Wordplay? Word.

J.P. Melkus
4 min readJan 21, 2021


Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash


A word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase and adding the letters “L,” “M,” “N,” and “O.” For example, racy and normalcy. Can you think of any other elemenograms? (Hint: Think of a word that contains “l,” “m,” “n,” and “o,” and work backwards!)


An exclamatory phrase loosely descriptive of a country and containing a noun, a synonym for the word “scheme,” a work of civil engineering, and the name of the country, such as, “A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!” Other examples include, “An apparatchik, a system, an irrigation ditch, Ukraine!” and “A reinsurance contract, a program, a hydroelectric dam, Switzerland!” Be careful, though… “An igloo, an arrangement, a weather station, Greenland!” is not a humdrome because Greenland is not a country, but rather a self-governing overseas administrative division of the Kingdom of Denmark.


It’s a riddle…with a twist:

A woman has seven children, half are boys. How is this possible? Specifically, how is it possible that we live in a world where one woman is blessed with seven children while so many couples are unable to conceive at all?

George, Helen, and Steve are drinking coffee.

Bert, Karen, and Dave are drinking soda.

Using logic, what is the answer?

A plane crashes on the border between the United States and Canada. Where do you bury the survivors so that no one will hear their hysterical pleas for mercy?

(Answers on the back).

Consistent Oxymoron

The consistent oxymoron is a rhetorical figure in which perfectly consistent or congruous terms are combined, as in audible music, and inconsistent oxymoron.

Ever noticed that it’s simply easy to find inconsistent oxymorons online? One of many choices is to ask one of those paid employees at the library — the ones in the long-sleeved cardigans — for a Xerox copy of some abstrusely obscure documents that were accidentally misplaced amongst some paperwork precisely exactly one hundred years ago.


A transposition of sounds of two or more words in the language of the Lakota Sioux tribe, especially a ludicrous one, such as Kankkalayot mat alamasaket for Alamakalayot mat kankkasaket.


A series of written characters representing all the speech sounds in a given language, arranged in an order by custom, e.g., abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz [English].


A sentence that uses only a portion of the letters in the alphabet, such as, “A sentence that uses only portion of the letters of the alphabet, such as, “A sentence that uses only portion of the letters of the alphabet, such as…”.”


A word that, when spelled backward, is a colloquialism for male genitalia, e.g., gnaw.

Cletus Puzzle

This variant of the Rebus Puzzle is a word/picture puzzle in which a drawing of an object is substituted for the word for that object.

Answer: (Sailboat).


An apropism is the perfectly sensible use of a word or phrase without any confusion of similar sounds or phrases. Famous examples include:

“All we have to fear is fear itself.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Never has so much been owed by so many to so few.” — Winston Churchill

“Folding laundry is quite tedious and unrewarding.” — Anonymous.

Pneumonic Device

A memory aide to help those suffering from a disease recall which disease they have. For example:

CANCER — If you CAN, see [C] an E.R.

With avian flu, you’ll fly to the loo.

A before R as in heart disease, and SARS.

Non-Cockney, Non-Rhyming Slang

Non-cockney specialized coinages and figures of speech that are deliberately used in place of standard terms for added raciness, humor, irreverence, or other effect without concern for the terms’ consonance or lack thereof.

In urban American slang, for example, women are called “shorties,” which doesn’t rhyme with anything to do with women. Try coming up with your own non-cockney, non-rhyming slang: For starters, try calling airplanes “tennis shoes.”

Former Senator Bill Fristies

This special form of the “Tom Swifty” relates directly to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

“As a cardiologist and surgeon, I often removed patients’ left ventricles,” Former Senator Bill Frist said half-heartedly.

“I am from Tennessee. So is Elvis, who is dead,” former Senator Bill Frist said expressly.

“Why do all Republican congressmen and Senators have the same ridiculously neat coiffure? I’m taking my wig off,” said former Senator Bill Frist off the top of his head.



J.P. Melkus

It's been a real leisure. [That picture is not me.--ed.]