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Farmer Arepo Turns His Wheel
July 26, 2011 2:35 PM   Subscribe

SATOR
AREPO
TENET
OPERA
ROTAS
posted by Iridic (105 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm not playing Scrabble with you guys anymore.
posted by griphus at 2:36 PM on July 26, 2011 [17 favorites]


This is awesome and I'm going to spend the rest of my life trying to write one in English.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:38 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is awesome and I'm going to spend the rest of my life trying to write one in English.

It's easy if you invent bullshit fake names like Arepo. NOT THAT I'M BITTER OR ANYTHING.
posted by theodolite at 2:40 PM on July 26, 2011 [24 favorites]


Huh, I guess that's what I kept trying to do with the bananagram tiles. I won't feel too bad about not succeeding, then.
posted by little cow make small moo at 2:40 PM on July 26, 2011


There should be a way to find these using a dictionary and a brute force algorithm. Hop to it programmers.
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:40 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nice - reminds me of the magic word cube.
posted by Paragon at 2:42 PM on July 26, 2011


I love Sator squares! So tasty.
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:44 PM on July 26, 2011


More info here on english-language equivalents.

The biggest one currently known is 9x9.
posted by schmod at 2:44 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wikipedia says that Arepo is mefi's own hapax_legomenon.
posted by madcaptenor at 2:46 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is awesome and I'm going to spend the rest of my life trying to write one in English.

In the middle of an epic scrabblefest that could have resulted in an awesome 4x4 word square (if only one of us had had an S!), I remarked how cool it would be if we could make a 5x5 square. Was it even possible? My boyfriend busted out his computer and spent the next several hours (so much for the scrabble game) writing some program to see if it could happen. (Yes, he has a text file of every word in the scrabble dictionary, why do you ask?)

The results were really disappointing, actually. It's almost impossible to build one without using the world aalii, and really, what the hell kind of word is that anyway? (Aside from an AWESOME one to play when you've got mad vowel glut.)
posted by phunniemee at 2:47 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


SATOR
AREPO
TENET
OPERA
ROTAS

I see what you did there.
posted by chavenet at 2:48 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, and on seeing schmod's link, my guess is we didn't let it run long enough.
posted by phunniemee at 2:48 PM on July 26, 2011


Also
posted by Obscure Reference at 2:49 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


A moment of respite from the ongoing--well, lets just stop there. This is very very good. Thanks
posted by rmhsinc at 2:50 PM on July 26, 2011


More info here on english-language equivalents.

The biggest one currently known is 9x9.


But those are just word squares. The sator square is also an anagram-- it can be read in four directions rather than just the two of a word square.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:52 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


ETA
TOT
ATE
posted by shakespeherian at 2:55 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


DOG
OHO
GOD
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:57 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hop to it programmers.

Yeah, you know, just punch it up.
posted by resurrexit at 2:59 PM on July 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


See also this AskMe.
posted by box at 2:59 PM on July 26, 2011


MAP
ALA
PAM
posted by shakespeherian at 3:00 PM on July 26, 2011


MILF
IDOL
LODI
FLIM

OK, that was just stupid.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:00 PM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Seem my ask me question on word blocks in scrabble.


JEWELER
ELAPINE
WAXINGS
EPIMERE
LINEMAN
ENGRAFT
RESENTS
posted by empath at 3:01 PM on July 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


But again it's not just a word block. It's also an anagram (can be read the same backwards) and it's a sentence.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:03 PM on July 26, 2011


TRAP
ROTA
ATOR
PART

A TOR? Two words? OK, it's a stretch.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:04 PM on July 26, 2011


Wikipedia says that Arepo is mefi's own hapax_legomenon.

Actually, 'Arepo' is just one hapax legomenon. Strangely, there are many hapax legomenon, though her profile says she is single.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:04 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kwejibo!
posted by Wild_Eep at 3:09 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Huh, I guess that's what I kept trying to do with the bananagram tiles.

You can't bring up Sator squares and Bananagram tiles and not expect me to have this image linked up.
posted by komara at 3:09 PM on July 26, 2011


L O L
W T F
B B Q
Well that didn't work.
posted by mazola at 3:09 PM on July 26, 2011 [37 favorites]


AGH! I can't stop thinking about this. I'm officially useless today (well everyday, but still).
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:11 PM on July 26, 2011


WELCO
METOT
HENEX
TLEVEL
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 3:13 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


A C H A L A S I A
C R E N I D E N S
H E X A N D R I C
A N A B O L I T E
L I N O L E N I N
A D D L E H E A D
S E R I N E T T E
I N I T I A T O R
A S C E N D E R S

posted by loquacious at 3:18 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Didn't people learn about this in grade school?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 3:18 PM on July 26, 2011


S T E P
T I M E
E M I T
P E T S

From here
posted by Lanark at 3:19 PM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Some of these would be brilliant as well-designed typo posters. Quickly my boy, to Etsy!
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:22 PM on July 26, 2011


I'm surprised that someone hasn't written a computer program to exhaustively search these out. Or maybe they have and there aren't as many palidromic word pairs as I think.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:23 PM on July 26, 2011


I had never heard of this until a wikipedia random article hit took me to the Sator Square page. A minor Discworld mystery-to-me solved.
posted by smirkette at 3:27 PM on July 26, 2011


POOP
OTTO
OTTO
POOP

posted by Sys Rq at 3:27 PM on July 26, 2011 [32 favorites]


FUCK
THIS
SHIT
posted by chavenet at 3:31 PM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Dammit! My program for finding word square is on the disk-that-crashed-and-I-haven't-had-a-chance-to-recover. It was a question posted in the Boston subway, when ITA software was trolling for employees. Amazing the data structures you can invent on the Red Line.

If memory serves, there were dozens of 5x5 word squares and hundreds of 4x4s, ignoring palindromes.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:31 PM on July 26, 2011


If memory serves, there were dozens of 5x5 word squares and hundreds of 4x4s, ignoring palindromes.

so you're saying there are less 5-by-5 word squares than 4-by-4? That's interesting.
posted by madcaptenor at 3:34 PM on July 26, 2011


related.. ish.
posted by herbplarfegan at 3:34 PM on July 26, 2011


K R A B
R A G A
A G A R
B A R K

posted by Sys Rq at 3:49 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


A R E P O
I S S C H
T U P P I
N G Y O U
R W I F E

posted by steef at 3:50 PM on July 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


I'd never heard of this -
˙ʇɐǝu ʎllɐǝɹ sı sıɥʇ
Thank you!
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 3:54 PM on July 26, 2011


It's almost impossible to build one without using the word aalii

aalii! bumaye!
posted by Hoopo at 3:59 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


PS I have no idea why I keep saying anagram when I mean palindrome.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:04 PM on July 26, 2011


BURGER
FERNANDO
KLEENEX

nope

PUDGE
MONKEY
DOUGHNUT

nope

SPEEDO
CAMERA
MEATBALLS

nope

*gives up*
posted by jimmythefish at 4:04 PM on July 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


GNAW
TIME
KOOK
EMIT
WANG
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:08 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


go fuck a salami, pig! that's my lasagna!

wait, i am doing it wrong
posted by not_on_display at 4:09 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


BURMA SHAVE

And why did I never hear about this in my 3.5 years of high school Latin?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 4:10 PM on July 26, 2011


I

am

A

minimalist.
posted by hexatron at 4:11 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


so you're saying there are less 5-by-5 word squares than 4-by-4? That's interesting.

Yes. The originating question was "what's the largest word square?". I didn't bother with 2x2, there were scads of 3x3s, and, not surprisingly, it quickly showed nothing larger than 7x7. I can't remember whether or not there was a 6x6. This is bothering me. I'm going to try to find that program!
posted by benito.strauss at 4:21 PM on July 26, 2011


A

Are there any points for a 1x1?
posted by rube goldberg at 4:30 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I humbly submit the Lovecraftian Wordcube of Incoherent Horror:
A A A A A
A A A A A
A A A A A
A A A A A
A A A A A

posted by cmyk at 4:35 PM on July 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


META
EMIT
TIME
ATEM

Clearly the square wants a certain Cameroonian football player to make a post.
posted by lucidium at 4:47 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cmyk wrote: I humbly submit the Lovecraftian Wordcube of Incoherent Horror:

Surely that should be:

A I
I A

posted by Joe in Australia at 4:52 PM on July 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


Touché, good sir.
posted by cmyk at 4:54 PM on July 26, 2011


αβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρστυφχψω
βγδεζηθικλμνξοπρστυφχψωα
γδεζηθικλμνξοπρστυφχψωαβ
δεζηθικλμνξοπρστυφχψωαβγ
εζηθικλμνξοπρστυφχψωαβγδ
ζηθικλμνξοπρστυφχψωαβγδε
ηθικλμνξοπρστυφχψωαβγδεζ
θικλμνξοπρστυφχψωαβγδεζη
ικλμνξοπρστυφχψωαβγδεζηθ
κλμνξοπρστυφχψωαβγδεζηθι
λμνξοπρστυφχψωαβγδεζηθικ
μνξοπρστυφχψωαβγδεζηθικλ
νξοπρστυφχψωαβγδεζηθικλμ
ξοπρστυφχψωαβγδεζηθικλμν
οπρστυφχψωαβγδεζηθικλμνξ
πρστυφχψωαβγδεζηθικλμνξο
ρστυφχψωαβγδεζηθικλμνξοπ
στυφχψωαβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρ
τυφχψωαβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρσ
υφχψωαβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρστ
φχψωαβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρστυ
χψωαβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρστυφ
ψωαβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρστυφχ
ωαβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρστυφχψ
please do not ask why I have this handy for cutting and pasting.
posted by wobh at 4:55 PM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


えええええ
えええええ
ええ?ええ
えええええ
えええええ
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:56 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


wobh: I see your 24-by-24 Greek square and raise you a 33-by-33 Cyrillic square. (I'm using the Russian alphabet.) Actually constructing this square is left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by madcaptenor at 5:02 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've created a 34-by-34 word square in Rotokas. Each of the twelve letters appears about a hundred times. I just made that up.
posted by box at 5:34 PM on July 26, 2011


ABBA
BOOB
BOOB
ABBA

I'll sleep well tonight knowing that I made a difference in the world with that one.
posted by fzx101 at 5:35 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


YO
OY
posted by Anything at 5:37 PM on July 26, 2011


I've created a 34-by-34 word square [...] posted by box

eponysterical?
posted by madcaptenor at 5:39 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stupid Romans cheating with their phonetic alphabet. GRAR
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:58 PM on July 26, 2011


FLOW
LOBO
OBOL
WOLF
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:59 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I was an undergraduate I once listened to a math major explain to me his thesis work in construction of magic squares for experimental multiplication tables and how he was sure he was going to turn all of mathematics completely upside down with it. It sounded like a pretty neat idea for about ten minutes and then I slowly came to the realization that he was not going to shut up about it ever; he was like a United Nations debate just going on and on and on and on.

There is a rumor that Aleister Crowley lost his mind halfway through an Enochian magic working based on iterating through a big magic square of Barbarous names and he lost his place in confusion leaving the gates of hell wide open and the demons all came rushing through and scrambling up his brains.

Which is to say a little of this is amusing but it can easily get out of hand.
posted by bukvich at 6:33 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


GATER
AMENE
TENET
ENEMA
RETAG

PALER
AMENE
LEVEL
ENEMA
RELAP
posted by kenko at 6:38 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


import System.IO
import qualified Data.Set as S

main = do
  words <- readFile "/usr/share/dict/words" >>= return . filter (\w -> length w == 5) . lines
  wordset <- return $ S.fromList words
  canbenonmiddle <- return $ [w | w <- words, (reverse w) `S.member` wordset]
  canbemiddle <- return $ [w | w <- canbenonmiddle, w == (reverse w)]
  squares <- return $ [(first, second, third, reverse second, reverse first) |
              first <- canbenonmiddle,
              second <- canbenonmiddle,
              head second == first !! 1,
              second !! 4 == first !! 3,
              third <- canbemiddle,
              head third == first !! 2,
              third !! 1 == second !! 2]
  mapM_ (putStrLn.show) squares

posted by kenko at 6:40 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


That Crowley story is totally true!


My mom said so!
posted by wittgenstein at 7:13 PM on July 26, 2011


kenko-

Firstly, nice. I'm learning Haskell and am a little jealous.

Second, just for my curiosity?
mapM_ (putStrLn.show) [size canbenonmiddle, size canbemiddle]
Third, can all those
var <- return $ blahblah
be replaced with 'let' statements? Or "let ... in ...." statements?
posted by benito.strauss at 7:31 PM on July 26, 2011


Palindromic word pair quizzes 1,2, and 3 (sorta).
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:53 PM on July 26, 2011


It's funny how the wiki article puzzles over the possible meanings of AREPO when the best explanation might be that it was a kludge to make the square work.
posted by storybored at 7:57 PM on July 26, 2011


BUFFALO
BUFFALO
BUFFA...OH EFF THIS
posted by wowbobwow at 8:01 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the post!
posted by churl at 8:01 PM on July 26, 2011


PUPILS
REINED
DENIER
SLIPUP
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:37 PM on July 26, 2011


STOPS
REGAL
LAGER
SPOTS
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:39 PM on July 26, 2011


Okay, a slight ammendment, in line with the original post:

PUPILS
REINED
REFER
DENIER
SLIPUP
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:42 PM on July 26, 2011


Wait a second... scratch that last one.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:47 PM on July 26, 2011


: )
( :
posted by not_on_display at 8:55 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


AO
OA

/Tony Danza
posted by Wild_Eep at 8:56 PM on July 26, 2011


Spaceman, you're missing the verticals.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:00 PM on July 26, 2011


PASTERNOSTER
posted by Apocryphon at 10:12 PM on July 26, 2011


I want some that work diagonally.
posted by ambient2 at 10:51 PM on July 26, 2011


be replaced with 'let' statements? Or "let ... in ...." statements?

Yes, actually, I think that's preferred style. I barely know Haskell myself. (hlint will suggest making changes like that, but I don't have it installed on this computer.) You don't need "let ... in ...", just "let...", so "wordset <- return $ S.fromList words" becomes "let wordset = S.fromList words" and you just continue on your merry way.


Second, just for my curiosity?
    mapM_ (putStrLn.show) [size canbenonmiddle, size canbemiddle]


21 and 137 respectively (but it's spelled "length", not "size"! and you could pull out the call to size: "mapM_ (putStrLn.show.length) [canbenonmiddle, canbemiddle]".
posted by kenko at 11:41 PM on July 26, 2011


Here's the only one I know of in Indian languages. In Tamil,

சி வா ஜி
வா யி லே
ஜி லே பி


Or, transliterated in Roman script,

si va ji
va yi le
ji le bi


Or, Sivaji['s] mouth [has a] jilebi.
posted by the cydonian at 1:32 AM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


CUNT
UREA
NECK
TAKE

These are too easy.

There are only a handful of 2X2 crossword puzzles. You don't need clues. Here's one:

SO
OF

Find the others.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:43 AM on July 27, 2011


No one's mentioned my favorite, the trivial 0x0 square:


It doesn't get you any points in Scrabble, but the advantage is you get another turn immediately after you play it.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:46 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


SHIT
HERE
IRIS
TEST

IPAD
POSE
ASKS
DESK

PISS
ISLE
SLEW
SEWS

TURD
UREA
REST
DATE

PUKE
UREA
KEGS
EASY

DUMB
UREA
MEET
BATS

You gotta love UREA.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:06 AM on July 27, 2011


moor
marc
deified
cram
room
posted by hal_c_on at 2:09 AM on July 27, 2011


i
am
not
sober
posted by hal_c_on at 2:10 AM on July 27, 2011


FUCK
UREA
CENT
KATE

DICK
IDEA
CENT
KATE

COCK
OGLE
CLOG
KEGS

TWAT
WORE
ARTS
TEST

SNOT
NIKE
OKRA
TEAS

CUMS
UREA
MEAL
SALT

BUTT
UREA
TEAM
TAME

SCUM
CORE
UREA
MEAN

MEFI
EARN
FRAT
INTO

MEFI
EVIL
FILL
ILLS
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:34 AM on July 27, 2011


While no one was watching, two thousand odd years ago the person who invented this changed the spelling and grammar rules of Latin to make this valid because it didn't work originally.
posted by XMLicious at 4:26 AM on July 27, 2011


O R A N G E
R ? ? ? ? ?
A ? ? ? ? ?
N ? ? ? ? ?
G ? ? ? ? ?
E ? ? ? ? ?

posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:34 AM on July 27, 2011


twoleftfeet -- you're missing the palindrome aspect.
posted by garlic at 6:16 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


ANTIDISESTABLISHMENTARIANISM
☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞
☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞
☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞
☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞
☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞
☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞
☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞
☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞
☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞
☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞
☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞
☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞
☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞☜(⌒▽⌒)☞
CLTHULU!

what?
posted by Debaser626 at 6:24 AM on July 27, 2011


Spaceman, you're missing the verticals.

That does add a new twist to the puzzle. And make it a lot more interesting.
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:40 AM on July 27, 2011


IN GIRUM IMUS NOCTE ET CONSUMIMUR IGNI.
posted by leapfrog at 7:06 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


kenko - 21 and 137 respectively

Interesting. There are a lot more 5 letter palindromes than palindrome pairs.

cydonian: Tamil example

That Wikipedia appendix is fascinating - palindromes in so many languages. Though if you're not familiar with the name 'Edip', and don't know that 'pide' is the Turkish spelling for 'pita', this one
Ey Edip pide ye,
which is translated as "Oh Edip, eat pide", looks like the ones I used to produce: "David, I vad!"
posted by benito.strauss at 7:22 AM on July 27, 2011


CUNT
UREA
NECK
TAKE

These are too easy.


Everything's easy when you do it wrong.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:50 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everything's easy when you do it wrong.

Have you ever looked at AskMeFi?
posted by benito.strauss at 8:18 AM on July 27, 2011


What's amazing about the SATOR square (which was actually ROTAS on top for the first hundred years or so) is that it's 1) a 5 word square 2) palindromic and 3) forms a sentence, allowing Arepo as a name. Any one or even two of those is possible, but all 3? No wonder it's been used as a magic spell or charm for 2K years.

Also cool is that it was found as graffiti at Pompeii, dating it back at least to 79 AD, which makes it the oldest surviving written palindrome.
posted by msalt at 10:03 AM on July 27, 2011


As an ambitious palindromist, I have spent a lot of time trying to create one of these in English. The best I managed, which required a two-words-on-one-line cheat, was

PACER
ALIVE
CIVIC
EVILA
RECAP

I interpret this as "Pacer alive! Civic evil -- a recap." Which obviously means that the Honda Civic is an unholy reincarnation of the Satanic AMC Pacer subcompact of the 1970s.
posted by msalt at 10:07 AM on July 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Maybe "Evila" is a name, like Cruella.

"Pacer alive?! Civic Evila, recap!"

That is, "the person who was supposed to be the pacer (in a race, e.g.) is still alive? Evila, you're civic-minded; explain to the group how this happened!"
posted by kenko at 12:19 PM on July 27, 2011


'Speed Racer is ALIVE?'
'No, Pacer. P. Speed PACER.'
'But Speed Racer is dead, yes?'
'Oh, most certainly, mistress.'
'Very well, Evila. Carry on.'
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:37 PM on July 27, 2011


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