Saturday 6 January 2007


So, what's on the menu at this Indian eatery in Camberwell...?

Ahhh... Bisto Biryani!


Yesterday, I asked what the following words have in common?


I suspect that Queny worked it out - because he's a smart guy and a magician - but he didn't post his solution, so I may be paying him too high a compliment! The only person who posted a comment and who got close was Scrooge, who wrote:

Honestly Brian, I have three mail boxes to check and several more messageboards and blogs to get through before work this morning. Can't we just have a witty thought for the day ?

And, when he'd finished complaining, went on...

I'm going for the fact that they are all nearly palindromes without actually quite being one because of the first letter ! That's my guess. If I'm allowed a second answer, it would be that you've got a former English teacher in the household. He'll tell you. Now what's the prize.

Well, no prizes, I'm afraid (due to predictable post-Christmas austerity) but Scrooge was close...

So, what was the answer?

Well, in all the words listed, if you take the first letter and place it at the end of the word and then spell the word backwards, it makes the same word as you started with!


Anonymous said...

Ouch, my brain hurts!

Never, ever would I have thought of that! Ever. I'm going to go now and quiz all my friends and family so that I can appear very very smart, even though I am clearly not. You don't think that makes me evil, do you?

Fun fun!

(Also, when can we have another? *Big grin* Please, Sir, can we have another?!)

Brian Sibley said...

ANOTHER? Not just yet! I'm sorry, but you know what you're like... You'll get far too over-excited! And the days of 2007 haven't even made it into double figures yet! But be good girl and we'll see... :-)

Oh, yes, and a note to Mr Van der Put who e-mailed me the following note:

"Soo... they spell backwards if you move the first letter to the end, so banana becomes ananab which is banana backwards. Am I right?

Five minutes Brian, five minutes. I am wasted."

Well, yes, John you ARE right, but mailing me this morning at 01:09:46 GMT, which is AFTER I'd posted the solution is actually not THAT impressive --- unless (as may well be the case, knowing you), your computer is caught up in some spookily surreal time-warp like something out of 'Dr Who' only funnier, possibly more tragic and very probably not involving Cybermen or Darleks...

Brian Sibley said...

Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh, dear...

John van der Put is UPSET!! ;-)

"BRIAN SIBLEY!!" he writes (caps and exclamations marks), "Are you accusing me of some foul play?! I can assure you there was no such solution and I worked it all out on my own. But that is a bit odd because I was going to post my solution on your comments, but then didn’t want to spoil it for everyone else. So that is kind of strange. Regardless, I’d like a retraction and an admission of my genius. j"

Yes, John, * bored sigh * I retract... :-0

There is, as we all know, a degree of time-slippage between South and North London which doubtless explains the delay in your seeing today's post when you e-mailed me your solution - or maybe the clock on your computer is a teensy bit wayward...

Anyway, I happily acknowledge your GENIUS and if anyone doubt it and think I am being blackmailed and threatened by a psychotic writer who does magic tricks then they should visit your site, Being John van der Put and read the proof for themselves...

Alright, John? Happy now? And don't you go putting ME in one of your weird stories! OK?

Brian Sibley said...

And ANOTHER e-mail from van der Put (who could, if he wished, easily conduct this conversation through blogger):

"Oh, I know what it was. I didn’t refresh. See Brian! And so quick to accuse."

So, retractions reciprocated, I guess; friendship refreshed, I hope... :-)

Mark Lee said...

So obvious once you know!
Thanks Brian

Phil said...


surely your official solution is logically equivalent to Scrooge's guess. He at least deserves a consolation prize. Maybe a Crackerjack (ALL: 'Crackerjack!') pencil.

As for Mr Van der Put, I would accept the different time zone theory if he were on the other side of Greenwich to yourself, but not if he is north (or south) of you.

Happy New Year, by the way!

lisa said...

soooo clever... but no dice:)) here's one for you brian., what is the only english word when first letter changes from lower to upper, BOTH the meaning AND the pronounciation changes as well?? we love your stuff over here at the cafe. Happynewyear!!

Brian Sibley said...


Well, that's going to get me (and a few of my regulars) puzzling for a while!

Meanwhile... I have just paid my first visit to the Brainwashcafe ... Very refreshing and invigorating. I shall be a regular customer from now on - whether or not I can solve your brainteaser! ;-)

Rob Cox said...

I liked the similar-ish conundrum in the Guardian today. One guy writes the word 'snow' in the snow with a stick. Another guy adds another letter to one end making another common word (not an 's' to make snows!). How did he/she do that?

Brian Sibley said...

I like this one! But only because I think I can guess the answer!!

Here goes... The second guy walks round to the other side of the word 'snow' in the snow so that he he is looking at the upside-down letters 'mous' and then adds an 'e' to make the word MOUSE...

Correct? If not, then maybe I've just invented another puzzzle!

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I have to own up to having the same solution as Scrooge, that once the first letter has been removed, what remains is a palindrome. It didn't cross my mind to do anything else with the first letter after that point.

Great puzzle, Brian.

Brian Sibley said...

What honesty, Queny! And what an example to those magicians whom one occasionally encounters who seem incapable of telling the truth - even when they're NOT doing a trick! ;-)