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.
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/
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.
…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!
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
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?
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.
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.
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