy :-) How did you find the solution? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 8 '16 at 0:31
  • $\begingroup$ @randal'thor For me, I got it as soon as I got down to the word BACKDROP. $\endgroup$ – Will Sep 8 '16 at 0:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Will Damn, I tried to pick words which wouldn't make it too obvious, avoiding things like 'CAB' and 'STUPID' and 'DEFINITE'. Apparently I failed :-( $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 8 '16 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ I thought "OK, something to do with some kind of proximity". I started reading the list of Close-Knit words and noticed (I forget) either the ED or the D_C of EDUCATION and thought "hmm, maybe something to do with alphabetically adjacent letters". I read a few more words and it was kinda obvious. Sorry! $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Sep 8 '16 at 0:44
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    $\begingroup$ I suspect (but neither my introspection nor my memory is reliable enough to be sure) that ELIMINATE was helpful because the first three syllables go EL IM IN :-). $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Sep 8 '16 at 0:46

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