Talk:Xyzzy

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Pronunciation

Some of us are unsure of the common pronunciation of this word. Is it spelled out, like in math variables, X Y Z Z Y? When I tell people about XYZZY Awards, or about the command in Advent, I pronounce it to rhyme with "dizzy" and an X as in "xylophone." Like Zizzy! Star651 22:18, 5 September 2012 (CDT)

As far as I know, there's no one right way to pronounce XYZZY, and unless there was an applicable article in an old issue of New Zork Times a.k.a. The Status Line, or an XYZZY entry in the Encyclopedia Frobozzica, there's nothing that can give us an "official" answer to this question. I can think of six ways to say XYZZY, all of which seem equally valid to me: zee-zee, zih-zee, ek-zee-zee, ek-zih-zee, eks-why-zee-zee-why, and eks-why-zed-zed-why. The "zizzy" one is probably the easiest and least clumsy of those six, though. Feel free to continue to say it that way. -- David Welbourn 11:11, 6 September 2012 (CDT)
I'm an idiot. Of course, Infocom sources can't be considered "official" on this question either since the word first came from Adventure. D'oh. -- David Welbourn 11:18, 6 September 2012 (CDT)


Here's an excerpt from Dennis G. Jerz's article Somewhere Nearby is Colossal Cave: Examining Will Crowther's Original “Adventure” in Code and in Kentucky:

In a telephone interview, Crowther's sister Betty Bloom, who was one of the original play-testers of "Adventure", shared an anecdote: "I was bored having to go through all the steps every time, and I said, 'I want to go directly into the game.' [Dramatic pause.] 'Ecks-why-zee-zee-why!' " [Bloom 2002]. Crowther confirmed this detail about the word, which teleports the player to and from the small building: "Betty was correct that I created it for her - she is an impatient sort, and wanted a shortcut. I figured why not, there are lots of impatient people out there who would appreciate a shortcut" [Bloom 2002]. According to Bloom, "XYZZY" was a family password. "If the kids ever got lost in an airport, and they ever had to verify who they were, we would just ask them for a magic word, and it would be XYZZY." While Crowther states that "XYZZY was not a family password - I made it up out of whole cloth just for the game," we may imagine that other family members used it as a password, after Crowther invented it for the game. In telephone interviews, Bloom and Crowther's daughters all spelled out the letters in the word, but they report that Crowther himself pronounced it "zizzy." According to Crowther (2007), "Magic words should look queer, and yet somehow be pronounceable - XYZZY seemed pretty good that way. I was considering working for XEROX at the time, which probably suggested starting with an X." Asked about Hunsinger's observation that XYZZY is "a mnemonic device to remember how to do cross products" [Adams 2001b], Crowther replied, "I've never heard that math mnemonic."

--Eriorg 00:45, 7 September 2012 (CDT)

I continue to say it like "zizzy." It's fun to say; it sounds like a nickname you would give to a young, very excited, energetic female, lol. Star651 21:09, 7 September 2012 (CDT)

"Zizzy" is definitely the standard pronunciation among IF folks, though I've heard jokes that it should be pronounced 'cheese'. -- Maga 14:59, 10 September 2012 (CDT)

Have any of you ever compared Xyzzy to the word in Chinese culture and mythology, Xizi? Look it up on Wikipedia. Maybe we can work on a spoof of Imogen Heap's new song Xizi She Knows and call it XYZZY Awards. Release it in time with Imogen's Heap's new album, which will contain the Xizi song. Star651 17:22, 10 September 2012 (CDT)