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Abraham and Levi are two friends who like many of the same things, but sometimes their preferences can diverge. Given the examples below, determine what governs their curious differences of opinion.

  • While Abraham enjoys DRAMA, only Levi likes THEATER.

  • Abraham prefers ART, but Levi chooses TECHNOLOGY.

  • Abraham likes an ICONOCLAST; Levi would rather an IDEOLOGUE.

  • Abraham fancies a HOMEOPATH whereas Levi would pick an ASTROLOGER.

  • Abraham favors PERIODS. (Levi prefers PARENTHESES.) 1

  • Abraham is a fan of IRONY and SARCASM, but SATIRE and FARCE are Levi’s inclination.

  • Although Abraham is partial to SCIENCE, only Levi appreciates ZOOLOGY, CHEMISTRY, and ECOLOGY.

  • PARABOLAS, LOGARITHMS, and ASYMPTOTES all interest Abraham, but Levi is the MATH lover.

(Note that Abraham and Levi are both quite fussy, and as such, there are many things which neither friend likes.)

Here are the example items as CSV, which Levi was kind enough to alphabetize for me:

art, asymptote, drama, homeopath, iconoclast, irony, logarithm, parabola, period, sarcasm, science
astrologer, chemistry, ecology, farce, ideologue, math, parentheses, technology, theater, satire, zoology

1. In some spoilery comments below @greysaff's answer, some users have argued that Levi also likes the period…though I would argue Abraham likes it approximately 5 times as much.


Hint 1:

There are many subjects Abraham and Levi both enjoy, such as history, geography, and electricity (though only Abraham likes magnetism). They also both appreciate numerals, cycles, and graphs.

Hint 2 (this is probably a bigger hint, so view with care!):

Some of Abraham’s favorite books are Angels & Demons, Don Quixote, and the dialogues of Socrates and Plato. He also likes reading horror and poetry (his favorite poet is Sappho). Levi enjoys reading biographies, mythologies, allegories, and the Bible.

Hint 3 (this probably won't help much with the solve, but these terrible puns popped into my head and so now you've all got to suffer with me):

If each friend were to post the things he likes as a conventional What is a Word™ puzzle in the style of JLee, Abraham might call the things he likes Frozen Words™ and Levi might call his Julian Words™.

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    $\begingroup$ Your CSV list has ASYMPTOTE where the main text has ASYMPTOTES. Are both correct? $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Aug 26 at 21:11
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    $\begingroup$ Pluralization is irrelevant in all cases. $\endgroup$ – thecommexokid Aug 26 at 21:19
  • $\begingroup$ @SayedMohdAli Constipation? No, but it's possible he might have diuresis. $\endgroup$ – thecommexokid Aug 27 at 14:29
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    $\begingroup$ Given that "like many of the same things" and also "there are many things which neither friend likes" I guess that each one of them has a different likeness property, that sometimes differs and sometimes agrees. Is this the case? $\endgroup$ – gustavovelascoh Aug 29 at 10:49
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    $\begingroup$ @gustavovelascoh Yes, Abraham likes things of one type, Levi likes things of another (related) type, some things are both at once, and some (most) things are neither. $\endgroup$ – thecommexokid Aug 29 at 12:54
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Abraham and Levi's preferences are determined by...

.. the suffixes which can be appended to the base words to turn them into adjectives. Abraham prefers "-ic" while Levi prefers "-ical". (Abrahamic and Levitical comes to mind)

Abraham's list

artisitic, asymptotic, dramatic, homeopathic, iconoclastic, ironic, logarithmic, parabolic, periodic, sarcastic, scientific

Levi's list

astrological, chemical, ecological, farcical, ideological, mathematical, parenthetical, technological, theatrical, satirical, zoological

and their shared words

historic / historical, geographic / geographical, electric / electrical

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    $\begingroup$ rot13(qenzgvpny)? and rot13(periodical). $\endgroup$ – Abbas Aug 30 at 6:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Abbas nice catch! i think it's a miss on the OP's part though and should be on the shared list as well $\endgroup$ – greysaff Aug 30 at 6:09
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    $\begingroup$ @thecommexokid it's a nice tool you showed me on the graph. Periodical I'm sure is an adjective on merriam. As for the first one admittedly it is not there. $\endgroup$ – Abbas Aug 30 at 12:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Abbas Re:qenzgvpny, if Merriam marks it "archaic" and the definition is a simple redirect—plus Google N-grams viewer shows it indistinguishable from 0% usage—I'm happy to stand by that as an unattested word. I admit you may have a point on the adjective sense of periodical; I had never heard it other than as a noun so I did not think to check it in N-grams, but it appears to be attested at about 20% the prevalence of periodic. books.google.com/ngrams/… $\endgroup$ – thecommexokid Aug 30 at 16:38
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    $\begingroup$ Given the inherent subjectivity of determining what is or is not a valid English word, I'm considering myself lucky to only be in an argument about 1 or 2 of these. It was a known risk in generating this puzzle and honestly I had feared worse :). $\endgroup$ – thecommexokid Aug 30 at 16:40
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Partial answer

Since Abraham's name

begins with ABRA, the name of a Pokémon

I wondered whether he might like words which

contain a 3-letter sequence which begins the name of a Pokémon.

Considering the examples above:

DRAMA = DRAtini,
ART = ARTicuno,
ICONOCLAST = NOCtowl,
HOMEOPATH = MEOwth,
PERIODS = PERsian,
IRONY = ONYx (although 'Onix' is the correct spelling),
SARCASM = ARCanine,
SCIENCE = SCIzor,
PARABOLAS = PARas,
LOGARITHMS = ARIados,
ASYMPTOTES = TOTodile.

And from the hints:

HISTORY = TORchic,
GEO GRAPHY = GEOdude (or GRAveler),
ELECTRICITY = ELEctabuzz,
MAGNETISM = MAGneton,
NUMERALS = NUMel (or RALts),
CYCLES = CLEfairy,
GRAPHS = GRAveler,
ANGELS AND DEMONS = SANdslash,
DON QUIXOTE = DONphan,
SOCRATES = RATtata,
PLATO = LATias,
HORROR = HORsea.
(Although I cannot make this work for POETRY or SAPPHO...)

However, this logic does not explain why

it is Levi, and not Abraham, who likes FARCE and PARentheses (unless the fourth letter is also important).

I have also toyed with the idea that Levi might like words which contain

3-letter sequences from books of the Bible.

Since

his name begins LEVIticus, the third book of the Old Testament.

I can make this work for several...

e.g. THEATER and PARENTHESES as in THEssalonians,
MATH as in MATthew,
ECOLOGY as in COLossians,
NUMERALS as in NUMbers,
BIOGRAPHIES as in PHIlippians,
and even THE BIBLE itself, as in HEBrews...

but not for all. More work required, but this partial solution may prove helpful to some if any of it is at all close to being correct!

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  • $\begingroup$ My jaw dropped when I saw your Abraham list, what a totally surprising coincidence! $\endgroup$ – thecommexokid Aug 30 at 12:52
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Guided by hint 1 and 3 and based on the comments, I think it is related with:

- The adjective form of the nouns presented (-ic vs -ical).
- Abraham has preference for -ic form while Levi prefers -ical
- Both agree when valid words exist in -ic and -ical form.
- I Applied the rules explained in this site and almost all the words match to this guess. However, as I am not a native speaker I am not sure all of them are strictly valid just in one of the forms
- Regarding the hint 3, I guess they could be classified as Frozen because of -ic-> ICE and Julian because -ical-> Calendar App...

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    $\begingroup$ Impressive to solve as a non-native English speaker, especially since I was using my own intuitions (plus some checks on the Google N-grams viewer) to determine what was and was not a "real" English word, rather than any one definitive arbiter. Some of the commenters in @greysaff's answer have argued that a few of my choices should be both lists, but that is to be expected since not every dialect will necessarily agree on which variations are and aren't legal. $\endgroup$ – thecommexokid Aug 30 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ PS: That particular webpage was actually one of the sources I used to find words to use in this puzzle. $\endgroup$ – thecommexokid Aug 30 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ Regarding Hint 3, you have the right words. The exact form of the pun is that Abraham's words rot13(ner vp-l) and Levi's words rot13(ner pny-raqref). $\endgroup$ – thecommexokid Aug 30 at 17:08
  • $\begingroup$ (This is very similar to the accepted answer. As a general suggestion: if you're posting an answer that's largely the same as an existing one, acknowledge the prior answer and indicate how yours differs, improves upon, or adds relevant detail to the answer already provided. That way there's no confusion about whether or not you just didn't see the earlier answer. And, of course, if you can't really explain in that manner why your answer is not in essence a simple duplicate, that's probably a good sign that your answer isn't adding anything to what's already been said, and shouldn't be posted.) $\endgroup$ – Rubio Sep 1 at 23:19
  • $\begingroup$ The case is that I didn't see any of the answers and not all the hints given by the OP. I just wanted the feedback from the OP on my conclusions. I only would see the hidden answers once I have decided to give up on solving the puzzle by my own. $\endgroup$ – gustavovelascoh Sep 2 at 8:21

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