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Neurology Now:
doi: 10.1097/01.NNN.0000370184.22547.a7
Departments: The Waiting Room

Neurobics: Back Words

Kim, Scott Ph.D.

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Here's a puzzle that exercises your ear for language. We recorded the names of a dozen famous movies, played them backwards, and transcribed the resulting nonsense words. For instance, Star Wars (s-t-ah-r-oo-oh-r-z) backwards is Zuroh Oorots, and E. T. (ee-t-ee) backwards is the same.

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Can you identify the backwards movie titles below? Some are recent blockbusters, while others are older classics. Hint: Listen carefully to the actual sounds in each word. Sometimes the sounds don't match the spelling. For instance, the long “i” in “lie” is really made of the two sounds “ah” followed by “ee,” so “lie” backwards is “yawl,” not “aisle.”

This puzzle was adapted from the book The Playful Brain: The Surprising Science of How Puzzles Improve Your Mind, by Richard Restak and Scott Kim, to be published this fall by Riverhead Books.

1. ZAHJ

2. SHAM

3. ZROCK

4. NARCH

5. E-CAR

6. JACE YAW

7. OAK YOSS

8. KINA TIGHT

9. SAFE ROCKS

10. POOH SCUD

11. TOE BOESH

12. CHOKE JATES

13. TEA ALL ME ALL

14. RAW TAVA

15. LA HEENA

16. ARAB BACK

17. NO LUHMO

18. SKIRT A METH

19. EAR OATSY OAT

20. O MEAN NEED KNIFE

21. TEA ON CRAW DEATH

22. I'M A MOM

23. CROP KISS A ROUGE

24. WANTS PILL A COP A

©2010 American Academy of Neurology

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