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The Least Clever Limericks: One side effect of downloading 90,000 limericks is you have a lot of data. Actually, that's the primary effect. Given that Dada Da Dada Da Dum requires I classify the limericks by the sounds they use in the A and B rhymes, I thought it would be interesting to tabulate that data and see which rhymes are the most common.

Well, some of the stuff's not that interesting. Here's a stack graph showing the number of limericks using the top hundred A rhymes and the top hundred B rhymes. To me it looks like a generic graph. There's no shocking pattern and no real difference in the way A and B rhymes are distributed.

In fact, there's not much difference between the way A and B rhymes are written. The two most common A rhymes are UW1, the elongated "o" sound used most frequently in "you", "do", and "screw"; and EY1, the long "a" sound used most frequently in "day", "way", and "say". On the other hand, the most common B rhymes are... EY1 ("day", "say", "way") and UW1 ("you", "do", "two").

This is a very disappointing conclusion, but with this knowledge I have been able to write the world's least clever limerick, statistically speaking:

Oh, hi, I was looking for you
I'm bored and there's nothing to do
I've been listless all day
So what do you say
We take off our clothes and we screw

After writing that, I went through the dataset and discovered a naturally generated limerick that comes very close to having minimally clever rhymes! Its only failing is it uses "way" (#3 word for the EY1 sound in B rhymes) instead of "day" (#1):

In an earthquake, the best thing to do
Is to set about having a screw.
When you're done, you can say
In your nonchalant way
May I ask, did the earth move for you?

Here are the top twenty A rhymes and the top twenty B rhymes, each with the number of limericks they're used in and their top three words:

A rhymelimericksWord #1Word #2Word #3
4EH1 D1583bedheadsaid
5AO1 R1315moredoorwhore
6AY1 T1295nightrightsight
8EH1 R1228therehairair
9IY1 T962feetmeatsweet
11IH1 T903itshitbit
12EY1 T820greatlatefate
13IH1 R816feardearbeer
14EY1 N803painbrainjane
15IY1 N784seencleanobscene
16AE1 S775asslassclass
17AH1 N743funonedone
18IY1 Z711pleasekneesease
19EH1 L676wellhelltell
20AO1 L648allballfall

B rhymelimericksWord #1Word #2Word #3
4EH1 D1684saidbedhead
5AY1 T1319nightrightdelight
6EH1 R1213therehaircare
8AO1 R1064moredoorwhore
10IH1 T1037itshitbit
11AH1 N819funonedone
12AY1 Z799eyesthighssurprise
13IH1 R771dearfearclear
14IY1 T767meatfeetsweet
15AY1 D761insidewidedied
16AA1 T743hotnotgot
17EY1 T706dategreatlate
18AE1 S691asslassgas
19EY1 N596painbrainexplain
20EH1 L590hellwelltell

I think a comparison to a similar corpus of non-obscene rhyming poetry would be instructive.

While gathering this data I fixed a bug in my screen-scraper that was sometimes causing a B line to be treated as an A line, which of course screwed up the meter of some generated limericks. I've also changed the way limericks are posted to Twitter, so that if you go to the @DadaLimericks page the limericks in the archive won't seem to run into one another.

As a bonus/palate-cleanser from those unclever limericks, here's a very clever Queneau limerick that I don't think a human would have come up with:

The North Pole is a little bit shy
And Air France? Just the pure l'eau de vie.
My question today
That this mortal clay
She was born just before World War I.
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