Saturday, April 14, 2012


Recently I happened to be looking at the algebraic expression xy + yz + zx, when suddenly the variables in the expression morphed before my eyes into the word XYYZZX. Which is not a word, of course (but it sounds like one that rhymes with "physics").

This led me to wonder: Which words are "triple-doubles"? By a triple-double I mean a six-letter word with exactly three distinct letters that are each used exactly twice. An example of a triple-double is SESTET.

The word SEEDED, on the other hand, is not a triple-double. While it does have six letters, and while it does have exactly three distinct letters, the letter E is used three times (instead of twice) and the letter S is used once (instead of twice).

1) Can you think of any triple-doubles?

2) Can you think of any quadruple-doubles? (A quadruple-double is an eight-letter word with exactly four distinct letters, each letter used exactly twice.)

3) How about a quintuple-double? (Ten-letter word, exactly five distinct letters, each letter used exactly twice.)

This morning I was able to find a number of triple-doubles and a few quadruple-doubles before curiosity got the best of me and I went to the computer. Just FYI, the computer did actually find a few reasonable quintuple-doubles, including at least one really nice example.

Anyhow, if people send me any of the above, then I'll summarize in a future post. Feel free to put examples in the comments, or send me an email!

P.S. In case you weren't sure - and I wasn't, even though I had thought of the word itself and was pretty sure it was a word - a sestet is a group of six lines at the end of a classical Italian sonnet. And by the way, if you click that link and read the poem they have there, you'll see a nice triple-double in the sestet.  ;-)

P.P.S. Everything a hoops fan might want to know about double-doubles, triple-doubles, quadruple-doubles, quintuple-doubles, and related statistical feats is here. As you might guess, Hakeem Olajuwon pretty much cleans up in these categories...although David Robertson also managed to demolish my Pistons pretty spectacularly back in 1994.


Josh Rayman said...

Not David Robertson but Alvin Robertson or David Robinson, which suggests another contest.

JasonZimba said...

oh good point, josh!

great to hear from you - drop me a line sometime -J