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Lewis Carroll Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

A great lover of puzzles, Lewis Carroll invented an early form of the game Scrabble in 1880. "A game might be made of letters, to be moved about on a chess-board till they form words," he wrote in his diary.8

Carroll once timed himself to see exactly how long it took him to write. He found that he wrote 20 words a minute, a page of 150 words in seven and a half minutes, and twelve pages in two and a half hours. Remember, he was first of all a mathematician.9

Lewis Carroll named the Dodo after himself, Charles Dodgson. Because of his stammer, he often pronounced his name "Do-do-do-dodgson."10

Lewis Carroll has fans in the legal world. In 2006, a D.C. Circuit Court judge wrote that the Environmental Protection Agency's interpretation of a clean air law would make sense "only in a Humpty Dumpty world." Two years later, the court wrote that the EPA was using "the logic of the Queen of Hearts, substituting the E.P.A.'s desires for the plain text."11

Lewis Carroll was a prodigious letter writer, sending some 2,000 responses per year. Sometimes he wrote letters backward that could only be read in a mirror.12

Lewis Carroll loved to insert little tricks and wordplay into his writing. In 1989, New Jersey high school students Gary Graham and Jeffrey Maiden discovered one that no one had yet noticed. When the poem "A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale" from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is unwound from the circular, tail-shaped way it is printed in the book, each stanza forms the shape of a mouse.13

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has been translated into more than 70 languages, including Vietnamese and Tagalog.14

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