A lot of newspaper columns used to be written in a rat-a-tat-tat, fast-paced style—and they tended to be funny.
Each game he started against us he got the old “rat-a-tat-tat.”
So he stopped and tapped on the door, rat-a-tat-tat, very softly, you know.
We started to climb the Ridge, and we were just coming through a churchyard when rat-a-tat-tat!
Over by the orchard, he could hear a flicker go "rat-a-tat-tat," boring away at the old apple tree.
rat-a-tat-tat at the first dim hint of dawn went the chamberlain's knuckles upon the door.
1680s, echoic, originally of a cooper hammering tubs.