Thursday, March 15, 2007

Anagrammatically Speaking

A schoolboy riddle: How do you make a lemon bigger?
The answer: Make an anagram of it: you get a melon.

Damodar Menon, Human Resource executive in a Chennai-based software company, was cut up. And with good reason. A long-time pal of his had sent an e-mail with copies to a dozen common friends, incorporating more than 20 anagrams of his name, including `A Damned Moron', `A Modern Nomad' and `Marooned! Damn!' That there were less obnoxious ones like `Moon And Dream', `Man, Do Dream on!' and `Mad dream? No, No' did not pacify him. Damu need not have taken umbrage. This friend of his has equally uncomplimentary anagrams for others -- like `Evil's Agents' for `Evangelists' and `Woman Hitler' for `Mother-in-law'. `Adolf Hitler' is `Hated For Ill'. It is not as if he has a perverted mind when it comes to anagrams. Take `Margaret Thatcher', for instance. It transforms into `That Great Charmer'. Or `Clint Eastwood' that becomes `Old West Action'.

It is a little-known fact that the author of `Alice in Wonderland' was a great mathematician too. Officially called Charles Ludwig Dodgson, he wrote under the pen name Lewis Carroll. Even less known is the fact that he formed the anagram `Flit on, Cheering Angel!' from the name

`Florence Nightingale'. Would you not agree that `HMS Pinafore' is the `Name of a ship'? Only the mentally deranged would think, however, that `Funeral' is `Real Fun'.

At a restaurant, when a member of the hospitality staff comes up with the suggestion `A Stew, sir?' she might little realise that her polite query is an anagram of her vocation - `Waitress!'
`Astronomers' would not like the idea that a mutation of the word is `No More Stars'. The word `Violence' turns into `Nice Love' and `Festival' into `Fast Evil'. Quarantine areas are `Contaminated' and hence `No Admittance'. The answer to the question "What do `The Eyes' do?" is hidden there: obviously, `They See'.

All of us would nod in agreement that `Vile' is `Evil'. The British would be proud that `Old England' is `Golden Land'.

Back home, typos are known to have transformed `Aparna Sivadasan' into `Arpana Sadasivan'. Some of the Indian cities now have the easily recognised and popular yellow and black sign of the money transfer agents `Estern Union' -- a common sight on the financial streets abroad. They would be delighted that an anagram of their name is `No Wire Unsent' - a testimony that theirs is a failsafe mechanism for sending money telegraphically.

Experts say that longer strings are more amenable to formation of anagrams. At the hands of an adept, the proverb `A Stitch In Time Saves Nine' becomes `This is meant as an incentive'.
One of the best anagrams is the one formed from the phrase `To Cast Pearls Before The Swine' - `One's Labour Is A Perfect Waste'.

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