The Special Category

Anagrammy Awards > Voting Page - Special Category

An optional explanation about the anagram in green, the subject is in black, the anagram is in red.

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Titanic Poem - 'The Destroyer'.

Out of the night it came, that menace of the seas,
Unmarked by sound and unobserved, its prey of souls to seize;
A pallid shape, dim in the fog, a monster, on it came.
And wallowed in the ocean path, its toll of deaths to claim.

All boasts of modern safeguards, mere affectations were;
Inventive minds it mocked and giant ships seemed dwarfs to her.
That mammoth ship, with armor plate, was but a cockle-shell,
And when its unseen hand reached out, with ease the giant fell.

And then it laughed; it closed its hand; then watched the work it wrought;
The frenzied screams of dying men, sweet music to it brought.
Unmoved it stood, with eager mien, while fifteen hundred souls
Went struggling down for evermore to rest in watery holes.

Its evil deed accomplished, it drew a conquering breath,
And all about the wreckage, a shadow cast of Death.
The mightiest of giant ships had just obeyed its nod,
And fifteen hundred souls their final voyage made to God.

'A Damaged Vessel' - The Unfit Leader

Into the light it came, a princess of the sea,
With silent grace it sleekly showed its might and majesty
But wait... it should not be this near! Yet nearer still it came;
The waiting rocks of Giglio prepared to stake their claim.

A crunch! resounded through the ship, the rocks tore through its side,
"Where is the captain? Find this man!" the frightened people cried.
A boss to give the signal for the lifeboats to be manned,
A stolid, steadfast man of status, someone who'd command.

A man to tell them what to do, who minded, was well versed,
Who'd activate that vital rule: 'Women and children first'!
"Where did the captain go?" demanded victims in distress;
They quizzed the crew but no one knew - all they could do was guess...

Fear and pandemonium were buffeting around,
And then that fateful shout of fear: "My God, she's going down!"
Some were doomed to be snuffed out, they'd live and laugh no more...
Meantime, Captain F. Schettino was safe and sound on shore.

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An'a so de rain a-fall
An'a so de snow a-rain
An'a so de fog a-fall
An'a so de sun a-fail
An'a so de seasons mix
An'a so de bag-o' tricks
But a-so me understand
De misery o' de Englishman

A Malady For All Seasons

Season one, a day in bed
Reason: mild man-flu and you are dead
Season two, on one's back again
Reason: a bad migraine
Season three, STD and failing nads
Reason: sex (ask awful gang of lads)

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What are the hallmarks of a good anagram?

In general, the appreciation of a high-quality anagram stems from the fact that it is such an outlandish coincidence that two related phrases should contain precisely the same letters. Many of the following attributes, constituting the hallmarks of a good anagram, are based upon this one principle.

The following has been paraphrased from erudite postings on the subject by Richard Brodie, William Tunstall-Pedoe, Richard Grantham and Jean Fontaine. Anagrammy-winning illustrations of each hallmark are on the right.


Relevance or reference to the subject is arguably the primary goal of anagramming. This generally involves the use of synonyms of key words from the subject in a paraphrase of, or commentary or joke about, the original. Occasionally, the anagram may even be the direct opposite in meaning (an antigram); however, anagrams that are neither synonymous with nor antonymous to their subjects are unlikely to be as widely appreciated.

Fire of London
Dinner of fool.
[nothing to do with it]
No finer flood.
[a disaster all right, but the wrong one]
Inferno of old.
[gets the disaster spot on]
(Jaybur, 2000)


The more directly apt an anagram is, the better it is likely to be received. An anagram that is indisputably true but that only indirectly suggests the nature of its subject is occasionally referred to as an ambigram, though where that line lies is highly subjective. On the other hand, indirect but unexpected/whimsical angles on subjects are often well received, and anagrams of this sort that excel in all other areas have frequently gone on to pick up Awards.

Madonna Louise Ciccone
I once made a conclusion.
[undoubtedly she did, but the
'gram is far too big a stretch]
A cool, demonic nuisance.
[certainly apt!]
One cool dance musician.
[but this one is both apt AND
highly specific]
(David Bourke, 2000)

Grammatical correctness.

The better and more natural an anagram's grammar and expression, the more strongly it will convey its message. Even in the case of very short anagrams (where complete sentences are harder to form), something that sounds like a meaningful sentence element is to be preferred - simply reordering the words can make a big difference. Condensations that sound like newspaper headlines are also acceptable. Longer anagrams should have impeccable grammar, however, because the scope of having so many letters allows great flexibility in construction.

A carton of cigarettes
Oft got a irate cancers.
[atrocious grammar]
O, air to get cancer fast.
[not perfect but acceptably
I got a taste for cancer.
[but this one is grammatically
(Meyran Kraus, 2002)

Avoidance of incorrect spelling.

This detracts from the quality of the anagram and makes it seem contrived or the author seem semi-literate. Regional variations in English (such as color/colour and realize/realise) are perfectly acceptable and can often be exploited to improve an anagram; uncommon alternative spellings for words are also acceptable, but not preferred. Old-fashioned spellings (hath, doth, aye, nay, 'tis) and shortened words like 'n' (for "and"), e'er or ma'am may also be employed, but these (especially 'n') are usually best avoided.

I let go torrents o' gas.
[the use of "o'" is a minor flaw]
(Larry Brash, 2000)

Clever use of punctuation.

Whilst punctuation is often best avoided, it can definitely improve an anagram if cleverly used. There has been some debate as to whether the addition of an ampersand (&) qualifies as valid punctuation, or if this constitutes cheating; this is largely in the eye of the beholder, but to be safe it is best to avoid adding ampersands where possible.

Medicinal marijuana
A cure? I'm in a damn jail.
[works well as two brief phrases]
(Larry Brash, 1999)

Minimal use of interjections.

Whilst the use of "oh", "O", "eh", "hey", "ah", "ahem", "oy", "shhh", "OK" and so on can be a handy way of getting rid of leftover letters, excessive use of this device will damage an anagram. Ideally there should be none at all, but the use of a single, minor interjection (usually "O" or "Oh") in an otherwise excellent anagram is unlikely to be considered a major flaw.

The Great Pyramid of Cheops
My God! Perfect Pharaoh site!
[in this case, the interjection
actually enhances the anagram]
(Richard Brodie, 2000)


The shorter an anagram is, the more unlikely and thus impressive its existence. Even as few as thirteen letters can be arranged in over a billion different ways, and though most of those arrangements are meaningless the implications for larger texts (even 20 to 30 letters) start to become clear. By about 60-70 letters (and particularly in the hundreds or thousands of letters) there are so many possible permutations that the clever coincidence that gives a short anagram its value has long since disappeared, and has been replaced by an appreciation of the author's skill.

La vie.
(Adrian Hickford, 2002)

Careful use of non-keywords.

If the leftover letters fail to do justice to the anagram, the best keyword in the world will not save it. Apart from their potential to cause grammatical difficulties, leftovers can ruin an anagram by providing too much information in the form of an indirect addition or unnecessary description. If no apt or useful additions can be found, it is generally best to keep words made from leftovers as unobtrusive as possible.

A skeleton in the cupboard
The artisan locked up bone.
[good keywords, but 'artisan' is
way off]
And lock up the irate bones.
[better result with same keywords,
but 'irate' is still wayward]
Bones are locked up in that.
[non-keywords are now spot on]
(Allan Morley, 2001)

Well-mixed letters.

Repeating a key word (or a significant fragment of one) from the original in the subsequent anagram detracts from the cleverness of the result. The repetition of "the" and other short non-keywords is acceptable, of course. Occasionally, repetition is used deliberately for effect and the result is sometimes referred to as a parallelogram.

These girls are barely legal.
The "girls" are really beagles.
[deliberate repetition for effect]
(Richard Grantham, 2000)

Avoidance of contrived subject texts.

The best anagrams are those where the subject is a pre-existing, well-defined text. If the anagrammatist has resorted to making significant modifications to the original in order to make the anagram work, forcing a coincidence rather than trying to discover those generated by the subject alone, then the result is considerably weakened in the eyes of many. Altering a subject by adding the definite or indefinite article, or a person's middle name or title, is a much less serious flaw.

A Nintendo Gameboy
Made to be annoying.
[adding an "a" made this one work]
(James H. Young, 2001)


An anagram should be self-explanatory; it should not need any extra explanation or comment. It is best to concentrate for the most part on subjects that are well-known enough for the anagram to be clearly and widely understood; occasionally, however, the subject matter of an otherwise outstanding anagram may be obscure/regional or the anagram may refer to a little-known aspect of the original, in which case it may validly be accompanied by some brief details. In the majority of cases, however, an anagram that requires an explanation is likely to be weak.

Giovanni Pergolesi
I love opera singing!
[here, the anagram itself acts
as sufficient explanation]
(Meyran Kraus, 2001)


Be it witty, rude, sarcastic or whimsical, humour will always improve an anagram - especially if the punchline contains a real surprise. Rude anagrams are a particular favourite, but please remember they aren't to everyone's taste.

He's a legend in his own mind
Neil Diamond, when he sings.
(Tom Myers, 2002)

What are the hallmarks of a bad anagram?

Hi! The name is Josiah Winslow, and I'm a newcomer in the world of anagrams. I thought I would point out my flaws in earlier, unreleased ones. (I would also like to fix other non-satisfactory anagrams.)

I. Miscalculation of letters. Don't worry, this is quite common in some beginner anagrams. An embarassing leftover "x" or "z", or maybe a left out "t" or "s".

Sal Tuscany
Santa Clus y [leftover y and leftout a]

II. Usage of old spellings. Try not to use "thee", "hath", or "thou art", for example. I can't blame you when you say that the writers of the KJV Bible used good English, but not good enough for modern standards!

They demise some evidence
Doth mine eyes decieve me? [I'm pretty sure that that spelling is rarely used anymore]

III. Putting a large chunk of the subject in the anagram. The source of this one says that "repeating a key word...detracts from the cleverness of the result". I certainly agree.

IV. Yoda-grammar. Bad grammar you must avoid.

The outcome, it's by halfway. I weary. The force - always may it be with you. [this uses it twice, in both the subject and anagram]

V. Disposal of numbers in the anagram. Although this can make it 63,720,000,200,020,002,002,200,019,992,000,200,220,012,000,200,120,012,002 times easier, it is better to write "sixty-three septendecillion, seven hundred twenty sexdecillion, two hundred quattuordecillion, twenty tredecillion, two duodecillion, two undecillion, two hundred decillion, nineteen nonillion, nine hundred ninety-two octillion, two hundred sextillion, two hundred twenty quintillion, twelve quadrillion, two hundred billion, one hundred twenty million, twelve thousand, and two."

VI. URLs in the anagram text. For more information, go to (it gets rid of three w's). This is equivalent to an annoying spam message online. It is not needed whatsoever.

VII. Creation of new medicine. Metanasonexplomnopticrine has not been invented yet, but the possibility that it might is not a valid reason to use it in an anagram.

VIII. Excessive repetition. Very bad error. Very boring error. No good error.

IX. Screaming excessively. Don't scream too much, like




It's a common error, but it's nothing to be ashamed of.

X. Creating fake names. Sure, maybe there's a desert island called Tarraccanaaomipattraa, and it might be home to a woman named Elsinorious, but that alone is not enough for her inclusion in an anagram.

XI. Using aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll of the above tricks at once. Tribniaites (or whaaaaaatevvvahhhh thee calls them) are the common offenders. Tribniaites are bad. Tribniaites aren't good. They ignore that "repeating a key word (or a significant fragment of one) from the original in the subsequent anagram detracts from the cleverness of the result", and yet they see it every day after they take their Trixambaris (a common name for guys who do that is Sallalia Grammanima). You should put them to death immediately. ESPECIALLY if it ends in strings of annoyingly repetitious

ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp's, dddddddddddd
tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt's, llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
ccccccccccc's, ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff fffffffffffffffffff
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu's, ooooooooooooooooo

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[Prologue to Romeo and Juliet turned into another sonnet on the subject of unrequited love, posted on St Valentine's Day]

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows
Doth with their death bury their parents' strife.

I reached once more this date in February,
How vivid is the hurt of last year's farce;
I looked to well-intentioned poetry
And with poor use, to fall right on my arse.
I suffer words like 'geek', their heartbreak throw,
It's rough I suffer from this woman's scorn;
Saint Valentine himself with Cupid's bow,
Could not have saved the love that ne'er was born.

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Who'd Be A Police Officer in the UK!

How do you tell the difference between a British Police Officer, an Australian Police Officer and an American Police Officer?

First - Let's pose the following question:

You are on duty, walking down a deserted street late at night.

Suddenly, an armed man with a huge knife appears around the corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, raises the knife, and lunges.

You are carrying a Glock .50, and you are an expert shot, however you have just a split second to react before he reaches you.

What do you do?

Firstly the policeman must consider the assailant's Human Rights.

Does he look poor or oppressed?

Is he newly arrived in this country and perhaps doesn't understand the law?

Have I ever done anything to him that would provoke him into wanting to attack me?

Am I dressed provocatively?

Should I run away?

Could I perhaps swing my gun like a club and dislodge the knife from the man's hand?

Should I attempt to negotiate with him to discuss what he's doing wrong?

Does the Glock .50 have the appropriate 11 safety devices built into it?

Why am I armed with a loaded gun anyway, and what kind of extreme message does this send to society?

Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he merely be content just to wound me?

If I were to grab his knees and hold on, would he still want to kill me?

If I raise my gun and he turns and runs away, do I get blamed if he falls over, cracks his head and breaks his neck?

If I shoot and wound him, and then lose the resulting court case, does he have the opportunity to sue me, cost me my job, my credibility and the loss of the family home?


(Sergeant arrives at the scene later and remarks: 'Wow! Nice grouping!')

Couples In Conflict.

'Cash, check or card?' I enquired, after bagging up an item the lady customer was purchasing.

As she looked for her purse, I noticed a remote control for a television in her bag.

'So, do you always carry your TV remote in your bag?' I asked jokingly.
'No,' she chuckled, 'but my husband refused to come shopping with me, and I figured this was the most evil thing I could do to him legally.'


I am never going to understand females.

I just cannot understand how you can take boiling hot wax, pour it onto your upper thigh, rip all the hair out by its roots, yet still be afraid of a spider.


A couple drove along a country road for several miles, not saying anything.

An earlier discussion had led to an argument and neither of them wanted to concede their position.

As they passed a farmyard full of donkeys, goats, and pigs, the husband snorted sarcastically, 'Relatives of yours?'
'Yep,' the wife replied, 'in-laws.'


A husband read an article to his wife saying women use twice as many words a day as men.

The wife replied, 'That's because females have to repeat everything twice to men.'

The husband turned to his wife and asked, 'What?'


A married couple were having problems at home and were consciously giving each other the cool, silent treatment.

Suddenly, the man looked at the clock and realised he'd need his wife to wake him for an early business flight next morning.

Not wanting to be first to break the silence (i.e: lose a heroic victory!) he scribbled on a piece of paper: 'Please wake me at 5:10 AM.' He left it where he knew she'd find it.

The following morning, the man woke up, only to discover it was nine o'clock and he'd missed his flight.

Furious, he was about to go and ask why his wife had not woken him, when he noticed a note by the bed. The note read, 'It's 5:10 AM . Wake up.'

Men are just not equipped for these kinds of conflicts.

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My Grandfather's Clock
Henry Clay Work

My grandfather's clock
Was too large for the shelf,
So it stood ninety years on the floor;
It was taller by half
Than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.
It was bought on the morn
Of the day that he was born,
And was always his treasure and pride;
But it stopped short
Never to go again,
When the old man died.

My Grandfather's Waterproof Watch

Oh, my grandfather's watch
Was the best-selling one made
By the Tommy Bahama Company;
A lot like the steel one
The young braggart displayed
On the high-fashion show on TV.
"Oh, It works under the water so perfectly;
One year, and it still has a ticking sound!"
Grandfather tried his only this afternoon;
That's how our old fellow drowned.

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February by Sara Teasdale

They spoke of him I love
With cruel words and gay;
My lips kept silent guard
On all I could not say.

I heard, and down the street
The lonely trees in the square
Stood in the winter wind
Patient and bare.

I heard . . . oh voiceless trees
Under the wind, I knew
The eager terrible spring
Hidden in you.

A Little Rodent Riddle by ned

A groundhog name of Phil,
Questioned once a year;
Everyone's intent to ask
"Is nicer weather near?"

Bolting from his elite hole
To render by decree;
Will his hidden butt, perhaps,
Kill serendipity?

Even tho' it was
A dreary lurid day,
He saw his shadow underneath;
Tut-tut! Spring's weeks away!

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If I should stay,
I would only be in your way.
So I'll go, but I know
I'll think of you ev'ry step of the way.

And I will always love you.
I will always love you.
You, my darling you. Hmm.

Bittersweet memories
that is all I'm taking with me.
So, goodbye. Please, don't cry.
We both know I'm not what you, you need.

And I will always love you.
I will always love you.

I hope life treats you kind
And I hope you have all you've dreamed of.
And I wish to you, joy and happiness.
But above all this, I wish you love.

And I will always love you.
I will always love you.
I will always love you.
I will always love you.
I will always love you.
I, I will always love you.

You, darling, I love you.
Ooh, I'll always, I'll always love you.


If you should fly,
It would awkwardly make me cry.
So you'll go, but I know
I'll think of you ev'ry day 'til I die.

Yes, you will always live on.
You will always live on.
You, my idol, you. Hmm.

Visible MTVs
That is all I will have with me.
So, goodbye. Please, don't sigh
They do see that you have to be free.

Oh, you will always live on.
You will always live on.

"Stop," I pray, "Ease a pain."
Ooh, I do gasp for joy, too, and pride.
I'm awake with audios about your death,
Obituaries go media-wide.

But you will always live on.
You will always live on.
You will always live on.
You will always live on.
You will always live on.
You, you will always live on.

You, Whitney, will live on.
Ooh, you'll always, you'll always live on.

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A lawyer went hunting in rural Scotland. He shot and dropped a bird, but it fell into a farmer's field.

As the lawyer was climbing over the fence, an aging farmer drove up on his tractor and asked the lawyer what he was doing.

"I shot a duck and it went in this field", the lawyer said, "And now I'm going to get it."

"No, this here's my property", said the farmer, "And I say you aren't coming over."

"I'm one of the nation's best lawyers", said the indignant attorney, "And if you won't give me that duck, I'll sue you and take your money and all that you own."

The elderly farmer smiled and said, "Apparently, you haven't heard how we do things in Scotland. We handle everyday disagreements like this with the Three Kick Rule."

"Really?", the lawyer asked cautiously, "And what is that?"

"First I kick you three times", said the farmer, "And then you get three at me, and so on again, until someone gives up."

The attorney quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take the codger. He agreed to the terms.

The farmer went up to the city man. His first blow planted the toe of his heavy boot into the lawyer's groin. The lawyer was flat on his belly.

His second nearly ripped the nose off his face. Then the farmer landed an unmerciful blow to his kidney nearly causing him to give up, but he didn't.

The irate lawyer summoned every bit of his will, got to his feet and said, "Now it's my turn, you tosser!"

The farmer smiled and said, "Naw, I give up. You can have the bird!"

A London magistrate in a hearing room at the county courthouse was taking testimony from a woman regarding her pending divorce proceedings, and asked her, "What are the grounds for this?"

"About fifty acres", she testified, "And a nice little home in the middle of the property and a bottoms with a windmill and a pretty little stream running by a pond."

"No," the magistrate said gently, "What is the foundation of this case?"

"Why, I think it is made with concrete blocks under brick and mortar.", the wife testified.

"I mean", he said, frowning, "What are your relations like?"

"I have two aunts, a nephew, and my uncle that live here in town. So do my husband's parents."

"Do you have a real grudge, Ma'am?", he asked dryly.

"Lord no," the wife replied thoughtfully, "We have a little two-car carport and have never really needed one."

"Please. . ." he tried again; "Is there any infidelity in your marriage?"

"Oh yes, with both my grandson and my daughter; they have newfangled stereo sets. We don't necessarily like the music, but still the answer to your question is yes."

"Has your husband ever beat you up?", he asked attempting to get at the truth finally.

"Oh yes", she testified steadily, "I know he gets up earlier than I do about twice a week."

Wholly in frustration, the magistrate finally huffed sharply, "OK lady, then why did you want the divorce?!"

"Oh, I don't," she replied fretfully. "Frankly I've never wanted one. My husband does. That cloddish old dolt says he can't communicate with me!!"

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[William Shakespeare's sonnet pair that deals with the 4 elements (44-45) is anagrammed into 4 poems about the role each element plays in nature, with fitting acrostics.]

If the dull substance of my flesh were thought,
Injurious distance should not stop my way;
For then despite of space I would be brought,
From limits far remote where thou dost stay.
No matter then although my foot did stand
Upon the farthest earth removed from thee;
For nimble thought can jump both sea and land
As soon as think the place where he would be.
But ah! thought kills me that I am not thought,
To leap large lengths of miles when thou art gone,
But that so much of earth and water wrought
I must attend time's leisure with my moan,
Receiving nought by elements so slow
But heavy tears, badges of either's woe.

The other two, slight air and purging fire,
Are both with thee, wherever I abide;
The first my thought, the other my desire,
These present-absent with swift motion slide.
For when these quicker elements are gone
In tender embassy of love to thee,
My life, being made of four, with two alone
Sinks down to death, oppress'd with melancholy;
Until life's composition be recured
By those swift messengers return'd from thee,
Who even but now come back again, assured
Of thy fair health, recounting it to me:
This told, I joy; but then no longer glad,
I send them back again and straight grow sad.

The Four Forces

Ferocious flames! How hurtful, at their worst,
Incinerating forests in a flash,
Reducing with those mammoth, brutal bursts
Each tree into this barren pile of ash;
But often, fires of this major scope
Just judge the budding plant's attempt to cope -
And gift the strongest bulb that second hope.

As gloomy clouds go by like puffs of smoke,
I latch onto this muse they leave behind,
Remembering the moments they evoke,
The poignant thoughts which haunt my heavy mind.
But those become unravelled as I stare;
It's truly hard to grasp the When and Where -
For memories are fluent as the air.

When Nature had enough of summer strife
And bathes this meadow with a sweeping flood,
The most unhealthy weed might come to life,
Emerging in that puddle in the mud.
Rain can erode the mountain with its flow,
But tends to wash away the numbing woe -
Like wild weeds by the road, life needs to grow.

Eternal flame or cloud or stormy gloom
Are but null things to those within the earth;
Roots won't depart the quiet of her womb -
They've been below that gorgeous ground from birth.
How good it feels, in these embattled days,
To know that even when the sky is gray,
There is one solid thing that's here to stay.