Games Online Contest #25

5 First Prizes: A one-year subscription to GAMES

This contest closed on December 15, 2009. A new contest will appear soon.
Here was the challenge:


Missing Lists

The object of this contest is to discover two lists of six words each, which we’ll call List #2 and List #3, and pair up the words on these lists. List #2 and List #3 are indirectly related to a third set of words that we’ll call List #1. All the words on all three lists are different, and the lists may include proper nouns.
Here’s List #1:

ACADEMY
BIRD
EXAM
MAC
MEDIA
TREAT

The words in List #1 and List #2 can be paired up (each pair consisting of one word from each list) to make six familiar two-word phrases or proper names. The words in List #2 and List #3 can similarly be paired up to make six familiar two-word phrases or proper names. (Well, maybe one of these phrases isn’t so familiar.) List #3 consists of six closely related words. The set of two-word pairings made up of List #2 and List #3 words is the answer to the contest.

In forming phrases or names from any pair of lists, you may place a word from one list either before or after a word on the other list. Of course, there’s more than one phrase that can be formed with most or all of the words in List #1; as a result, finding List #2 from List #1 is not a straightforward task. You must use the fact that all six words in List #3 have something in common to determine whether you have the right words in List #2.

For example, if List #1 were:

CAMPER
ROOM
SERIES

and you correctly guessed that these words were from the phrases “Happy Camper,” “Living Room,” and “World Series,” then your List #2 would be:

HAPPY
LIVING
WORLD

And now, by thinking of three related words that can be paired up with the List #2 words—in this case, “Small,” “Medium,” and “Large” will work as List #3—you would have found the answer phrases:

HAPPY MEDIUM
LIVING LARGE
SMALL WORLD

Although the answer we received most frequently matched our intended answer, we were surprised to find a number of alternative answers that we also judged to be valid. These ranged from slight variations on our intended answer to completely different lists. Our intended answer’s List #3 consisted of planets, yielding these two-word answers (the phrases made from List #1 and List #2 are shown in parentheses):

SATURN AWARD (ACADEMY AWARD)
RARE EARTH (RARE BIRD)
MARS BAR (BAR EXAM)
FREDDIE MERCURY (FREDDIE MAC)
JUPITER MASS (MASS MEDIA)
VENUS WILLIAMS (TREAT WILLIAMS)

Among the alternative answers, the theme of List #3 was sometimes animals (with final phrases such as “Robin Williams”), colors (“pink eye” after using “eye exam”), relatives (“Grammy award”), and even golf terms (“Dutch Masters” after using “Dutch treat”). Some answers made use of homophones (such as “naval academy” and “navel orange”), which the rules are silent about; or turned just some words into possessives such as “tiger’s eye” or “Jupiter’s Darling,” which seemed to stretch the rules too much; or involved two-word phrases that are often hyphenated or written as one word, which we judged to be allowable or not on a case-by-case basis. Five winners were then chosen by random draw from among the valid entries.

Results of Online Contest #24
Results of Online Contest #23
Results of Online Contest #22
Results of Online Contest #21
Results of Online Contest #20
Results of Online Contest #19
Results of Online Contest #18
Results of Online Contest #17
Results of Online Contest #16
Results of Online Contest #15
Results of Online Contest #14
Results of Online Contest #13
Results of Online Contest #12
Results of Online Contest #11
Results of Online Contest #10
Results of Online Contest #9
Results of Online Contest #8
Results of Online Contest #7
Results of Online Contest #6
Results of Online Contest #5
Results of Online Contest #4
Results of Online Contest #3
Results of Online Contest #2
Results of Online Contest #1

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