2nd Annual SymmyS Awards
Epic Parody Dominates ‘SymmyS Awards’ for Outstanding Palindrome Achievement
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ on 2014’s Palindrome Day
PORTLAND, OREGON USA– April 11, 2014
Palindromist Ray Stein won the Grand Prize (and the Poetry category) in the 2014 SymmyS Awards competition for Outstanding Achievement in Palindromy with an epic, 282-word parody of the classic poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.’
The Grand Prize runner up was Australian Martin Clear’s “World’s Worst Porno,” in the new “Rude Palindromes category. It can’t be quoted here for obvious reasons, but judge Will Shortz commented “I would have hyphenated "sex-elf" for clarity.”
Popular author Jon Agee (“Go Hang A Salami, I’m a Lasagna Hog”) won in the Short Palindrome category with his “Election Dilemma,” which also took third place in the Grand Prize competition:
“No one to vote ‘no’ on!”
Judge MC Paul Barnam called it “the most quotable of 2014.” Cartoonist Agee, who took both first and third place in the Short category last year, narrowly edged the very smooth “Conversation between two brothers” by the mysterious palindromist known only as “Twoply”:
“Tim: Dad is senile no longer.
Greg: No loneliness, I'd admit.”
Hot on their heels was classical musician Lori Wike’s advertisement for java, which Shortz called “just brilliant …a gem”:
“Had a tonic? Cuppa cappuccino, ta-dah!"
An YmmY Award (the singular of SymmyS) was awarded in five categories – Short, Long, Poetic, Word-Unit, and Rude Palindromes – in addition to the Grand Prize for Best Overall Palindrome. The Rude Palindrome category was added due to the sheer number of entries that were unsuitable for family newspapers. (The rude entries are not included here for obvious reasons; for a full list, visit Palindromist.org.)
In the poetry category, Stein’s epic beat out Steven Fraser’s very silly (and also rhyming) epic dialogue, “The Damsel Auditions for Opera”:
- Damsel, do one bare pose. Mad damsel, do opera− stars a damsel!
- Do one?
- Oh smug damsel, do oodles!
- Mad madam's gigolos are poodles! Mad as a...
- Damsel, do opera solo.
- Gigs, Madam?
- Damsel, do oodles, mad gumshoe noodles. Mad as rats are poodles!
- Mad dame's opera be noodles! Mad!
In the Word-Unit Category, where whole words rather than individual letters are reversed, Twoply wiped out the competition with his effort titled “Cold Feet At the Altar”:
Say "I do"? What do I do??! What do I say??!!
Newcomer Aili Jokela, took second place with “The Difference Between My Boss and My Therapist.” Another new contestant, Carl Lexicon, placed in three separate categories, with third place finishes in Rude Palindromes (“History Lesson”) and Poetry (his poignant “Japanese Suicide Note”), and a second place finish in Long Palindromes with his wacky “Beet Lover Goes Apoplectic”:
Tim overemoted: "Osteopaths rob foe of 'Borsht: a Poet's Ode to Mere Vomit'!"
Portsmouth, England’s Steven Fraser took the Long Palindrome category with a serious and very focused look at “European Economics”:
“EU never went so crap. Bust it up, I say. Apt? No, we were holistic. I fed Euro greed, I cede vast capital. A tip: act, save, decide. Ergo, rue ‘deficit silo’ here. We won’t pay! As I put it: subpar cost, new revenue.”
Ray Stein’s grand prize winner was the longest palindrome in the history of the SymmyS Awards, which began in 2013. In addition to being an end-to-end palindrome, the poem was composed of 24 rhyming couplets, such as the center or ‘hinge’ of this much longer poem:
Red, robust a big gut was.
Red robe pip, ‘Robo’ Claus!
Unusual cob or pipe border,
Saw Tug, GI, bat, sub order.
Later, the poem calls the reindeer by name (more or less):
Now a Dancer! On Deltsen!
Nose Donder! Say Vixin!
On ah Comet! A leg Rud-o-o-lf!
Wo Bambi! Bet ado! Off!
Stein worked on the poem for years before deciding to call it done last year in time for the 2014 SymmyS.
The Symmys are produced annually by The Palindromist Magazine, the world’s leading palindrome periodical. Hundreds of entries were assembled from direct submissions to the magazine as well as a worldwide search for new talent. Competitors hailed from Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S.
“We created these awards to showcase the great new palindromes being written every year,” explained Palindromist Editor Mark Saltveit. “Many people think all the good palindromes were written years ago. These great new works show how wrong that is.”
The panel of judges included puzzle master Will Shortz, word-nerd rapper MC Paul Barnam, “Portlandia” producer David Allen Cress, journalist Ben Zimmer, and non-competing palindromists Saltveit, Tim Van Ert and Jeff Grant.
Previous judges have included singer “Weird Al” Yankovic, comedian/author Demetri Martin, comedian Jackie Kashian, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jack Rosenthal of The New York Times.
Next year’s awards will be presented on 2015’s Palindrome Day, May 10th (5/10/2015).