Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Backward and forward

Year of the palindrome brings out the wordsmiths among us

By Mike Pulfer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        If you were spinning in circles when we asked you to write forward and backward, we're guessing you just weren't under the palindrome dome.

        You do understand what a palindrome is, right? A word, phrase or sentence that reads the same forward or backward. Like, say, the year 2002.

        Oh, maybe you were sick when we put out the invitation to readers to send us palindromes. Doc, note I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod (Bill Smeal, Symmes Township).

        Or, maybe you were too busy trying to figure out what sex or extra art xeroxes means (Jerry Noran, Fort Thomas).

    Can't get enough of words and phrases and complete sentences that spell the same whether you're pulling forward or backing up?
    Get online and try these World Wide Web sites:
    At least three palindrome calendars were produced in the Tristate for this palindrome year.
    • Crest Graphics, Fairfax. Compact book with month-to-month designs by 12 local artists. O stone. He not so; Is sensuousness I? 271-2200.
    • Northlich advertising and public relations, downtown. A small, simple-but-fun accordion-fold promotion tool with one-word palindromes for clients, suppliers and media. Kayak, civic, racecar, peep, ewe. 421-8840.
    • Roland A. Duerksen, Oxford. Game-based calendar that asks questions daily and offers vowels and their positions in the solution as clues. Available at Oxford-area stores. Discounted from $8.95. (513) 523-8642.
        While you were coming up blank, Mr. Noran and Mr. Smeal and more than 50 other readers scratched out their favorites and sent them to the Enquirer. Test your palindromability with their clues and solutions.

        The clues:

        1. How to hail a Chiquita co-worker.

        2. Why you can't hear owls in August in the Tristate.

        3. What makes the Reds better than other teams?

        4. Best ways for a Cincinnati Opera groupie to treat a headache.

        5. Winning motto for a Greater Dayton lawn service.

        The palindromes:

        1. Yo! Banana Boy.

        2. Too hot to hoot.

        3. They are redder.

        4. Lonely tenor or one Tylenol.

        5. Miamisburg grubs I maim.

        Arthur Beach, of Middletown, took the challenge a step further and came up with a palindrome filled with nothing but palindromes: Anna, did Otto peep? Otto, did Anna?

        Roland A. Duerksen, Oxford, spelled out this one for a 2002 palindromes calendar he published last year:

        Question: Could a Midwest native have been afloat; to be of help to the Columbus boat?

        Answer: Eh? Did an Indiana man aid Nina? Did he?

        Mr. Duerksen, 75, says he never paid much attention to palindromes or the people who wrote them until 1998.

        “It was like hitting a slippery slope and sliding into it,” he said. “What's better for a retired English professor than to sit around and play with words?”

        The page-a-day calendar, he says, has been well received in the academic Miami University environment.

        “Some people tell me they work months ahead,” on the puzzles, he says. “They're enraptured.”

        Mr. Duerksen, in his calendar, presents a clue each day, usually in a rhymed couplet, followed by the solution (the palindrome) the following day. For example:

        Question: A member of the Cincinnati team, He plays as if he's in a dream.

        Answer: Wonder at a Red now.

        Sound tough? The author helps out by supplying all the vowels and occasional hints on consonants.

        At least two other 2002 calendars were produced in the Tristate.

        Dave Sollberger, president, Crest Graphics, Fairfax, said the company is considering reprinting a 5-inch-by-9-inch spiral-bound calendar it produced as a sampler with Fox River Paper Co. Twelve local designers, each assigned one month, contributed their own palindromes and accompanying illustrations.

        Here are some of the other catchy phrases that came in by mail, e-mail and fax from a diverse group that included an architect to a Catholic nun, from 7 to 87 years old.

        Marge let a Red order a telegram.

        No Casey? Yes, a con.

        6-0 Star Bengals Lag NE Brats 0-6

        Pet Spot's mad at Mt. Adams top step.

        Senile felines.

        Was it a bat I saw?

        Dammit. I'm mad.

        Todd erases a red dot.

        Star comedy by Democrats.

        Straw. No. Too stupid a fad. I put soot on warts.

        Now Ned, I am a maiden nun; Ned I am a maiden won.

        Stressed backwards spells desserts.

        Tuna nut.

        Evan, I am not on Main Ave.

        Not Lima. Hamilton.

        Cinci picnic.

        Now Mom won.

        Now Pop won.

        They were short and long; simple and complicated. Difficult and more difficult.

        One, from Dan Eltzroth, Reading, might have been a bit bitter: Dos Arenas, an era's OD.

        Some people had to look and think hard for good examples.

        Some didn't.

        “How about me?” asks Cecilia Elble, of Covedale. “I've had this name for 62 years.”


Wing it with super bowl of chili
Flowerpot project set to bloom or bust
Obesity open invitation to diabetes
- Backward and forward
Panera depends on its bread
Slimmed-down dressing thicker but tasty
Smart mouth
Body & mind
Dave Parker steps up to plate for roasting
Get to it