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This is in the spirit of the What is a Word/Phrase™ series started by JLee with a special brand of Phrase™ and Word™ puzzles.


If a word conforms to a special rule, I call it a Macho Word™. Use the following examples below to find the rule.

$$ % set Title text. (spaces around the text ARE important; do not remove.) % increase Pad value only if your entries are longer than the title bar. % \def\Pad{\P{0.0}} \def\Title{\textbf{ Macho }} % \def\S#1#2{\Space{#1}{20px}{#2px}}\def\P#1{\V{#1em}}\def\V#1{\S{#1}{9}} \def\T{\Title\textbf{Words}^{\;\!™}\Pad}\def\NT{\Pad\textbf{Not}\T\ }\displaystyle \smash{\lower{29px}\bbox[yellow]{\phantom{\rlap{rubio.2019.05.15}\S{6px}{0} \begin{array}{cc}\Pad\T&\NT\\\end{array}}}}\atop\def\V#1{\S{#1}{5}} \begin{array}{|c|c|}\hline\Pad\T&\NT\\\hline % \text{ SEARCH }&\text{ QUEST }\\ \hline \text{ FRENCH }&\text{ SPANISH }\\ \hline \text{ JOKE }&\text{ HUMOR }\\ \hline \text{ ABROAD }&\text{ DOMESTIC }\\ \hline \text{ EARL }&\text{ BARON }\\ \hline \text{ AMERICAN }&\text{ YANKEE }\\ \hline \text{ GHOUL }&\text{ SPECTER }\\ \hline \text{ DHOW }&\text{ JUNK }\\ \hline \text{ SEMITIC }&\text{ HEBREW }\\ \hline \text{ ABACUS }&\text{ PROTRACTOR }\\ \hline \end{array}$$

Here is the CSV version:

Macho Word™, Not a Macho Word™
SEARCH, QUEST
FRENCH, SPANISH
JOKE, HUMOR
ABROAD, DOMESTIC
EARL, BARON
AMERICAN, YANKEE
GHOUL, SPECTER
DHOW, JUNK
SEMITIC, HEBREW
ABACUS, PROTRACTOR

Hint 1:

Have you ever studied oceanography?

Hint 2:

The puzzle has nothing to do with oceanography as a scientific discipline, it's a reference to something.

Hint 3:

Where can you study oceanography?

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  • $\begingroup$ A real stretch but.... rot13(frrvat gur gvgyr, gur pubvpr bs jbeqf, naq gur uvag... Vf guvf n wbwb'f ersrerapr?) $\endgroup$ – Belhenix Aug 14 '19 at 22:41
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    $\begingroup$ @Belhenix no it isn't. $\endgroup$ – Robert Columbia Aug 14 '19 at 22:58
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    $\begingroup$ Not getting anywhere too far, but does the solution involve rot13(Vfynaqf? [Znpub - > Zna -> Vfyr bs Zna] naq [Bprnabtencul vf orfg fghqvrq ba vfynaqf]) $\endgroup$ – TwoBitOperation Aug 16 '19 at 12:38
  • $\begingroup$ @TwoBitOperation no, you're on the wrong track. $\endgroup$ – Robert Columbia Aug 16 '19 at 12:54
  • $\begingroup$ Could we get another clue? $\endgroup$ – Kyle Williamson Jan 2 '20 at 19:25
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A Macho Word is:

A word in which the first 2 letters are the initials of a Village People member.

'Macho' alludes to their song 'Macho Man', while 'study oceanography' alludes to the lyrics of their song 'In The Navy' ("Play in sports and skin dive/Study oceanography...")

The group had many reincarnations, resulting in a long list of past and present members. And after going over all of them [thanks for the exhaustive lesson in V.P. history, BTW ;)], I can confirm that all Macho Words begin with a V.P. member's initials while the Non-Macho Words do not. The members that match the examples are: Sonny Earl (SE), Felipe Rose (FR), Jeff Olson (JO), Alex Briley (AB), Eric Anzalone (EA), Angel Morales (AM), Glenn Hughes (GH) and David Hodo (DH).

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