Palindromist Magazine editor Mark Saltveit sent me a link to his article “The Palindrome Game of the Enigma Codebreakers,” a must-read for anyone interested in either palindromes or the famous “imitation game” codebreakers of Bletchley Park. A sample:
Few are aware that in their spare time, these same codebreakers held a competition that created several of the finest English-language palindromes, those sentences that read the same backward and forward.
Peter Hilton, the young math student who (in the film, anyway) had a brother on a doomed Royal Navy convoy, won by writing what many consider the best palindrome ever:
Doc, note: I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.
Not only is this masterpiece concise, confident and just odd enough to get a chuckle, it remains excellent dietary advice some 70 years later. It took most people 60 of those years to finally accept the futility of dieting.
Incredibly, the young codebreaker did not use paper or pencil while composing his epic palindrome. He simply lay on his bed, eyes closed, and assembled it in his mind over one long night. It took him five hours.
(Palindromes previously at LH.)