Sir, I send a rhyme excelling
In sacred truth and rigid spelling
Numerical sprites elucidate
For me the lexicon’s dull weight.
Figure of Speech: piphilology (pi-phil-OL-ogy), a mathematical mnemonic creator.
It’s a geek’s dream. The number of letters in each word of the doggerel corresponds to a digit in pi: 3.14159265358979 and so on. Figaro found it in Wikipedia’s page on mnemonics — devices to help you memorize things. Mnemonics are highly rhetorical; Cicero listed Memory among his five canons, and the Romans used all sorts of ways to memorize their orations, including “memory villas” and pornography.
Wikipedia, for its part, offers memory assistance in everything from computing to home repair. But our favorite sort of mnemonic employs piphilology (pi and philology, a branch of linguistics). This obscure field exists for the sole purpose of memorizing digits in pi. Figaro was so excited when he discovered it that he spilled his coffee. Figaro is a geek.
Snappy Answer: “Nonsense! Pure nonsense!” said I, fairly yelping. “But wait! It’s for pi! May I have a helping?”