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Word Reversals Game
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2012/08/20
4:28pm
San Diego, California
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Our Quiz Guy John Chaneski revives a classic game of word reversals called Get Back. What palindromic advice would you give to someone who ought to stay away from baked goods? How about snub buns? If, on the other hand, you’ve highlighted the pastries, then you’ve stressed desserts. This is part of a complete episode.

2012/08/21
3:10pm
New River, AZ, USA
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Haven’t listened to that episode yet. Will tonite when winding down. I love palindromes, and for whatever reason, my brain notices them in print. My most recent “discovery” was reward drawer. Shared that with a teacher friend who is also a palindrome fan. He liked it so much that he actually made it into a label for the drawer on his filing cabinet where he keeps goodies for his students. He tells me several have pointed out “Hey Mr. Copeland, did you know that spells the same thing forward and backward?” Teachers are always looking for tricks like that to stimulate students’ minds.

Like I said, I haven’t listened to that episode yet, so I hope reward drawer isn’t already in there. But I was excited to find a 6-letter word which, when combined with its palindrome, made a sensible two-word phrase for which clues could be given and a logical meaning extracted. Of course, the frequency of palindromes drops dramatically as the number of letters increases. See this tabulation:   http://www.springerlink.com/content/l223x6kmu014x316/

2013/07/20
7:14am
Robert
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What palindromic mad rant might come out of Philip Roth if he were Italian?

 
POW, ami! O Gad, ami! Go hang a salami! Doc, note: I dissent- a fast never prevents a fatness! I diet on cod! I’m a lasagna hog! I’m a dago! I’m a wop!
2013/07/20
8:40am
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I note most of the palindromes in this discussion have an even number of letters, but Robert’s long example has an odd number. Are there any statistics? Are the even ones easier to find/make?

2013/07/20
9:30am
New River, AZ, USA
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Emmett asked: Are the even ones easier to find/make?

According to the article cited in my previous post (you can “look inside” without buying) the odd-number palindromes are easier to make because “the middle letter is not constrained by symmetry.” Of course, that’s just for single word palindromes. And, of course, any two-word palindrome (like stressed desserts or reward drawer) will necessarily have an even number of letters. I doubt any such rules apply to multi-word palindromes like the one Robert provided.

Speaking of which, I do believe that’s the longest palindrome I’ve ever seen. Purists would balk at the selective inclusion of apostrophes, but that’s still an impressive string of words imho.

2013/07/20
12:20pm
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Madam, I’m Adam has an odd number :)

2013/07/20
3:25pm
Robert
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 What palindromic comment might be heard when Oprah interviews some skinny actress?

 

No siree, no Oprah – ‘Madam Tubie ,’ ei ? – but ‘Madam Harpooneer’ is on.

 

I hereby forgo all hopes of ever  talking with Oprah.

2013/07/21
12:17am
Robert
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The palindromic Dogman at his mother’s deathbed:
 
Pup saw Dad was dog-DNA, no? Ma, I am on, and God saw Dad was pup.
 
 Now, they have Batman, Catwoman, Spiderman- nothing wrong with dog, no?
2013/07/21
12:32am
Ron Draney
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Heimhenge said

…I do believe that’s the longest palindrome I’ve ever seen.

In that case, hold onto your hat. Attempting to improve upon the classic A man, a plan, a canal – Panama!, Guy Steele came up with this one thirty years ago:

A man, a plan, a canoe, pasta, heros, rajahs, a coloratura, maps, snipe, percale, macaroni, a gag, a banana bag, a tan, a tag, a banana bag again (or a camel), a crepe, pins, Spam, a rut, a Rolo, cash, a jar, sore hats, a peon, a canal – Panama!

2013/07/22
9:45am
San Diego, CA
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Wow. That’s spectacular! Might have to use it on the air sometime. Thanks, Ron! :-)

2013/07/23
11:25pm
Robert
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What palindromic statement can be made infinitely long, in any Roman language?
 

This list is symmetrical excluding this sentence mirrored at the end : … x y z y x … d n e e h t t a d e r o r r i m e c n e t n e s s i h t g n i d u l c x e l a c i r t e m m y s s i t s i l s i h t

 
Lacking poetry, yes, but a perfect statement,  perfect logic.
 
Now there might be objection that the list makes no sense. But it does make sense: it meets the definition that is right in there !
 
And then if you allow that a ‘list‘ can include colons and blanks and nulls, then you can position those elements in so the whole thing becomes perfectly symmetrical.
2013/07/24
9:50am
Glenn
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I think I have a legitimate concern. First, I loved the use of percale in Ron’s Panamanian palindrome. Then I concede that there likely were cotton sheets employed by the canal workers during the construction. Then I find myself evaluating each item on the list to see if it might reasonably played a role in the construction of the Panama canal. They had to eat, so pasta, macaroni, Spam, heros (aka. hoagies, subs, etc.), a crepe are easy.

Finally, I muse about the unlikeliest of items in the list and try to devise absurd ways in which they might rightly appear in the list — a coloratura.

Is it just me?

2013/07/24
12:31pm
Ron Draney
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Glenn, if you limit yourself to the period 1881-1914 when the Panama Canal was under construction, it’s harder to justify either Spam or a Rolo, since both (by a remarkable coincidence) were introduced in 1937. You could more easily have a coloratura visiting the site, although it’d have to be someone other than the obvious choice: Yma Sumac, who was born in not-so-distant Peru, but not until 1922.

2013/07/24
3:18pm
Glenn
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Would that be Spam the canned meat, Spam the junk mail, or Spam the orange beverage?

2013/07/24
10:16pm
Ron Draney
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Well, as I said, Spam the canned meat came to market in 1937. Spam the junk mail was a term was first applied almost fifty years later, and based on a 1970 Monty Python sketch that was in part about the canned meat.

I don’t know of any orange beverage called Spam. Are you perhaps misremembering the resolution of the AWWW caller who found a meal plan featuring a mysterious “Tang”, which turned out to be an early competitor brand to Spam?

Everybody’s favorite online research tool, Wikipedia, further suggests that “SPAM” can refer to Smooth-particle applied mechanics, the use of smoothed-particle hydrodynamics computation to study impact fractures in solids. It seems even more unlikely that they were using this discipline, at least under this acronym, in pre-WWI Panama.

2013/07/25
11:26am
Glenn
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It was indeed a call-back, intentional, to the delightful and unmistakable Tang leitmotif. I added it for grins for the regulars.

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