Sunday, April 19, 2009

Anagramize = A Magaziner

Magdalen here. Ross has decided that three posts (the Sunday morning puzzle, which he blogs in the morning, the Monday puzzle, which he blogs at night, and the NPR puzzle, which he maybe fits into the rest of the day) are just a big much for him. So I've been formally deputized to do the NPR puzzle posts on Sunday and Thursday. Cool! I'm always happy to lighten his workload for him! (Shhhh . . . Don't tell Ross, but I'm going to nudge him to start doing the cryptic-style specialty puzzles that appear periodically in the Sunday NY Times Magazine. I mean, c'mon -- who doesn't want the help of an expert on English cryptic puzzles with our modest American cryptics and puns & anagram puzzles? Leave lots of comments if you think that would be a good idea!)

Speaking of anagrams, a fair number of Will Shortz's on-air puzzles involve anagrams. Now, I have to be honest -- I wouldn't be great at this on air. I "solve" anagrams in one of two wildly inefficient ways: it either just "comes" to me (the parthenogenesis method), or I write the letters out in alpha order and then see if I can work it out that way. By contrast, Ross can just see anagrams. We'll be driving along and he'll see a billboard for some company and spontaneously blurt out the anagram. There's a modular home company near us, Shorten Homes. You got it: "Host horsemen," he'll cry. It's kind of scary, actually. Scary smart, that is.

Today's on-air puzzle was to identify the names of magazines from their anagrams. Ross was out of luck here -- almost all the magazines are published exclusively in the US and as he gets exactly one magazine (Money) and it has no obvious anagrams, he really had no clue. I got most of the answers, even though all the magazines I subscribe to are also anagramless. (Not much you can do with quilting magazine titles, and Entertainment Weekly and The New Yorker each need at least three words, like "Knew Troy here" and "Leaky winter tenement.") Yet again, the foreigner is at a disadvantage.

The takeaway puzzle is to anagram the words "More Corruptness" into a magazine title. Let me help you out here -- there is no Compressor Tuner monthly or Persecutor Norms trade rag. I got those wrong answers using one of Ross's software products, Wordplay Wizard. It's also part of Sympathy, which helps people construct cryptic puzzles. Wordplay Wizard will figure out all the possible combinations of words that anagram the word/name/title that you typed in. Very powerful!

I do know the answer, and I got it using the oft-unreliable parthenogenesis. We were sitting down to breakfast and the answer just popped out. But yes, Wordplay Wizard came up with it as well. I'll be back on Thursday to confirm what I bet you've already worked out for yourself. If you don't have it yet, you can try the alpha method:


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