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March 18, 2007

Bub, bar cher flap!
Posted by Avram Grumer at 01:18 AM * 91 comments

Paxed, in a comment on the efflorescence of zombies thread, pointed out that terra is green when transformed by Rot13. This intrigued me; I wondered what other such pairs there could be. So I cobbled together a quick Ruby script to hunt for such pairs, and pointed it at my system’s /usr/share/dict/words file.

The resulting file ran to over 150 lines, with some duplication, but consisted mostly of what I call “bullshit Scrabble words” — the sort of words that Scrabble players and Gene Wolfe use all the time, but which rarely show up in real conversations: yn, avo, sneb, qubba, and the like. But there were a few pairs of real, everyday words:

  • terra ⇔ green
  • nun ⇔ aha
  • nag ⇔ ant
  • oho ⇔ bub
  • one ⇔ bar
  • onyx ⇔ balk
  • ova ⇔ bin
  • pent ⇔ crag
  • rail ⇔ envy
  • sync ⇔ flap

Some more, if you’re willing to tolerate proper nouns:

  • noon ⇔ Abba
  • nor ⇔ Abe
  • vend ⇔ Iraq
  • Pyrex ⇔ clerk
  • pure ⇔ Cher

And the real gems:

  • nowhere ⇔ abjurer
  • tang ⇔ gnat
  • vex ⇔ irk
Comments on Bub, bar cher flap!:
#1 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 02:14 AM:

I bow to your geekiness, sir. V nz abg jbegul.

#2 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 02:20 AM:

The existence of tang⇔gnat kind of blows my mind.

Against my will, I noticed that l and y are a ROT-13 pair, which makes spotting adverbs in encrypted text remarkably intuitive. Or perhaps I should say, erznexnoyl vaghvgvir.

#3 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 02:39 AM:

The gems are really . . . gemful.

Tang gnats! Kind of like meal worms, maybe?

#4 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 03:00 AM:

I like ABBA at all hours, including noon. Cher hasn't been pure since about 1973. Pyrex clerks tend to be very helpful, and never in my life have I ever felt rail envy.

#5 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 03:02 AM:

Oh, and bwa ha ha! to the Gene Wolf.

#6 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 03:03 AM:

Triple post! I meant Wolfe.

#7 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 03:03 AM:

Rot-13 is clearly a dialect that deserves closer study.

TNH once posted the list of letter-pairs for Rot-13. I briefly considered memorizing them, so that I could be able to read it on the fly - but I talked myself out of it when I realized that

a) learning the Rot-13 alphabet would involve a non-negligible amount of work; and
b) learning to read Rot-13 completely defeats the point of there being Rot-13.

#8 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 05:02 AM:

There are customs and traditions on the uk.rec.sheds newgroup involving ROT-13: certain words are not to be posted in clear.

All might be explained here.

Or not.

The FAQ is full of all sorts of hfrshy info. For instance:

"Official insecticide is nitrogen tri-iodide, though you can't really spray your plants with it as it deals with insects by blowing them to pieces."

#9 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 05:40 AM:

I've been there too, though to my shame I used Perl when I did it.

irk / vex is definitely the prize - I found no other word which was its own synonym. Tang / gnat comes close as the only palindrome of note. I didn't spot nowhere / abjurer though.

The big question is what to call them? I thought 'triskadekagram' sounded promising, but lack the Latin or Greek background to manufacture authentic double barrelled words.

#10 ::: Richard Robinson ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 08:10 AM:

#8 ::: Dave Bell :- "There are customs and traditions on the uk.rec.sheds newgroup involving ROT-13: certain words are not to be posted in clear."

Goodness. As a resident of said Shed, and long-time lurker here, I suppose I should say hello at this point. "Hello".

And, yes, indeed there are. Another one that crops up from time to time is the ROT that's an anagram of its unROTted self :- bought<=>obhtug. We don't have a word for that either.

As an illustration of the basic point that some things are just plain improved by a good ROT, I offer our once-Great Leader, Onebarff Gungpure.

I believe some web-browsers have plugins to do this with, but I don't have details - I don't think I've met rot13 on the web before, since I use a Proper Newsreader for newsgroups. This also explains why I tend to only lurk on web-comments; this stuff is just so _clumsy_ by comparison.

#11 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 08:42 AM:

I have the following link right on my Firefox toolbar:

My life was never so happy as when I found that the ROT-13 for Honor (as in Honor Harrington) is Ubabe.

#12 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 09:11 AM:

As I said when we first brought this up, I think what we should try is to make a coherent sentence that either a) is itself with the words in reverse order (i.e. not a letter palindrome, but a word palindrome) when ROT-13'd, or b) is a different, but still coherent, sentence when ROT-13'd.

Neither of these is easy; I offer it as a challenge to the many (or several, if I'm feeling more arrogant) people here who are smarter than I am.

#13 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 09:36 AM:

#7 Bob Oldendorf: b) My thoughts exactly.

#8 Dave Bell: from the Shed FAQ: "...has an inimitable prose style which set the tone for the newsgroup."

*snrk* Sounds like a fun place.

#14 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 09:41 AM:

Dave Bell #8: As the proprietor of a semi-commercial blog about adult recreational spanking, I am deeply amused to discover that there is a newsgroup in the recreational hierarchy that is devoted to sheds. This is especially entertaining given that my current major advertiser is an outfit called Bethany's Woodshed and my former major advertiser was called The Old Russian Woodshed.

Some of my kinkier friends (the ones with dungeons in their basements) would doubtless be pleased to hear that the uk.rec.sheds FAQ confers upon "properly arranged cellars" the status of near equivalence to sheds.

#15 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 09:49 AM:

Martin Gardner mentions the "nowhere" = "abjurer" pair around 1960 in the 2nd Scientific American Book of Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions (p 240 in my copy). In his version, a circle of letters on a chalkboard is used, and one looks across to the opposite letter.

#16 ::: Richard Robinson ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 10:09 AM:

#15 ::: Kip W - "In his version, a circle of letters on a chalkboard is used, and one looks across to the opposite letter."

Simple and convenient is, open $texteditor, and type 2 lines, A-M and N-Z; and you just have to look up or down. If you really want to get serious, print this out, tear off and stick on a corner of your screen

#17 ::: Spike ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 10:18 AM:

Brian Westley entered the 1989 International Obfuscated C Code Contest with program that implimented or removed ROT13 encryption, and could be ROT13ed and reversed without losing functionality. This is, I think, one of the greatest examples of ROT13 duplication I have ever come across.

#18 ::: tuwa ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 10:44 AM:

LeetKey will handle ROT13 in Firefox; it also transforms to and from URL, BASE64, HEX, BIN, and Morse (as well as LEET, if you feel you need it) and will reverse a string.

It replaces selected text with the transformed text without reloading the page, which I think is clever though I'm not at all sure how that's managed.

#19 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 10:57 AM:



#20 ::: Jim Kiley ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 11:23 AM:

Dammit people, don't you realize that by discussing this 'rot-13' encryption technology you are violating DMCA? Someone's going to call Sony and then we're all history.

#21 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 12:07 PM:

Gur nowhere jvyy trg abjurer dhvgr snfg,
rnpu srryf gur gnat nf gur rivy tang ovgrf;
ng abba gur sngure (Noon) bs gur evgrf
jvyy bire gur terra Green zntvp pnfg.
Va gur pent crag, gur qrzba'f serr ng ynfg
ohg, serr gb vex naq irk, vg frgf vgf fvtugf
ba trggvat hf gb sync va flap, sbe avtugf
naq qnlf -- one bar -- vg unf vgf evtugf.
Abj, tvira gung Pure'f abg gur bar jub'f cher
naq ng gur balk craqnag jvyy abg onyx,
jr'ir tbg gb anivtngr jvgu nfgebynor
hagvy jr'ir pbzr gb n ynaqznex gung'f fher;
V ernyvfr gung'f fhowrpg gb zhpu pbzzba gnyx
ohg jr'yy qrsraq gur ubabhe bs ubarfg Nor.

#22 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 12:23 PM:

Fragano #21: How dumb I am: I sat and puzzled over "Gur nowhere" for quite a while. And then I remembered, you know, what I was reading.

I like it!

#23 ::: Andrew K ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 02:15 PM:

I see your ruby script and raise you a hideously inefficient shell pipeline:

rot13 </usr/share/dict/words |tr A-Z\' a-z|xargs -i egrep ^{}$ /usr/share/dict/words;

with, of course, alias rot13="tr A-Za-z N-ZA-Mn-za-m"

When I tried this the best I could come up with was "What if one errs" = "Jung vs bar reef". Various attempts at irking an onyx ant or putting Carl Jung up against abba envy lead me nowhere.

Basically I don't think there are enough pairs of real words. If you give up on that and try to make nonsense words that sound pronounceably silly you can have some fun with names and insults.

I hadn't seen Richard Robinson's "Onebarff Gungpure" at #10 but it's great. Now I'm at it, Bibi Netanyahu is Ovov Argnalnuh which is ok.

rot13 is good for sounding rude
The laxative fybogel=slobtry

I think you could produce something that's readable as an English sentence both ways if you relax the conditions to allow phonetic misspellings and the like, but I never did that because writing the smart word searcher sounded like work.

#24 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 02:21 PM:

My result: from a Python program I wrote that searced a wordlist I found on the web:

(Since all single-letters are listed as "words" trivial one-letter matches omitted.)

12 2-letter pairings
ab no
ah nu
ah nu
an na
ar ne
ba on
be or
bu oh
bu oh
en ra
er re
fu sh
ha un
he ur
la yn

60 3-letter pairings
aba non
abe nor
abo nob
aha nun
aho nub
ana nan
ana nan
ana nan
ana nan
ann naa
ann naa
ant nag
arc nep
arc nep
arn nea
aro neb
avo nib
ban ona
ban ona
ban ona
ban ona
bar one
beg ort
bel ory
bel ory
ben ora
ben ora
ber ore
bes orf
bin ova
bin ova
bor obe
bub oho
cha pun
che pur
cho pub
cub pho
erg ret
err ree
err ree
ers ref
fra sen
fub sho
fun sha
fur she
fur she
gel try
gen tra
gra ten
grr tee
gul thy
gun tha
gur the
han una
hen ura
her ure
hin uva
ing vat
ing vat
irk vex

51 4-letter pairings
abba noon
anan nana
anan nana
anil navy
arba neon
avar nine
balk onyx
bana onan
bare oner
bare oner
bean orna
birl ovey
chab puno
chal puny
chat pung
chee purr
crag pent
crax penk
crea pern
crex perk
cuba phon
cuvy phil
envy rail
erne rear
fant snag
faro sneb
flap sync
funt shag
gent trag
genu trah
gers tref
ghan tuna
ghat tung
ghee turr
glee tyrr
gnar tane
gnat tang
gnat tang
grat teng
guna than
gunj thaw
gurl they
gurr thee
hern urea
iraq vend
iraq vend
ivan vina
ivin viva
june whar
june whar
jura when

10 5 -letter pairings
brava oenin
cheer purre
clerk pyrex
clerk pyrex
creel perry
dhoon qubba
erava renin
freen serra
freir serve
fubby shool

3 6-letter pairings
becuna orphan
cheery purrel
greeny terral

2 7-letter pairings
abjurer nowhere
chechen purpura

#25 ::: Andrew K ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 02:25 PM:

The IOCCC entry Spike at #17 mentioned is at:
with partial explanation at

#26 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 02:59 PM:

Andrew K:

For a more efficient version as a shell pipeline, try instead
rot13 < /usr/share/dict/words | sort | comm -12 - /usr/share/dict/words

(OK, that bypasses the lowercasing, as rot13 actually appears as a built-in on this system, as an alias to the "caesar" cipher program.)

To get lowercasing and omit the appearance of individual letters without getting too convoluted, I first switched it to:

cat /usr/share/dict/words | grep -v '^.$' | tr 'A-Za-z' 'n-za-mn-za-m' | sort | comm -12 - /usr/share/dict/words

which has a subtle bug and thence ultimately to:

tr 'A-Z' 'a-z' lcwords
cat lcwords | rot13 | sort | comm -12 - lcwords

This just prints the words that have a rot13 double; it doesn't pair them up.

#27 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 03:46 PM:

Ethan #22: Thanks! It was interesting to see the words pop out in odd places.

#28 ::: Brennen Bearnes ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 03:49 PM:

I will note in passing that my Very Favorite Text Editor, vim, offers builtin rot13 support with [count]g?[motion]. This probably demonstrates some law of software expansion. Though I don't *know* of anyone reading news directly on vim, I would suspect it's the default editor for a variety of newsreaders.

I do know of people reading news on (x)emacs, so I assume there's a similar feature to be found somewhere there...

#29 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 04:18 PM:

Though I don't *know* of anyone reading news directly on vim, I would suspect it's the default editor for a variety of newsreaders.

If I said that 'trn' uses whatever you specify in $VISUAL (which at least on some systems defaults to 'vi'), would I be showing how long it is since I last used Usenet?

Back on topic:

I considered doing something similar to this a couple of days ago, when all the rot13 poetry started turning up. But I wouldn't have been looking for pairs where both sides were intelligible words: I'd have been looking for pairs where one side was a word and the other was pronouncable (by at least some set of rules). And then I'd fuzzily build a rhyming dictionary from them. So you could write poetry that scans & rhymes in rot13 and makes sense in English. :)

#30 ::: David Reagan ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 05:04 PM:

tang-gnat -- a Rot13 transformation that results in a palindrome -- daaaamn, that's trippy cool

#31 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 05:59 PM:

Best I've come up with is two interchangeable shipping labels:

terra gnat ova - one bar

green tang bin - bar one

The first, of course, is full of insect eggs and needs to be kept at atmospheric pressure.

The second is obviously part of a storage system for a green powdered drink.

#32 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 07:54 PM:

Brian Westley is a genius. Can I say how much I love his 1988 entry?

#33 ::: Andrew K ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 04:47 AM:

Clifton, thanks. I had forgotten about comm. But now I think of it I could have done

grep '..' /usr/share/dict/words|rot13|sort - /usr/share/dict/words|uniq -d

#34 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 08:10 AM:

Brennan Bearnes @ 28

I do know of people reading news on (x)emacs, so I assume there's a similar feature to be found somewhere there...

By definition, any feature you can describe is in emacs, and a (subtly incompatible) version is in xemacs.

It's not widely known, but it was a brief introduction to emacs that inspired Borges to write "The Library of Babel".

#35 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 10:58 AM:

This arcane discussion led my mind off on a weird tangent: trying to imagine Star Wars with R2D2 transformed into the mightier and more cryptic ROT-13.

#36 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 02:35 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers), in #34: By definition, any feature you can describe is in emacs, and a (subtly incompatible) version is in xemacs.

Yes. In this case, it is called by typing the following arcane command sequence: M-x rot13-other-window (that's "meta-x").

#37 ::: Madison Guy ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 03:44 PM:

Sbhe lrnef bs jne va zvpebpbfz: Things are getting better. The President said so just today.

#38 ::: ACW ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 06:56 PM:

The mind-boggling TANG/GNAT pair reminds me of my favorite palindrome:

T. Eliot, top bard, notes putrid tang emanating, is sad. I'd assign it a name: gnat dirt upset on drab pot toilet.

#39 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 10:20 PM:

the sort of words that Scrabble players and Gene Wolfe use all the time


#40 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 10:43 PM:

Andrew @ #33: Nice one! One sort and one pass on the resulting sorted file, very neat.

#41 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 03:43 PM:

If I may extend the discussion to another common self-inverse cipher, I'll note that WIZARD is notable for being a kzormdrome. Pity it isn't in 1337key.

#42 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 04:10 PM:

What is a kzormdrome?

#43 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 04:31 PM:

Erik Nelson asked: What is a kzormdrome?

I figured geeky people would want to figure that out for themselves. But since you ask, I'll warn the others:

Don't look at the following if you want the fun of working it out for yourself!

Pbafvqre n pvcure gung gnxrf "cnyva" gb "xmbez". Vs lbh ybbx ng gur yrggre cnvef, lbh zvtug svther bhg gur fvzcyrfg bar. Lbh pbhyq draw a diagram vs vg qbrfa'g yrnc bhg ng lbh. Gura nccyl vg gb "jvmneq" naq frr jung lbh trg.

#44 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2007, 09:35 PM:



#45 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 07:39 AM:

Okay. Writing ROT-13-able sentences is tricky as all get out. There are a number of problems that crop up.

1) Tense. Past tense is a problem because of d⇔q. Q is a totally dead letter in ROT-13, because u⇔h, and dh+(r,n,b,h,v) never occurs in English. You have to stick entirely to verbs with irregular past tenses. Future tense is out, because 'll⇔'yy, and, well, try putting consecutive y's in a sentence. Present tense is also a hassle because of:

2) Conjugation. s⇔f is a tricky bastard because they both have limited placement, and they're hard to avoid--typically, either you've got plurals, or you are dealing with an s at the end of the verb. S-less plurals are to be treasured.

The best I've managed so far: "Terra! Oh, your very sun--gone!"⇔"Green bulb heir elf hat bar."

Right now, I think it might be easier to make an English sentence that ROT-13s into a sentence in a different language--specifically, Welsh.

#46 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 07:54 AM:

Other bits I've found:

one of⇔ barbs
oh you babe⇔ bulb honor

#47 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 08:21 AM:

Congratulations, Henry.

R gsrmp gsv yvhg mznv uli gsv xrksvi rh "lnvtzkh".

#48 ::: Eleanor ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 03:35 PM:

On a geeky note, I notice that int => var, so it might be possible to write C or Java that ROT-13s into valid JavaScript. (Might be possible = I don't really feel like analysing the problem in any detail.)

#49 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 03:42 PM:

Eleanor (#48) closeish. int => vag; ine => var.

#50 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 04:17 PM:
int => vag; ine => var

Which juxtaposition makes me wonder if perhaps rot-13 could have been used as a euphemism in that recent kerfuffle where the girls said the word that they were told not to use.

The Intvan Monologues

#51 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2007, 04:30 PM:

Another pair is the one where one of the Hebrew words for the underworld maps to a toy automaton.

Sheol ⇔ Furby

#52 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 12:04 AM:

Owlmirror #50: I thought it was the Hoo-ha Monologues now.

#53 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 12:45 AM:

Heresiarch: Q is a totally dead letter in ROT-13, because u⇔h, and dh+(r,n,b,h,v) never occurs in English.

English, no, but I just grepped my words file, and turned up:


There are probably more.

#54 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 02:08 AM:

#53 Avram: And notice how none of those ROT-13 into anything usable. =P

The first word I tried when I noticed the dh thing was 'Ghandhi.' I thought it was concievable that there were some workable words down that path, but it seemed like borrowing trouble. Same with m⇔z: maybe I could get it to work (zany!) but why try when e⇔r and a⇔n were giving me trouble enough?

#55 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 07:38 AM:

In the spirit of the surfer's palindrome*, I thought I'd try a 4-way ROT-13 palindrome.

Best I could come up with is


Which sounds like an ambient music composer's relative in Holy Orders transformed into the discovery of one Mr Nesbitt in his habitual environment.

* You know, the one where all creation is the tube of the Great Wave.

#56 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 08:14 AM:

A guy writing a screenplay once asked me if I could find a palidromic word square in English. The only 5x5 in an online version of the OSPD was


I hadn't thought of a "four-way" word square, in which we don't require a palindrome, only that the square be made up of words in all four rotations. There should more of them.

#57 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 08:32 AM:

Dan @56
Mine is a palindrome. A four-way that isn't a palindrome would be fun too, of course.

#58 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 02:10 PM:

R nvmgrlmvw gsv Lnvtzkh xrksvi zmw lgsvi rnkilevnvmgh gl gsv wvevolkvi lu Ovvgpvy, dsl rh rmgvivhgvw yfg gll yfhy zg gsv nlnvmg.

#59 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2007, 09:42 PM:

#58 Dan Hoey: Gll yzw. Vmxlwrmt gsrh yb szmw rh z kzrm.

#60 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2007, 12:35 AM:


yb szmw

By hand? Whyever for?

alias revcode='tr A-Za-z ZYXWVUTSRQPONMLKJIHGFEDCBAzyxwvutsrqponmlkjihgfedcba'

#61 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2007, 12:57 AM:

Actually, a little thought shows that Revcode=(that letter which is in position 27-(alphabetical position of letter).

With the necessary adjustments to cope with the ASCII ranges of uppercase and lowercase letters, it is a trivial matter to modify the Rot-13 Javascript which was posted above, and produce a revcode equivalent:


I probably could also submit patch diffs to the Leetkey maintainer, come to think of it.

For I have the POWER of teh 1337 c0ding skillz0r!

#62 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2007, 02:11 AM:

Owlmirror: t3h 1337 c0d1n9 skillz I've not got.

I can totally type in 1337 though, and I own a black leather jacket. I've even got this totally sweet pseudonym! Can I be a badass haX0r anyways?

#63 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2007, 12:24 PM:

Thanks for the javascript, which is now on my toolbar, too. But I still think the name "Omegaps" beats "revcode" all hollow. Perhaps because it's my own invention.

#64 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2007, 01:11 PM:
"Omegaps" beats "revcode"

How about a compromise: call it something that makes it a little more clear how it works, perhaps "zaxb". Or maybe "zaxbyc" or "zaxbycwd".

"Zaxbycwd" looks like a bizarre combination of Czech and Welsh, which particularly amuses.

#65 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2007, 05:29 PM:

Sorry, Owlmirror, Omegaps is what I call it, and I stand by #63. I freely offer you my permission to call it any way you want, if my permission is of any help to you. Remember Alexander Pope: "'Tis with our judgments as our watches, none/Go just alike, yet each believes his own."

I didn't invent the cipher, just the name I use for it, and I'm sure other names have been and will be used. I'm not even the person who discovered the property of "wizard" (and I don't recall where I heard it), though I did invent the name "kzormdrome" for what it is. If granted, my wish for user-generated ciphers added to leetkey (with user-supplied names) will let a thousand flowers bloom.

Still, I don't understand "Zaxbycwd". Do you mean "Zaybxcwd"?

#66 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 01:46 AM:

Dan @#65:

Still, I don't understand "Zaxbycwd". Do you mean "Zaybxcwd"?

Um. Actually, I did.

The interstellar empire of the Zaybxcwd contacts Earth, and the highest ambassador, the Zaybxc, conveys a message to all Earth of peace, goodwill, and mutually agreeable trade from the highest political figure in the empire, the Zayb.

Due to several tyops, the carefully crafted reply transforms the terms for the empire, the ambassador, and the Emperor, into the worst insults that can be expressed in their native language.

The resulting war results in the extinction of humanity.

All die. O the embarrassment.

Moving right along: Perhaps "Azby" would be a better term.

However, I felt certain that this simple cipher had been used, and named, centuries ago. Sure enough, I discovered that it is called "Atbash".

So if I ever do submit patch diffs to the Leetkey maintainer, that is what I will call it.

#67 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 09:02 PM:

Owlmirror, "Atbash" has all the subtextual resonance I was looking for, and more. I firmly support Atbash. Omegaps was a mere fancy of my fevered brain, and has trademark problems to boot. Thank you for finding Atbash.

#68 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 09:29 PM:

Owlmirror @66: Where is that from? I'd seen the phrase All die. O the embarrassment, but associated it with Fred Pohl's Black Star Rising. My copy of the book is in a box in the attic (of course), but if I did see the phrase there, apparently Pohl was referencing some other work.

#69 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2007, 09:43 PM:

Rob (68) It's from Joe Haldeman's 1981 short story "A !Tangled Web".

#70 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2007, 05:41 AM:

Azby? Atbash? People, I will have you know that it is the Monster Society of Evil Code!!!

#71 ::: Amy Rye ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 07:39 PM:

Now I want to write for a television show so I can title an episode "There's No Place Like Cyegm Tyeo."

#72 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 10:36 AM:

Amy (71) Having been oversuspicious before in my remark on the anthologies of Yvec N. Fybbs, I'll just ask--can you could supply a hint about where Cyegm Tyeo arises?

#73 ::: Andrew Rodland ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 10:42 PM:

Xopher @ 12: You gave me a nifty idea. Not rising up to your challenge just now, but I looked into the composition of rot13 and string-reversal (i.e. rot13ndromes). The idea being to see if one can create a coherent sentence that remains coherent after rot13 plus reversal. It looks more promising than plain rot13.

The following words map to themselves under rot13+reverse:


And the following pairs of words (loosely defined) map to each other:

ably ~ lyon
ani ~ van
arm ~ zen
aver ~ erin
bare ~ reno
farm ~ zens
gabs ~ font
gyro ~ belt
hat ~ gnu
labor ~ ebony
leers ~ ferry
lent ~ gary
les ~ fry
liar ~ envy
loon ~ abby
manes ~ franz
mrs ~ fez
mu ~ hz
nan ~ ana
nary ~ lena
nun ~ aha
panes ~ franc
pen ~ arc
rare ~ rene
rely ~ lyre
rev ~ ire
revs ~ fire
ron ~ abe
tans ~ fang
thy ~ lug
try ~ leg
veneers ~ ferrari (!)
zero ~ berm

Have at it!

#74 ::: Amy Rye ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 04:36 PM:

Sorry. Real life intervened. Dan (72), Cyegm Tyeo is what I got when I rot-13'd Plrtz Glrb, a place in the Whedonverse. I wondered how the place name came into being, and thought rot-13'ing it might show me. It didn't, but now I want to use it as an in-joke to see if anyone else would get it.

#75 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 01:10 PM:

Thanks for the explanation, Amy. I saw Plrtz Glrb, but I didn't recognize it because I don't speak Whedish. You might also like Koiga Toiy, the Atbash encoding, though it may be a little too vowely for your taste in words.

There's also "okqsy hkqa" (the exchange cipher), "eximy nxid" (shuffle), and "hfijl qfia" (unshuffle).

Eximy Nxid, my white whale,
Eateth squid and waveth tail.
Ships do founder every week
In the chunder he doth wreak.

#76 ::: . ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2008, 06:15 AM:

Removed the spam. It used to be
About some large #000000 donkey.

[posted from]

#77 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2008, 04:13 PM:

As noted in the thread "C",

ones ⇔ barf

#78 ::: amg lite ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2008, 01:00 PM:

Hi Owlmirror
is no very good!!!!

#80 ::: FlowPatrol ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2010, 08:16 AM:

Ahhw i dont get it... damn it

#81 ::: Jon Palin ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2010, 10:37 AM:

Also, Rot13 contains the longest pair.

Here's a list of all words (in sowpods.txt) of six or more letters which translate in rot-N for some N:

1 anteed bouffe
1 azlons bampot
4 ganjah kernel
4 lallan pepper
6 fusion layout
6 alohas grungy
6 jigjig pompom
6 bombyx hushed
6 mulmul sarsar
7 inkier purply
7 manful thumbs
10 muumuu weewee
13 cravat pening
13 harira uneven
13 abjurer nowhere

#82 ::: Anonymous ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2010, 08:06 PM:

I have found them manually before (without a computer). I missed some, but I did get most of them.

#83 ::: Brian Westley ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2011, 04:18 PM:

Hello, Brian Westley here...

A somewhat nifty ROT13 sentence is
gary lent the rug
if you ROT13 and reverse this, it becomes
the rug gary lent

#84 ::: Mary Aileen sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2014, 02:08 PM:

Lying spammer at #84.

#85 ::: These are NOT POODLES. ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2019, 05:02 PM:

The longest rot13able sentence:
Navy be nowhere, one green. ->
Anil or abjurer, bar terra.

#86 ::: These are NOT POODLES. ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2019, 05:03 PM:

The abjurer from nowhere had Chechen purpura

#87 ::: OtterB sees possible spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2019, 11:36 AM:

Comments on old, dead thread.

#88 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2019, 12:02 PM:

OtterB @86:

Possibly spam, but possibly not. The comments, seemingly nonsensical as they are, are actually somewhat on topic. That, and there's no links anywhere that point to something commercial. Too bad "view all by" is still broke.

#89 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2019, 12:52 PM:

Buddha Buck, I wondered. As you say, pretty much on topic and I didn't see a payload either. But awfully random.

These are NOT POODLES, if you're still around, try the most recent Open Thread or another post on the home page for general conversation.

#91 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2019, 08:55 PM:

These are NOT POODLES @90:

There is no URL in the body of any of your posts, nor for your name in the post @85.

The URL for your post @86 is "ty" (or, perhaps, "http://ty"), which does not go anywhere and is otherwise opaque as all get-out.

The URL for your post @90 is "pawp" (or, perhaps, "http://pawp"), which likewise also does not go anywhere and is otherwise opaque as all get-out.

Neither URL (or syllable) ROT13 decodes into anything interesting.

I must say, this is not filling me with confidence as to your intentions, nor does it inspire me to follow your instructions to "click on the URL".

However, you do seem willing to engage, however slightly, with this conversation. That puts you one up on your average spammer.

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