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The national debate can arguably be summarized by the question: Has there been too much? Would you like to guess the percentage of the participants in the second group who solved the puzzle correctly?

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In other words, the difference could easily be due to what statisticians call sampling error. Here's an excerpt from our Word of the Year announcement in Tergiversate This rare word was chosen to represent because it described so much of the world around us.

The truth behind the universal, but flawed, catchphrase for creativity.

Indeed, the concept enjoyed such strong popularity and intuitive appeal that no one bothered to check the facts. Speakers, trainers, training program developers, organizational consultants, and university professors all had much to say about the vast benefits of outside-the-box thinking.

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That this advice is useless when actually trying to solve a problem involving a real box should effectively have killed off the much widely disseminated—and therefore, much more dangerous—metaphor that out-of-the-box thinking spurs creativity.

From our Word of the Year announcement: That is, direct and explicit instructions to think outside the box did not help. There seemed to be no end to the insights that could be offered under the banner of thinking outside the box.

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Because the solution is, in hindsight, deceptively simple, clients tended to admit they should have thought of it themselves. The correct solution, however, requires you to draw lines that extend beyond the area defined by the dots.

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Only 20 percent managed to break out of the illusory confinement and continue their lines in the white space surrounding the dots. It is an opportunity for us to reflect on the language and ideas that represented each year.

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It was an appealing and apparently convincing message. Privacy We got serious in Bluster In a year known for the Occupy movement and what became known as the Arab Spring, our lexicographers chose bluster as their Word of the Year for Change It wasn't trendyfunny, nor was it coined on Twitterbut we thought change told a real story about how our users defined In fact, only a meager 25 percent did.

Today many people are familiar with this puzzle and its solution.