Tabs on Writing

The Business of Business Writing by John Tabellione, Principal at

R.i.P., Y.A.T.

Date: 16 October 2017
Category: Current Events, Homophones

Recently, former New York Giant football quarterback legend, Y.A. Tittle, passed away. In his memory I am re-editing an old blog post from 2013.


Many moons ago, the Tabs on Writing blogger (aka the Atlanta Freelance Writer) was the sports editor for his high school newspaper. Under his byline called–not coincidentally–Tabs on Sports, he had a unique opportunity to interview Y.A. Tittle, who, at the time, was the star quarterback for the New York Giants.

Since algebra was one of the courses being studied at the time, the headline for the article ran like this: “Y.A.T. + P.A.T.=7”. (Solution to this equation: a touchdown run or pass from Y.A. Tittle, plus the point after touchdown, kicked by George “Pat” Summerall, equals seven points in football terms. Note: Summerall got his nickname based upon his kicking specialty.)

In doing some research recently, I came across a blog that used Y(elberton) A(braham)’s surname as a homophonic pun, i.e., “Why a Tittle?” Have to confess I missed the connection at first.

Eventually, I realized the “point” of the pun, so to speak: a “tittle” is the dot that is placed over the letter “i” or “j” in the English language. The blogger, a marketing pro, was bemoaning the misuse of a lower case “i” in the spelling of words on signs and elsewhere that otherwise have all other letters in upper case. See, for example, the title of this blog post. It should read: R.I.P. instead of R.i.P. (caps versus lower case).

Perhaps this is all a bit “over the top” shall we say. Nonetheless, the expression has more meaning now when referring to crossing our “t’s” and dotting our “i’s” (and “j’s”) with tittles.

Just for the record, while “Y.A.” led the Giants to three straight NFL championship games (pre-Super Bowl era), unfortunately, he never was able to deliver a championship title for the Giants.

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