Help me find this out-of-print book, The Ponderous Pseudonumer [ISBN 82-994200-4-0], by Dr. Allan Krill, or help me find an equivalent book.
October 13, 2005 9:25 PM   Subscribe

Help me find this out-of-print book, The Ponderous Pseudonumer [ISBN 82-994200-4-0], by Dr. Allan Krill, or help me find an equivalent book.

I'm looking for this book, which is a list of word - number equivalents in the mnemonic system known as the "Major" or "Phonetic" system. ( The book lists words that will correspond to the numbers 0-99999 based upon their consonant sounds (for example, 'jacket' = j/ch, k, t/d = 671). It's easy to decode words into numbers, but more difficult to encode the numbers (401 = r, s/z, t/d = rast? rizod?). A book compiling words in numerical order helps figure out that 401 could be encoded as 'roast'. I'm aware of only one author, this Dr. Krill guy, has taken the time to write out all of these.

The book is listed on this website:
It went out of print in 2002, and a replacement book was supposed to be published in 2003, but apparently that fell through. I can't seem to find the book anywhere. He seems to have a few other books, any of which would also be helpful, though not as helpful as the big one. They are listed here:
posted by sdis to Shopping (12 answers total)
If all else fails, have you tried emailing him?
posted by fionab at 9:29 PM on October 13, 2005

I have, but haven't received a response yet.
posted by sirion at 9:48 PM on October 13, 2005

(This is sdis)
posted by sirion at 9:51 PM on October 13, 2005

So I checked Abebooks (the largest online used book seller) as well as the Harvard, Yale, and Washington University library catalogs.

Yale has a copy, it would seem.

I dunno if you have access to a university library for Interlibrary Loan or if your local city or county library could swing it. If they can't work something out with Yale, you might try checking other university catalogs. Every school I know of has a public online interface to their catalog. It's almost always at

Also, it was apparently published in Norway, but the Norwegian seller linked to from the site you gave lists it as unavailable. You probably already knew that, but since you didn't say, I figured I'd point it out anyway.
posted by jedicus at 11:02 PM on October 13, 2005

I just checked a bunch of other used and rare booksellers and got nothing.

Also, ebay doesn't have anything.

I expect you're going to have a very hard time finding a copy to buy, so getting a copy via the library seems your best bet.

On the other hand, from your description, this seems more like a, uhh, 'reference' book rather than something you'd read once and be done with.

I don't know just how keen you are on acquiring a copy, but you might try asking the folks at Yale if you can buy their copy. I realize that's sort of counter to the whole idea of a library, but they might make an exception given that this has got to be one of the most obscure texts in existence.
posted by jedicus at 11:11 PM on October 13, 2005

Also, here's a seems to me that, from the way the game (I guess it's a game?) works, one could easily write a computer program that did the following:

1. Take a number as input
2. Decode it into consonants according to the rules of the game
3. Using a few simple rules about allowable vowel combinations, compute all the possible words that could result from putting said vowels in between the consonants.
4. Match the output of step 3 against a standard wordlist (such as those found on Unix systems)
5. Print the result of step 4

In fact, I'll bet it could be done in about 10 lines of Perl. Accomplishing this is left as an exercise for the reader.

It hardly needs mentioning, of course, that by wrapping the above in a loop, one could easily reproduce Dr. Krill's efforts. In fact, I dare say that's probably how he did it in the first place.
posted by jedicus at 11:20 PM on October 13, 2005

Okay, one last thing that's entirely off-topic. While searching for all of this I stumbled across a site devoted to Strange and Unusual Dictionaries that I thought was kind of interesting. Someone could do some more research and put together a FPP, maybe.
posted by jedicus at 11:22 PM on October 13, 2005

The name of the book is Pseudonumerology : a word game using a pseudonumer of phantasmagorishable (8210374695) pseudonumes. The Ponderous Pseudonumer is apparently the name of the section that has the translation tables.

This free software includes a text file with 65000 number/word pairs, according to the documentation of which:
2Know Dictionary includes:

The Ponderous Pseudonumer (used with permission) from the book "Pseudonumerology: a Word Game Using a Pseudonumer of Phantasmagorishable Pseudonumes (82103746959)" 1998 by Allan Krill Trondheim Norway ISBN 82-994200-4-0.

The Carnegie Mellon Pronouncing Dictionary [cmudict.0.4 and all previous versions] is Copyright 1993 1994 and 1995 by Carnegie-Mellon University. Use of this dictionary for any research or commercial purpose is completely unrestricted.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 10:04 AM on October 14, 2005

And Krill's web page has The Peewee Web Pseudonumer.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 10:11 AM on October 14, 2005

Book titles are often scrambled. The best way to find a book is to search on the ISBN, including the first two groups only. (The following numbers are for the specific edition, which will restrict the results). Googling "82-994200" returns numerous sites, including

AddAll is a good OOP booksearch site that looks at numerous sellers. Unfortunately, it doesn't list this book.

Here's another page: Pseudonumerology, with confusing material on thether the book is available.
posted by KRS at 12:41 PM on October 14, 2005

In my experience, interlibrary loan will work with Yale, but they charge twenty bucks.

But ask your local librarian, they might be able to find a copy some place that is less conceened about pumping up the endowment.

If you're not in a hurry, put it on ABEBOOK's want list. The oddest things do turn up....
posted by IndigoJones at 6:48 PM on October 14, 2005

To clarify- I used local library interlibrary loan people, no academic affiliation, and still succeeded with the Elis.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:50 PM on October 14, 2005

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