Friday, December 16, 2005

Self-Referential Beauties

A few weeks ago, I started thinking about this puzzle.

In this sentence the number of occurrences of 0 is ____, of 1 is ____, of 2 is ____, of 3 is ____, of 4 is ____, of 5 is ____, of 6 is ____, of 7 is ____, of 8 is ____ and of 9 is ____.

The goal is to fill out the blanks with digits that make the sentence correct. There are two answers -- one is reasonably challenging and one is super clever (I'll post answers in a few days).

But recently, I came across this amazing text. Like a beautiful Escher painting, the following self-referential text is an absolute beauty:

* Write down ten `a's, eight `c's, ten `d's, fifty-two `e's, thirty eight `f's, sixteen `g's, thirty `h's, forty-eight `i's, six `l's, four `m's, thirty-two `n's, forty-four `o's, four `p's, four `q's, forty-two `r's, eighty-four `s's, seventy six `t's, twenty-eight `u's, four `v's, four `W's, eighteen `w's, fourteen `x's, thirty-two `y's, four `:'s, four `*'s, twenty-six `-'s, fifty-eight `,'s sixty "'s and sixty `"s,

in a palindromic sequence whose second half runs thus


suht snur flah dnoces esohw ecneuqes cimordnilap a ni

,s"` ytxis dna s'" ytxis s',` thgie-ytfif ,s'-` xis-ytnewt ,s'*` ruof ,s':` ruof ,s'y` owt-ytriht ,s'x` neetruof ,s'w` neethgie ,s'W` ruof ,s'v` ruof ,s'u` thgie-ytnewt ,s't` xis ytneves ,s's` ruof-ythgie ,s'r` owt-ytrof ,s'q` ruof ,s'p` ruof ,s'o` ruof-ytrof ,s'n` owt-ytriht ,s'm` ruof ,s'l` xis ,s'i` thgie-ytrof ,s'h` ytriht ,s'g` neetxis ,s'f` thgie-ytriht ,s'e` owt-ytfif ,s'd` net ,s'c` thgie ,s'a` net nwod etirW *

This is simply amazing! I wonder if it's possible to construct such a sentence in other languages too. I guess I really sound like a geek.


Blogger Unknown said...

Of course you can find this kind of sentences in other langages; We had (we have) in France a literary movement called l'Oulipo (Ouvroir de lit├ętrature Potentielle) who played (plays) this kind of games. They published several books. And some of the members are quite famous. One of them, Georges Perec, wrote a book (La disparition) without the letter "e" which is quite common in french. Another one invented sentences he read on a tape recorder, he reversed the tape (which could be easily done in the seventies with the tape recorders of that time) and it gave another sentence one could understand. A kind of technological palindrom.

12:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what s the solution?

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its complicate!

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh...i cant figure the solution

3:37 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home