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Fun with SIPs

Playing with Amazon's Statistically Improbably Phrase (SIP) function yields all sorts of felicitous phrases. (I admit to wondering what SIPs various dictionaries, thesauruses, cookbooks, and guide books would yield, but have thus far searched unfruitfully for any of those kinds of volumes.) The phrases tend to be more entertaining with non-fiction, and more revealing with fiction.

Except for series of books set in the same world, many of you should be able to identify which book these SIPs are from on sight. I have not in the least tried for obscurity and I've erred on the side of these being books I've frequently mentioned at various points in the past.

  1. fire lizard eggs, nine fire lizards, fire lizard queen, little fire lizards, fellis juice, kitchen cavern, bronze rider, queen egg, little queen
  2. plasma rifle, sweet madness, green sedan, motorway services
  3. turnip face, scarlet suit, square knob, moving castle, fire demon, caterpillar green, broom cupboard, her stick, harbor wall, league boots
  4. new manservant, madhouse attendants, fairy roads, practical magician, nameless slave, fairy servants, school for magicians, little surprized, four hundred guineas, little stone figure, two magicians, packhorse bridge, new magicians, moss oak, chalk road, much surprized, magical history, country servants, century magician, her ladyship, magic done, second shall, great surprize, fairy spirits, other magicians
  5. shepherding hut, curse nets, pink rhinoceros, her pointy hat, pig trick, got tae, older witches, third wish
  6. soldier with the green whiskers, four travellers, stuffed man, silver shoes, green girl
  7. inner cliff face, papal corruption, watery vapors, celestial horizon, fiery vapors, dry vapors, mortal understanding, heavenly souls, first ledge, final pit, cannot plumb

And lastly, a more obscure set, just for one particular person who might be reading this: "blank charters, mine honor, base court, thy state".

Update: If you want to guess at these, feel free! Just don't look at the existing comments first.


( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 24th, 2005 10:21 pm (UTC)
Huh. I've got 1, 3, 5 and 6, but not or 7 and 4, I've got a couple of guesses for. Should we go ahead and guess here? :)

Oct. 24th, 2005 10:25 pm (UTC)
Go for it. I considered screening comments or making this a poll, but I don't care enough about the competition to do it that way. Anyone who wants to compete honestly should be able to do so by commenting directly on the post and not reading comments first.

You've been too busy to read 4 and 7 is from a somewhat different time and place than all of the others.
Oct. 24th, 2005 10:24 pm (UTC)
All I've got is #1, some Pern book; #3, Howl's Moving Castle; and #6, The Wizard of Oz.
Oct. 24th, 2005 10:32 pm (UTC)
1. A Pern novel.

4. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell; "nameless strange" was the tipoff.
(Note: I haven't yet read more than a fraction of that book.)

5 Something by Terry Pratchett?

7 Either Dante's "The Inferno" or a modern prose knock-off.
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 25th, 2005 08:03 am (UTC)
Lots of yes!

5. You are SO close. Which gives away exactly which book it is.
Oct. 24th, 2005 10:54 pm (UTC)
1. Any Pern book - "Dragonsong" p'raps
2. I don't know and have no guesses.
3. "Howl's Moving Castle"
4. This one has echoes of Chrestomanci to it, but that doesn't match with what you said in your prior response. Will have to read other comments I presume. ;)

5. Discworld. "Wyrd Sisters" ?
6. Oz. I forget which volume though. Is that "Ozma of Oz"? It's been too long since I re-read them.
7. Meh.
Oct. 24th, 2005 11:15 pm (UTC)
I was sorely tempted to use one of the Oz books further along in the series, but I know so many people who don't realize that there's more than one Oz book in the world - so I resisted.

Here are the SIPs for Ozma of Oz: yellow hen, magic belt, copper man, little monarch, dinner pail
(no subject) - owlfish - Oct. 25th, 2005 08:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - littleowl - Oct. 25th, 2005 09:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aerinah - Oct. 27th, 2005 03:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - owlfish - Oct. 27th, 2005 10:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 24th, 2005 10:56 pm (UTC)
the last one isn't richard II, is it?
Oct. 24th, 2005 10:57 pm (UTC)
It is indeed.
(no subject) - cataptromancer - Oct. 24th, 2005 11:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - owlfish - Oct. 24th, 2005 11:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cataptromancer - Oct. 24th, 2005 11:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - littleowl - Oct. 24th, 2005 11:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 24th, 2005 11:38 pm (UTC)

We use a measure when comparing two items to see how similar they are.

TF-IDF: Term Frequency - Inverse Document Frequency

i.e. if you've got two documents with a lot of similar terms in that don't tend to appear anywhere else then its a good bet that the two documents are on the same subject.
Oct. 25th, 2005 09:00 am (UTC)
Ooooh.... that brings back memories of my final year project...
Oct. 25th, 2005 12:21 am (UTC)
Damn! I wish I'd seen this earlier -- I'd have got many of them, but not the last two, nor the Wee Free Men -- the only Pratchett I've not read (not counting the latest).
Oct. 25th, 2005 07:42 am (UTC)
You didn't have to look at everyone else's answers! If you hadn't, you could have guessed honestly.
(no subject) - owlfish - Oct. 25th, 2005 07:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - a_d_medievalist - Oct. 25th, 2005 08:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 25th, 2005 01:09 am (UTC)
Wait, is the last one one of those Philip Pullman books?
Oct. 25th, 2005 07:54 am (UTC)
If it were, it would have words like "goose daemon, parley room, witch consul, anbaric light, gyptian boat, coal silk, fire hurler, his daemon, her daemon, armored bears, coal spirit, your daemon, symbol reader, golden monkey, wolfskin coat, combat ground".

Or perhaps "lodestone resonator, cliff ghasts, adamant tower, monkey daemon, ask the alethiometer, his daemon, golden monkey, shadow particles, two daemons, subtle knife, your daemons, other daemon, blue hawk, her rucksack, wheel trees, his rucksack"

Good guess though. Appropriate.

Despite the disproportionate number of words from the Inferno, it's from a translation of the whole Divine Comedy.
Oct. 25th, 2005 08:36 am (UTC)
I only got "Howl's Moving Castle", and that's because "moving castle" is a bit of a giveaway, isn't it?. I am rubbish!
Oct. 25th, 2005 08:51 am (UTC)
1. Pern
2. Jasper Fforde I think
3. Howl's Moving Castle
4. Jonathon Strange and Mr Norrel (and what a lon list that produces...)
5-7 No idea!
Oct. 25th, 2005 09:01 am (UTC)
OK, as you've asked elsewhere for a bit more detail on 2, I'd go for "The Eyre Affair"
(no subject) - owlfish - Oct. 27th, 2005 10:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 25th, 2005 12:38 pm (UTC)
heh, I only know two.

1.) Anne McCaffery, any of her Dragonrider of Pern books and
3.) Howl's Moving Castle
Oct. 27th, 2005 10:04 pm (UTC)
Just because they're books I've read a number of times, doesn't mean they're books everyone else I know has read a number of times. But they should have. Well. I recommend them anyways.
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )