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% Scanning <MNEMONICS> - Discussion of mnemonic techniques.

TACKER:  jlromano ()
SUBJECT: Letters to alphabet positions.
DATE:    21-Apr-15 20:41:33
HOST:    faeroes

   At times I like to spend time working on puzzles and cracking simple
cyphers.  One of the best investments I've done for this is to memorize the
position each letter occupies in the (English) alphabet.

   Since there are 26 letters in the English alphabet, I need to know the
26 numbers they occupy.  Some of these letters are easy and obvious (such
as A, B, C, and Z), but others I need help with.  For many letters, I use a
set of mnemonics I came up with, that I will share here.

   Note that I was unable to come up with mnemonics for several of the
letters.  If you have your own, please post them here.  Even if I already
have a mnemonic listed for that letter, please share it with us, even if
you think that your mnemonic is not as good.  (We might think otherwise!)

   Anyway, here are the mnemonic associations I was able to come up with.
Feel free to post your own:

A,B,C (1-3):  The phrase "A,B,C" easily associates with "1,2,3".

D,E,F,G (4-7):  (Mnemonic needed, unless the letters are considered
                 obvious, being close enough to the beginning of the

H (8):  "H" practically rhymes with "eight".

I,J (9-10):  (Mnemonic needed.)

K (11):  Sliced horizontally in half, results in a rough pair of 1s, or 11.

L (12):  "L" practically rhymes with "twelve".

M,N (13-14):  Similar looking and similar sounding (could they be brother
              and sister?), they are the inhabitants (or gatekeepers) of
              the exact middle of the alphabet.  In other words, "M" is
              the last letter of the first half of the alphabet (the last
              of 13 letters), whereas "N" is the first letter of the second
              half (the first of 13 letters).

O (15):  (Mnemonic needed.)

P (16):  (I wouldn't mind a better mnemonic.)  If you squint, you can
         pretend that "16" looks like "IG".  Put it together with the
         letter "P" and you get "PIG".  So if you remember that "P" is
         the "PIG" letter, you can squint at that word and see "P16",
         which means "P=16".

Q (17):  I imagine Q (from Star Trek) at a karaoke bar singing,
         "She was just seventeen, if you know what I mean..."
         (a song by the Beatles).

R,U (18,21):  18 and 21 are the ages an American is officially considered
              an adult.  And "R" and "U" are homonyms of words.  So I imagine
              a security guard asking an adolescent:
                 R U 18 ?  R U 21 ?  (Are you 18?  Are you 21?)
              Knowing that R and U associate with 18 and 21, it shouldn't
              be difficult to keep track of which letter is at which number.

S (19):  (Mnemonic needed.  Could we somehow associate 19 with a snake?)

T (20):  "T" is the first letter of "twenty", as well as its last syllable.

U (21):  See "R,U (18,21)" above.

V (22):  "V" is a symmetric letter (formed with exactly two strokes), so it
         gets a pair of 2s (which, like "V", is palindromic).

W (23):  It would be nice if "W" was at 22 (double-U and double-2), but
         alas, "V" gets that honor.

         Instead, consider that three letters of the alphabet resemble the
         letter 3:  E, M, and W.

         3 is reserved for the letter "C", but as for "M" and "W", they
         both get the other numbers that end in "3".  That is, "M" is 13,
         and "W" is 23.
         Another mnemonic:
         If you examine the letter "W", you'll see that it has two vertices
         on the bottom and three vertices on top.  Put "two" and "three"
         together to make "23".  (Note that this trick does not apply to "M".)

X (24):  "X" has for arms/legs/tentacles, so it's proper that it gets a
         number that ends in 4.
         Also, "X" can be used as a symbol to mark the North Pole (also
         known as the Top of the World), which rotates once every 24 hours.

Y (25):  (Mnemonic needed.)

Z (26):  The phrase "A through Z" easily associates with "1 through 26".

Bonus mnemonics for Unix geeks:

D,G,J,M (4,7,10,13):

Have you ever dealt with differing line endings?  If so, you probably know
that a Carriage Return character is byte 13, or CTRL-M, and a Line Feed
character is byte 10, or CTRL-J.

Did you ever wonder why those numbers are associated with those letters?

Those numbers are used because they are defined so in the ASCII table (10
is a Line Feed, while 13 is a Carriage Return).  But the letters (J and M)
are so used because they happen to be the 10th and 13th letters of the
alphabet.  In other words, hitting CTRL-G (G being the 7th letter)
transmits the ASCII character 7, which happens to be the Bell sound (ever
used that in a chat message?).  Hitting CTRL-D (D being the 4th letter)
sends the ASCII character 4, which is the End of Transmission character,
often used to terminate Unix transmissions.

The same goes with CTRL-J and CTRL-M:  They transmit the 10th and 13th
ASCII characters, which happen to be the Line Feed and Carriage Return

20-8-1-14-11-19 ,   1-14-4   8-1-22-5   6-21-14 !

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