adj. pertaining to porcupines
SOUTH DAKOTA shares no letters with its capital, PIERRE. It’s the only such state.
EIGHTY-ONE has nine letters.
ONE HUNDRED has ten letters.
There was a young fellow of Trinity
Who found .
The number of digits
Gave him the fidgets
So he dropped math and took up divinity.
adj. pertaining to buffoons
How lightly leaps the youthful chamois
From rock to rock and never misses!
I always get all cold and clamois
When near the edge of precipisses.
Confronted by some yawning chasm,
He bleats not for his sire or mamois
(That is, supposing that he has’m),
But yawns himself — the bold young lamois!
He is a thing of beauty always;
And when he dies, a gray old ramois,
Leaves us his horns to deck our hallways;
His skin cleans teaspoons, soiled or jamois.
I shouldn’t like to be a chamois,
However much I am his debtor.
I hate to run and jump; why, damois,
‘Most any job would suit me bebtor!
– Burges Johnson, Beastly Rhymes, 1906
PENNSYLVANIA is the only state name typed with all eight fingers.
- 2737 = (2 × 7)3 – 7
- Move the C in CABARET and you get A BAR, ETC.
- Van Gogh sold only one painting in his lifetime.
- “He who hesitates is last.” — Mae West
- If a man is convinced he has hypochondria, is he a hypochondriac?
v. to cause not to be
DISCOUNTER INTRODUCES REDUCTIONS is a coherent sentence composed entirely of 10-letter anagrams.
BROBDINGNAGIAN and LUMBERING both contain BIG.
CLOSEMOUTHED and UNCOMMUNICATIVE both contain MUTE.
EXHILARATION AND EXULTATION both contain ELATION.
FOUNDATION and FOUNTAIN both contain FONT.
IMPAIR and MALFORM both contain MAR.
IRRITATED and INFURIATED both contain IRATE.
JOINED and CONFEDERATED both contain ONE.
JOLLITY and JOCULARITY both contain JOY.
LATEST and LEAST both contain LAST.
LIGHTED and ILLUMINATED both contain LIT.
NOUGAT and NEUROTIC both contain NUT.
OBSERVE and SPECTATE both contain SEE.
PLAYFULNESS and FACETIOUSNESS both contain FUN.
POSTURED and POSITIONED both contain POSED.
PURGED and PASTEURIZED both contain PURE.
RAMPAGE and RAVAGE both contain RAGE.
UNANIMITY and UNIFORMITY both contain UNITY.
SLIPPERY, STEALTHY, and SLINKY all contain SLY.
TRANSGRESSIONS, PERVERSIONS, and MISDOINGS all contain SINS.
Miami University French professor Howard Chace composed stories in what he called the “Anguish languish” to show the importance of intonation in conveying meaning. This example, “Ladle Rat Rotten Hut,” was written in 1940 and appeared subsequently in the Los Angeles Times. Read it aloud:
Wants pawn term, dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner ladle cordage honor itch offer lodge dock florist. Disc ladle gull orphan worry ladle cluck wetter putty rat hut, end fur disc raisin, pimple colder ladle rat rotten hut.
Wan moaning rat rotten hut’s murder colder inset: “Ladle rat rotten hut, heresy ladle basking winsome burden barter an shirker car keys. Tick disc ladle basking tudor cordage offer groin murder honor udder site offer florist. Shaker lake, dun stopper laundry wrote, end yonder nor sorghum stenches dun stopper torque wet strainers.”
“Hoe-cake, murder,” resplendent ladle rat rotten hut, end tickle ladle basking an stuttered oft. Honor wrote tudor cordage offer groin murder, ladle rat rotten hut mitten anamolous woof. “Wail, wail, wail,” set disc wicket woof, “evanescent ladle rat rotten hut! Wares oar putty ladle gull goring wizard ladle basking?”
“Armor goring tumor groin murder’s,” reprisal ladle gull. “Grammar’s seeking bet. Armor ticking arson burden barter end shirker car keys.”
“O hoe! Heifer blessing woke,” setter wicket woof, butter taught tomb sheft, “Oil tickle shirt court tudor cordage offer groin murder. Oil ketchup wetter letter, an den — O bore!”
Soda wicket woof tucker shirt court, end whinny retched a cordage offer groin murder, hee picket inner widow end sore debtor pore oil worming wurst lion inner bet. Inner flesh, disc abdominal woof lipped honor betting adder rope. Zany pool dawn err groin murder’s nut cup an gnat gun, any curdled dope inner bet.
Inner ladle wile, ladle rat rotten hut a raft attar cordage end ranker dough bill. “Comb ink, sweat hard,” setter wicket woof, disgracing is verse. Ladle rat rotten hut entity bet rum end stud buyer groin murder’s bet.
“O Grammar,” crater ladle gull, “Wart bag icy gut! A nervous sausage bag ice!”
“Buttered lucky chew whiff, doling,” whiskered disc ratchet woof, wetter wicked small.
“O Grammar, water bag noise! A nervous sore suture anomalous prognosis!”
“Buttered small your whiff,” inserter woof, ants mouse worse waddling.
“O Grammar, water bag mousey gut! A nervous sore suture bag mouse!”
Daze worry on forger nut gulls lest warts. Oil offer sodden, throne offer carvers and sprinkling otter bet, disc curl and bloat Thursday woof ceased pore ladle rat rotten hut an garbled erupt.
Mural: Yonder nor sorghum stenches shut ladle gulls stopper torque wet strainers.
n. a trainer of young thieves
I’m not sure who originated this — “Hiawatha at Miami,” a tale of auto-repair skulduggery. Composed entirely in letters with left-right symmetry, it was typed with a normal keyboard but must be read in a mirror:
OTTO TUOHTIW OTUA TAHT HTIW
IIAWAH TA AHTAWAIH
–!IXAT A TAHW — IXAT A TIH
.IMAIM TA ATOYOT A
:YVI OT WOV I TUH A TA
.IXAT A TIH AHTAWAIH”
HATU OT TUO TI WOT YAM I
“!YXAW OOT — WOT OT TIAW YAM I
IXAT A HTIW OTTO TUOHTIW
IIAWAH TA AHTAWAIH
-IXAM A — AMIXAM A TIH
!IMAIM TA (OTUA YM) AM
:AVA HTIW TUH A TA MA I
.OTUA YM TIH AHTAWAIH”
.ITIHAT OT TI WOT YAM I
“.OTTO OT TOOT OT TIAW YAM I
AHTAWAIH HTIW YOT YAM I
.OIHO — AWOI TA TUO
IXAT HTOMMAM TAHT WOT YAM I
.UHAO OT — IIAWAH OT
In the same spirit, here’s an equation discovered by Royal V. Heath:
1118 + 1881 + 8181 + 8818 = 1181 + 1818 + 8118 + 8881
Reverse that and you get:
1888 + 8118 + 8181 + 1811 = 8188 + 1818 + 1881 + 8111
Both equations remain true if you square all their terms.
A milksop, jilted by his lass, or wandering in his wits,
Might murmur, “Stiff, O dairy-man, in a myriad of fits!”
A limner, by photography dead beat in competition,
Thus grumbled, “No, it is opposed; art sees trade’s opposition!”
A nonsense-loving nephew might his soldier-uncle dun
With “Now stop, major-general, are negro jam-pots won?”
A supercilious grocer, if inclined that way, might snub
A child with “But ragusa store, babe, rots a sugar-tub.”
Thy sceptre, Alexander, is a fortress, cried Hephæstion.
Great A. said, “No, it’s a bar of gold, a bad log for a bastion!”
A timid creature, fearing rodents–-mice and such small fry–-
“Stop, Syrian, I start at rats in airy spots,” might cry.
A simple soul, whose wants are few, might say, with hearty zest,
“Desserts I desire not, so long no lost one rise distressed.”
A stern Canadian parent might in earnest, not in fun,
Exclaim, “No sot nor Ottawa law at Toronto, son!”
A crazy dentist might declare, as something strange or new,
That “Paget saw an Irish tooth, Sir, in a waste gap!” True!
A surly student, hating sweets, might answer with élan,
“Name tarts? No, medieval slave, I demonstrate man!”
He who in Nature’s bitters findeth sweet food every day,
“Eureka! till I pull up ill I take rue,” well might say.
– Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, June 1873
THE CHICKEN CROSSES THE ROAD
is an anagram of
SHE CHECKS CORN AT OTHER SIDE
v. to spend more than one earns
In 1965, in a noble attempt to help the rest of us understand Australians, Alistair Morrison published Let Stalk Strine, a glossary of terms used Down Under:
AIR FRIDGE: average
BAKED NECKS: bacon and eggs
DISMAL GUERNSEY: decimal currency
EGG NISHNER: air conditioner
GARBLER MINCE: a couple of minutes
MARMON DEAD: Mom and Dad
RISE UP LIDES: razor blades
SAG RAPES: sour grapes
SPLIT NAIR DYKE: splitting headache
TIGER LOOK: take a look
“Aorta mica laura genst all these cars cummer ninner Sinny. Aorta have more buses. An aorta put more seats innem so you doan tefter stan aller toym — you carn tardly move innem air so crairded.”
The book went through 17 impressions in one year, a sign the problem had gotten completely out of hand. Just a few months before it appeared, the English author Monica Dickens had been signing copies of her latest book in a Sydney shop when a woman handed her a copy and said, “Emma Chisit.” Dickens inscribed the volume “To Emma Chisit” and handed it back. “No,” said the woman, leaning forward: “Emma Chisit?”
Charade sentences devised by Howard Bergerson:
FLAMINGO: PALE, SCENTING A LATENT SHARK! =
FLAMING, OPALESCENT IN GALA TENTS — HARK!
NO! UNCLE-AND-AUNTLESS BE, AS TIES DENY OUR END.
NO UNCLEAN, DAUNTLESS BEASTIES’ DEN YOU REND.
HISS, CARESS PURSUIT, OR ASTOUND, O ROC, O COBRAS!
HIS SCARES SPUR SUITOR, AS TO UNDO ROCOCO BRAS.
HA! THOU TRAGEDY INGRATE, DWELL ON, SUPERB OLD STAG IN GLOOM =
HATH OUTRAGE, DYING, RATED WELL? ON SUPER-BOLD STAGING LOOM!
In the same spirit: 1! 10! 22! 1! = 11! 0! 2! 21!
WON TON spelled backward is NOT NOW.
Concerned that the men of 1768 no longer read the Bible, Edward Harwood decided to translate the New Testament into modern language. The result has been called “turgid,” “absurd,” “ridiculous,” and “one of the most discussed and insulted” Bibles of the 18th century. Samples of his work:
Before: “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
After: “Since therefore you are now in a state of lukewarmness, a disagreeable medium between the two extremes, I will in no long time eject you from my heart with fastidious contempt.”
Before: “Give us this day our daily bread.”
After: “As thou hast hitherto most mercifully supplied our wants, deny us not the necessaries and conveniences of life, while thou art pleased to continue us in it.”
Before: “We shall not all die, but we shall all be changed.”
After: “We shall not all pay the common debt of nature, but we shall by a soft transition be changed from mortality to immortality.”
And here’s the Lord’s Prayer:
O thou great governor and parent of universal nature (God) who manifestest thy glory to the blessed inhabitants of heaven–may all thy rational creatures in all the parts of thy boundless dominion be happy in the knowledge of thy existence and providence, and celebrate thy perfections in a manner most worthy of thy nature and perfective of their own! May the glory of thy moral development be advanced and the great laws of it be more generally obeyed. May the inhabitants of this world pay as cheerful a submission and as constant an obedience to Thy will, as the happy spirits do in the regions of immortality.
Harwood said his translation “left the most exacting velleity without ground for quiritation.”
CEDED, DEEDED, MUMMY, MUUMUU, and YUMMY are each typed with one finger.
In 1978, as part of an initiative to adopt gender-neutral language, the city council of Woonsocket, R.I., dubbed its manholes “personholes.”
After two weeks of nationwide derision, they changed their minds.
Time reported, “The council members voted to go back to manholes, indicating that it will be a long time before a person-person delivers Woonsocket’s mail.”
Ross Eckler coined the sentence Unsociable housemaid discourages facetious behaviour.
Each of the five words contains the five major vowels in a different order.
n. one who regards poetry with suspicious dislike