- The usenet group alt.anagrams = Unearth top language masters! -
alt.anagrams lets you pull up a chair in one of the friendlier, wittier, more intelligent USENET newsgroups.
This FAQ is posted to alt.anagrams every few weeks. [If the link doesn't work, you might need to configure your browser differently or use a separate newsreader program. It's also possible that your ISP doesn't provide Usenet access, in which case you can use a commercial or free news-server or use the probably-less-than-ideal Google Groups interface.]
Most content compiled by Larry Brash, William Tunstall-Pedoe, and
Anna Shefl. Other, specific contributions are noted below.
Last updated on 22 February 2014, by Anna Shefl.
Crudely HTML-ised on 4 August 2002, Phil Carmody with the help of Suomi Viina.
Many thanks to the members for their assistance in providing information for this FAQ. They provided many of the examples and pointers to the anagram generators and books. Many thanks to everyone else who has sent suggestions, corrections, and positive comments. Specific acknowledgements are noted in each section of this FAQ.
If there are items you feel should be included
in this FAQ or changed, please feel free to post them to the
group for discussion, preferably in the same thread as the FAQ.
Here, then: I'll suggest three unique alterations.
* The home address of Larry "The Yeti" Brash.
* Naff embedded sounds.
* Risque hot pics of a fat female police officer.
- The Pope.
Most alt.anagrams members use their real names, but it is not compulsory to do so. However, we do like to anagram new members' names as part of their initiation.
Frequently Asked Questions = Quit! End one's flaky requests.
An anagram is the apposite transposition of the letters of a word, name, phrase, sentence, title, or the like into another word or phrase.
All letters of the name or phrase must be used once and only once. Putting the first half of this basic rule of anagramming another way:
By our definition it's not really an anagram when ~
you bin a half (any remaining letters not in a word)
The best anagrams are meaningful and relate in some way to the original subject. They can be funny, rude, satirical, or flattering, as the examples in the next section of the FAQ demonstrate.
People sometimes confuse palindromes and acronyms with anagrams. Palindromes are words or phrases that are spelt the same forwards and backwards (e.g., 'A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!'). Palindromists have their own newsgroup, called - appropriately - alt.tla. The Fun-with-words site at http://www.fun-with-words.com/ has a useful section on palindromes.
Strictly speaking, acronyms are words that are formed by the initials of a place, organisation, or the like, e.g., MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital). However, the meaning of the word 'acronym' has undergone some change with the advent of the Internet and the use of the TLA (three-letter acronym), such as 'BTW' (by the way). These are really abbreviations or initialisms rather than true acronyms.
Anagrams that tend to be preferred by anagramists are those that are related to, or give insight into, the text being anagrammed. Here are some examples of discoveries or re-discoveries by members of alt.anagrams:
A Chevrolet = Love the car!(Meyran Kraus, 1998)
Gin and Vermouth = Hung over, damn it!(Art Day, 1999)
Stipend = Spend it.(Jon Gearhart, 1999)
Stone age = Stage one.(John Morahan, 1999)
A carton of cigarettes = I got a taste for cancer.(Meyran Kraus, 2002)
Adult novels = Love and lust!(Tom Myers, 2002)
Adolf Hitler. = Heil, old fart!(Jean Fontaine, 1998)
A journalist = Just a liar, no?(Santi Spadaro, 2002)
George Bush. = He bugs Gore.(Don P. Fortier, 1999)
George "Dubya" Bush = Boy, he'd bugger USA.(Andrew MacCormack, 2000)
The Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic = Damning evil policy, Serbs voted asshole out.(Rick Rothstein, 2000)
Osama bin Laden = A bad man (no lies).(Larry Brash, 2001)
Usama bin Laden = Damnable in U.S.A.!(Zoran Radisavlevic, 2001)
Harley Davidson Motorcycles = Very costly old road machines.(Larry Brash, 2000)
Seven Eleven Incorporated = Open it and never ever close!(Meyran Kraus, 2001)
United States Of America. = Its cause: attain freedom.(Dan Fortier, 1999)
Medicinal marijuana. = A cure? I'm in a damn jail.(Larry Brash, 1999)
The great pyramid of Cheops = My God! Perfect Pharaoh site!(Richard Brodie, 2000)
Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei = The elite pure-racist Hitler-based Nazi association.(Richard Grantham, 2001)
United States of America = Mac and Fries Eat-out Site.(Larry Brash, 2001)
A Nintendo Gameboy = Made to be annoying.(James H. Young, 2001)
Chairman Mao. = I am on a march.(Mick Tully, 1998, Wayne Baisley, 1999)
Diana, The Princess of Wales = Elton's idea is crap. He fawns.(Larry Brash, 1998)
Elvis Aaron Presley. = Seen alive? Sorry, pal!(David Bourke, 1999)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. = A famous German waltz god.(Earle Jones, 1999)
Robert Schumann. = Brahms' Nocturne.(Meyran Kraus, 1999)
Thomas Alva Edison = Aha! Ions made volts!(Larry Brash, 1999)
William Shakespeare = I'll make a wise phrase.(Richard Grantham, 2000)
World champion Sebastian Vettel = This lad was never in bottom place.(Meyran Kraus, 2011)
The Israeli general, Moshe Dayan = Hail, great hairless one-eyed man!(Richard Grantham, 2000)
Sir Peter Paul Rubens = Superb painter rules.(Jaybur, 2000)
Miss Venus Williams = I'll win massive sums.(Jaybur, 2000)
Yasmin Le Bon = Mainly bones.(Adrian Hickford, 2001)
William Butler Yeats = Sit, write me a lullaby.(Meyran Kraus, 2001)
The Artist formerly known as 'Prince' = No first-rate workmanship recently!(William Tunstall-Pedoe, 1998)
I Can't Get No Satisfaction. = A fantastic song - notice it!(Paul Lusch, 1998)
"Treasure Island" by Robert Louis Stevenson = A lesson's been due, boy! Silver turns traitor.(Steve Krakowski, 1999)
The Three Stooges: Larry, Curly and Moe. = Actors? Lord, they're an ugly threesome!(Larry Brash, 1999)
Sydney Pollack's "Tootsie" = Testicles on lady? Spooky...(Meyran Kraus, 1999)
Eurovision Song Contest. = I vote on cretinous songs.(Kevin Hale, 1999)
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. = Crap LP sung by the LSD-prone Beatles.(David Bourke, 1999)
Miss America Pageant. = I'm a greasepaint scam!(Tom Myers, 1999)
Charles Dickens's 'Oliver Twist' = The classic writer's kids' novel!(Meyran Kraus, 2001)
'The Lord of the Rings' by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien = Thrilling nether-land journey of three old books.(Richard Grantham, 2001)
Religion is the opium of the masses. = Sometimes, if theologian is pusher.(Larry Brash, 1998)
If at first you don't succeed. = Try deft, if cautious, second!(Michael Jeans-Jakobsson, 1998)
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. = Tony's sham tribute - "Ciao, ciao, Emperor!"(Larry Brash, 1998)
Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
He, Lewis, grabbed the vibrant role,
Assembled dreams and rhymes with glee,
But vowed that one most mighty goal:
To be or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?
Is a befitting quote from one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies.
But why won't Hamlet's inspiring motto toss our stubborn hero's
tortuous battle for life, on one hand, and death, on another?
"Preamble to the United States Constitution"
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more
perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility,
provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and
secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do
ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of
Columbus to Perry, Edison to Einstein, Ruth to Ryan, Reuter to
Hoffa, Disney to Spielberg: O honored pioneers! Adventurous to
timid, carefree to burdened, refined optimists to crude
pessimists, enfeebled to health nuts; Republicans to Democrats,
Christians to Jews; Harlem to Watts, Queens to Glendale, Fifth
Avenue to Main Street, Atlantic to Pacific: no lie, 'tis home to
And many would consider these among the shorter of long anagrams. The group sees song lyrics transformed into academic discussion, sonnets turned into other sonnets, and so forth.
Even Jon Gearhart's 18,870-letter anagram of 'The Hunting of the Snark' by Lewis Carroll is short by some standards. The longest known anagram is Mike Keith's treatment of Moby Dick, which can be found at http://www.anagrammy.com/literary/mkeith/poems-dom21.html and weighs in at a hefty 935,763 letters. It unseated Richard Brodie's piece paraphrasing Jonathan Swift's Battle of the Books, at http://www.anagrammy.com/literary/rb/poems-rb16.html.
For some tips on creating long anagrams, many recommend the article on The Art of Long Anagramming at http://www.anagrammy.com/art-long.html. Nor do I think the group would mind a specific question or two.
A pangram is a short sentence containing all 26 letters of the alphabet. Some reserve the term for sentences containing exactly 26 letters, sometimes referred to as perfect pangrams. By our definition of an anagram, all letters must be used once and only once, so only a 26-letter pangram is an anagram of the English alphabet.
The most well-known pangrams are these:
The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog.
Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs.
The five boxing wizards jump quickly.
Each is shorter than the last, but letters are still repeated. To arrive at a perfect pangram, the use of obscure foreign words and abbreviations is often required, as seen in these examples:
TV quiz drag nymph blew JFK's cox.
Cwm fjord-bank glyphs vext quiz.
My kind zap Fox TV, squelch GWB Jr.!(Meyran Kraus, 2005)
(Adapted from Words at Play by O.V. Michaelsen, and with additional material from William Tunstall-Pedoe)
An antigram, or antonymous anagram, has an opposite meaning to the subject text. Such anagrams are quite uncommon and often accidentally discovered. Here are some great examples:
Funeral = real fun!
Antagonist = not against.
Evangelists = evil's agents.
The Oscar Nominations = It's not a cinema honor.
Protectionism = nice to imports.
Saintliness = entails sins.
Sweltering heat = the winter gales
Within earshot = I won't hear this.
Unite Against Fascism -- Antisemitic fun's a gas.
A word that is spelled backward to become a new word, a word reversal, has been called an anadrome. This term combines 'ana-' from anagram and '-drome' from palindrome. Lewis Carroll called this a semordnilap ('palindromes' spelled backwards). Older sources (Dudeney, 1929) referred to these as antigrams. Examples of this genre include:
Evian = naive.
Pat = tap.
Samaroid = dioramas.
Transposed couplets, or pairagrams, are single-word anagrams that placed together create a short meaningful phrase.
And, finally, a triplet or trianagram:
Discounter introduces reductions.
Which is the longest anagram of a single word into another single word depends on the amount of transposition of letters that is acceptable and also whether using rather contrived technical, scientific, or medical names is acceptable.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the longest non-scientific English words that form anagrams are the 18-letter ones below; however, they require no more than a simple swap of two letters.
conversationalists = conservationalists
The longest scientific anagram is 27 letters, but this involves just the simple movement of one letter.
Hydroxydeoxycorticosterones = Hydroxydesoxycorticosterone.
Our list of 12- to 17-letter words that can be anagrammed into another word was compiled by William Tunstall-Pedoe and Larry Brash. Being on the list requires that no more than three consecutive letters from the original be repeated in sequence in the anagram, but the list does include unusual or technical words. It can be found here.
One problem in answering this question is that there is no one authority as to what constitutes a legitimate word. Ross Eckler's Making the Alphabet Dance lists 24 anagrams of the letters 'aest', but many of these are quite obscure and they are drawn from a wide range of sources.
Merriam-Webster's unabridged dictionary contains entries for these 14 words:
Word Ways has for some years been collecting anagrams of 'aeginrst'. William Tunstall-Pedoe indicates that a whopping 157 of these have some justification.
(Adapted from The Anagram Dictionary by Michael Curl and Words at Play by O.V. Michaelsen)
According to some historians, anagrams originated in the 4th century B.C. with the Greek poet Lycophron, who used them to flatter the rich and mighty. Other sources suggest that Pythagorus, in the 6th century B.C., used anagrams to discover philosophical meanings. Plato and his followers believed that anagrams revealed divinity and destiny. Alexander the Great dreamed that he had caught a satyr the night before the siege of Tyre. His advisors told him it was a good omen because the Greek word for satyr anagrammed to 'Tyre'. The city fell the next day.Anagrams were often believed to have mystical or prophetic meaning in Roman and early Christian times. History then mentions little of anagrams until the 13th century A.D., when the Jewish Cabalists again found mystical significance in them.
In the Middle Ages in Europe, anagrams became popular. However, the principal activity of anagramists in the Middle Ages was in forming anagrams on religious texts. For example:
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum[Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee.]
Virgo serena, pia, munda et immaculata[Virgin serene, holy, pure, and immaculate]
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum=
A virgo intacta and a mum? Presume a lie!(Larry Brash, 1998)
Many authors anagrammed their names to make pseudonyms. Francois Rabelais became Alcofribas Nasier, and Calvinus became Alcuinus ('v' and 'u' were interchangeable in Latin). The two wrote abusive anagrams of each other's names.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, scientists, such as Galileo, Huygens, and Robert Hooke, often recorded their results in anagram form to stake their claim on a discovery and prevent anyone claiming the credit.
At the height of the French monarchy, Louis XIII appointed a Royal Anagrammatist, Thomas Billon, to entertain the Court with amusing anagrams of people's names.
The 19th century brought about the vogue of anagramming the names of famous persons. Lewis Carroll gave us:
Florence Nightingale = Flit on, cheering angel
Disraeli = I lead, sir
This era also gave us the cognate anagram, where the anagram has some relevance to the original, e.g.,
Astronomer = Moon starer
British naturalist Sir Peter Scott believed in the existence of the Loch Ness Monster so strongly that in 1978 he gave it a scientific name. Scottish MP Nicholas Fairbairn later anagrammed it:
Nessiteras rhombopteryx = Monster Hoax by Sir Peter S.
Today, one finds anagrams mainly in cryptic crosswords and, of course, here in alt.anagrams.
Essentially, anagramming is a recreational activity. Great pleasure can be obtained when one finds a witty anagram in someone's name. For example, a 'visitor' to alt.anagrams presented a false name, so we attempted to find the 'hidden truth' in it:
Matthias N. Ritchie. = I am the Antichrist!(Mick Tully, 1998)
(Practical joking is not unknown in alt.anagrams.)
An important aim is to find a relevant or apt anagram that is amusing, poignant, or abusive in content, and one that either paraphrases the original text or creates an 'antigram', an anagram with the opposite meaning to the subject text.
Occasionally anagram puzzles are presented to be solved, e.g., a book title and author. It is a great feeling when you crack the code.
Topical anagrams from current events are frequently a source of interest. For example:
Bosnian War Crimes. = Serbian racism won.(Tom Myers, 1999)
Whitehouse Intern Miss Monica Samille Lewinsky = Hey! William Clinton arouses me. Hi! I'm Ken's witness!(William Tunstall-Pedoe, 1998)
Occasionally this newsgroup is belittled by outsiders who think that it is all a waste of time and that we 'are stupid geeks and should get a life'. Such criticism is dealt with in our usual way. We anagram the crap out of the critic!
There are two basic ways: Manually and with an anagram generator program (Anagram generator = Got a name arranger?).
Some regulars here prefer to anagram manually, using a pencil and paper or with Scrabble tiles. Others use anagram generator programs (further details in section 2.3). The main advantages of using a computer program are speed and the generator's dictionary. They will generate hundreds or thousands of anagrams in a minute or two. Most will be meaningless, and one has to wade through them, find the most appropriate combinations of words, arrange the words, etc.
There has been debate in the group as to whether using an anagram generator is 'cheating'. Sometimes, generators will quickly reveal a great anagram, but there is always a modicum of luck and a lot of skill needed to find the best anagrams. The consensus here is that it is not cheating. Programs have also been written that juggle items in a long list (recording artists, aphorisms, etc.) between the 'left' and 'right' side until an anagram is formed; while opinions vary as to the artistry and merit of anagrams generated in this way, there is room in the group for such anagrams and civil discussion of them.
These are hallmarks of a good anagram, mostly as gleaned from erudite postings on this subject by Richard Brodie, William Tunstall-Pedoe, Richard Grantham, and Jean Fontaine. Examples from the folk in alt.anagrams are included.
(1) Meaningfulness. It must be more than just a series of unconnected words in no particular order. It must 'sound' like a meaningful phrase or a sentence, however condensed. Condensations that sound like newspaper headlines are quite acceptable. Simply reordering the words can make a difference.
Valium machines-- is quite bizarre and meaningless.
Ah, masculine vim-- is a bit better.
I'm such a vile man.(Jaybur, 2000) -- makes great sense.
(2) Aptness, relevance, or reference to the original phrase. This may involve the use of synonyms, paraphrasing the original phrase, or a commentary or joke about the original. The more relevant the anagram is to the original phrase, the better it will be regarded. It may even be the direct opposite in meaning (an antigram). Examples might also include a question in the original phrase that is answered in the anagram.
Madonna Louise Ciccone=
Anomalous coincidence-- not very apt.
Musical? Done cocaine? No!-- is getting more relevant.
One cool dance musician.(David Bourke, 2000) -- this one is very relevant.
(3) Explanation. An anagram should be self-explanatory, self-sufficient; it should not need any extra explanation or comment. Occasionally, such as when the subject matter is obscure/regional or the anagram refers to a little-known aspect of the original, it may validly be accompanied by some brief details; however, in most cases, the anagram is weak if an explanation is required.
One smart hat.(Janet Muggeridge, 1999)
Vacation is over.(Anna Shefl, 2014)
(4) Avoidance of incorrect or uncommon spellings. These detract from the quality of the anagram and make it seem contrived or the author seem semi-literate. Old-fashioned spellings (hath, doth, aye, nay, 'tis) are often acceptable. So too are shortened words like 'n' (for 'and'), e'er, or ma'am, particularly if appropriate to the style of the anagram.
I let go torrents o' gas.-- the use of the shortened form of 'of' is a minor flaw.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End=
The noble epic of bandits was rated "Arr!"
(5) Avoidance of repetition of words in original phrase. Repeating a key word from the original in its anagram detracts from the cleverness of the result. The repetition of 'the' and other short non-key words is quite OK, of course. Occasionally, the repetition is acceptable. Such an anagram is sometimes referred to as a parallelogram.
These girls are barely legal=
The "girls" are really beagles.-- repetition is used for a funny effect.
(6) Humour, be it rude, witty, sarcastic, or abusive, will always improve an anagram, especially when the punchline contains a real surprise. WARNING: Eating and drinking whilst reading alt.anagrams can lead to the contents of your oral cavity being sprayed over your monitor or drinks being spilt onto your keyboard.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease=
My ass blew fire, I moaned a lot.-- is very funny, you would have to admit.
(7) Grammatical correctness is the one area where some of us are pedantic. Many a good anagram has failed because of poor grammar. For example, nouns starting with a vowel sound must have 'an' rather than 'a' before them. Minor discrepancies can be overlooked if the anagram excels in all other areas. Long anagrams should have impeccable grammar because having so many letters allows great flexibility in construction.
Wile E. Coyote and The Roadrunner=
Try a cartoon duel where none die!-- good grammar despite a short subject.
(8) Clever use of punctuation. The use of punctuation has its critics, the purists who disapprove of any punctuation at all. However, good use of punctuation can improve an ordinary anagram and change it into an extraordinary one, if cleverly done.
The Immaculate Conception=
Pathetic cult... I mean, come ON!
If love isn't here ~ then life is over.(Meyran Kraus, 2009)
Races can ruin ~ car insurance!(Joe Fathallah, 2002)
(9) Minimal use of interjections. Whilst the use of 'oh', 'eh', 'hey', 'ah', 'ahem', 'shhh', and so on can be a handy way of getting rid of those annoying left-over letters, many believe that the excessive use of this device will damage an anagram. The use of one interjection in an otherwise great anagram is often considered acceptable. The key is for the word to be well-integrated rather than tacked on. Even the much-maligned 'hi' can sometimes enhance an anagram.
The German neurologist Dr Alois Alzheimer=
Memories going, lost in a rather dull...er...haze.-- Here, the 'er' looks like it belongs and is not merely a way to get rid of two 'extra' letters. It is in keeping with the topic and adds a bit of humour.
(10) Avoidance of contrived subject text. The best anagrams are those where the subject text is a familiar phrase or a real name. Using highly contrived subject text to create a clever anagram considerably weakens the result. Using minor contrivances, such as adding the definite or indefinite article to the text, is a much less serious flaw.
A McDonald's burger=
Real dog and crumbs.-- adding an 'A' to the subject made this one work.
(11) Well-known subject text. The more famous the name of the person or thing being anagrammed, the better the result is likely to be.
Ocean idol, or a drip?-- Nearly everyone has heard of him!
(12) Selectness. An anagram should represent your best efforts with the given letters. Don't make hundreds of readers sift through your efforts to find the good ones (or quit in disgust): do the selection yourself, though you may solicit readers' opinions on which of a couple wording options works best. Remember: if you've done twenty anagrams on the same base phrase, at least ten of them are crap. No, don't tell us how you were experimenting with different approaches, and don't add comments to explain their glories. At least ten of them are crap.
Restrain yourself. If you find it hard to choose your favorites, why are you dumping the pain on others? One small exception: the whole can be better than the sum of its parts if the anagrams cohere into a poem, story, or joke.
'Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.' - Antoine de Saint-Exupery in Wind, Sand and Stars
Various of these programs support languages other than English, often through the use of supplemental dictionaries (as is the case with an). In addition, it is worth noting that:
Also, various anagram aids exist. One is the Maryana pattern-anchored anagrammer, describing itself as "extremely useful for cheating at Scrabble". It is available for download at http://runslinux.net/projects/margana/margana-1.1.tar.gz. In addition, several people have written anagram checker programs that determine the difference in letters of the subject text and the anagram-in-progress, letting you know how many of each letter are still available for use. Information on some anagram checkers, as well as further details on many of the anagram generators mentioned above, can be found at http://www.anagrammy.com/resources/generators.html.
One of the best and most well-established is at http://www.wordsmith.org/, and Arrak's online anagram generator at http://www.arrak.fi/en/ag offers nine langauge options, among them the less commonly found Finnish and Latin. There are many others in addition to these (a partial list can be found at http://www.anagrammy.com/resources/online.html). However, if you plan to be doing a lot of anagramming, you might want to use anagramming software on your own computer rather than increase the load on these sites. Some anagram generation sites have been closed down or become unusable on account of high traffic.
Among the books recommended by posters to the group are Michaelsen's Words at Play, a highly regarded work devoting several chapters to anagrams (including their history); Palindromes and Anagrams from Dover Publications, which includes many anagrams from the pre-electronic age; the anagram collection Anagram Genius, available via the Anagram Genius site; and Robert Hale's Anagram Dictionary, most noteworthy for its section on cognate anagrams. All of these were still available for purchase as of 2007.
The Anagrammy site has a page with links to several pages, most of which were created by alt.anagrams members: http://www.anagrammy.com/resources/websites.html.
Most certainly! It would give us great pleasure. Your name, your friends' names, and relatives' names are all welcome. Give a middle name, if possible, as well, in case the first and last name don't generate much on their own.
'All men are created anagrammable, but some are more anagrammable than others' - Earle Jones.
Sometimes, the resultant anagrams can be rude and even insulting, but please take them in the fun spirit of the newsgroup and don't take offence. For example:
Frank Scott Leshoguine = Rotten fucking asshole!(Larry Brash, 1998)
Occasionally, people will find funny anagrams from their own names:
Michael Lepore = Hello! I'm a creep!(Michael Lepore, 1998)
Spam includes 'Make money fast!' schemes, unsolicited commercial ads, or any other off-topic posts (advertising your Web page, long-winded diatribes about politics, and so forth). Although there has been relatively little spam in the group of late, alt.anagrams is near the beginning of the alt newsgroups alphabetically and can thus receive the first volleys of any large USENET spam run.
Like everyone else, we get annoyed by spam, but our revenge is to recycle it into an anti-spam or other related anagram - which we call a spamagram - and post it as a reply to the spam. Some also send their spamagrams to the spammers. Some of them don't like it. Our hearts bleed for them.
Spamagrams tend to be longer than most anagrams. The freedom thus allowed might be one reason that most in the group recycle the numerals in the spam also.
Here is a short example of this genre:
You can earn $50,000 or more in the next 90 days sending e-mail. Seem impossible? Read on for details. = Dear friends, I lost all my money, i.e. exceeding $9,500,000, on this one spam. I am one true-born sad-arse.(Larry Brash, 2000)
Unprovoked criticism of this newsgroup is likely to get you bombarded with seriously abusive anagrams.
Requests for pirated copies of commercial anagram generators will be dealt with with the contempt that they deserve. The software author concerned is most likely to be a regular here and will not appreciate such a request. The rest of us have paid for our copies; so should you.
Posting test messages in alt.anagrams is inappropriate and will be dealt with by severely anagramming the perpetrator. Test groups, such as alt.test and misc.test, were created for test posts...
Alt.anagrams is not a binary group. Do not send any files other than text or you may end up getting anagrams like this one:
Posted a file to the alt.anagrams newsgroup. = Not a smart shot. Please grow up and get a life.(Tom Myers, 1998)
Crossposting to other newsgroups is not recommended even if you think that the anagram might interest another newsgroup. It so often leads to misunderstandings, flame wars, or off-topic threads. Apparently, not everyone appreciates anagrams as we do. Check the headers and make sure that your reply will go to alt.anagrams only.
Content of anagrams: There are no 'sacred cows' for the group. That said, the group is made up of individuals, and tastes differ. Some like to provide warnings if an anagram is likely to cause offence. A good rule to follow is to use your common sense.
The anagrams listed below are widely known and are often posted to alt.anagrams by people who have never bothered reading this FAQ.
If you have just discovered one of these anagrams and desperately want to share it with the world, PLEASE DO NOT POST IT HERE. Most alt.anagrams readers have heard these dozens of times! Almost every anagram book and Web site includes them. If you are silly enough to post them, expect a severe anagramming of your name for your misdemeanour.
Clint Eastwood = Old West action
Debit card = Bad Credit
Spiro Agnew = Grow a penis
Ronald Wilson Reagan = Insane Anglo Warlord
Axl Rose = Oral sex
Jim Morrison = Mr Mojo Risin'
Dormitory = Dirty room
Desperation = A Rope Ends It
The Morse Code = Here Come Dots
Slot Machines = Cash lost in 'em
Animosity = Is no amity
Mother-in-law = Woman Hitler
Snooze alarms = Alas! No more Z's
The public art galleries = Large picture halls, I bet
A decimal point = I'm a dot in place
The earthquakes = That queer shake
Alec Guinness = Genuine class
Eric Clapton = Narcoleptic
President Boris Yeltsin - Rent boy stirs idle penis
Margaret Thatcher - That great charmer
Virginia Bottomley = I'm an evil Tory bigot.
Pentium Processor = Computerises porn
Apple Macintosh = Laptop machines
Eleven plus two = Twelve plus one.
President Clinton of the USA = He finds interns to copulate.
Another list of well-known anagrams is at http://www.anagrammy.com/hall-of-fame/index.html, though there are several other such lists online (see the next section).
Well-known anagram riddles too become old quickly. One example is 'What ten-letter word familiar to a five- or six-year-old uses the letters ROAST MULES?' (the answer is 'somersault'). If you're not sure if a riddle is well-worn, Google or Google Groups might know.
If you are posting to alt.anagrams for the first time, please consider the following advice:
As one should do when first posting to any newsgroup, it is recommended that you 'lurk' (read and not post) for a week or two to get a feel for how the group works. This will give you an opportunity to understand the group's netiquette, rules, and dynamics. And, of course, the basic netiquette guidelines for USENET, and using the Internet in general, apply.
Also, you should read this FAQ in detail before first posting. In particular, you should read section 3.3 (directly above), on well-known anagrams. People often receive e-mail or find sites listing these classic anagrams and think that we will be interested. Sorry, but we know them already.
If in doubt, you should check whether an anagram is on the above-mentioned lists. It is also a good idea to check the Google Groups USENET archive (formerly Dejanews) to see whether the anagram has been posted here before. Also, there are several online anagram archives you can check to check whether you have re-discovered a classic anagram. These are listed in section 4.2.
The usual convention, here in alt.anagrams, is to write the original name/phrase followed by an '=' and then place the anagram(s) on the line(s) under that. Witty, explanatory comments may follow each anagram on the same line, in [square brackets].
Another small piece of netiquette for posting here: if you have the answer to an anagram puzzle, please leave a good-sized 'spoiler space' (e.g., 20+ blank lines) before your answer. This hides the answer from view and allows everyone else a chance to solve the puzzle.
If you post an anagram quiz, it is helpful to add a template of the answer, in a format such as this: '---, -- -------.' You might wish to add the template after a spoiler space.
alt.anagrams is a broad-minded and pretty tolerant group. However, profane or obscene anagrams may cause offence to some members. We recommend that you add something like 'RUDE ANAGRAMS!' in the subject line.
Here are provided two rude anagrams to demonstrate the crudity to which some members of alt.anagrams will sink:
Coitus interruptus. = Cunt users rip it out!(Larry Brash, 1998)
The President stuck cigars into my vagina. = Cunt? Depict it smoking. Give her an ass tray.(Richard Brodie, 1998)
You have already found one way - alt.anagrams has posters from all over the place. Those wishing to participate in an online anagram competition with monthly voting can post their work to the Web-based Anagrammy Forum at http://www.anagrammy.com/forum/.
As far as 'real-life' anagram associations are concerned, members of this group sometimes arrange small, informal gatherings. If you know of any national or international groups of anagramists, let me know. Information on them can be added to the FAQ.
In addition to the books mentioned elsewhere in this FAQ, the most well-known online anagram archives are William Tunstall-Pedoe's archive including - but not limited to - anagrams generated using his Anagram Genius software and the Anagrammy archives at http://www.anagrammy.com/archives/. The Anagram Genius archive is at http://www.anagramgenius.com/archive/.
Google Groups (formerly Dejanews) contains more-or-less complete archives of alt.anagrams posts. On a good day, the advanced search page at http://groups.google.com/advanced_search should be of use for finding anagrams on a particular topic, checking to see whether your anagram is a re-discovery, etc.
If the online fora aren't enough but you don't want to write a book, you can contribute your work to puzzle and wordplay magazines, many of which deal with anagrams. 'Wordplay' might be another helpful keyword.
If you have come up with anagrams of, say, a product name, you can follow the practice of some current alt.anagrams posters and send your work - perhaps only the more complimentary anagrams - to the company in question and, if you like, share any feedback you receive with the group.
And don't let those suggestions keep you from finding other ways to work as an ambassador for the art of anagramming.