Monotonic sentences: A puzzle
Draft of 2013.03.06 ☛ 2015.04.04 ☛ 2016.07.16
Call a sentence “weakly monotonic” if when you stack the words on top of one another (like this)
c a l l _ _ _ _ _ a _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ s e n t e n c e _ m o n o t o n i c i f _ _ _ _ _ _ _
and read down the columns of letters, all the columns are alphabetical in top-to-bottom order—skipping blanks whenever a letter’s missing from a given column.
In the example, the first letters of the words are
CASMI, so that sentence is not even weakly monotonic. Maybe that was a bad place to start.
The sentence “Boy dozes” is weakly monotonic:
b o y _ _ d o z e s
the “columns” are
_S, respectively, and (ignoring blanks) those are all in alphabetical order. “Ignoring blanks” is probably important. Let’s make it a rule that a blank space is a wildcard, and that we are only interested in letters as such. So spaces can appear in any place at all.
What’s the longest weakly monotonic English sentence?
Call a sentence “strongly monotonic” if you’re not allowed to skip missing letters, after any letter appears. That is, once a letter appears in a given position, there must be at least that many letters in all subsequent words.
So “Boy dozes” is both weakly and strongly monotonic.
What’s the longest strongly monotonic English sentence?