Is there a logical method in composing palindromes?

My brain hurts just trying to compose a 2 or three word palindrome, but some people manage to make them a couple of pages long.
Do they start off from the beginning, like you would a letter?, or do they work from each end?

For palindromes comprising whole words, reflected as whole words in the second half (Able was I ere I saw Elba), a list of words that mean something backwards will obviously help.

But many palindromes have different space breaks in the second half, and I have no idea how people do it.
I can’t see how you could start from the beginning without also working back in from the other end, without a lot of failure and disappointment - and the same goes for starting in the middle and working outwards in both directions.

It doesn’t help the OP but this is my favourite:

*A Conversation Between Two Owls

“Too hot to hoot!”
“Too hot to woo!”
“Too wot?”
“Too hot to hoot!”
“To woo!”
“Too wot?”
“To hoot! Too hot to hoot!”*

I also found a very long, and pretty surreal one:

*Flee to me, remote elf — Sal a dewan desired;
Now is a Late-Petal era.
We fade: lucid Iris, red Rose of Sharon;
Goldenrod a silly ram ate.
Wan olives teem (ah, Satan lives!);
A star eyes pale Roses.

Revel, big elf on a mayonnaise man —
A tinsel baton-dragging nice elf too.
Lisp, oh sibyl, dragging Nola along;
Niggardly bishops I loot.
Fleecing niggard-notables Nita names,
I annoy a Man of Legible Verse.

So relapse, ye rats,
As evil Natasha meets Evi
On a wet, amaryllis-adorned log.
Norah’s foes’ orders (I ridiculed a few) are late, Pet.
Alas, I wonder! Is Edna wed?
Alas — flee to me, remote elf. *

How would you start to compose that? Some people must have differently wired brains.

I think one technique is to start with a short palindrome and extend it from the middle. Based on bob++'s example, we could have

[…] a tinsel baton-dragging nice elf, fleecing niggard-notables Nita […]

The midpoint is elf / fleecing. At that point, you can insert some more palindromic text that is entirely independent of what you already have (apart from being able to make some kind of sense in context, a rather loose requirement).

So in this case you could insert

too. Lisp, oh sibyl, draggin /g/ niggardly bishops I loot

giving the longer palindrome

[…] a tinsel baton-dragging nice elf too. Lisp, oh sibyl, dragging niggardly bishops I loot, fleecing niggard-notables Nita […]

Now the midpoint includes the letter g, so if you want to extend the palindrome the new text must include the g at one end. Nola along does the trick, giving the text in bob++'s post.

And I thought “Go hang a salami, I’m a lasagna hog” was impressive.

You can also insert simultaneously into both sides, off centre - I’m fairly sure this has been done with some of the longer variants of:* A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!*

My thought was that the author started with the phrase 'flee to me, remote elf and worked the rest up from that.

Two word palindromes can be easily found via computer. Just take a word list and generate all two-word combinations and then check for palindromicity. You get things like elk cackle and aimed academia along with lots of more trivial examples. Doing it for longer strings of words could also be done, but it starts to take up more and more computer time. I’m sure someone’s done it for three words, but I’ve never seen any results.

Personally, I don’t care much for multiword palindromes, mostly because the longer they are, the less sense they make. But I have come up with a couple and I can tell you how I got them.

Tundra-hard nut This one was done in my car while at a stop light and noticing the name Tundra on a nearby pickup truck. Being bored, my mind thought of reversing this the “ardnut” which doesn’t make sense. In fact, this happened several times until eventually I realized that if you stick an H in there, it makes somewhat more sense.

Drawers designing is Ed’s reward With this one, I started in the middle by noticing the word “designing” has a palindromic last 5 letters. If this were the middle of a 'drome, “is Ed” is required for the next words. Then I added a pair of reversals (drawer/reward) and stuck a couple S’s in there to make it a bit more sensible.

By the way, I’ve never published this one before. Googling does not turn it up anywhere. So this is the first time the world has seen it. I encourage any and all readers to lengthen it, perhaps by replacing Drawers/reward with some other words.

Now what I want to know is how anyone managed to come up with Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas. It just kind of blows my mind that someone did.

Just wanted to say that this one (from the Tracy/Hepburn film) annoys the crap out of me. It’s a complete cheat because nobody uses or knows the meaning of the word *ere *. Either because it’s early modern or more likely late middle English.

If you’re talking about writing some kind of computer algorithm the only way I could think to do it would be by brute-force searching and then by trial & error. First, have it compile a list of palindromic words and word combinations, then have it build a sentence from the center out, parsing thru nouns and verbs etc. until it finds (possibly) correct syntax. Again being that semantics aren’t as precise as mathematics it would be more about speed than any true A.I.

I dunno. My favorite sensical longer palindrome is the well known “A man, a plan, a canal. Panama!” It has a thematic cohesion that something like “Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas” or “Go hang a salami, I’m a lasagna hog” (although I do have a certain fondness for that one) do not.

Today’s New York Times crossword puzzle features palindromic morse code!

See the 17,000 word palindrome at World's Longest Palindrome? 21,012 words

It starts: “A man, a plan, a cameo, Zena, Bird, Mocha,” and ends “Lew, Orpah, Comdr, Ibanez, OEM, a canal, Panama!”

Just guessing of course, but supposing they started with Satan and metallic (who knows), that leads to

satan natas
metallic cillatem

Swap metallic and ciliate and insert them between the first group

Satan cillatem metallic natas

Insert a ‘y’ and a space

Satan cillate my metallic natas

An ‘o’ and an ‘s’ on either side and the nonsense words become part of a nonsense (but cool sounding) phrase.

Once they devolve into strings like “Lew, Orpah, Comdr, Ibanez, OEM”, I personally don’t find them interesting anymore.

Dammit, I’m mad!

Fair enough.

You can’t be serious.

I maim nine men in Miami.

created by Revilo Oliver.

It’s a bit old-timey, but it’s not Middle English or Early Modern English. I associate the term with up to 1800s or so English, maybe early 1900s. I do agree that pretty much nobody uses the “ere” form today, unless they are purposely trying to affect speech or prose with an old timey air. I also wouldn’t say “nobody” knows what it means today, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a clear majority of people have no idea or a mistaken idea of what it means.