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Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Anagram Times Q&A with Maurice Goddard

Maurice Goddard
There are anagrammers who produce quantity. There are anagrammers who produce quality. Maurice Goddard is an anagrammer who brings both. He sculpts rare gems of anagrams by the dozen every week. Here's The Anagram Times Q&A with reporter Maurice Goddard.

Q How did you get into anagrams?
A When I bought my first PC in 1998 and later discovered the newsgroup alt.anagrams. That was great fun and I started posting.

Q Do you remember the first anagram you made?
A Yes indeed! I did it on scraps of paper and it took me absolutely ages! The theme was Winston Churchill.Sorry, either you have your browser's Java disabled or you do not have a Java-capable browse. Try FireFox.
I chose and composed this theme mainly because I grew up on the outskirts of north Oxford just a few miles from Blenheim Palace where Churchill was born, and where he's now buried at the village of Bladon on the other side of Blenheim Park

I hadn't got any anagram aids then. I spent days if not a week fiddling around with all the letters and finding words. A complicated puzzle that finally fell into place and I was so happy with myself! Pleased as Punch! I posted it later on alt.anagrams April 2001. An anagram infant bitten by the bug! A really contagious disease.


Q Do you have a favorite anagram?
A Yes I do, but sadly it's not mine! From personal experience I think my all-time favourite is and always will be:Sorry, either you have your browser's Java disabled or you do not have a Java-capable browse. Try FireFox.
Q How do you pick a news headline to anagram?
A Thanks to a recent prompt from Anu Garg, I now browse daily Google News for topical headlines. Such a wealth of news topics to choose from!

Q Describe the moment when you are working on anagramming a phrase and the last few letters just fall into place and you realize that you have an outstanding anagram on your hands.
A Total exhilaration is the first letter! Sublime satisfaction is the last letter! Can't get closer than that.

Q Some people use anagrams for divination. Do you think there's a mystical angle to anagrams?
A Yes, I really do believe there is something mysterious about anagrams. Especially when it comes to anagrams of names. Rather spooky if you ask me.

Q Where are you located and what do you do in your non-anagram life?
A I live happily just outside Oslo, Norway, together with a dear partner who is a specialist in psychiatry and sorts me out! Or tries to.
Do I really have a non-anagram life now as a pensioner? Well, I've always loved fooling around with any games ever since a kid when I grew up in Oxford. I was quite good at chess and still play. Scrabble and Boggle too! I've won a few table tennis tournaments in my time, but I was totally useless at football! Now, I play the piano on and off. Sing in a local choir. Travel a bit (twice to Vietnam the last 3 years). Read less. Sleep more, and I spend a lot of time clearing snow here in winter Norway! Then in the evenings after wasting more time on anagrams, I can relax and watch TV or listen to music together with my partner, before wasting more time on more anagrams! It's like being dependant on drugs!

Q Approximately how long do you spend on an anagram?
A It varies. In the old days using scraps of paper, simply ages! Nowadays, with experience and the fantastic help of William Tunstall-Pedoe's Anagram Genius, anything from a few minutes to maybe an hour or more depending on the complexity.

Q Anything else you'd like to add?
A Oh! Yes! First of all words of praise for my good friend Mick Tully who encouraged me so much in my anagramming infancy. Mick's an anagram master if there ever was one! He taught me to persevere, and I learnt that if at first you don't succeed, try, try, and try again! Anagramming gives so much pleasure and so much fun. It's one of the greatest games ever with letters and words that'll keep me going until I'm six feet under!Sorry, either you have your browser's Java disabled or you do not have a Java-capable browse. Try FireFox.

Some of Maurice Goddard's anagrams for The Anagram Times:

I'm no bogeyman, says Iran's Ahmadinejad
Daisy Lowe's coming of age
Hillary Clinton says she won't serve eight years
New Michael Jackson doll to be launched

Have questions, comments, or suggestions? Post them below. Also enjoy Q&A with these master anagrammers: