What’d the quick brown fox do?

Type designer, graphic designer Mark Simonson, the dude who brought you the subtle differences between Arial and Helvetica back in Why Arial is Bad has brought us a pangram machine. A pangram is a sentence that contains every letter of the english alphabet. Now we can make our own! I tried it out and I got this:

My wax zips over a batch of quiet fields, joking.

What can you make? How many letters did you need to get all of them? Mine is 38.

This one, The five boxing wizards jump quickly, is only 31 letters long.

DanPuzzles01/21/04 57 comments


Dan • 01/21/04 2:08 PM:

This isn’t easy. I just popped in words and got 33. quit sax deftly king morph jaw bozo cave.

Patrick • 01/21/04 4:36 PM:

“Quiz me,” plead Joey. “I know five, tree, cab, ghost, and ox!” -41

Dan • 01/21/04 4:44 PM:

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. -35

Quick brown foxes jump over the lazy dog. -33

Why is the former used instead of of the shorter one?

Pat, do you mean pled? That’d shorten it to 40. Nice work!

Dan • 01/21/04 4:48 PM:

Though your list is a cheap way out. That’s like my idea in 2nd grade about having to use a spelling word in a sentence. I was always using like 4 vocab words in a sentence just so I wouldn’t have to write twenty sentences for twenty words. My idea was to just write, “This week’s vocabulary words are Superstitious, Marginal, Augment, Supercede, Anagram (for Mongo), Twinkie, etc.” I wouldn’t actually write “etc” in there, but if I did it would have made it even better!

Dan • 01/21/04 5:11 PM:

I saved zilch on my extra-quick budge for pew jam. -39

Patrick • 01/21/04 5:13 PM:

Betwixt zen and vishnu, good flocks query jumps. -39

Patrick • 01/21/04 5:33 PM:

Quintessentially wizened jumper vixen fought back. -44

Dad • 01/21/04 10:54 PM:

Quick, jump down before x-ray zaps the glove. -35

Dan • 01/21/04 11:00 PM:

Hilarious, Dad! Absolutely hilarious!

I think you should make X-Ray a name.

I don’t think I’ll stop laughing for a few minutes.

Dan • 01/21/04 11:07 PM:

Hey Pat, take it easy on your Dungeons & Dragons quotes!

Dan • 01/21/04 11:32 PM:

Six big quarks zip when my dots face jive. -33

Dan • 01/21/04 11:48 PM:

Jive Turkey quilted a big pez cap. Show “Fox-Man.” -37

Dan • 01/22/04 2:20 AM:

Revel the fizz quo, pixels may beg dawn’s jock. -36

Dan • 01/22/04 2:29 AM:

Wax moves jerk. Faze grain chips quite badly. -36

AJ • 01/22/04 3:32 AM:

Qableth jusck zorfvel gimp wyndax. –29

Patrick • 01/22/04 6:59 PM:

Junk-bond morticians quaff waxed zippers high on the levy. -48

I think sometimes a longer pangram is preferable, if the humor warrants the length. I wonder why AJ couldn’t get it down to 26 letters. If you’re just spouting nonsense, at least get to 26, like that long word Big Bird likes:


AJ • 01/22/04 7:34 PM:

Quoting Patrick “I think sometimes a longer pangram is preferable…I wonder why AJ couldn’t get it down to 26 letters….at least get to 26.”

I’m pretty sure those remarks are contradictory. Also, I didn’t realize you were just spouting nonsense. I thought you were just putting down obscure words that you didn’t quite understand the meaning of, and so you thought they made a sentence.

Now that you admit you’re spouting nonsense I see you were just putting down all the letters of the alphabet in a couple of words. Tough enough, but that’s not really a pangram and maybe should be posted somewhere else.

A pangram is a sentence. I know this because it says so in the definition.

By the way, if the Big Bird’s word doesn’t have a ‘k’, what does that have to do with anything?

Patrick • 01/22/04 9:33 PM:

Ah, AJ, but I do understand the meaning of all those words. I’m nearly a doctor of words, don’t forget. And, I assure you, all my entries so far are complete sentences (if sometimes a little wacky) including the requisite nouns, verbs, and, usually, adjectives and adverbs. If you’re looking for a fight, shore your argument in truth. Then also try for justice and the American way (as long as that way be Superman’s, not George W. Bush’s).

Since I don’t want to leave you beaten in the gutter of rhetoric without a glimmer of hope, I admit, yes, that I forgot the k in Big Bird’s word. Good catch!

Dan • 01/22/04 9:51 PM:

Bravo, AJ. You’re a genius.

AJ and I discussed his pangram before he posted it. We concluded that it would be easy to write a 26 letter alien sentence. But we thought it’d be funnier if he used a few extra letters because it would make everybody go, “Whuh?” and we’d sit back and laugh. So that’s it. I expected AJ to defend himself with an explanation like mine, and he goes and makes an idiot of himself by completely misreading Pat’s comment and failing miserably at wise-guying.

Patrick • 01/23/04 9:56 AM:

According to this site here’s a 26-letter pangram: “Mr. Jock, TV quiz Ph.D., bags few lynx.” As you can see, they really had to bend over backwards to get it. I prefer slightly longer, more sensible ones. There are other 26-letter pangrams, and they’re equally unsatisfying.

Patrick • 01/23/04 10:37 AM:

A new twist: The Pangram Haiku! Here’s my first attempt:

Lost in flight, quiet.
Yellow jacket reproves me.
Vexed, I buzz away.

That’s 53 letters, for those keeping score. But it’s well worth it, for this heart-warming glimpse into the complex social structure of the insect world. Don’t you agree?

Patrick • 01/23/04 11:26 AM:

Read ye my haiku!
Strong, living words dazzle. Jump
back, quietly fixed. -56

Dan • 01/23/04 11:46 AM:

Magazines keep words.
Colloquial gifts bring hurt.
Fix, vary in jest. -55

Dad • 01/23/04 12:05 PM:

Haiku verses flow
like a bad, exacting quiz.
Too jumpy, yet fun. -49

Patrick • 01/23/04 12:57 PM:

Typing soon fizzles.
Quaint words just vex higher minds.
But musick gives life! -64

Patrick • 01/23/04 1:04 PM:

The ax swerves, tree dies:
Quite a lop job, so crazy.
Man kills for nothing. -57

Patrick • 01/23/04 1:14 PM:

Wise raven in tree
Spies sly fox dozing. Gives him
Loud quack. Bejeezus! -57

Dan • 01/23/04 1:17 PM:

Tax paying is key
Just a faze which I query.
Build on to move me. -49

Patrick • 01/23/04 2:26 PM:

faze v. trans. “to disconcert or disturb” (takes a direct object).

phase n. “a distinguishable period”.

Patrick • 01/23/04 3:08 PM:

Rapper-insult Haiku Pangrams!

Your quick wit doesn’t
Faze me. I can’t help your jive!
Go back to de-tox! -54

Patrick • 01/23/04 3:18 PM:

Vampire wizards haunt
Quiet nights. Fools beckon them:
“Jolly good boxers!” -60

Patrick • 01/23/04 5:01 PM:

Quivering boughs’ crazed
voices wail: empty sky of
juxtaposition. -54

Dad • 01/23/04 9:44 PM:

For what it’s worth, I think the best “regular” pangram is:

Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs. -32

Patrick • 01/23/04 11:46 PM:

Yeah, Dad, but that’s an old standard. Here at Maddenation, we’re all about new pangrams. I’m thinking of running a yearly pangram haiku contest once I’m a professor at BYU. Or maybe we should make it a Maddenation thing, and we could allow outside folks to enter. It could be our first real foray into the blogosphere…

Patrick • 01/24/04 4:10 PM:

Not to mention: that’s sure a big box you’ve got there! Need some help carrying that thing?

AJ • 01/24/04 5:38 PM:

The haikus are awesome!

Actually, Dan, I made a fool of myself the minute I wrote down the alien word sentence. This, as you should know, is not something I was trying to avoid. I figured I’d see how long I could defend my sentence.

I knew eventually Dan or I would have to explain, but here’s the lesson: If you explain a joke before people figure it out, it’s never funny. It was probably only marginally funny in the first place, but now it looks dumb and is soon forgotten. Woe is me!

I probably should have made a blog for my trip instead of mass emailing everyone and making Dan angry every 2 days.

Dan • 01/24/04 5:56 PM:

Sometimes I forget how AJ thinks. About AJ’s mass emails…Well, this is not the time nor the blog to get into that.

Patrick • 01/25/04 4:32 PM:

I know I’m reusing some words and themes, but, hey. I’m imagining a children’s book of pangram haikus. The main characters would be quail, zebra, fox, mosquito, lynx, jackal, raven, maybe some others. It would read like Native American legend or something. In theory, at least, doesn’t that sound cool?

Mosquito buzzes
around jackal’s furry paw.
So vexing, that bug! -50

By the way, I found some additional guidelines for writing haikus (besides the 5-7-5 syllabic structure we’ve already been doing). Summarized, they say that a haiku should have a break (either the first or last line is a related, but different idea) and should allude to one of the four seasons (sometimes obliquely).

By the other way, where in the heck are David and Kathleen? I know, David, that you’re still sore about us not really giving our all to your limerick contest, but this is a chance to rise above our pettiness. Don’t stoop to our level! Write some pangram haikus!

Dan • 01/28/04 12:45 AM:

Zones of dynasties
Prevent a big walking jam.
Quixotic humans.

David • 01/28/04 10:25 AM:

Drum roll please.

I like these, jolly good fun. Like Pat, I focused somewhat on the animal world, drawing inspiration from my summer trip to Costa Rica. Enjoy!

Quetzals jumping ‘round,
wary of cats, keep hidden
but not very lax -53

I’ve got some more in the works. Stay tuned. And hey, mine kinda throws a rhyme in there (cats - lax). Not on purpose though.

Dan • 02/07/04 12:24 PM:

I found this one while looking at a font at

Jeb Bush quit work on crazy Florida voting mixup. -49

Dan • 05/10/04 11:54 PM:

Hey! Typographica just posted a link to a pangram contest and winners get some fonts! So, let’s do it!

Patrick • 10/29/04 12:10 AM:

I don’t guess anybody submitted to this pangram contest, eh? Here are the winning entries. There are also some runner-ups. Some are okay, but none knock my socks off. I guess we should have entered.

Dan • 11/11/04 12:42 AM:

I submitted some of ours. I even submitted a few haikus. Oh well. They’re dumb.

Dan • 11/11/04 8:00 PM:

I meant that the voters of the contest are dumb, not our pangrams.

Dan • 01/25/05 12:37 PM:

This Typophile thread features Hrant’s “ordered” pangram, where the letters are arranged basically in alpabetical order, making the act of finding letters easier. Pretty cool, especially because most font specimen guides use pangrams to show all of their font’s letters in a sentence.

“Abacist defogs, hijacks luminous parquetry studio, views ex-yakuza.”


“Abacist’s deaf dog hijacked luminous parquetry studio, avows ex-yakuza.”

Dad • 01/25/05 12:49 PM:

I didn’t follow the thread very far, but did see many posts from “typophiles” who presented their pangram along with a note that it was missing some letters. Jeez, if you can’t make a valid pangram (using all the letters is the most basic requirement, obviosly trumping meaning) spare us your failures!

Patrick • 09/29/06 1:04 PM:

A new one I just came up with:

We hear an essay,
become jazzed, freckled, quiet,
groove to the apex.

Dan • 09/29/06 3:07 PM:

My quick, jaded flame.
You extemporize with voice,
abnormal gestures.

Patrick • 09/30/06 11:03 AM:

OK, Dan, I used one of your words, but:

Ghostly bovine does
extemporization of
jackal’s quiet way

You can see that, can’t you?

Patrick • 09/30/06 11:10 AM:

Light a votive for
the bar mitzvah. We just pack
waxy quandaries. -52

Patrick • 09/30/06 11:15 AM:

Dead, singing vizier,
quaintly offkey but jumpy,
winds across the Styx. -57

Patrick • 10/26/06 4:31 PM:

Getting off the pangram subject, but following the haiku line, here is a site that apparently randomly generates haikus. Some are pretty funny, like:

The devious moll
rings the doorbell, rings again.
Paper beats rock, fool.

Dad • 10/27/06 11:37 PM:

How about this one?

The shy farmer’s wife
removes her golden fake nose.
Take two steps backwards.

David • 07/15/07 2:51 PM:

Here’s a great haiku from Dan’s favorite t-shirt company:

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don’t make sense

ps. this should count as Dan’s comment, seeing as he told me about it.

Patrick • 07/23/07 9:11 AM:

OK, great, you’re both fired. This post is for pangrams, some of which are also haikus. We’re not just throwing down any old haiku. That’s not what we’re about!

Dad • 07/23/07 12:37 PM:

But Patrick, you introduced the “Randomly Generated Haiku” link yourself.

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