Excess Gas

Hooting Yard reader Richard Carter has a letter published in the latest edition of the London Review Of Books. I take the liberty of reproducing it here for your edification and instruction. Our resident anagrammatist R. (who is not Richard, by the way) should find it of particular interest:

Steven Shapin writes that Darwin’s uncontrollable retching and farting seriously limited his public life (LRB, 30 June). Some years ago, to my delight, I worked out that the great man’s full name, Charles Robert Darwin, is an anagram of ‘rectal winds abhorrer’. Unfortunately for my anagram, the meanings of words, like species, can evolve. On the rare occasions that Darwin mentioned his problems to friends, he always used the word ‘flatulence’. Nowadays, we think of flatulence as being synonymous with farting, but in Darwin’s day it meant (as it technically still does) an accumulation of gases in the alimentary canal. While I’m sure that Darwin must have vented his excess gas one way or the other, there’s no reason to believe that his farts were uncontrollable.

5 thoughts on “Excess Gas

  1. Charles Darwin
    Narwhals cried
    Calendars whir
    Cardinal Shrew
    Handrail screw
    Harridan’s clew
    Radials wrench
    Canals whirred
    Rancid whalers
    Inward larches
    Scrawlier hand
    Danish crawler
    Handier scrawl
    Hardliners caw
    Rewinds a larch
    Hews Carnal Rid
    Radar lech wins
    Shrewd cranial
    (etc)

    …Certain of the above phrases seem awfully Hooting Yardesque. I wonder if I have unwittingly discovered the secret to Mr Key’s literary technique. Are all of his unlikely tales based somehow on anagrams?

  2. I went to school with a girl called Heather Freeman, and was delighted to discover one day that her name was an anagram of ‘Fear her methane’.

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