A blog for fans of Bananagrams, word games, puzzles, and amazing things

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The First Annual World Palindrome Championship

I've learned that, as part of this year's American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (made famous through the documentary Wordplay), a live palindrome-writing competition is going to be held! Will Shortz will give some constraints on what the palindrome has to be about (presumably preventing the contestants from recycling old work), the contestants will write palindromes for 75 minutes, and the audience will choose the winners.

The contestants will include:
  • Jon Agee, writer of many books of palindromes illustrated with cartoons including Go Hang a Salami! I'm a Lasagna Hog!: and Other Palindromes
  • Martin Clear, who is apparently flying in from Australia to compete and who has definitely written a lot of palindromes. Like these
    Goddesses, bored now, assess a wonder-obsessed dog.

    Some modem telepaths in a Danish tape let me do memos.

    Tim lifted a cat; Elton did not let a cadet film it.
    He has even posted some palindromic poetry.

    But that's not why I'm subscribing to his blog; it's because of this poem:
    Mary had a little RAM
    It’s free space, wired and slow
    And every wire that Mary wet
    That RAM would short and blow.

  • John Connett, professor of biostatistics, writer of these:
    Eva, can I stack Rod’s sad-ass, dork cats in a cave?

    No cab, eh, Ted? I sat up. I put aside the bacon.
  • Nick Montfort who co-wrote 2002: A Palindrome Story, a 2002-word palindrome, written in 2002 (also available as an illustrated book). I know him from his contributions to the interactive fiction community, but he appears to be a professor of writing about interactive fiction and making cool online creative stuff (a field we can always use more professors in).
  • Mark Saltveit, editor of The Palindromist - a magazine dedicated to palindromes (and also a great site where I found out a lot about the world of palindromes.) He also does stand-up comedy about palindromes.

    Pay on time, emit no yap.

    Art, anise, riff of fire: Sinatra.
  • ... and one lucky contestant picked from the audience based on a demonstration of their palindrome prowess.

It's happening March 16th in Brooklyn. It costs $80 to get in the door. See the crossword puzzle tournament site for further details on the schedule.

Once I find out what the winning palindrome is, I will post a follow-up.

UPDATE: I found a soft profile of contestant Mark Saltveit and the World Palindrome Championship.