05 March 2008

Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow.

I love the alphabet. I love when my kid sings abcdblahblahblah… you get the idea. I love typewriters, too, and though the words were never that compelling to me, I used to like typing “The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog,” because it used every letter in the alphabet. I think the first time I learned of this miraculous thing (called a pangram, for those of you who care) was in an Encyclopedia Brown book. To solve the crime, he used that sentence to check everyone’s typewriters to prove who had written the ransom note. Oh, Encyclopedia, what don’t you know?

One day while enjoying some free time on the internets, I came across a list of other pangrams (also sometimes called holalphabetic sentences, though my spellchecker prefers pangram). The goal, apparently, is to come up with some grammatically correct sentence that uses as close to just the 26 letters as possible, with duplicates being frowned upon. Still, some longer pangrams make me happy. At 61 letters, it’s not all that efficient, but I really like “The July sun caused a fragment of black pine wax to ooze on the velvet quilt.” Any sentence that uses “ooze,” “velvet,” and “quilt” is a good sentence, if you ask me.

It turns out “the quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog” is a pretty mediocre example, actually, with 33 letters and no images I find especially striking. My favorite, which is the subject line, sounds ominous, doesn’t it? I imagine James Earl Jones booming “Sphinx of black quartz, JUDGE MY VOW!!!” Tee hee. At only 29 letters, it’s the shortest pangram without proper nouns, acronyms, initials, or odd punctuation. Besides, I never realized just how much I like the word sphinx. It’s fun to type, it’s fun to say. Try it for yourself! The quick brown fox can just keep jumping over lazy dogs, for all I care.


Soli Deo Gloria said...

Encyclopedia Brown is the best. I remember a case he solved because he knew that an electric clock did not tick...Genius.

Emily, Scott, and August said...

I remember a case he solved because he noticed someone chewing ice- was it a salsa eating contest cheater? I forget. I always wished I had a cool nickname like that.

Tank said...

I agree. I love ten thousand times more the sphinx one over the lame lazy dog one! GO SPHINX^^