Language

The Patient’s Worry

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/72201

A “snowball sentence” contrived by Dmitri Borgmann — each word is one letter longer than the last:

I do not know where family doctors acquired illegibly perplexing handwriting; nevertheless, extraordinary pharmaceutical intellectuality, counterbalancing indecipherability, transcendentalizes intercommunications’ incomprehensibleness.

In a Word

whelve
v. to cover with an inverted bowl

(Thanks, Ian.)

A CENT TIP = PITTANCE

Anagrams:

THE NUDIST COLONY = NO UNTIDY CLOTHES
A SENTENCE OF DEATH = FACES ONE AT THE END
AN AISLE = IS A LANE
IS PITY LOVE? = POSITIVELY
CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE = CAN RUIN A SELECTED VICTIM
CABARET = A BAR, ETC.
THE ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA = A DICTIONARY CAN BE ELEPHANTIC
GREYHOUND = HEY, DOG, RUN!
H.M.S. PINAFORE = NAME FOR SHIP
COMMITTEES = COST ME TIME
HEARTHSTONES = HEAT’S THRONES
THE DAWNING = NIGHT WANED
A STRIP-TEASER = ATTIRE SPARSE

Sins of Omission

A Queens College teacher left a note on his classroom door:

PROFESSOR TOBIN WILL NOT MEET HIS CLASSES TODAY.

He later noticed that a student had erased the first letter in CLASSES.

So he erased the second letter as well.

In a Word

egrote
v. to feign sickness in order to avoid work

Shorthand

shorthand

“I understand you undertake to overthrow my undertaking.”

“Typographical”

typographical

— Charles Carroll Bombaugh, Gleanings for the Curious From the Harvest-Fields of Literature, 1890

Back and Forth

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Satan_before_the_Lord.jpg

Complementary palindromes:

DO, O GOD, NO EVIL DEED, LIVE ON, DO GOOD!

LIVE, O DEVIL, REVEL EVER, LIVE, DO EVIL!

In a Word

jehu
n. a reckless driver

Rejoinder

Does any English word contain all six vowels?

Unquestionably.

Turnabout

Is this a bad sum?

turnabout

Not in a mirror:

turnabout reversal

Adapted by Martin Gardner from Henry Dudeney.

In a Word

imparlibidinous
adj. pertaining to an unequal state of desire between two people

Zoo Cliques

More nouns of assemblage:

  • a business of ferrets
  • a cartload of chimpanzees
  • a coalition of cheetahs
  • a congress of baboons
  • a gang of elk
  • a huddle of penguins
  • a kaleidoscope of butterflies
  • a labour of moles
  • a prickle of porcupines
  • a quarrel of sparrows
  • a romp of otters
  • a tiding of magpies
  • a tower of giraffes
  • a ubiquity of sparrows
  • a whiteness of swans
  • a zeal of zebras

My sources insist that a group of gnus is called an implausibility. Should I believe them?

What’s in a Name?

In the seventeenth century, André Pujom, finding that his name spelled Pendu à Riom, fulfilled his destiny by cutting somebody’s throat in Auvergne, and was actually hung at Riom, the seat of justice in that province.

— William Dobson, Poetical Ingenuities and Eccentricities, 1882

In a Word

inkle
v. to attend a party to which one has not been invited

Don’t Call Us

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Revilo_p_oliver.jpg

American philologist Revilo P. Oliver had a palindromic name — it reads the same backward and forward. In his family, he said, the name “has been the burden of the eldest or only son for six generations.”

And it cost him — at least one journal rejected his articles as fraudulent.

In a Word

saulie
n. a hired mourner at a funeral

Two in One

GATEMAN, sides reversed, is NAMETAG.

And that sentence is a palindrome.

Letter Shift

letter shift cheer -> jolly

In a Word

dyscallignia
n. the dislike of beautiful women

A Universal Solution

In 1965, Dmitri Borgmann noted that this expression:

11 + 2 – 1 = 12

… is valid also when interpreted as a set of characters:

11 “+ 2″ = 112; 112 “- 1″ = 12

… as a set of Roman numerals:

XI + II = XIII; XIII – I = XII

… and even as a set of letters:

ELEVEN + TWO = ELEVENTWO
ELEVENTWO – ONE = LEVETW (= TWELVE)

A Pretty Symmetry

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Oligoneuron-rigidum.jpg

GOLDENROD-ADORNED LOG is a palindrome.

Square Deal

In 1994, Leonard Gordon showed that all 37 presidential surnames to date can fit into a 22 × 18 rectangle:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2304/1877717801_1bd42bdd36_o.png

Inventory

In this sentence there are sixteen words, eighty-one letters, one hyphen, four commas, and one period.