Finding Anagrams in Difficult Subjects
This page covers some of the difficult names that I have encountered during my search for anagrams, including a description of problematic aspects. In general, short subjects are more likely to be difficult or outright stumpers, as there are fewer combinations. SUPER-hard names and perfect pangrams are at the bottom.
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Common features of difficult anagram subjects
1. Shortness of vowels
2. Too many vowels
3. Troublesome letters (J, Q, Z, etc.)
4. Letter repetition
5. Poor letter coordination
Let's take a look at some difficult subjects.
1. Shortness of vowels
This is a very common issue when doing anagrams of people's names. Abbreviations using consonants are frequently used in these anagrams especially in extreme cases. From a practical standpoint, Y's count as approximately half of a vowel since there are far fewer 5+ letter words that feature Y as the only vowel.
Brent Spiner = Preset in R'n B Actor
AEI - BNNPRRST
This is a deceptively tough name. Aside from the vowel shortage, the P, B and the repeat N's and R's are not well coordinated.
Kurt Busch = Truck hubs Auto racing
UU - BCHKRST
Gwyneth Paltrow = Ply at new growth Actress
AEO Y - GHLNPRTTWW
Another anagram for Gwyneth is the topical Wow! Lengthy part
Johnny Depp = Pen phony DJ Actor
EO Y - DHJNNPP
Not the most compelling anagram
Josh Childress = Shh! Dr. J is close Basketball
EIO - CDHJLRSSS
The abbreviation Dr. J is topical since it is the well known nickname of basketball hall-of-famer Julius Erving and Josh is an NBA basketball player.
T.J. ford = Oft Dr. J Basketball
O - DFJRT
Most anagrammatists don't look twice at a name like this. Dr. J is the key as with Josh above. T.J. also plays in the NBA
Christoph Waltz = Whiz plots chart Actor
AIO - CHHLPRSTTWZ
Charl Schwartzel = Czar shall wretch Golf
AAE - CCHHLLRRSTWZ
2. Too many vowels
This issue is less common than a shortage of vowels. In all of the subjects in this chart, there are at least two more vowels than there are consonants.
Antonio Paoli = Toil on a piano
AAIIOOO - LNNPT
Found in Classical Music gallery in Tenor section
Adrian Aucoin = I ruin 'O Canada'
AAAIIOU - CDNNR
Adrian is a Canadian NHL Hockey player. "O Canada" is the Canadian national anthem.
Jaime Alguersuari = Use Jaguar air mile
AAAEEIIUU - GJLMRRS
This is a very tricky name with a J and 2 more vowels than consonants including 2 U's. Jaguar is a good starting word for the Formula 1 race car driver.
Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu = I use punitive raid line
AEEEIIIIIUU - DLNNPRSTV
Mr. Nisipeanu is a grandmaster in chess.
3. Troublesome letters
The presence of troublesome lettersome is by far the most common issue when doing anagrams of people's names. In practice, the three most troublesome letters are J, Q and Z. It's not merely that these letters are lower frequency but that they cannot be found in common words that have great utility in anagrams. Beyond these letters, X, K and V can be difficult, depending on the combining letters.
Ilya Bryzgalov = Go by lazy rival Hockey
Z V - Remaining letters are also tricky with 2 Y's
Dirk Nowitzki = Irk not kid wiz Basketball
Z KK - The W and 3 I's also contribute to the difficulty.
Henrik Lundqvist = NHL TV used rink IQ Hockey
Q VK - Also, only 4 vowels. Henrik plays in the NHL (National Hockey League).
Jacqueline Bisset = IQ enables justice Actress
JQ - Long name and good remaining letters help
Patricia Valesquez = I crave tequila's zap Actress
José María Olazábal = I jar azaleas abloom Golf
JZ - Too many vowels is another issue. The anagram is topical in an oblique way. Azaleas are closely associated with the Masters golf tournament and José has won the Masters twice.
Peja Stojakovic = Jive as a top jock Basksetball
JJ VK - This is a very hard name that could merit being in the SUPER-hard section. The anagram is quite reasonable for an athlete.
4. Repeat Letters
The following subjects have common letter that repeats 4 or more times or a lower frequency letter that repeats 3 or more times. The subjects below also have at least one other repeating letter.
Bobby Bonilla = Blob in a lobby Baseball
BBBB LL OO AINY
Ellen Degeneres = Lend serene glee Comedienne/TV
EEEEEE LL NN DGRS
Giovanni Ribisi = I sob in Virginia Actor
IIIII NN ABGORSV
Dimitri Khristich = I hit trim rich kids Hockey
IIIII HH RR TT CDKMS
Kendrick Perkins = Pink nerd kickers Basketball
KKK EE II NN RR CDPS
Lasse Kukkonen = Keels on a skunk Hockey
KKK EE NN SS ALOU
Terry Farrell = Err, fall, retry Actress
RRRR EE LL AFTY
Vitaly Vishnevski = Knit his savvy evil Hockey
VVV III SS AEHKLNTY
The next group deals with names that have multiple repeating letters. In each case, either there are at least two letters that appear 3 or more times and/or there are at least three repeating letters.
Carlos Arroyo = Soar, royal roc Basketball
OOO RRR AA CLSY
Emma Eames = See me, mama! Soprano
EEE MMM AA S
Jennifer Garner = Green fern in jar Actress
EEE NNN RRR AFGIJ
Quentin Tarantino = Rent quaint nation Actor/director
= Tent on an Iraqi nut
= Non-antique tin art
NNNN TTT AA II EOQRU
Christina Ricci = In critic's chair Actress
IIII CCC RR AHNST
Viswanathan Anand = Want sand in Havana Chess
AAAAA NNNN DHISTVW
Yan Stastny = Nasty, nasty Hockey
AA NN SS TT YY
5. Poor letter coordination
Let's take a look a some names that are mysteriously difficult. Sometimes, letters in an anagram subject are much more challenging than they appear. When I started as an anagrammatist, one of the early names that I tried was Paul Newman. His name has 4 vowels and 6 consonants which is excellent for a 10-letter name and there are none of the really low frequency letters. There are many word combinations that can be made but this name seems to stump everybody in the search for a meaningful anagram.
In each of the following examples, there is poor coordination in letters that may not look troublesome at first. Most of the examples have no traditionally tricky letters such as J, Q, Z, etc., and also have a reasonable to excellent balance between vowels and consonants. In fact, many people will look at this list and wonder why these names would be classified as difficult, but if you have any doubts, I invite you to search for an anagram in these names.
William Riker = I kill war emir Star Trek TNG character
The main problem is the repeating letters I, L & R which don't work well with each other.
Sidney Crosby = Nerdy, icy boss Hockey
= Be dry, icy sons
Not overly hard but trickier than it looks
Penelope Cruz = Cruel pep zone Actress
= Prez opulence
Clemence Poesy = Poem cycle seen Actress
There are plenty of good starting words but the remaining letters never seem able to create a good anagram.
Paul Newman = A lawmen pun? *** Actor
How could a name that looks so easy be so hard? The above anagram is pretty bad but its difficult to find an improvement.
Let's end off with a look at some of the hardest subjects that I have studied and for which I have found some sort of an anagram.
John Cleese = J-Lo scene, eh? Actor, comedian
I had always figured this name to be hopeless for anagrams, but when the British TV Anagram page was completed, John's name came up on both the Monty Python and Fawlty Towers pages so I was forced to try and come up with something. These letters don't coordinate well at all and there are scant words to choose from that include the J. Actress and singer Jennifer Lopez was dubbed J-Lo by the media.
Sasha Vujacic = USA's chic java Basketball
This name features a J, a V, some repetition and horrible coordination.
Nikolai Khabibulin = Lob a hulk in a bikini Hockey
Repetion and very bad letter coordination put this name on the list.
Janne Niinimaa = I am inane ninja Hockey
NNNN AAA III EJM
More vowels than consonants, extreme repetion of letters and a J make this name super tough.
Daniel Tjarnqvist = IQ led TV star ninja Hockey
A Q without a U, a J, a V and a slight shortage of vowels in this one.
Mia Wasikowska = OK, Sam was a Kiwi. Actress
AAA II KK SS WW MO
Repeating A's, I's, K's and W's are a nightmare in anagrams. There are very few words that can be created from those letters resulting in severe coordination issues as well as the repetition.
Joel Kwaitkowski = Kiwi lets kook jaw Hockey
3 K's, 2 W's and a J combine for a serious anagram challenge. The solution translates as: A New Zealander allows a crazy person to speak.
Saku Koivu = UK UV-A is OK Hockey
Translation of anagram: Type A ultraviolet rays are safe in the United Kingdom?
Pee Wee Reese = We resee épée Baseball
An abundance of E's is not usually a problem but 7 E's in an 11-letter name is extreme. The resulting anagram is very lame but at least it's grammatically sound.
Franz Liszt= Snazz flirt Composer
Two Z's, and a vowel shortage are the difficult features in this one.
Mark Zuckerberg = Eek! r u czar, Mr. KGB? Facebook CEO
Mark's name is also found in Biliionaire Anagrams.
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A pangram is a sentence or any group of words that contain every letter of the alphabet. "Quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" is probably the most well known. That sentence, however, has many repeating letters. A perfect pangram has no repeating letters. In other words, a perfect pangram is an anagram of the alphabet.
These are brutally tough letters to work with. Try doing an anagram that contains a J, K, Q, V, X, W and Z. At the same time, you are doing an anagram with an extreme shortage of vowels, since AEIOUY is not enough to stretch out over 26 letters. This means that you will be using abbreviations. For the sheer challenge of it, I spent quite a few hours trying to find some perfect pangrams and I believe I have found some of the most sensible yet.
Folks quiz NBC TV, "Why ax Dr. J?" Mpeg
NBC = National Broadcasting Corporation, Dr. J is Julius Erving, Mpeg is a standard video file
Vex NFL QB. Drug zip was jock myth.
NFL = National Football League, QB = Quarterback
NHL MVP wiz just rocked by GQ fax.
NHL = National Hockey League, MVP = Most Valuable Player, GQ is a magazine, originally Gentleman's Quarterly
Lucky GQ sex whiz T.J. Ford, NBA MVP
T.J. Ford is an NBA Basketball player, NBA = National Basketball Association
In March of 2011, I found what could be the most sensible perfect pangram. I wrote an article about it in my blog. If you wish to see this perfect pangram, click on the link below
The Perfect Perfect Pangram?
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