Words, Episode 5: World Record Super-Alliteration?

Many years ago I took a course on writing led by a wonderful man (whose name I now forget) who was a veteran of the newspaper business. He remarked one day on how difficult it is to write newspaper headlines, and that most newspapers had an editor who did nothing else but write headlines. Article writers would not write their own headlines; rather the headline editor would read the article and then write an appropriate headline that captured the essence of the article in a way that would attract interest.

Some newspapers had more than one headline writer; the Toronto Star, for example, had four headline writers back then.

Anyway, my thoughts turned to the difficult task of writing headlines when this story occurred to me:

Once upon a time, there was a fellow with the surname Founder. He started his own company, which he named after himself. Having prospered, he acquired some of the accoutrements de la richesse, including a yacht. Being proud of his accomplishments in the business world, and eager to draw attention to his prosperous company, he named the yacht after his company.

One dark and stormy night, the rain fell in torrents, and an ill wind blowed no good. The sea was stirred up mightily and the yacht was torn from its moorings, blown out to open waters, and unhappily, it sank.

The headline in the newspaper the next day read:

Founder Founder Founder’s Founder Founders

Now I am not sure what to call such a phrase; certainly it is an alliteration, but it’s clearly far more than that. So I shall dub it a “super-alliteration.” And this must be a world-record for the genre, don’t you think?

Alas, this super-alliteration was superceded almost immediately, by the following supernal super-alliteration of my son, who completed the story as follows. The seas calmed on the following day, and a salvage crew sallied forth and discovered the sunken yacht. The next day’s headline read:

Founder Founder Founder’s Foundered Founder Found

Now this has to be a world record, right?


About Santo D'Agostino

I have taught mathematics and physics since the mid 1980s. I have also been a textbook writer/editor since then. Currently I am working independently on a number of writing and education projects while teaching physics at my local university. I love math and physics, and love teaching and writing about them. My blog also discusses education, science, environment, etc. https://qedinsight.wordpress.com Further resources, and online tutoring, can be found at my other site http://www.qedinfinity.com
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7 Responses to Words, Episode 5: World Record Super-Alliteration?

  1. Joe says:

    I like how you repeated the root word! Pretty funny! Super alliteration–for sure!

    A friend of mine came up with a funny one years ago. Although it’s not proper English or as neat as yours, it’s not bad:

    Good God Gord, gotta go get gas!


  2. hakea says:

    Very clever!

    If I become a teacher, I’ll use this one.

    • hakea says:

      Oh, and thanks for giving us mere mortals a post we can comment on (lol).

      • Santo says:

        Thanks for your comments, hakea!

        I’m a mere mortal too, just a regular, every-day, normal guy, who loves math and science. I am planning some posts on education in general, and some posts for lay-people on the nature of science, so I hope there will be more material that will be of interest to you.

        I read your blog regularly, and enjoy it very much!

  3. Hey Santo,

    Thank you for the invitation. It is me Filomena – I am just beginning to learn WordPress.com – God help me.

    I enjoy your founder story – too cute.

    Looking forward to reading more – maybe I shall learn a little math??


    • Santo says:

      Hi Filomena,

      Nice of you to visit!

      I intend to include some posts on general math/science that don’t require any technical background, which might be of more interest to the non-specialists out there. And of course there will be the occasional poem and attempt at humour!

      All the best,

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