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WHEN IN PALINDROME
(8/9/96-8/23/96)

This contest is now closed. But enjoy!

(Click here to go directly to the winning entries.)



Did you know that Mr. Sterling, the director of all those "Twilight Zone" episodes, used to take his summer vacations in Las Vegas, selling trinkets in a little booth? It's true! He was known as

Rod: Nevada vendor

Okay, so we made that up. But we wanted to give you an example of a palindrome--a phrase reading the same way forwards and backwards. And now we'd like to send you on a round-trip journey. To be specific, we want you to write us a palindrome that contains the name of a geographical location. This location may be a town, city, state, country, national park, notorious tourist trap, or whatever you choose.

Palindromes are tricky little devils to write, and we're not expecting full sentences, flawless grammar, or complete lucidity. The celebrated palindromes

A man, a plan, a canal--Panama!

and

Niagara, O roar again!

are famous for a good reason. They're exceptionally tidy and comprehensible. Given the tough constraints, a palindromist is lucky to make as much sense as

Nog eroded Oregon

(which seems to imply that a Christmas beverage has washed away an entire state in the Northwestern U.S.), or

Kayak salad: Alaska yak

(which evokes a very dubious luncheon menu in a very precarious setting).

So don't be afraid to let your head spin. When you've written your place-containing palindrome, send it to puzzles@theatlantic.com by e-mail. Multiple entries are okay, but for our convenience pack all your 'dromes into one letter whenever possible, and please don't use attached files. Senders of the three palindromes we like best will each receive our heartfelt cry of "Yay!" plus 5 free America Online hours (if they are AOL members) and a free book from The Atlantic's Store.

When In Palindrome will remain open through Friday, August 23. Results will be posted at the Atlantic on Friday, August 30.

--EC and HR, who always look both ways

P.S. If you like cryptic crosswords, visit our "Puzzles and Word Games" folder on the Atlantic's America Online message board (keyword ATLANTIC) and join the handful of rather crazed clue-writers who are already at play there! Post clues of your own and see if the gang can solve 'em!



When in Palindrome Results

(All names without @ symbols are AOL screen names.)

"So many dynamos!" That's what we were tempted to shout as the the entries for this palindrome contest filled our mailbox. With an assignment so tough, we never imagined your Wordplay Muses would cooperate so beautifully.

"Egad! An adage!" That's another thing we almost exclaimed, whenever someone's palindrome approximated a pithy, memorable (but sometimes slightly cracked) maxim. For example, RKremer14 seemed to sum up Shakespeare's lackluster appeal in North Africa by writing: "Bard's reign at Tangier's drab." Contestant RDH9995 articulated a philosphy of ancient Greece as follows: "Sparta's one rule: Lure no satraps." And BALD MT explained singer McEntire's strange popularity among the older males of Scotland with the pronouncement: "Aberdeen's dads need Reba."

"Top Spot?" We went back and forth trying to decide which three palindromes were our very favorites. We appreciated the punchy ones, including real-life locales such as "Apollo, PA" (an actual suburb of Pittsburgh, documented by contestant REENAS), "Wassamassaw" (a swamp north of Charleston, NC, noted by LionInOil), and "Yreka Bakery" (a California shop, submitted by AEmbry5616). But we also admired the daring of contestants who used long or unusual place names in their palindromes. Worthy of special mention in this regard is guy@research.att.com, whose creation echoes the query "Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?" from our recent "Question and Anagram" contest. Noting that he wanted a palindrome beginning and ending on the letter Q, Guy wrote: "Q: Arizona, Ixelles, Omaha, Moselle, Xi'an, Oz, Iraq?"

By the way, our best laugh of the contest came from Unhunk, who said, "I warned my father not to take up mountain climbing but he refused to listen," leading to the palindrome: "Saw Pop at Alps. SPLAT! A Pop was."

After viewing, reviewing, and retroviewing the entries, we finally settled on Leroy2001, LionInOil, and OberOber as our top-fave palindromists. OberOber's entries arrived in the form of a palindromic newspaper; our prize-winning selection reproduces his sports section from that tabloid. Congratulations, Leroy2001, LionInOil, and OberOber! Thanks, everybody, for a great turnout!

***The Winners***

Nosy "Kop" sees Sennett at Tennessee's poky, son. (Leroy2001)

Ya, Leona Cabot in a Manitoba canoe lay. (LionInOil)

Sports stories from a palindromic newspaper:

Big Sky baseball coach's lament:

"O, had I nine men in Idaho!"

Yankee coach reassures nervous dean:

"R.I.'s meeting Illinois.... I've let no stats on television! I'll ignite 'em, sir!"

What happens when you let mascots on the field during a soccer match:

Denmark-Cuba sees a buck ram Ned!

Ohio school outscores Eastern rival a hundredfold in Latin competition:

Xenia: M

Maine: X

Swiss marathoner's bumper sticker:

I RUN IN URI!

(OberOber)

***And Other Top Favorites***

One craft, Ararat. Farce? No. (RKremer14)

Moody Monaco casino con is a "coca"? No, my doom. (GiarcF)

He said, "No, Warsaw was raw" on dais, eh? (GiarcF)

Now live dove jar, a Sarajevo devil won. (GiarcF)

Are ye no Monaco Grace? Cargo can, o money era! (GiarcF)

Won't Carmel, Indiana man aid Nile? Mr., act now! (Stigger4)

Snack car clears Israel crack cans. (REENAS)

Fee, Bev, Australia rail art suave beef. (REENAS)

Let O'Hara gain an inn in a Niagara hotel. (REENAS)

See Barbados: Soda, bra, bees. (BALD MT)

Baja saw was a jab. (BALD MT)

Tame Cal passed Odessa place mat. (BALD MT)

Avon sees nova. (BALD MT)

Tip: E. Kansas is a snake pit. (Tom JR13)

Sam, Ahab T. (alias Bob) sail at Bahamas. (Tom JR13)

Past Idaho had it, sap! (Tom JR13)

Late be Russia, but Tuba is sure bet, Al. (R T Sumo)

I made Kansas sis's as naked am I. (R T Sumo)

An aid: nix Indiana. (woontner@comteck.com)

Ma is niece in "Siam." (woontner@comteck.com)

Aram's at Asmara. (woontner@comteck.com)

Isis saw Assisi. (woontner@comteck.com)

Lear's in it, on top spot not in Israel. (woontner@comteck.com)

A Star Trek actor in a new Superman movie plays a villain trying to paralyze US grain production:

LeVar to grab Metropolis silo port, embargo travel. (merlyn@dgii.com)

Santa may laugh differently in foreign countries, but:

Oh, in Ohio, I "Ho Ho." (merlyn@dgii.com)

No Ontario nerd eyed Renoir at noon. (Unhunk)

Can Ava help Pot topple Havana, C.? (FisDur)

Stop it. I hate Tahiti pots! (FisDur)

See, by Myanmar a ram, nay, my bees. (FisDur)

Enticing collectors to Mr. Dole's home state:

Trade Kansas' Naked Art (tomd@shasta.amd.com)

How a gambling town gets created from scratch:

One resort rose -- Reno! (tomd@shasta.amd.com)

Splash at Utah's Alps! (tomd@shasta.amd.com)

Bosnia gasps again--sob! (tomd@shasta.amd.com)

On Bosnia: poo, pain, sob -- no! (SASadler)

Aw, Mutt--off Ottumwa! (SASadler)

Name no Maine men? I am one, man. (Mnussbaum)

No evil in Essen. I live on. (Mnussbaum)

No? So go to Togo, son. (Mnussbaum)

A rah, a shah: Sahara! (MARGB0316)

Lo, pot saves Sevastopol! (MARGB0316)

Lear's in Israel. (MARGB0316)

Golan analog (MARGB0316)

Salem's males (MARGB0316)

Reno loner (MARGB0316)

To Peru; pure pot! (MARGB0316)

Sumatra: art am us! (MARGB0316)

Topeka's sake pot (MARGB0316)

O, go to Togo! (MARGB0316)

Hanoi dares use radio? Nah! (RDH9995)

Texas: A space caps a sax, E.T. (RDH9995)

Vietnam Bignik: King Ibmante IV. (RDH9995)

Tarawa: Sam's Ma saw a rat. (RDH9995)

Nome D.A. sees a demon. (RDH9995)

Maine: Ergo green I am. (RDH9995)

Armenia mate met a Maine Mr. A. (RDH9995)

Burma Dad, ah, had a dam rub. (RDH9995)

Tralee tram mart: Eel art. (RDH9995)

Assam lost its Ol' Massa. (RDH9995)

Sedan ere solo serenades. (RDH9995)

Lagos: Site of a foe. 'Tis so, Gal. (RDH9995)

Eton, for one tenor of note. (RDH9995)

Rabat: Ah, what a bar. (RDH9995)

Lodi: On site 'tis no idol. (RDH9995)

Napa: Jot notes, Eton to Japan. (RDH9995)

Nepal lifers refill a pen. (RDH9995)

Natalia was awail, a tan. (RDH9995)

Koko: Moo Bozo, Bozo Boom! O.K.? O.K.! (RDH9995)

A rep of Omaha, a ham of opera. (GARROBMIL)

"Gulp a sip"--Pisa plug. (GARROBMIL)

'Ol Osaka. A.k.a. Solo. (GARROBMIL)

?.....Butte: Et tu, B.....? (GARROBMIL)

Cite Canada! Ad an acetic. (GARROBMIL)

De Liverpool loop reviled. (GARROBMIL)

Dr. of "X", Oxford. (GARROBMIL)

Eyed E. Kansas as naked eye. (GARROBMIL)

I'm a Las Pamas S.A. map salami. (GARROBMIL)

Look, Ma! Rabat. Tab a ram. Kool! (GARROBMIL)

S. Salem Ave., Eva me lass. (GARROBMIL)

S. Simi I miss. (GARROBMIL)

Snug sex at Barbados: Soda bra "B" taxes guns. (GARROBMIL)

St. Ensenada: A Dane's nets. (GARROBMIL)

Stockton, not K.C. o.t.'s. (GARROBMIL)

K. Roy went on gig, not New York. (TEEPOT40)

Sir, a pro for Paris. (TEEPOT40)

Racy art: Salem, a camel, a stray car. (PayPete1st)

Scranton's kooks: not narcs. (PayPete1st)

Eire nixes sex in Erie. (PayPete1st)

Sleek Roy went at New York eels. (PayPete1st)

Tram loops ADA spool mart. (PayPete1st)

Noose: Walla Walla rural law, all awe, soon. (PayPete1st)

Go to Boston, not (sob) Togo. (PayPete1st)

Look! a Butte wet tuba! Kool! (PayPete1st)

Miami's civics: "I Maim" (PayPete1st)

Ra, Decatur! Rut a cedar! (GraceLrena)

Rot Canada Dad! An actor! (GraceLrena)

Eh? Canada had an ache? (GraceLrena)

Nantucket Atek cut Nan. (Cute Beast)

Asia -- a is a. (Cute Beast)

Mexico Jo kix 'em. (Cute Beast)

Toronto got no rot (Cute Beast)

Jojo got yaws. Butt, navel nixes sex in Levant tubs. Way to go Joj'! (Unhunk)

Tulsa mom a slut. (HARPUNSTER)

Boston dad not S.O.B. (HARPUNSTER)

I, Puyallup pop, pull a yupi. (HARPUNSTER)

Ya! Walla Walla call a wall away. (HARPUNSTER)

E. Montana man at Nome. (HARPUNSTER)

At L.A., no poop on Alta. (HARPUNSTER)

Del Rio: "Vivoir" led. (HARPUNSTER)

An Englishman explaining how he almost broke even at the casino:

One rotten bob, net to Reno. (Robmur)

A carpenter who had hocked all his tools to gamble got all but one back later:

One rotten saw was net to Reno. (Robmur)

Address of someone who spends all his time at the Tropicana:

A. Davenport, Trop, Nevada. (Robmur)

Ha! Tunisian nabob Anna is in Utah! (BalkyNYC)

Tivoli? I lov'it! (BalkyNYC)

Aberdeen kookoo kneed Reba. (BalkyNYC)

I'm at Paris, non? Si! Rapt ami! (BalkyNYC)

Olson is in Oslo. (BalkyNYC)

O had I deified Idaho! (paula10s@ix.netcom.com)

Trap elk Cuba saw as a buckle part. (paula10s@ix.netcom.com)

Niger diva avid re gin! (paula10s@ix.netcom.com)

I'm aimed at old Madam d'Lotade, Miami. (Mypoet)

O, had I retired in Nideriter, Idaho. (Mypoet)

O, had I lived at Tadevil, Idaho. (Mypoet)

This one hit me while changing planes at O'Hare:

Tension: Illinois net. (Vorstarr)

Anais, I 'U' ole love re: vole Louisiana. (Vorstarr)

Bob's a snake; Kansas Bob. (Ellen.Auriti@ucop.edu)

Sun eve: re--"VENUS" (Pikmee)

Sunny Ragusa, a: "sugary 'n" 'n us!" (Pikmee)

Warsaw was raw. (MiladyJoan)

Lodi made Edam idol. (MiladyJoan)

Avalon - No Lava! (KlnKut)

O, I hope Ed, alias "Nacre Man," and a DNA namer can sail a deep Ohio. (Dullset)

I maim niece in Miami. (DURDENG)

Aberdeen's ojos need Reba. (DURDENG)

Sir Apnisward draws in Paris. (DURDENG)

Ned, go to hot Ogden. (emarul@net1plus.com)

Can a rascal tan at Lac Saranac? (emarul@net1plus.com)

Ah! A motet--"Omaha"! (emarul@net1plus.com)

A ham on a can--Omaha. (emarul@net1plus.com)

Paris I rap. (emarul@net1plus.com)

Oh, to go to Togo, tho'! (emarul@net1plus.com)

A! Dave! No Nevada! (Taimse)

A Boise plumber's lament:

O, had I part Potato "P"-Trap, Idaho! (SavWmson)

Henry David Thoreau:

On Walden, I pined law? No. (SavWmson)

Overheard at academia conference:

"B.U., Boston?" "Not so, Bub." (SavWmson)

Draw a slot, sir, Bristol's a ward. (Hunny3)

Tam cap?...oh, a Mahopac mat! (Hunny3)

Store time so Yosemite rots! (Hunny3)

Stags! ... draw E. Seward's gats! (Hunny3)

Les made raw ale, Delaware damsel! (Hunny3)

Amore Roma! (djwixted@facstaff.wisc.edu)

Mad Edna, a slut, nipped & sinned w/ Dennis & Depp in Tulsa and Edam. (djwixted@facstaff.wisc.edu)

Ya won a Toyota? An Indy--o boy! RACE CAR? Yo, Boyd! Nina! A Toyota? No way! (djwixted@facstaff.wisc.edu)

Overheard in a car during a trip to Potsdam, Germany:

Kramer: I see potty! OH!

Hayden, Ma, Deb (mad): STOP!!

Eva: Damn, no! By Bonn?

Ma, Dave: Potsdam be damned! YAH!

Hoyt: To pees, I remark!

(djwixted@facstaff.wisc.edu)

Son o' cop stops, sees tub (too hot to hoot!), but sees spot's Poconos. (BabsG XADA)

Did I go Yosemite? Not one time. So Yogi did. (Leroy2001)

Tops? Kona an ok spot. (Leroy2001)

Arizona Gossip:

Treni saw Mesa as Em was inert. (Leroy2001)

A veep met Tab at Tempe, Eva. (Leroy2001)

N. at Sedona's a node, Stan. (Leroy2001)

And Enos cut niece in Tucson, Edna. (Leroy2001)

More stories from a palindromic newspaper:

Dole's "drug-free Kansas" claim is refuted, thanks to quick-thinking research assistant:

"Ya DO take pot (nice lad, Alec!) in Topeka today!"

Aesthete-king picks vacation spot:

"Art amuses us. Use Sumatra."

NAFTA update:

Oh... Canada had a nacho.

Baseless Rumor Department:

No lye clears Israel, Ceylon.

Golan analog:

On top, Syria has a HAIRY spot, no?

Columnist reports film director kidnaps Wild Man while sexy singer distracts:

Stu: "Joel Coen robs Borneo! Cleo juts!"

Anti-Spielbergian backlash sweeps Israel:

Tel Aviv erases a revival: E.T.

Actor's hubris in Holy Land:

Zeus nipped J. Depp in Suez.

Walters recalls her interviewing coup:

"Arab, Rabin, Ari, Irani, Barbara..."

Cookie magnate indecent in Wichita:

...So made Kansas "Naked Amos."

Mutiny on the Ark:

Tar a rat at Ararat!

Travelog Section:

Sweden. I video Zoe. Divine dews!

Not so bad an act, Canada--BOSTON!

Mary's words (in a pajama): "Japan is Drowsy Ram."

Oh, Cy... Spain--amore! Romania? Psycho.

(OberOber)

A man, a peon, a canoe: Panama. (LionInOil)

New Glenrock cops: Spock, Cornel, Gwen. (LionInOil)

Par that Utah trap. (LionInOil)

Ned, go to hot Ogden. (LionInOil)

O Dallas, all ado. (LionInOil)

Reno gal a goner. (LionInOil)

Reno lass a loner. (LionInOil)

No, Wyoming: Nimoy won. (LionInOil)

God, a slap! Paris, sir, appals a dog. (LionInOil)

No "D", no "L", no "N": London. (LionInOil)

Aha, Moses: Omaha! (LionInOil)

A man, a pal, a gala Panama. (LionInOil)

A million in oil --Lima! (LionInOil)

Macedonia in ode, Cam. (LionInOil)

St. Simons: no mists. (LionInOil)

Tan geese line Nile, see gnat. (LionInOil)

O, display Alps; I do! (LionInOil)

In Ikiba, a bikini. (LionInOil)

O, nag not Tonga, no! (LionInOil)

Mad Zeus, not on Suez dam! (LionInOil)

Passion, Illinois sap! (LionInOil)

O, Nevada Dave, no! (LionInOil)

Name "Rome" not on Tiber if a fire bit not one more man. (LionInOil)

Did Baltimore paper omit lab? Did! (LionInOil)

Viva! Let nine to ten in, Tel Aviv! (LionInOil)

Haiku:

Was it felt?

At left

I saw Ukiah.

(LionInOil)

A menacing new rap act:

Evil Japanese Napa J--live! (The Pfef)

On a lot, sir? Bristol a "no." (The Pfef)

Y R U Japanese, Napa jury? (The Pfef)

Not Rome, Morton! (The Pfef)

T. Fossil at Rome: Mortal is soft. (The Pfef)

Re: Ventura--a rut? Never! (Chandra333)

All I saw ere Wasilla. (LWLevit)

Dam made Edam mad. (LWLevit)

Re Cincinnati, OH: Ho! I tannic nicer! (Joni 0812)

Made amoral, Indianapolis! Silo pan aid! Nil--aroma Edam! (Joni 0812)

"Anniston, St. Pure!" said Dias. Said Dias, "Erupts? Not sin! -- Na!" (Joni 0812)

O, I rat no tat, Ontario! (Petun)

O, ta, Topeka, bake potato! (Petun)

Idaho yoyo had I. (TWoltz)

Sir, a pond erred no Paris. (SchmidtRT)

Now (in a pajama): Japan! I won! (Copykate)

Olson in Oslo (CHjelm9999)

Zeus sees Suez (CHjelm9999)

Monte Carlo gambler, cashing in on big win:

Mais oui; U.O. Siam. (Ottomic)

Oh, a dip up Idaho! (HARDinSD)

Oro or O? (Archan2900)

On Warsaw dock, cod was raw, no? (BHPVD)

Commiserating with frustrated Red Sox enthusiasts:

Snafu? Oy, Boston! O, do not sob, you fans! (Erich W R)

I did not sob, "Boston," did I? (LP FLASH)

Boston, O do not sob! (MSCBELLE, Juno 11276)

Not sober re: Boston (MTAUBCSSC)


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