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Author Topic: Spoiler - "The Age" 7 September 2017  (Read 185 times)
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« on: September 07, 2017, 05:10:31 PM »


I do The Age target puzzle in "My puzzles" as Chi is SOOOO much easier to use and without waiting a day to see if a word is acceptable. Today's 9 letter word was kilotonne (1000 tonnes) as distinct from kiloton (100 tons - short or long) but it wasn't accepted in Chi. Kiloton is rated as common, and I think kilotonne should also be common, being used in most countries.

Alan W
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Melbourne, Australia

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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2017, 09:46:14 PM »

I agree kilotonne should be accepted as a word, yelnats. It is in some of the Oxford dictionaries, Wiktionary and Chambers Dictionary (which is listed as the source dictionary for the Target puzzle in the Age). And the word is in use - to measure nuclear explosions (kilotonnes of TNT equivalent), raw materials production volumes and greenhouse emissions.

Megatonne is in exactly the same situation, so I believe it should be accepted too. However I don't think these words qualify as common. Being accepted as rare 9-letter words, with no anagrams, means in practice that they will never appear in a daily puzzle, but each of them could of course appear in a puzzle where the letters had been selected by the player.

Kilotons and megatons first began appearing regularly in the news in the 1950s and 1960s when the big powers were testing nuclear weapons with gay abandon. They've recently made a bit of a comeback thanks to North Korea's nuclear weapons program. These words are an odd compound of metric prefixes with a non-metric unit. There is no "kilomile" or "kilo-year".

The tonne, also known as the metric ton, is 1000 kilograms. It is about one and a half percent smaller than the British ton - things are going to be a bit complicated from here on in, folks - the British ton, or "long ton" being 2240 pounds. The tonne is about 9 per cent bigger than the US ton, or short ton, which is 2000 pounds.

One would think the kilotonne would be 1000 tonnes, but all the dictionaries I mentioned earlier identify it as merely an alternative form of kiloton, despite the fact that 1000 tonnes is either a bit smaller or a bit bigger than a kiloton, depending on what kind of ton it is. No doubt this is an accurate reflection of how the word is used: a newspaper reprinting a story from another country that mentions kilotons may substitute the word kilotonnes because it looks more metric, without troubling to do a conversion, or even to enquire as to whether the original article was speaking about short or long tons.

The kilotonne and megatonne are probably not favoured by scientists. The gram is the SI unit of mass, so 1000 kilograms could be a megagram. A kilotonne could be a gigagram and a megatonne could be a teragram. Of course these terms are not normally used. For such big measurements, scientists use powers of 10. So a megatonne is 1012g.

Anyhow, getting back to the issue of the commonness of kilotonne, it is used a lot less often than kiloton, even in countries that use the metric system. And in the US, kilotonne is hardly used at all. The situation regarding megatonne and megaton is similar, except that megatonne seems to be used quite frequently in Canada for measuring carbon emissions.

So, as I said, I'll add the two words, as rare words.

Alan Walker
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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2017, 10:17:44 AM »

Heavy !

Les from Brisbane ; Australia
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