In 1996, Will Shortz invited the listeners of National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Saturday to submit word-level palindromes — sentences that remain unchanged when their words are read in reverse order, such as “King, are you glad you are king?” Runners-up:
- Fall leaves after leaves fall.
- Will my love love my will?
- Herb the sage eats sage the herb.
- Please me by standing by me, please!
- “Rock of Ages” preceded ages of “rock.”
- Escher, drawing hands, drew hands drawing Escher.
- In order to stop hunger, stop to order in.
- Blessed are they that believe that they are blessed.
- Parents love to have children; children have to love parents.
- Says Mom, “What do you do?” You do what Mom says.
- Family first sees Holy Father secretly father holy see’s first family.
- You know, I did little for you, for little did I know you.
- Did I say you never say “Never say never”? You say I did.
- Good little student does plan future, but future plan does student little good.
- Better doctors like people treated well because well-treated people like doctors better.
- Celebrate! Why not? If happy birthday’s your hope, I hope your birthday’s happy! If not, why celebrate?
- Pain increase to aching back strikes, and sufferer finds no doctor. Doctor No finds sufferer and strikes back, aching to increase pain.
The grand prize winner, by Peter L. Stein of San Francisco, was “First Ladies rule the state, and state the rule — ‘Ladies first!'”
(Will Shortz, “New Word Palindromes,” Word Ways 30:1 [February 1997], 11-12.)