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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.

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

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, 2019 at 22:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Belhenix no it isn't. $\endgroup$ Aug 14, 2019 at 22:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Not getting anywhere too far, but does the solution involve rot13(Vfynaqf? [Znpub - > Zna -> Vfyr bs Zna] naq [Bprnabtencul vf orfg fghqvrq ba vfynaqf]) $\endgroup$ Aug 16, 2019 at 12:38
  • $\begingroup$ @TwoBitOperation no, you're on the wrong track. $\endgroup$ Aug 16, 2019 at 12:54
  • $\begingroup$ Could we get another clue? $\endgroup$ Jan 2, 2020 at 19:25

1 Answer 1

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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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