Word Ways

Article Title

Two-Consonant Sentences


A. Ross Eckler


On Devember 19, 1993, puzzlermaster Will Shortz of the Weekend Edition on National Public Radio challenged his listeners to construct sentences using only two consonants, such as "Can Connie, a nice niece in Canaan, can-can on a canoe in uncanny innocence?" or "Suppose a pious pope possesses a spouse - oops!". He added "entries will be judged on wit, originality, elegance and naturalness of phrasing". Counting different consonant-choices by the same person as separate entries, nearly 200 poured in during the next two weeks. The most fecund entry was DN, with 39 different contestants represented, closely followed by ST with 34. There are 49 different consonant-pair choices.