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.

Large 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Alas, this super-alliteration was superceded almost immediately, by the following supernal super-alliteration of my son, who completed the story as follows.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?

(This post first appeared at my other (now deleted) blog, and was transferred to this blog on 25 January 2021.)