Disconsolate Consonants Why are these consonants so gloomy? Because they're all alone. Each answer is a word with just one consonant. For example, the letter D is surrounded by vowels in a French word meaning goodbye: adieu.

Disconsolate Consonants

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Welcome back to ASK ME ANOTHER, NPR and WNYC's hour of trivia, puzzles and word games. I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and we'll subject "Top Chef" judge Gail Simmons to our own food challenge in just a minute. But first let's meet our next two contestants, Katelyn Meehan and Michael Holmes.


EISENBERG: So when you guys go out or stay in, you want to meet up with people who you would consider your own kind. Where do you find these people? Michael?

MICHAEL HOLMES: I don't know if there's exactly a perfect place where I could meet people because I have a lot of weird interests, but if I could make up a place that doesn't exist...

EISENBERG: Yeah (laughter).

HOLMES: ...Perhaps it would be, like, a karaoke bar with quizzo-game night in an airport waiting lounge, right? And then I've got everything that I'm looking for in one night.

EISENBERG: That's an amazing idea - in Newark?

HOLMES: I'm thinking of opening one in Newark, right.

EISENBERG: Yeah, Newark.

HOLMES: That's the prime market.

EISENBERG: That's the hotspot right there.

HOLMES: You got it.


KATELYN MEEHAN: I think I would go to the beach.


JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: Like a normal person.

EISENBERG: Beautiful. This game is called "Disconsolate Consonants." I know disconsolate is a fancy way of saying sad.

COULTON: That's right.

EISENBERG: But why are these letters sad? Why can't they be happy?

COULTON: I don't know, maybe they just, you know, they thought they would change a couple of things and they would solve all of their problems, but their problems were internal. No, they are sad, of course, because they are alone. Each answer has just one consonant in it and the rest are vowels. For example, if I said the letter D is surrounded by vowels in this French word meaning goodbye, you'd answer Adieu.

EISENBERG: This is the saddest word game we have ever played.

COULTON: We've saved it for the end. And now you guys look sad. I have made you sad.

EISENBERG: They're both like, why am I not in a karaoke quiz beach?


COULTON: All right, here we go. Many vowels wait in line after the letter Q to form a word meaning a line of people waiting.


COULTON: Michael.

HOLMES: Queue.

COULTON: That's right.


COULTON: It's a ridiculous word, Comes from the French, of course - Q-U-E-U-E - absurd.

EISENBERG: Ridiculous.

COULTON: Thanks Frenchies.


COULTON: The letter R joins three vowels to create a unit of currency that replaced the franc, the deutsche mark and many others.


COULTON: Michael.

HOLMES: The euro.

COULTON: Indeed, you got it.


EISENBERG: I've got €200 at home, my friends.

COULTON: You have €200 euro at home?

EISENBERG: Yup, that's my retirement plan.


COULTON: Just wait for everything to fall apart and then move to Europe.

EISENBERG: Got a lot of forever stamps. You'll see.

COULTON: This word, with its lonely letter J, is the name of a board that's sometimes used as a communication device during the seances.


COULTON: Katelyn.

MEEHAN: Ouija?

COULTON: That is right.


EISENBERG: Are those your family members from the other life communicating with you through this show?


COULTON: The letter P finds itself fending off vowels in the name of this kind of sword used in fencing.


COULTON: Michael?

HOLMES: This has a lot of consonants, but is it a rapier?

COULTON: Not even a little bit, no.


COULTON: Katelyn, do you know what it is?

MEEHAN: I do not.

COULTON: Does anyone knows what it this?




COULTON: Yes indeed. Thanks again, Frenchies. Beginning with a solitary letter L, this FX sitcom is loosely based on the life of the standup who writes, directs and stars in it.


COULTON: Katelyn.

MEEHAN: Louie?

COULTON: That is right. Members of the audience, please continue to shout out the answers right after I ask the question. That is a great idea. There is just one little old T in this word that means a tiny quantity, and also happens to be a letter in the Greek alphabet.


COULTON: Michael.


COULTON: No, Katelyn?



COULTON: No, just no. I reject this game. Anybody know the answer?


COULTON: Iota is correct. All right, this is your last clue. A lone letter L is the meat in a vowel sandwich (laughter) in the name of this garlic mayonnaise traditional and Provencal cuisine?


COULTON: Katelyn.

MEEHAN: Aioli?

COULTON: You got it.


COULTON: Art, how did our contestants do?

ART CHUNG, BYLINE: It was a close game, but Katelyn is our winner. Congratulations.

EISENBERG: Congratulations, Caitlin.


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