A Grumpy Old Anagram!

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A favorite quote of mine, from the 1993 movie Grumpy Old Men:

“The first ninety years or so, they go by pretty fast … Then one day you wake up and you realize that you’re not eighty-one anymore.” – Burgess Meredith

These words are spoken in the movie by the “Grandpa Gustafson” character (Meredith). I discovered you can rearrange the letters in bold above to spell:

“The grim truth debases: Youth is wasted on the merry young! Life (a thief to any dozy teenager) sneaks up on you by one petty year, or hoary eternity.”

Here’s a video anagram I made that shows the letters actually rearranging themselves:

First 90 Years

Okay, technically this is an animated GIF image. If you’re viewing this by email, you may have to click the image in order to animate the letters. (Many email programs, such as Gmail, display this automatically.) If you’re viewing on the web, the animation should work fine.

Please let me know how it works!

Besides show-stealer Burgess Meredith, the movie’s stellar cast included Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Ann-Margret, Daryl Hannah, and Ossie Davis. There was a sequel (Grumpier Old Men) featuring the original cast plus Sophia Loren. The older and grumpier I get, the more I appreciate both films.

Special thanks to Christopher Davis (@TweakYourPC) for pushing me to make ever-longer anagrams. This one, at 116 characters, extends far beyond anything I ever thought I’d find myself doing. (Chris, anagram god that he is, makes longer ones all the time. If we believe him — and I do — he’s made an anagram of Lincoln’s entire Gettysburg Address. Maybe one of these days, if he ever stops tinkering with it, he’ll actually publish it.)


A Grumpy Old Anagram! — 5 Comments

  1. Very interesting!!! I like word games. I do crosswords (have not got Sunday New York Times down as ‘easy’ yet). I do criptoquips and criptograms, jumbles. I like to play Boggle; have not yet how to teach or engage people who are not yet into it. So you see I’m really amateur, but I think anagrams would really be fun; how do you suggest I begin? I play Scrabble solitaire on my laptop. I don’t like the modern versions of Scrabble using the cheat sheet full of three letter ‘words’ accepted only by Scrabble having no meaning in a sentence. Being 82 years old, as I am, a word is not a word unless it has grammar and meaning. I like to take a long word and discover what smaller words three-letters of more can be created with the same letters, both without changing the order of the letters in the word and by changing the order. Perhaps this is a beginning of your exercise with a long sentence.

    • Loree, with your wordplay background, you could become an anagram natural!

      I love the Jumble game you mention; it’s been a daily feature of the main newspaper of every large town where I’ve lived. It became an addiction when I was just a kid, and that’s been a big help to me. Scrabble (digital and analog) is also a great resource. You’d think I’d be great at Scrabble, and I am when I’m just shuffling blocks around on a table. But playing the game with real people, for some reason, I’m barely passable. Oh, well.

      To get started with anagrams, please check out http://www.anagrammy.com/articles/index.html. Lots of good beginner tips there. At some point, scroll down to “The Art of Long Anagramming” by Larry Brash. (Third article.) Tons of good tips there.

      As you progress, you’ll develop insights and techniques all your own.

      By the way, I’m like you in that a word (for me) isn’t a word unless it has grammar and meaning!

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