Quadrivial Quandary:  Logophiles, Rejoice!  Each day we give you four unusual words.  Can you fit them all in one illustrative sentence?

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The Quandary for today, Thursday, February 21, 2019, consists of:
  • watergate
  • analphabet
  • hoopla
  • revetment, n.
Challenge: use all four words together in one illustrative sentence.

Since September 2009, word lovers have offered 7216 sentences — each one a surprise — to QQ's unique and growing library. Explore earlier Quandaries through our word list or the calendar below. View yesterday's QQ resolutions or pick a day at random.

Definitions Of Today's Words:

noun: A scandal involving abuse of office, deceit, and cover-up.
  1. A person who does not know the letters of the alphabet; a partly or wholly illiterate person.

Today is International Mother Language Day, which is recognized by the United Nations to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for February 21, 2019 is:

hoopla • \HOO-plah\  • noun

1 : excited commotion : to-do

2 : exaggerated or sensational promotion or publicity : ballyhoo


"Ideas change as data accumulate. If future evidence causes me to change my mind again, that’s okay. That’s how the scientific method works, always revising what we thought we knew, eventually casting aside the emotional hoopla, and ultimately granting us not a measure of truth so much as a better approximation of reality." — Eric J. Chaisson, The Atlantic, 16 Oct. 2018

"My wife and I were watching all this [government] shutdown hoopla on television. My wife then said, ’Why don’t you serve them meals?’ So we decided to extend it out to all of the Coast Guard members stationed here…." — James Gubata, quoted in The Providence Journal, 15 Jan. 2019

Did you know?

In French, the interjection houp-là is used roughly the same way as English’s upsy-daisy or whoops-a-daisy, as one might say when picking up a child. (This usage can be found in English, too, in such works as Booth Tarkington’s The Magnificent Ambersons and James Joyce’s Ulysses.) When the word was borrowed into American English, however, it was to refer to a kind of bustling commotion, and later, as a term for sensationalist hype. In the early 20th century, another hoopla was in use as well. Playing on the syllable hoop, that word gave its name to a ring-toss game played at carnivals.

OED Word of the Day: revetment, n. A retaining wall or facing of masonry, timber, or some other material supporting or protecting a rampart, the side of a ditch or trench, etc.

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