There are 4 words: A, B, C, and D

A and B are synonymous verbs.

C and D are two letter words.

A C D and B C D are English phrases (mostly American) with opposite meaning from each other.

What are the words?

Clue 1:

A is a verb and a noun. The verb involves using the noun. The noun in this case is quite a specific item.

Clue 2:

B is a verb and a noun. The verb involves using the noun. A (the noun) sometimes has a B (the noun) and so B has come to mean using A very commonly. But it can be used more broadly.

Clue 3:

A C D and B C D are expressions related to the effort someone puts into their work.


A second go which works better is:

phone it in - to perform a duty in a half-hearted manner.
dial it in - to set up in a perfect way.

Clue 1: To phone, uses the noun, which is quite specific.
Clue 2: To dial, involves using a phone, which used to have dials.
Clue 3: Phoning it in is doing with little concentration, dialling it in involves total focus.

A leap of faith, but are A, B, C, D

Jump, skip, on, it, as jump and skip are synonyms.
Jump on it shows eagerness to do something immediately.
Skip on it (sketchy as 'skip it' is more usual) meaning pass on it - at least for now.


1: Jump is a verb and a noun, and jumping involves taking a skip.
2: Skip is a noun and a verb.
3: They're related to work urgency.

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    $\begingroup$ +1: An excellent solution. I agree that "Skip on it" is a bit sketchy. Skip is definitely a verb as you're using it though. $\endgroup$ – Dr Xorile Dec 14 '18 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ I realized that my second clue was not quite correct, so I have edited it. $\endgroup$ – Dr Xorile Dec 14 '18 at 21:06
  • $\begingroup$ "Skip on it" is a fully valid answer (non-standard verb). It is not just in actual use, such words are very popular: skip on it, hate on it ... An excellent answer; completely valid. +1 $\endgroup$ – Ken Draco Dec 14 '18 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ Nailed it! Congratulations! $\endgroup$ – Dr Xorile Dec 15 '18 at 6:56

2nd Guess
Is it

A=put B=set C=it D=up


set and put are synonyms (set something down, put something down)


"put it up" means put something away whereas "set it up" means you are bringing something out and getting it ready.


Is it

A=pack B=take C=it D=in


pack and take are kind of synonymous (if you pack something up you are taking it)


"pack it in" means you are leaving and "take it in" means you are staying, opposite meanings

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  • $\begingroup$ Good effort. Not the answer I was looking for. Pack it in means give up. Take it in means enjoy. But whether my answer is better will probably be a matter of taste! Definitely on the right track. I was curious if someone would come up with another example that fit the clues. Puzzling.SE delivers again! $\endgroup$ – Dr Xorile Dec 13 '18 at 22:53
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    $\begingroup$ @DrXorile my synonyms and opposite phrases didn't feel exactly right, so I suspected it was something else. I'll keep thinking! $\endgroup$ – SteveV Dec 13 '18 at 22:57
  • $\begingroup$ Ah. Set is always a good word to use. I believe it has the most meanings of any English word! Put it up could mean put it away in a high place, but more commonly has a connotation more similar to set it up, I would have thought. I'm trying to think of another clue but don't want to give it away. Do you want one? $\endgroup$ – Dr Xorile Dec 14 '18 at 6:06

A guess:

A: Hold B: Pick C: It D: Up


1) Hold and Pick can both mean 'to keep / take'
2) "Hold it up" means to slow down
3) "Pick it up" means to speed up

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  • $\begingroup$ Really excellent. That solves it almost as well as my solution which is what I was afraid of when I asked the question. Pick and hold are not quite synonyms, but that's a really great effort $\endgroup$ – Dr Xorile Dec 14 '18 at 18:58

Only far-fetched phrases come to mind:

Hinder it up -- back it up (only I would say something like that). While hinder up is a bit ungrammatical, it is logically spot on.

Another solution:

Overlook an ad -- examine an ad. Here is a long shot: Almost no-one uses overlook to mean examine carefully, and yet such a meaning exists. Does employing such a trick solve the puzzle?

Wanted also to use something with ye and ax but that looks like overkill.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 for trying! But as you say, overlook normally means miss something. The answer involves the common usage of the words and phrases $\endgroup$ – Dr Xorile Dec 14 '18 at 18:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Dr Xorile, overlook IS actually used unlike some nonsensical broken English I saw in some threads here (let be; be let) etc. with crazy high scores. That ain't even funny to pervert English like that. It was used (let) more like this: That no roote of bitternesse vpward burionynge lette. That's how it was used. There are thousands of examples like that in "ancient" texts. Overlook (examine) is still in use. And it's not some crazy rare meaning for a person with some decent knowledge of English (foreigners excluded). $\endgroup$ – Ken Draco Dec 14 '18 at 19:02
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, go on vote down. Very nice! $\endgroup$ – Ken Draco Dec 14 '18 at 19:08
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    $\begingroup$ I voted your answer up. My question is poorly formed. I was curious to see if there were other examples, and it's great to see that there are. I've added some more clues to narrow it down. The "trick" you found is a word that can be used with opposite meaning. Overlook / examine. The "an ad" doesn't really change the meaning of the basic words. But I still think that's a great effort. $\endgroup$ – Dr Xorile Dec 14 '18 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, sure. I fully agree. Actually your question is very good and it's well-worded. It's just that a lot of words have multiple meanings and certain connotations. The funny thing is that verbs "pick it up", "hold it up", "skip on it" (non standard) of course have multiple meanings too. Even my "back it up" is not as clear-cut as it first might seem because people may back up theirs cars. :-) $\endgroup$ – Ken Draco Dec 14 '18 at 21:07

My five cents.

Phrase 1

Lock it up --> lock requires a lock

Phrase 2

Free it Up --> free requires removing a lock

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    $\begingroup$ doh! - My answer is the opposite of synonymous. Please disregard! $\endgroup$ – Ross Bush Dec 14 '18 at 19:29

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