In the spirit of the What is a Word™/Phrase™ series started by JLee, a special brand of Phrase™ and Word™ puzzles.

If a word conforms to a special rule, I call it an Outside Word™.
Use the examples below to find the rule. I have made a mistake with a few of the words, so I've marked them with an "(E)" for error, while leaving them in so as not to invalidate Deusovi's correct answer.

$$ % set Title text. (spaces around the text ARE important; do not remove.) % increase Pad value only if your entries are longer than the title bar. % \def\Pad{\P{0.0}} \def\Title{\textbf{ Outside }} % \def\S#1#2{\Space{#1}{20px}{#2px}}\def\P#1{\V{#1em}}\def\V#1{\S{#1}{9}} \def\T{\Title\textbf{Words}^{\;\!™}\Pad}\def\NT{\Pad\textbf{Not}\T\ }\displaystyle \smash{\lower{29px}\bbox[yellow]{\phantom{\rlap{rubio.2019.05.15}\S{6px}{0} \begin{array}{cc}\Pad\T&\NT\\\end{array}}}}\atop\def\V#1{\S{#1}{5}} \begin{array}{|c|c|}\hline\Pad\T&\NT\\\hline % \text{ FEED }&\text{ STARVE }\\ \hline \text{ HEN }&\text{ ROOSTER }\\ \hline \text{ DIRE }&\text{ TIRE }\\ \hline \text{ SEND }&\text{ SENT }\\ \hline \text{ SQUISH(E) }&\text{ SQUASH }\\ \hline \text{ GREEN }&\text{ BLUE }\\ \hline \text{ HEX }&\text{ CURSE }\\ \hline \text{ WIND }&\text{ WAND }\\ \hline \text{ SEEDS }&\text{ SESAME }\\ \hline \text{ RIDDLE(E) }&\text{ PUZZLE }\\ \hline \text{ INSIDE }&\text{ OUTSIDE }\\ \hline \text{ SHORE }&\text{ BEACH }\\ \hline \text{ OZ }&\text{ WIZARD }\\ \hline \text{ DEODORIZE }&\text{ STINK }\\ \hline \text{ HOW }&\text{ TO }\\ \hline \text{ PROGRAM(E) }&\text{ CODE }\\ \hline \text{ REP }&\text{ REPUTATION }\\ \hline \end{array}$$

And, if you want to analyze, here is a CSV version:

Outside Words™,Not Outside Words™

The puzzle satisfies the series' inbuilt assumption, that each word can be tested for whether it is a Outside Word™ without relying on the other words.
These are not the only examples of Outside Words™; many more exist.

What is the special rule these words conform to?



  • $\begingroup$ Constructive criticism is welcome! $\endgroup$ – Brandon_J May 24 '19 at 22:16
  • $\begingroup$ Are you sure that both SQUISH and PROGRAM are indeed Outside Words? $\endgroup$ – Deusovi May 24 '19 at 23:30
  • $\begingroup$ (And RIDDLE, for that matter? I'm less sure about that one being a problem, but it seems like it might be one based on my hunch about the rule.) $\endgroup$ – Deusovi May 24 '19 at 23:31
  • $\begingroup$ And DEODERIZE. There are definitely a few that don't fit my rule!! $\endgroup$ – Dr Xorile May 24 '19 at 23:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @DrXorile No, DEODORIZE should be fine -- see my answer. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi May 24 '19 at 23:56

I have a guess, though it doesn't seem to quite fit:

An Outside Word is one that consists only of letters from the outside columns of a standard phone keypad. That is, it has no letters out of {A,B,C,J,K,L,T,U,V}.

I'm fairly confident in this even though it doesn't quite fit:

It seems pretty clear to me that the Outside Words are restricted in what letters they can use. So what happens if we remove all of the letters appearing in an Outside Word from the entire list of words? We get this:

enter image description here
Most Non-Outside words have at least one letter left, except for a few: SQUASH, WAND, SESAME, PUZZLE, and WIZARD. I notice that A and U appear only once each on the left side, and could plausibly be an error; also, letters adjacent to them appear on the right side fairly often.

So, adding A and U back, we see that every Non-Outside word has at least one Outside-Unsafe letter.

enter image description here

So, assuming the two with a letter left are errors, it seems likely that an Outside Word is one that does not have an Outside-Unsafe Letter. These letters must include {A,U,C,T}, likely also include {B, K, V} (which appear in Non-Outside words, but not alone), and may or may not include {J, Y} (which do not appear in the entire puzzle).

Putting these sets together gives runs of letters that look suspiciously like the letters on a phone keypad.

enter image description here

And because of how nicely this lines up, and because of the title, I think it's safe to assume that L is also an error, and Outside Words are those that contain no letters from the middle column of a standard phone keypad.

| improve this answer | |
  • $\begingroup$ aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah snap. :( That's correct; congrats on solving a flawed puzzle. I checked so many times and I still messed some up. Do you think I should edit the puzzle or leave it as is? $\endgroup$ – Brandon_J May 25 '19 at 1:25

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