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24 September 2014
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Brady Haran
Ha! Barnyard (Brady Haran)

Anagram experts solve name puzzle

The search is on for a new name for the Birmingham and Black Country "city region". In his quest for an appropriate name, reporter Brady Haran enlisted the help of some anagram experts.

Have you ever heard of an "anagrammist"? It is someone who enjoys re-arranging letters to make new words and sentences.

Well, our Local TV reporter Brady Haran tracked down two "international" anagrammists to help with a special project.

It is all part of the search for a new name for the Birmingham and Black Country city region.

video Watch the anagram word masters at work >
Audio and Video links on this page require Realplayer
Jumbled letters

The first person Brady spoke to was Cory Calhoun, from the United States. Cory's most famous anagram was re-arranging the following quote:

To be or not to be: that is the question, whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

To make it instead say:

In one of the Bard's best-thought-of tragedies, our insistent hero, Hamlet, queries on two fronts about how life turns rotten.

We gave Cory the names of all the authorities involved in the search for a new name, which are: Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Dudley, Telford and Wrekin.

Cory jumbled up all the letters and devised the following "slogan":

Wondrous, sculpt'd heart o' England:
Shrewdly made alive in MMVI,
'n' frankly, all'll bow to her will.

Or how about this one, as a great example of bureaucratic compromise:

Wolver-Birming-Well-Sall-Hulls-Land
(very oddly, we fail’d to calm down ‘n think up a shorter name)

Another anagrammist, Englishman Maurice Goddard, who lives in Oslo in Norway, devised numerous anagrams using the council names. They included:

In Britain's world of milk and honey, we'll drum up the very well-loved towns all call "Grand Hams"!

and

Well-known Old World we all love!
Middle Land of Plenty!
Rhythm versus rush!
Magical Britannia!

or

Limelight Over Landlocked Middle Way!
Swell Hands Run Vibrant Towns.
All Power! Full Harmony!

and

Hammer how?
All in all, very middle world of vital well-run industry,
knobs, and plant cogwheels!!!

So there you go? Think you could re-arrange the letters and come up with something better?

Let us know by filling out the form below, but be warned it is not as easy as you may think.

The letters again are: Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Dudley, Telford and Wrekin.

last updated: 15/06/06
Have Your Say
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Darren Langley
Steve Busby, you'd be surprised how many people know of the Black Country. They're not all ignorant and they know how to spell 'bigot' as well!

Stef Lewandowski
Verdict: We now have a lllllllong, silly name. Pray amend! How about "Muddle lands" for short? (Grin, wink).

Adrian Hanley
I agree keep Cov out, they never should have been in the west mids in the first place...trouble makers, we are better off without them!lol

G. Derrix
Can Coventry be left out and let it fend for itself? There's a big stretch of green belt which separates it from the rest of the conurbation.

Steve Busby, Staffordshire
Has With Greater Manchester the name has to be Greater Birmingham. Ignore the Bumma-phobic biggots. If Birmingham city region is to prosper and become a world city it needs to be known as Greater Birmingham. If you go to the continent tell them your from the West midlands people say Where? But they instantly know of Birmingham and yes Darren Langley they havn't got a clue what the Black country is LOL

Maurice Goddard
Hi Brady! A "Bottoms up" anagram limerick for fun! Birmingham Solihull Coventry Walsall Wolverhampton Sandwell Dudley Telford and Wrekin = Old Merry Widow loved gin, Well, on the bottle was sin! Spur call? Drink all! Full dram haven, a hymn!

Philip Tibbetts
Using just those councils seems such a shame as there are noble towns like Halesowen and Stourbridge that get overlooked. Surely if they wanted a name Mercia might do. For the pride of the area having a proper name rather than just a made up West Midlands is a good idea. But I have to agree with Darren that its not right to try and lump the whole area together. Surely it would be better to see the Black Country as seperate, unique and proud & Birmingham the same too.

Maurice Goddard
Hi again Brady! Another anagram poem with a last line pun: Birmingham Solihull Coventry Walsall Wolverhampton Sandwell Dudley Telford and Wrekin = Lullaby of England, Rum Modern Rock 'n' Roll, Viva Wild West Plant's Land! Relish the Midway Whole!

Mick Tully
Birmingham Solihull Coventry Walsall Wolverhampton Sandwell Dudley Telford & Wrekin. = Villa handled work, won Cup bewilderingly. (Aston Villa!?) Followers' untrammelled rhythms!

Maurice Goddard
Hi! A sporting anagram poem for all England's World Cup football fans: Birmingham Solihull Coventry Walsall Wolverhampton Sandwell Dudley Telford and Wrekin = World Cup football's on TV, England win ideally. Mr Sven: "Men may kill, Red-hot lads! Hurrah! We will!"

Maurice Goddard
Hi Brady! A little anagram verse for you reads: Birmingham Solihull Coventry Walsall Wolverhampton Sandwell Dudley Telford and Wrekin = Slim grown West Midland call lady? Well, turtle dove, Whoops! Fell in love! In Mr Haran, hunk Brady!!!

Darren Langley
They can think up what they like, us Black Country folk won't take being lumped in with the 021-ers!

Mick Tully
Hi Brady, Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Dudley, Telford and Wrekin. = Triumph! fat dweller, named Noddy Holder, enchants all, marvellously swallowing Bovril (Wink!)

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