World Palindrome Championship #2 Announced!

Will Shortz has announced that the second World Palindrome Championship will be held in March of 2017, during the American Crossword Puzzle tournament. There will be one or more preliminary rounds to qualify finalists for the main event. Further details remain to be worked out.

It is known that a film crew led by Los Angeles filmmakers Vince Clemente and Adam Cornelius will be recording the event for a feature documentary they are working on. They are already filming participants from WPC I in preparation. A short documentary on WPC I winner Mark Saltveit is online at

WPC finalists

World Palindrome Championship #1 -- Results

Will Shortz' World Palindrome Championship was held March 16, 2012 in Brooklyn, New York. There were seven competitors who had 75 minutes to create up to three palindromes each with one or more of three constraints. Pictured, L to R: Jon Agee, Nick Montfort, Mark Saltveit, Barry Duncan, Doug Fink, Martin Clear. Not pictured: John Connett.


4th place: Nick Montfort, for his epic poem The Millenium Falcon Rescue

3rd place: Jon Agee ("ZONING" IS MR. AL AXE'S SEX ALARM SIGN IN OZ)  84 votes

2nd place: John Connett ("Not Newt!" Ron's snort went on.)   165 votes

1st place: Mark Saltveit (Devil Kay fixes trapeze part; sex if yak lived.)  169 votes


All palindromes had to follow one of these rules:

1) Use an x and a z in the palindrome;

2) Write a palindrome on a person or event prominent in the news during the last 12 months; or

3) Write a palindrome about this competition (which could be interpreted either as the WPC, or the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament of which it was one part).

Complete List of Palindromes

Each competitor introduced themselves and read their 3 palindromes, with a brief introduction for each. They then picked one favorite for the audience to vote on (above). The palindromes, in reverse order of length, were:

John Connett: 

"Not Newt,' Ron's snort went on.    (prominent person)

Yen more to vote Romney ?  (prominent person)

Sex Rex, Roz, or Xerxes. (x and z)


Jon Agee:

MITT'S ART? NO CONTRAST, TIM. (prominent person)


A HOST? NO WILL, I WON'T! SO – HA!  (about the competition next year)


Doug Fink:

I risk row work, Siri.  -- (prominent person or event -- the iPhone/iPad robotic assistant Siri)

On Hugo lists, I log, “Uh, no”   (prominent person or event -- the film Hugo)

Deny barb to hero Will: I wore hot bra by Ned. [Will Shortz, that is -- about competition]


Martin Clear: 

"Sex attacks," I rewrote, "misuse jazz if I fizz a Jesus I met or we risk cat taxes." (x,z)

Some metal boxes I fill (I wore zero) ... will I fix oblate memos? (x,z)

Sexes, red, let a fez amaze fat elders' exes. (x,z)


Mark Saltveit:

For x and z, a tale of kinky shenanigans: "Devil Kay fixes trapeze part; sex if yak lived."

"I tan. I mull. In a way, Obama, I am a boy -- a wan Illuminati." (prominent person)

"Gal, smiles are stellar ere crossword rows sorcerer Al lets era's elim's lag." -- A prediction of victory in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament for Al Sanders, who tragically lost in the film Wordplay, eliminated for leaving two squares empty.


 Nick Montfort:

One long poem for the x,z constraint, about Hans Solo and other Star Wars characters (57 words):

"The Millennium Falcon Rescue"

"Wow, sagas ... Solo's deed, civic deed.
Eye dewed, a doom-mood.
A pop.
Sis sees redder rotator.
Radar sees racecar X.
Oho! Ore-zero level sees reviver!
Solo's deified!
Solo's reviver sees level: ore-zero.
Oho: X, racecar, sees radar.
Rotator, redder, sees sis.
Pop a doom-mood!
A dewed eye.
Deed, civic deed.
Solo's sagas: wow."



Barry Duncan:

One long untitled palindrome (70 words):


"7, no? Do! Past I? How? Oh, now I spat! Fired, no?
Will: a foe? Not! Ah, then a fair event now (i.e., solid).
One tilt on Sat (oh!), Sun. It is “7 across: Orca.”
7 sit in. Us. Hot as not. Lite. Nod.
I lose? I won't! Never!
I: a fan, eh? That one, of all.*
I wonder if: Taps? I won? How?
(Oh, it's “a pod” on 7.)"

*He pointed to Will Shortz when he read this line.

Copyright © 2012 by Barry Duncan