Ask Me Another
9:15 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Animal Lamina

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 10:28 am

You've got to think forwards and backwards in this game, to think up ridiculous palindromes that involve animals. Where might stylish alpacas go for new duds? A "llama mall"!

Heard in Episode 315: Let It Lopez

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Let's say hello to our next two contestants Tom Toce and Maryann Aita.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: All right. I feel like you both shared things with us that illustrates your extreme nerdom. Maryann, to illustrate your grammar nerdom, you said to one of our producers: I once started making out with the guy because he paused his favorite TV show to discuss split infinitives.

(LAUGHTER)

JONATHAN COULTON: Sexy.

MARYANN AITA: Yes. It was "Star Trek."

(LAUGHTER)

AITA: And I'm fully prepared for hisses from the audience, but I have never seen an episode and still haven't because I started making out with a guy when he paused it to talk about split infinitives.

EISENBERG: And is it basically the slow, the beginning where...

COULTON: To boldly go. Yeah.

EISENBERG: ...to boldly go?

AITA: Yes. To boldly go and we discussed it. It wasn't an argument, we just, you know, discussed what's wrong with that.

EISENBERG: And you were like, come here, Tiger.

AITA: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Pretty much. Tom, speaking of nerdy things, you have discussed anagrams with Stephen Sondheim.

TOM TOCE: That's right. Yeah.

EISENBERG: OK. I would like to know how that took place.

(LAUGHTER)

TOCE: So discussing anagrams with Stephen Sondheim is like talking psychotherapy with Freud. And there's a famous story about the first time he saw the word Cinerama on a movie marquee, you look at it and immediately thought, American 'cause they're anagrams. And I happen to be talking to him one time at a wedding that we were both at and it mentioned a similar thing that had happened to me regarding the word lagniappe. The first time I saw that word I said, appealing. So that's the anagram.

EISENBERG: How many times do you see that word?

(LAUGHTER)

TOCE: Not very often. That was one of the first times...

EISENBERG: Yes. That's OK.

TOCE: ...which is probably why.

EISENBERG: That is amazing. May I ask who is wedding you and Stephen were hanging out at?

(LAUGHTER)

TOCE: It was Daisy Prince's wedding. She's Hal Prince's daughter.

EISENBERG: Oh yeah, sure. Now all of them.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: We have the perfect people for this game because it's called Animal Lamina. That's a nonsensical title because it means that we are about to play a word game. In this case, it's a game about palindromes. These are words and phrases that are the same when they are read forward or backwards. And as the title suggests, every answer in this game will be a short palindrome that includes an animal.

Puzzle guru, Greg Pliska, how about a small lovely example?

GREG PLISKA: A tiny one.

EISENBERG: Yes.

PLISKA: Sure. If I said, it's a nod of approval from a Tibetan ox, you would say, yak Okay. That's spelled Y-a-k O-k-a-y.

EISENBERG: Very easy. So...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: OK. Don't worry about it. Here's a hint. The animal may be either at the start or at the end of the phrase. See, now we're just giving it away. All right.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: OK. A feline that likes a certain Mexican dish.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Maryann?

AITA: Cat Taco? Cato Taco? Taco Cat.

EISENBERG: There we go.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Hey, a cat taco is something very different.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: What a Mallard with multiple stomachs might regurgitate. What a Mallard with multiple stomachs might regurgitate.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Tom.

TOCE: Duck crud. Duck yuck.

(LAUGHTER)

TOCE: Duck. Duck something, Right? Duck cud. A Duck cud.

EISENBERG: Yes.

PLISKA: I will give that to you.

EISENBERG: Yes. There you go.

(APPLAUSE)

TOCE: Thanks. And you are giving it. Thank you.

EISENBERG: We're relatives of alpacas go to shop.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Maryann.

AITA: Llama Mall?

EISENBERG: Llama Mall.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: The curved path taken by a crustacean when it's flung through the air. That's a fun thought.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Tom?

TOCE: A crab arc.

EISENBERG: Yes, it is.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: A famous action figure soldier who likes to eat slop and roll around in the mud.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Tom.

TOCE: A G-I-P.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

TOCE: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: An orange instant breakfast drink for an annoying little insect.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Maryann.

AITA: Tang gnat. Gnat Tang.

EISENBERG: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Just everybody, just say of many words as you can think of.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: In any order, all orders.

COULTON: Any order is fine.

EISENBERG: And this is your last question. This keeps the MGM mascot from squeaking when it roars.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Tom.

TOCE: A lion oil.

EISENBERG: A lion oil is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Well done.

PLISKA: And after a very close game, Tom is our winner.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Congratulations, Tom. You'll be moving on to our final round at the end of the show.

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

EISENBERG: Coming up, composers Bobby and Kristen Lopez will show us how to let it go. I'm Ophira Eisenberg and this is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LET IT GO")

IDINA MENZEL: (Singing) Let the storm rage on. The cold never bothered me anyway. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.