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A Man, A Plan, A Canal – Panama!In the first year after Fun-with-words.com was launched, over 200 of our visitors sent this palindrome to us, so we've given it a section of its own! It is probably the best known palindrome ever:
It first appeared in 1948, but James Puder believes that it must have been discovered before this. Read his Word Ways article: Who First Found The Panama Palindrome? But it is not the only Panama palindrome; in fact there is a whole family of them, some of them very long indeed. In 1983, Jim Saxe added a cat to the list, creating:
A yak (a kind of ox) and a yam (a potato-like tuber) can be inserted, lengthening it to:
Guy Jacobson found two more items that could be added to this extended Panama palindrome, making the 17-word:
The following fantastic version was produced by Guy Steele in 1983. It has 49 words.
The following year Dan Hoey used a computer program and the Unix spelling dictionary to generate a 540-word Panama palindrome. It doesn't read so well as the others because the simple program allowed abstract nouns and mass nouns like a ten, a salt and a wax.
More Panama-Type PalindromesMany palindromes similar to these Panama palindromes were discovered years before A man, a plan, a canal – Panama was first published.
In 1899, the following appeared in The Ardmore Puzzler; it is by T. H. Moscow.
Thirty years later, 1929, a wordsmith named Lubin came up with:
And around 1970 James A. Lindon extended this to:
(Patna is a city of northeast India on the Ganges River.) Another variation of the pagoda palindrome, and the most similar to the famous Panama palindrome, is:
More recently, Edward Wolpow put his twist on it with:
George Bush's invasion of that country in 1989 inspired:
And Jon Agee in his 1991 book Go Hang a Salami – I'm a Lasagna Hog, rephrased it as:
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