Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Carrying forward from my previous post (and thanks to a comment by an anon appreciator), I thought I will put forth some interesting trivia which I came across in different forms of literature. Needless to say, the interesting stuff is related to wordplays(mostly anagrams) again as indicated by the title of this post and I've tried to post only what I found out independently, but where the case seems extraordinarily strong, I've included externally referred ones as well :

1) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's/Philosophers's Stone by JK Rowling
The 'Mirror of Erised' is a play on the word Desire. It literally means to 'mirror' "erised' into our eyes, i.e. if we mirror it, we are in a way "reversing it back"..meaning Erised reverses itself to Desire. Rightly so, it reflected one's deepest desires/wishes as explained by Dumbledore in the book. It could work well as a crossie clue in fact, a simple one at that.

The most famous wordplay in the whole series is of course "Tom Marvolo Riddle = I am Lord Voldemort" which I hear has given many translators a headache! I will obviously not name the spells which derive a lot from Latin and of course English.

2) The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown :
Needless to say, this book had infinite codes decoded but I'll try and have a look at ones which I found have been left purposely undeciphered.

One of them is Robert Langdon's editor's name : Jonas Faukman. Interestingly, Dan Brown has managed to get his own editor's name anagrammed individually and made him a part of the book. Brown's editor's name : Jason Kaufman!

Another trivia which I picked up from the news is the name of Sir Leigh Teabing : Which is apparently an anagram of Baigent and Leigh, the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail (a very interesting and eye-opening book I must admit)

3) This one was totally an unexpected one and I don't know if the film-makers made it intentionally. In the movie, Ratatouille, the celebrity chef is known by the name of Auguste Gusteau. Not until I checked up the IMDB, did I realize that the Auguste was spelt with an 'e' at the end. If we see carefully, Auguste and Gusteau are anagrams of each other!

4) This one I'm not sure if I've come across in the TFE earlier, but also struck me independently while going through the wiki page for the movie "October Sky". Apparently, the movie is inspired by a book called "Rocket Boys". You would have guessed by now that "October Sky" is an anagram of "Rocket Boys"!!

5) Another one which I picked up on the net and couldnt resist posting here. Paul McCartney's album "Memory almost full" is an anagram of "For my soulmate LLM" where LLM fits the initials of Linda Louise McCartney, his deceased wife. Still unsure whether it was intended again. If it was,

6) This was an original : Shashi Tharoor Tweets == Oh, he sorta writes trash! :D Composed just for the sheer fun of mocking Tharoor's joblessness and nonsensical sense of diplomacy.

Will try and continue when I come across more such ones. Adios for now

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Hmm, as far as recent opinions about me go, I could well be described as a person who appreciates less and critiques more, and maybe is cynical about most things in life. The opinions might be justified coz I've always believed in appreciating something which lasts the test of time and is not a one-time wonder. Hence the few things which I do appreciate, I believe are real stuff by geniuses and sometimes I cannot differentiate between God and Genius (yes, with the capital G).

This post is related to something which is close to my heart - word plays. Be it anagrams or anything to do with playing around with words and giving them a new meaning. To most, this would sound like solving codes and getting the thrill out of doing so. To an extent they are right. Anagrams were the first kind of wordplays which caught my attention, way back in Class 2, through the mode of what still continues in the TOI supplements as JUMBLE. It was a different kind of thrill altogether, way better than those puzzle books which kids solve. And the only game which existed then to satisfy my appetite was Scrabble. No doubt then that I bought a board for myself as a birthday gift to satiate my love. Unfortunately no one in my family had played Scrabble properly or knew the rules and I got a taste of it only in Class 8 thanks to a great Prof whom I must thank profusely for igniting that passion again. This passion continued in me when I joined IITM where I realized that there were people of exceptional calibre in solving wordplays which I could not even fathom after an hour of thought on them. But I started appreciating the person who sets these codes (for the lack of a better word) because therein showed their ingenuity and creativity. The Hindu crossie sets my pulse racing and so does a game of Scrabble, but nothing has got me this close to heaven such as the wordplays (and in most cases, the p(h)unny ones) by 3 guys who have happened to leave a deep imprint in my life. Sadly, one of them is no more, being afflicted by an illness claimed to affect one in a million. Unfortunately the one in a million on Earth happened to be chosen this time. Coincidentally, all three happen to be a year senior to me : two from IITM, who passed out in 2009 and one from IITB, who'll pass out in 2010. I hope I can write in brief about this trio and do some justice at least to their brilliance!

I shall not name these seniors, but I have left a clue in the title of this post. All those interested can crack the names, which are written as they appear on my gtalk list. The two seniors from IITM were not known to me in the first month, although one of them did "interact/rag" me, being my hostel senior. He was the first guy from whom I took 'fundaes' on solving the Hindu crossie. Not extensive, but sufficient to get me going. Cracking came a year later through another senior, whom I shall refer to as MoJo ( first guy I know to get a nick of that kind thanks to his younger brother! ). So this senior of mine was known to be good at wordgames and stuff. I hadnt heard of the other chap until I encountered both of them in a game of Scrabble at Lit-Soc. Having beaten other seniors until then, I felt that this duo could also be beaten (considering the others were also veterans and played decent Scrabble). But boy, did they prove me wrong! I didnt even bother to play the next game in the tournament and preferred watching their moves, something which has never happened before whether I lost or won a game in a tourney. That was an ominous sign of what I would be witnessing in the next three years! Come Saarang 2007 crossie, they showed me that they weren't just good, they were God! Being in their second year themselves, they were giving their final year 'studs' a run for their money and with some luck, these guys would have run away as winners. That was to happen of course, the following year where they left the other 'studs' behind by a huge margin. You could probably say they were the Aussies dominating the cricket world (in the Steve Waugh era of course), with the only difference being these guys were pure class and everyone actually liked them! Nice men finishing on top is not a frequent occurence. And humility along with top class is another rarity. I was probably thankful to have seen both in this duo. The best part about them was this : they did the stuff the way they liked it and not how others wanted it to be. Have you ever heard of someone packing the finals of an event at Saarang just because it was overnight ? These guys did. No one would dare to attempt a triple-triple bingo in a Scrabble prelims when a straightforward bingo lay elsewhere, for the fear of losing points and missing out on the final. These guys did and to my utter dismay and other players' relief, their word although seemingly existing, didnt find a place in the Scrabble dictionary and made them miss out on a berth in the finals. The other senior (being from a hostel which shares its name with the "dead river of India" ) was probably more gifted in writing really really funny articles with the best set of wordplays possible, but the duo, once together were probably the best you could get in India. And I'm not joking about this having seen people who are amazingly gifted and yet have found it difficult to surpass these two. Their WTGW and Crossie prelims have been a delight to attempt and solve, with the kind of questions being way different from the stereotypical ones which any experienced guy can crack within minutes of seeing them. But their questions, probably only Geniuses at par with them can crack. I have seen a couple of juniors of mine who could probably reach their level but only time will tell regarding their status.

The third senior from IITB, is a chap one rarely comes across. For one he is a Tam chap sporting a mohawk! Get me the odds on that one, will you? And he is amazingly cool ( or atleast anyone who is a logophile would find him so). My appearances at Mood I for the past 3 years (including this year) have been satisfactory solely due to the existence of this chap. He is the guy who sets the wordgames there and boy, he continues to amaze me every single time. It's like you know there's going to be something new out there awaiting you, to mystify you and the only way one can demistify and get enthralled is by solving them. One's respect for him jumps every time you solve one of the questions (again, questions for the lack of a better word). I have attended WTGW/Crossie/Scrabble at other culfests down south, where there's a lot of competition apparently but nowhere does anyone come near to this chap (barring the IITM duo) in setting word games questions( and of course, cracking them). He mixes it with a bit of all kinds of trivia and an ingenious manner of setting questions which leaves the person with a smile on his/her face after reading it and you cant but help wonder, is this another Avatar of God ? He'll be passing out but knowing that Mood I outsources its events, I'm hoping I can have yet another go at cracking his wordplays! My last 3 attempts (along with my 2 other teammates) have left me just short, here and there. Maybe that is an indicator that you can try to match the geniuses, but you aint one until you succeed them. That is unlikely to happen in this birth for sure and I hope I can continue on this post some time later with a few delectable ones from their papers (although it wont do justice to them unless I provide the full questions, in the form they were).

To Mr. Jilanar, DNK and Makhow I toast!*

(*Names changed to reveal their identity only to those fit enough to figure them out ==> those who would have already figured it out by now!)