The idea is to ask a question, and then answer by anagramming the question
itself. You can pick a question from history, literature, or pop culture, such
as the title of the 1982 Men At Work song:
Owen, with bacon.
A white Bonn cow.
(We're not claiming these answers make a whole lot of sense!) You might
have better luck inventing your own question. Here are a few examples posted
by recent visitors to the Atlantic's Word Games and Puzzles message board
(check the "Palindromes and Anagrams" folder for more examples):
A: I'd think, a superb antiheroine.
A: He has a prime or cunning tendency to wildly solicit Internet sex.
You might decide it's easier to stick with a short question and answer, such
A: No, it's Sheila.
Or you might discover that you have more freedom when you devise a long one
such as the Trifocles example above. In any case, send your creation to
CoxRathvon by e-mail. Multiple entries are fine, but for our convenience pack
them into one piece of e-mail whenever possible, and please don't use attached
files. We will continue accepting entries to "Question and Anagram" through
Friday, July 26. Results and winners will be posted at the Atlantic on Friday,
But in fact, the senders of the three funniest or most creative entries (in
our sage opinion) will each receive 5 free AOL hours and a free book from the
Question and Answer Results
(All names without @ symbols are AOL screen names.)
When we first posed this challenge--to ask a question and then answer it
with an anagram of the question itself--we worried that the assignment might be
too hard. We asked ourselves:
Can it be done?
And our own anagrammatical retort was:
No! Ban deceit!
But then your first shifty entries began to arrive in our mailbox. Amazed, we
asked ourselves what sorts of people you were, you eccentric letter-jugglers .
So we posed the question:
Who sends contest mail?
And the answer arranged itself:
We further wondered:
Are they nuts?
And the word from the anagrammatical oracle was:
Nevertheless, one great entry after another came flashing in. We found
ourselves by turns delighted and bedazzled--and as never before, we began
wishing we could award *everyone* who waved his or her magic wand! We were
sorely tempted by the anagrams directly addressing our contest, such as:
Q: Can a literary vanity swing this fine game?
A: Yes, if I win every Atlantic anagrams thing!
But we also loved rambling, colloquial ones, such as:
Q: Can you tell me why Tom Cruise is a totally legendary thespian?
A: He is a manly, dishy, really sweet actor, all-time cutey on "Top Gun."
And we smiled at the short ones, such as:
In the end, we begged our Wordplay Muse to help us decide which entries
among the many worthies should be crowned. Using a streak of lightning as a
pointer, the mighty Muse emblazoned a trio of anagrams from EBrahinsky,
JonDelfin, and OberOber. Without further explanation, then, we present our
marvelous threesome of word alchemists, and an array of supporting stars!
Congratulations EBrahinsky, JonDelfin, and OberOber! Thank you, all!
Q: So--did you hear that the Holy Grail was found?
A: Ahh, yes! It was in our hot old hayloft, guarded.
Q: Was Mr. Hoffa found, too? Where?
A: Off a wharf, under some H-two-O.
Q: Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?
A: Her? Washington DC, Lima, Erie, or Sweden.
Q: Who put the bomp in the bomp sh'bomp sh'bomp? Who put the ram in the
ramma-lamma ding dong?
A: A man who was humming ("hmmm"). Shopping. Both. He throbbed to plumb a
***And Other Top Favorites***
Q: Is this the face that launched a thousand ships?
A: Ha! In fact, that Helen had this hideous puss, cats.
Q: Ou sont les neiges d'antan?
A: Sleet gone, and so I suntan.
Q: What do you want for Christmas?
A: Two yachts with four damn oars.
Q: Who plays on-line games?
A: Shapely women in Lagos.
Q: And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
A: Bah! Look, I just hew at Bandersnatch.
Q: What's in a name?
A: A man, he's Twain.
Q: Why is the contest being so hard and hairy?
A: Hoy! The rich bonny wits had strange ideas.
Q: What's cookin'?
A: Oh... cats in wok.
(The detective and his friend on safari)
Q: Dear me, Holmes, why eat "sole" food? May Anglos not eat tiger meat, man?
A: Elementary to me, old Watson--ahem, read my slogan: "The game is a foot!"
Q: How much is that doggy in the window?
A: This waggy chow hound? Two thin dime!
Q: What is the meaning of life?
A: To win is half the fine game.
Q: May I be of assistance?
A: Fanatics say I'm obese!
Q: Is there really a man named Sting?
A: Ya, he's a talented singer, Mr. Milan.
Q: Is Michael Jackson a popular singer?
A: No, he's a sick, carnal, prim, jealous pig!
Q: Why did the Beatles finally split after ten years?
A: "Let It Be" was nearly finished; they felt partly sad.
Q: Brother, can you spare a dime?
A: No, or I'm betrayed a purchase!
Q: Brother, can you spare a dime?
A: Ma, be sorry I can't heed our pa.
Q: What is the secret of the universe?
A: Wet T-shirt heaven: for chit, see Sue.
Q: What does a real man eat?
A: Hot ale and raw sea meat.
Q: What do real men eat?
A: Wheat and metal ore.
Q: What's the answer?
A: When set, wash rat.
Q: Shall we dance?
A: We'll chase Dan.
Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: To scratch his cheeky hidden word.
Q: Why did the boy chicken cross the road?
A: Chesty chick w/ hard body on other side.
Q: Where's Waldo?
A: He's AWOL, Drew.
Glinda: Are you a good witch or a bad witch?
Dorothy: Wow--bad "Aunt E" acid, girl! Ciao, hag!
Q: Why Do Fools Fall in Love?
A: Fall when filly voodoos.
Q: Car 54, Where Are You?
A: We're a 5-O 4ce. Hurray!
Q: How would you describe Newt Gingrich?
A: Crude, lewd, right-wing cowboy in House.
A: House right-wing "wild boy." (We concur--ED.)
Q: What evil lurks in the hearts of men?
A: Hush! Women killers thrive an' fatten!
A: Hi, hurtin' fellows! Never ask me that.
Q: Does Janet Evans seem like hot winner?
A: A jet! She even swims trial done on knee!
Q: Is it the Olympic torch?
A: O, Mitch, politics "R" they.
Q: Is Shannon Miller a real blonde, Pal?
A: On parallel bars she millioned, Ann.
Q: Are my anagrams adequate, tight?
A: Great day! Quiet anathemas, Marg.
Q: Who wears mini hot pants?
A: Woman with a short spine.
Q: What do you get when you fall in love?
A: Woeful naughty Hollywood naivete.
Q: What is it in Vincent Van Gogh oils?
A: Lighting shown is innovative act.
Q: What ever happened to Baby Jane?
A: A bad Bette whenever Joan happy .
Q: What do you say to a naked lady?
A: You'd shake lot and toady away.
Q: What merriness did Jane Goodall engulf?
A: Seems, an odd dwarf gorilla in the jungle.
Q: Are E.C. and H.R. optimistic lately?
A: Cryptic ire has a toll: dementia.
Q: Say there, was "Batman Forever" a killer motion picture, or a tacky, dense
fluke of a film?
A: The former, because of (not in spite of) a fantastic, rarely lukewarm,
okayed Val Kilmer.
Q: I say, George Clooney as the new Dark Knight?! A bland decision?
A: He's regarded as being kinda cloying. Keaton, then, is way cool!
Q: Do you like anagrams?
A: Do okay. Real amusing.
Q: What's the matter?
A: That wet hamster.
Q: Do you still love me?
A: Oodles, my vile lout.
Q: How do I love Thee?
A: Oh! I devote whole.
A: Ho Ho! I delete vow.
Q: Ever read the Bible?
A: Rather be believed.
Q: How about Playboy?
A: Whoop! Lay out Baby!
Q: And Penthouse?
A: Hated nun pose.
Q: Ever read the Atlantic?
A: Drat it! Hate relevance.
Q: Can Dole be president?
A: No! Predictable needs.
Q: Dole's running mate?
A: O Man! Guildenstern.
Q: Colin Powell for veep?
A: Lo, epic proven fellow.
Q: Say, is Dole a winner?
A: In weirdo analyses.
Q: How can Clinton win?
A: Clown in Chinatown.
Q: Is Janet Reno male?
A: Almost. (Inane jeer)
Q: Eat at Macdonalds?
A: Toad meat scandal.
Q: Can you help me?
A: Clean up, Homey.
Q. Who is President Clinton?
A. This wild innocent poser.
Q. Will he serve a second term?
A. Hell! Received to warmness.
Q. Is he a great president?
A. Eh! Repeating disaster.
Q: Who ordered these FBI files?
A: His or the wife's bored elf, Ed.
(Inquiry in a bar)
Q: What's a nice girl like you doing here?
A: Going downhill. Ice? This year? Eureka!
Q: What's it revolts gamer people?
A: Is the AOL Twelve Step Program
Q: Hey, are those clean socks, Gavin, dear?
A: No, they never go-a-sacked, Clairess! Ha!
Q: Does anyone really know what time it is?
A: Yes, I think only one. Wow! Rad! It's late, Mae!
Q: Why mottle in platers, Louise?
A: To spell your name with tiles.
Q: Can this be love?
A: No, Elvis! Betcha!
Q: What kind of fool am I?
A: Half-mad, I know it! Oof!
Q: What kind of fool am I?
A: A moot fink who'd fail.
Q: What's your problem?
A: Oh, my trouble's warp.
Q: What's it going to be then, eh?
A: The hot gent with a big nose.
A: A big white ghost on the Net.
A: Hot with big teeth: a sonnet.
Q: What do you want from life?
A: To find a whale for two. Yum!
A: To write "A Manful Food." Why?
Q: When will I see you again?
A: Go away when line in use.
Q: How much is that in real money?
A: Chase holy men/humor a nitwit.
A. With Americans, only mouth, "Eh"?
Q: Is that the best you can do?
A: Yes, but chanted, it's a hoot!
(pick-up line and partial response)
Q: What's your sign, sweetheart?
A: Huge sweaty warts, sir, on the...
(by then the guy would be out of earshot)
Q: Clintons? Dole? Perot?
A (from Democrats): Inner cool. Dolt. Pest.
A (from Republicans): Orlon. Do select. Pint.
A (from Reform party): Stoned. Pill. Coronet.
A (my own opinion): Peer. Colin's not dolt.
Q: Guys, who killed Liberty Valance?
A: Valley girl, you weld thick beans.
Q: What is your favorite Olympic sporting event, DeeDee Linnia?
A: I wish to see a picture of Irvan devotedly playing more tennis.
Q: Did you watch the baseball game, Ky?
A: Blamed that guy, Casey, who balked.
Q: Be honest, what do you really think of this Question and Anagram entry?
A: Aha, Andy! More than a winner, so flout it. Thy quest done, bask in the
Q: See, cons, is the Monsieur Humpty Dumpty quiet and okay?
A: He's in pieces, thank you to Mym's mutt 'n' dopey squire, Adu.
Q: Oh, what's it next... more chaff?
A: From in the shaft... wheat, Cox.
Q: Er... you're wearing what?!?
A: Ear t' ear grin... (whew)... you?
Q: Odd... gist o' sex?
A: Gods do exist.
Q: Who wrote the book of love?
A: The fool robot who woke Eve.
Q: Where have all the flowers gone?
A: Over the lea her whale-song flew!
Q: Quo vadis?
A: Squid ova.
Q: Who goes there?
A: Woe! Ghost here.
Q: Friend or foe?
A: Offer dinero.
Q: How do you spell relief?
A: "H-E-L-L" would sop ye, O fire!
Q: How much is that doggy in the window?
A: Oho! City mutt who did whining--he wags!
Q: How now, brown cow?
A: Born (wow!).
Q: Is writing ten anagrams a silly waste of time?
A: Yes, if staring at a wall isn't wise (trim game, no?).
Copyright © 1995-96 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.