msalt to battle for title of world's best palindromist March 16, 2012 3:04 PM   Subscribe

Portland's Mark Saltveit MetaFilter's msalt to battle for title of world's best palindromist
posted by turbodog to MetaFilter-Related at 3:04 PM (75 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

Good luck msalt!
posted by zarq at 3:08 PM on March 16, 2012


A man, a plan, a canal: msalt!
posted by griphus at 3:15 PM on March 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


I would love to know how msalt writes a palindrome - does he start from the middle and work out? or does it just jump into his head?

I don't think my brain is wired for writing palindromes.
posted by muddgirl at 3:19 PM on March 16, 2012


How do you win? Length? or Creativity?
posted by bluefly at 3:30 PM on March 16, 2012


That's what...

nevermind
posted by found missing at 3:31 PM on March 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wow!

Don't worry, msalt. I'm not competing.
posted by ODiV at 3:34 PM on March 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


He should totally have a sock puppet named tlasm.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 3:42 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does the palindrome in the picture actually say "Florida's sad - I rolf"?
Because, you know...
posted by Omnomnom at 3:48 PM on March 16, 2012


I approve
posted by waraw at 3:52 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Live: Yoko Ono, Bananarama, Lamar, Nana, Bono. OK? Oy. Evil.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:03 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


This just invigorates me in my goal to be metafilter's own ... something or other.
posted by desjardins at 4:04 PM on March 16, 2012


Oof. A nana.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:04 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Florida's sad--I Rolf" was the title of a never-broadcast episode of the show "Good Times", in which Esther Rolle's and John Amos's characters dealt with a family tragedy in different ways, she by mourning, and he by trying an experimental psychotherapy.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:04 PM on March 16, 2012 [13 favorites]


I don't think my brain is wired for writing palindromes.

My brain is barely wired for writing sentences. What msalt does is like magic to me.

Good luck, ak! Culd oog.

How was that?
posted by Rock Steady at 4:10 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


WHOOT WHOOT! Good luck msalt. You rule.
posted by Lutoslawski at 4:25 PM on March 16, 2012


How do you win? Length? or Creativity?

While length can definitely make or break it, creativity is definitely encouraged.

Now what's this about a palindrome contest?

Also, Paul Barman has some great palindromes in Bleeding Brain Grow:
Ma, origami magi roam. Eve,
Mika, Rza, Evil JD. Nasir is Osiris and JLive, AZ, Rakim,
Cormega, Cage, Mr. O.C.:
I’m anomie. I, mon ami.
posted by griphus at 4:28 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Saltveit admits this type of wordplay -- words or groups of words that read the same backward and forward -- is an unusual pastime for a grown man.

Children can go through a palindrome-writing phase after learning about the concept in school, but most abandon the fad far before adulthood.


Whaaaaat? WRONG! Totally rad for adults and kids alike! Probably great for staving off the inevitable spectre of death and decay to boot.

Also, does this mean you are competing with Dimitri Martin? Isn't he a palindrome wizard? So cool that you are doing this!
posted by lazaruslong at 4:34 PM on March 16, 2012


Also:

Yawn. Madonna fan? No damn way.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:35 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


palindrome wizard

My next D&D campaign just got less appealing for anyone to play with me.
posted by cmoj at 4:47 PM on March 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Related
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:07 PM on March 16, 2012


A gas: Daisey scams a riled — oy, yodel! — Ira's Macs. Yes, iAd saga!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:37 PM on March 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


cmoj, the set of anyone is demonstrably broken. I would rock a palindrome wizard. He would have to spend so many points on language fluency for his powers to work on various creatures. And would be invariably vanquished by a foreigner from distant lands. The module writes itself backwards and forwards.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:54 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did you know that "Power Word Kill" is an anagram for "Dork Willpower"?
posted by griphus at 5:59 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dark elves get a great first-level bonus as palindrome wizards:

Noob word: a Drow boon.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:11 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Some time ago on AskMe, someone asked who they should hire to replace a skilled archivist at a local library. I was quite irked by several responses suggesting that the Asker should forego the many well-credentialed applicants and hire an underqualified but cheap temporary worker through a third-party service. My response:

A temp? Meta!
posted by googly at 6:12 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


His daughter lives one town over from me!
posted by KathrynT at 6:19 PM on March 16, 2012


He's been engaging in an interesting dialogue with academics on Daoism, too; I presume for another article for MeFiMag. This hyperactive polymath must be stopped!
posted by Abiezer at 6:36 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dark elves get a great first-level bonus as palindrome wizards:

Noob word: a Drow boon.
posted by BitterOldPunk


You know, I always dug your comments, frequently enjoy your TIMJ selections, but it wasn't until now that I have developed a full-on man-crush.

So, you know, chew on that. Take it home with ya. See how it tastes.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:45 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


drizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:45 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did you know that "Power Word Kill" is an anagram for "Dork Willpower"?
posted by griphus


That just makes me think of Lord Soth at the gates of Palanthras, and Tanis and Tas and the golden bracelet, and Raistlin and Caramon and Dalamar and Astintus and Par Sailan and Crysanthia and Takhasis, Queen of Darkness, Dragon of All Colors and None, Huma, Flint Fireforge and Fistandantilus, and then I get sad and wistful. Thanks.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:49 PM on March 16, 2012


ha! I still have the greasemonkey "Palin-free in 2011" script installed. so everyone in this thread and in the links is talking about "porkydromes".
posted by crush-onastick at 6:51 PM on March 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


Is he going up against Demitri Martin? Because that guy is really really good at palindromes.
posted by hippybear at 7:09 PM on March 16, 2012


Horace Rumpole: "He should totally have a sock puppet named tlasm."

Thanks for saving me $5.

And trying to find a palindrome phrase that would communicate 'good luck.'

(Which would have, time-wise, probably been a much bigger expense.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:18 PM on March 16, 2012


"No panic- I nap on" is awesome. He should win just for that. And for getting name-dropped by Will Shortz.
posted by bquarters at 7:30 PM on March 16, 2012


In highschool, in Drama class, we were assigned palindromes! We had to choose a palindrome and then come up with a sketch about it on the spot, and the class had to figure out the palindrome. On of the guys before me used "racecar" and it kind of flew over my head that "racecar" was really a palindrome... so I decided to steal his schtick and take it next level with "Buttertubs love Spock, actually!" So I came up with a sketch about tubs of butter being enamored with Leonard Nimoy, and when I was done, half the class was frowning over a piece of paper, pencils flying, trying to figure out the palindrome. It was then I realized that 1) racecar was actually a palindrome and 2) this was the funniest thing I had ever done in my life, and I about died from spontaneous lulz when the class started to read out what they thought the palindrome was... I can't even remember them, I was giggling so hard.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:31 PM on March 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Palindromes are really easy to write, I don't even know what you guys are taat eras yug u oyta hwwo nk'neve tn odi et I rwoty saey lla ereras emord nilap.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:16 PM on March 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Good luck!

msalt is a guy?
posted by deborah at 8:23 PM on March 16, 2012


msalt is a guy?

Yes, and msali is a woman. I get 'em mixed up all the time too.

posted by Rock Steady at 8:26 PM on March 16, 2012


Thanks v much all for the kind words. Demetri Martin is a fine palindromist but did not reply to his invitation. Oh yeah, I won 169-165. Headed out for a bite w Nick Montfort (the MIT prof)
posted by msalt at 9:16 PM on March 16, 2012 [35 favorites]


One constraint was an x and a z. "Devil Kay fixes trapeze part; sex if yak lived.". I'm not sure I can tell my daughters though.
posted by msalt at 9:30 PM on March 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


A dog, a plan, a canal: pagoda.
posted by Rumple at 9:35 PM on March 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


It is sadly unlikely that anyone will ever best Georges Perec,* but I wish msalt luck.

* "Perec's palindrome of 1969 contains more than 5,000 charcters and many brilliant turns. It opens with the injunction: trace l'inégal palindrome, and soon describes itself: le brut repentir, cet écrit né Perec, which astonishingly becomes on its return: ce repentir, cet écrit ne per[turbe]. It seems unlikely that any work of its kind will soon match Perec's combination of length, ingenuity, and literary elegance." (so says Harry Mathews in the Oulipo Compendium.)
posted by kenko at 11:14 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I won 169-165.

IC. Congrats, star!

Gnocci?
posted by ODiV at 11:54 PM on March 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


What do they serve at a palindrome competition?

Regal lager.
posted by ODiV at 12:16 AM on March 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


T. Eliot, top bard, notes putrid tang emanating, is sad. I'd assign it a name: gnat dirt upset on drab pot-toilet.

Good luck topping that classic!
posted by Decani at 12:30 AM on March 17, 2012


My second effort:

constraint: something on a figure in the news the last 12 months
"I tan. I mull. In a way, Obama, I am a boy, a wan Illuminati."

The third: constraint was, something about the American Crossword puzzle tournament. If anyone saw the film Wordplay, Al Sanders was the guy who has placed 3rd about 10 years in a row, and was eliminated due to a tragic error in the film after he clearly had won.

This palindrome predicts that he will finally win the tournament this year:
"Gal, smiles are stellar ere crossword rows sorcerer Al lets era's elim's lag."

Connett's top palindrome was about Ron Paul: " 'Not Newt!' Ron's snort went on."
posted by msalt at 2:01 AM on March 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Regal lager.

I prefer Retro Porter.
posted by msalt at 2:02 AM on March 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


I would love to know how msalt writes a palindrome - does he start from the middle and work out? or does it just jump into his head?

I look for promising phrases or words, start in the middle and work out. That's almost universal, but the Australian competitor Martin Clear starts with a pair of semordnilaps (e.g. war/raw but hopefully more interesting) and works in. Only person I've ever heard who does that.

I also have been collecting fragments of palindromes for some time, which I've built into a homemade dictionary to look up phrases, say for the situation where you have an extra p at the end.
posted by msalt at 2:07 AM on March 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


For example, my third one, crossword give you limited choices, so I made "d" the center, "rows" is staring you in the face practically and fits crossword perfectly, and you have "sorc" left over.

I explored "sorcery" and "sorcerer" and can't really think of any other directions to go with that, but it's late.
posted by msalt at 2:09 AM on March 17, 2012


Yay Mark!
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:04 AM on March 17, 2012


Congrats on the win!!!
posted by lazaruslong at 8:12 AM on March 17, 2012


I would love to know how msalt writes a palindrome - does he start from the middle and work out? or does it just jump into his head?

By the way, I give a workshop called "Write Your Own Palindromes!" mostly for kids (did 3 in Manhattan to start my day yesterday). It's currently free, at least until I finish my book proposal (and hopefully, my agent sells it.) Memail me if interested. It can certainly be adapted for grownup groups, too.

I also have a talk on "The Mystical History of Palindromes" which I gave at Gonzaga last year, more about classical and medieval palindromy, gods and witchcraft, odd monkish manuscripts, that sort of thing.
posted by msalt at 8:30 AM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait, you were at Gonzaga? Hey, next time you're in the area, drop me a MeMail and we'll have a mini-meetup!
posted by hippybear at 8:45 AM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


reddit palindrome: "A man. AMA."
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:04 AM on March 17, 2012 [12 favorites]


Congratulations!
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:18 AM on March 17, 2012


The one time I took LSD my brain got stuck the concept of palindromes. I kept repeating "Dennis sinned" until all of reality began to unravel and then spin back together. Bad trip, man.
posted by stargell at 10:20 AM on March 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Huzzuh!

See what I did there?
posted by deborah at 12:38 PM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


A man, a plan, a cameo, Zena, Bird, Mocha, ... (rest here) ..., Lew, Orpah, Comdr, Ibanez, OEM, a canal, Panama! Peter Norvig's attempts to find and generate the longest possible palindrome.
posted by A dead Quaker at 1:51 PM on March 17, 2012


A female friend from the North of England wasn't impressed, but I had to disagree with her:

Yes! Salt won! Yay! Nowt, lass, ey?
posted by motty at 8:01 PM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aw, you guys.

stargell: The one time I took LSD my brain got stuck the concept of palindromes. I kept repeating "Dennis sinned" until all of reality began to unravel and then spin back together. Bad trip...

Red now on Stargell. Leg rats? No wonder.
posted by msalt at 1:53 PM on March 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


A man, a plan, a cameo, Zena, Bird, Mocha, ... (rest here) ..., Ibanez, OEM, a canal, Panama! Peter Norvig attempts to find and generate the longest possible palindrome.

I hate to brag (not really) but Peter Norvig name-checks me in that link as "cognoscenti" (a cognoscentus?) Also, worth noting, he has some pretty good computers at his disposal since he is the director of research for Google.
posted by msalt at 2:02 PM on March 18, 2012


cortex: reddit palindrome: "A man. AMA."

American Medical Association?

posted by msalt at 2:03 PM on March 18, 2012


Ask Me Anything. It's a thing the kids do these days. I'll explain at the next poker game.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:14 PM on March 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks. I didn't think the A.M.A. was that interesting of a response.
posted by msalt at 2:18 PM on March 18, 2012


Red now on Stargell. Leg rats? No wonder.

Balm lab?
posted by stargell at 3:52 PM on March 18, 2012


Said a pot, "A cis man am(sic) atop a dias."
posted by ODiV at 5:32 PM on March 18, 2012


oho!
posted by not_on_display at 10:13 PM on March 18, 2012


Hey, this is awesome!
posted by Secretariat at 12:40 PM on March 19, 2012


Well done, msalt!
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 3:50 PM on March 19, 2012


Wrote one on the plane, a nature scene -- I'm going for fluidity more these days.

"Oh, ocelots impugn; I tan. A meek Alaska yak kayaks a lake, emanating up mist, Ole. Coho!"
posted by msalt at 7:16 AM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


ODiV: "Said a pot, "A cis man am(sic) atop a dias.""

Editor's note as palindrome material. Love it.
posted by Plutor at 12:25 PM on March 20, 2012


I've got a couple (sic)'s in my notes, nothing completed yet. Asides and interjections are hot territory in palindromes these days -- e.g., op.cit., um,. Jon Agee's doing a lot with stuttering. John Connett is great with hyphenated word coinages, e.g. calling a guy "Old Lock-Nuts."
posted by msalt at 8:44 AM on March 23, 2012


msalt: Nick Montfort has written a blog post about the competition: Palindrome "Sagas".
posted by honest knave at 6:09 AM on March 27, 2012




Ooh! The Economist jumps on the bandwagon, with typical panache.
posted by msalt at 1:28 AM on March 28, 2012


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