The first five words of a famous quote are in the rebus below. Read the image as four horizontal lines, the last of which contains the fourth and fifth words. The accepted answer will feature the full quote and explain how the first five words were found.

this is a rebus of a famous quote

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    $\begingroup$ Is the usage of the wrong USA flag intentional? $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald Aug 5 '15 at 19:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Ian MacDonald Thanks for the catch, it was unintentional. That was the first result for "USA flag" on google images! The number of stars doesn't change the answer, so I'll leave it as is. $\endgroup$ – Roland Aug 5 '15 at 19:35

The full text is:

God created war so that Americans would learn geography. —Mark Twain

The rebus provides these words:

God created war so that


"rats" is to "star" as "dog" is to god. (letter reversal)


(reputation = cred) + ate = created.


Forward - Ford = war.


do re mi fa so la ti do


The 55th word in the USA national anthem is that.

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    $\begingroup$ Is this a famous quote? (I tried Googling it to no avail) $\endgroup$ – Doge Aug 5 '15 at 20:59
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    $\begingroup$ No, it's definitely not. Hence my initial statement. ;) $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald Aug 5 '15 at 21:01
  • $\begingroup$ I'll be accepting your answer, Ian, unless there is consensus that one of the other answers deserves it. But for the record, I think "eat" works better than "ate" in "created". Cr-eat-ed is what I intended. Good work, all! $\endgroup$ – Roland Aug 5 '15 at 23:41

Thank you Ian Mac and Roland:

How bout that first word?

rats is to star as dog is to god, reverse the words (clever)

Well what is next? (thanks to a particularly squeamish ossifrage)

reputation = CRED, with "ATE" in the middle Created

Thanks to Ian

Forward - Ford = war.

Lets get whimsical

do re mi fa SO , so

Once again thanks to Ian

The 55th word in the USA national anthem is that.

humorous for sure

“God created war so that Americans would learn geography.” Mark Twain

  • $\begingroup$ Nice, So is the 5th note in Do Re Mi. Not sure about created though $\endgroup$ – Doge Aug 5 '15 at 21:14
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    $\begingroup$ reputation = CRED, with "ATE" in the middle $\endgroup$ – r3mainer Aug 5 '15 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ yeah I have had all but created for since before i posted (rushed cause ian is goin strong) $\endgroup$ – Going hamateur Aug 5 '15 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ Haha. You guys making it look like I'm not figuring it out on my own! xD $\endgroup$ – Ian MacDonald Aug 5 '15 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ I got war and that from you then google did the rest for me, I would not hav gotten rep as cred, that i alsow ouldnt have gotten, figured out god and so independently. War, that is firmly thanks to you. $\endgroup$ – Going hamateur Aug 5 '15 at 21:19

The full quotation is

God created war so that Americans would learn geography. - Mark Twain

The breakdown is as follows:

First line:

RATS is to STAR as DOG is to GOD

Second line:

Reputation = CRED. Put ATE in the middle and you have CRE ATE D.

Third line:

FORWARD (forwarding an email) minus (Harrison) FORD = WAR. (Thanks to @IanMacDonald for this one)

Fourth line:

The fifth note on the scale is SO (Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So). The 55th word in the US national anthem is THAT (Thanks to @IanMacDonald for this one, too.)

So we have



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