Alphabetagrams, described by one magazine as “The fiendishly difficult word game” were devised by me Nigel Brodrick-Barker, in 2008 and they have gained great popularity locally. It is therefore time to go global through our dedicated website! I’m too busy thinking up weird and wonderful wordsmith stuff. If you have a similar screw loose you should enjoy this site!
An alphabetagram is a self-penned passage of as many words as there are letters in your alphabet – 26 in English. The initial letters of the words chosen must accord with the alphabetic sequence – A, B, C, etc. right through to Z with no initial letter repeated or omitted. Punctuation is allowed but proper nouns should be used sparingly. Prepositions, conjunctions, articles etc. can be used only if they fit the alphabetic pattern; so ‘but’ can only be used as rhe second word. We have recently allowed words beginning ‘EX’ to be spelt with an ‘X’; so ‘xtra’ is acceptable in the ‘X’ position so long as the same word does not take the ‘E’ position.
Here is an example; the first ever Alphabetagram in 2008:
‘Always be calm; don’t ever fret. Go home in joyful kinship leaving moribund notions of problems quiescent. Rest softly ’till unhappiness vanishes, wanting xenophiles yearning zephyrs.’ (Nigel B-B 2008.)
Alphabetagrams can be on any subject, the one constraint being the alphabetical sequence. Your offering may not make a lot of sense but it may well be very funny and bring a smile to others’ faces – and that’s worth a lot.
Anyone over the age of 8 is able to participate and it is highly recommended for the elderly to keep the brain agile and stave off dementia.
Do visit ‘The Alphabetagram Attic’ to see already-submitted examples and then have a go yourself and submit it; don’t be shy.
Here’s another one:
‘Apiary bees colonise daily, ever furtive, garnering honey in jars: Kings love moist nectar or pollen: Queens relish syrupy tangs unless varied with xanthic yeast zest.’ © (Nigel B-B 2009.)
BORED? NEED STIMULATION? TRY AN ALPHABETAGRAM
No, it isn’t some miracle cure but a new word game, invented locally, which could become a worldwide craze. It is the brainchild of Nigel Brodrick-Barker, a poet and folk singer, who lives in Dinton and is married to Elizabeth, whose solicitor‘s office is in The Square..
The rules for writing an alphabetagram are very simple but can be fiendishly difficult to execute. All you have to do is write a passage consisting of 26 words each beginning with a different letter of the alphabet in their correct order. The passage should make as much sense as possible and avoid too many proper nouns. Here is an example (which I think is rather good) written by that regular contributor to Village Voices, Mike Neal .
You have probably realized that it is the end of the alphabet which causes the most difficulties together with the frustration of not being able to slip in useful words like “from”, “to” or “by” when you need them . However, you don’t necessarily have to write one in English but can use any language which is alphabetically based. Polish, for example, could be a good one to try since it seems very well blessed with zeds. Alternatively, a classicist among you might like to write one in Latin which has the advantages of fewer letters in its alphabet and the freedom to put the words in almost any order. Alas, it is also pretty limited when it comes to Xs and Zs.
Writing alphabetagrams is a challenging way of passing the long, dark winter evenings, costs nothing and can be done in the privacy of your own home. So why not try one and send it to Village Voices for publication. Alternatively, if you feel you want a wider audience you can publish to the world by sending it to the Alphabetagram team: http://alphabetagrams.wordpress.com