Word Ways


A. Ross Eckler


In past Word Ways articles, various authors have explored words which contain consecutive letters of the alphabet (1) in order and adjacent to each other, (2) in order but not necessarily adjacent, and (3) neither in order nor adjacent. The longer the consecutive-letter sequence that can be found in a word, the more noteworthy it is; for example, oveRSTUffed is clearly more interesting to the logologist than fiRST. I define alphabetic sequence as undominated if a word can be found containing all the letters in that sequence, but no word can be found containing any longer sequence including all the letters of the original one. Thus, RSTU is an undominated sequence for words with letters adjacent and in order, for there are no words containing the pentagrams QRSTU or RSTUV, the hexagrams PQRSTU, QRSTUV or RSTUVW, etc. On the other hand, RSTU is not an undominated sequence for words with letters neither in order nor adjacent; VenTRiloQUiST, for example, contains the more inclusive sequence QRSTUV.