Word Ways

A publication for word game enthusiasts that focuses on the lighter side of logology, the science of words. Presents short expository articles on a wide range of wordplay games, such as anagrams, palindromes, word squares, pangrams, and word ladders, as w

Articles from Vol. 43, No. 1, February

Antigrams from Word Ways: A Retrospective
In the November 2009 Kickshaws, eve Michaelsen presented a selection of antigrams (antonymic anagrams) from various sources, but excluded mention of any from Word Ways. I've presented nearly 200 herein (02-monograph#5 up/dn, 03-96, 03-282, 04-277, 05-91,...
Cinematic Anagrams
Mike Morton sent numerous anagrams for "Star Wards, Episode I: The Phantom Menace." [Copyright (c)1999 by the author, Mike Morton <mike(AT)mikemorton(DOT)com>. All rights reserved. You may reproduce this, in whole or in part, in any form provided...
Colloquy
A. ROSS ECKLER was the first to answer all the unsolved posers in the November issue. He wrote: Knuth's puzzles are based on mixup, premix, and simplex; the two-letter puzzles by Harold Jacobs are based on names of states and territories, Scrabble two-letter...
Color Blind-1
While it seems as if the list below is comprised of unrelated words, things are not so black and white here. In fact, this collection is abundantly colorful if you can see through the camouflage. In each instance, you are asked to remove one unspecified...
Comical Comments
Ove Michaelsen sent a passle of funny statements from many different sources. His own are the comments without quotation marks. ACCREDITATION A disgruntled recording artist, whose name I will not disclose, considered including this comment in the liner...
Definitive Acrostics
These are 'backward' acronyms. Instead of abbreviating a given phrase or company name, etc, they start with the abbreviation given, usually a single word, and use its letters as the initial letters of a phrase created to define or relate to the word....
Disorder in the Court
Ray Love purloined the following from the web: "These are from a book called "Disorder in the American Courts", and are things people have actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters who had the torment of staying...
Global Limericking
Bill describes a recent project of his: "I thought I would try to write a few limericks. Once I got started it was hard to stop. When I did, I came up with the idea of "Around the World in 80 Limericks." Some tell a story, some try to be funny, and some...
Halloween Scrabble
Jed Martinez has a haunting Scrabble story: "If you like Scrabble, then you'll love to hear this ... On the October 28th meeting of Scrabble Club 276--which I'm a member of--a special prize was given out to the player (in the first two of three games)...
How Many Shiftgrams in a Word-Set?
A word possesses a shiftgram if its letters can first be shifted along the alphabet and then transposed to form another word. The classic example MUSIC to QUACK was offered by Alice Gorki (she is also a shiftgram) and Dimitri Miller in "Sea-Changed Words"...
"It's My Centennial!" Said Tom Swiftly
Starting in 1910, boys grew up devouring the adventures of Tom Swift, a sterling hero and natural scientific genius created by Edward Stratemeyer. Many of Tom's inventions predated technological developments in real life - electric cars, seacopters,...
It's Not Easy Being Mondegreen
As every card-carrying recreational linguist knows, a mondegreen is a mishearing: a phrase that has been misconstrued, usually with humorous results. The word mondegreen is itself a mondegreen. A 17th-century Scottish ballad contains the verse "They...
Job Opportunities
"Even with unemployment being as high as it is," Bill Brandt states, "there are still a lot of job opportunities out there if you are willing to meet the challenges they entail." To prove his point, he lists the follow: There is a job opportunity for...
Look Back!
Over the years Word Ways has displayed a varied logological corpus. In this column I revisit forgotten ideas, connect seemingly-disparate concepts, and suggest further investigations. In the August 1981 Kickshaws, Faith Eckler presented a 19th-century...
Magic Spells
Magic spelling tricks have a special appeal to those of us with a passion for recreational linguistics and mathematics. Provided of course that they are well done. This means that the mathematics should be subtle (sometimes the performer does not even...
Newer Math: Limerick Addition
Beginning in the early 1960s, New Math was introduced in grade schools. It emphasized mathematical structure through set theory and number bases other than 10. The principle idea was: If kids learned the axiomatic foundations of math, they could easily...
Punk Whiz 9
Yet another misdefinition pun quiz. Numbers in parentheses are the letters in the answer; (4 4) is a charade, an eight letter word that splits into a four plus four letter pun. My answers are out back. 1. twice (3 3 5) 2. yellow bird (7) 3. deaf in one...
Rhyming, End-to-End-Palindromic Verse
Rhyming, end-to-end-palindromic (RETEP) verse is a relatively recent development in palindromic composition. As its name indicates, RETEP verse is to be distinguished from other varieties of rhyming palindromic verse in which whatever palindromicity...
Synonym Pudding
Webster's Tenth Collegiate dictionary lists synonyms of headword adjectives in two ways: in small caps in the main definition set, and at the end with the heading syn followed by a group of additional small cap synonyms. (The latter are selected to highlight...
The Broad Ripple Puzzle-Game
As reported in the November issue of Word Ways, Peggy Boulden's class from Indianapolis' Broad Ripple High School recently visited Butler University for a presentation of mathematical word play. In addition to the magic spelling trick described in November...
Witwits-Part 1
A WITWIT is merely an acronym for "Where In The Word Is That?," an orthographic challenge that I introduced in May I Have A Word With You?. In the first of this seven-part series, two dozen letter sequences have been extracted, without interruption,...