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

Today's attempts to resolve the Quandary (login or register to compose yours):


When Maude eventually pulled the sheet of paper out of one of those Scotland's Records envelopes in which you've probably received copies of your own or your ancestors' Birth, Marriage or Death Certificates (obviously the latter not being your own!) we were all fairly crowded around her and certainly I felt slightly disappointed at what was apparently a photocopy of an old Diary or Journal, showing a double page spread which, so far as I could see was written in French! "and the other, please Maudie," prompted Daphne, and from her bag Maude drew another envelope, this one marked Republique Francaise – Charges d'Affaires Ecosse, Edinbourg and took out a sheet of paper with the same official heading: "it's a translation, not ours, but theirs," said Maude, "just in case anyone thinks we're playing silly buggers," but no-one laughed; it was Auntie Cristo who broke the silence: "well, isn't one of you going to tell us what you are playing then – Daphne? Maude?" and when Daphne sat back, with one of her rather smug expressions, it was Maude who explained: "you know my chum Lettice?" no-one bothered to confirm the obvious, so she continued: "well, when she was helping out with some tidying up in the Archives – I mean the real Archives, the ones no-one is allowed to access without extremely High Permission – she came across a box of stuff which had come over from France at the beginning of the German invasion in August '14 – it had originally been deposited with the British Embassy in Paris some time after The Terror but before Napoleon, by a Scottish nobleman who had been trying to find out what had happened to relatives during the Revolution, and it was only regarded as a temporary holding, but the chap never came back for it, which was why it was still there when the war broke out, I've got no idea why or how it was sent to Edinburgh, or ended up in the Archives; it looked to Lettice as though the box had never been opened for 100 years: it was marked as the property of Sir Pontius MacFarlane and the Journal was that of a Mlle Eunice Eglantine!" this produced a gasp – could she have been a descendant, surely not, of Sister Evadne Eglantine? more likely she was descended from a relative of the Scottish nun murdered by Sir Parlane in the oubliette under Edinburgh's Royal Mile discovered by Daphne a couple of years ago: "anyway," said Maude, "according to the translation we got from the French Attaché, she was at the château of the Marquis de Sade when two Scotch travellers visited him and during their visit she read MacFarlane's fortune and told him, apparently, that he would never live to see the year 2020!" this brought another gasp: it is known that Sir Parlane and his servant, Dominic Doubleday, used Worm Holes in the Space/Time Continuum to travel backwards and forwards in time. and obvious aliases wherever they went but, true enough, although he was known to have been in various parts of the Earth in the 2030s and even further in the future, there was no record of either of them being around in 2020: "how could this woman in the years after the French Revolutionremember that de Sade died in the Asylum of Charenton in 1814 – make such a prediction, unless she knew that she was dealing with a Time Traveller?" it was beyond belief, beyond reason, it was incredible! "well, " said Daphne, we've had a read of it on the train – we only received it yesterday – and even for the time, the language is rather gurrier – of course we know nothing yet of this woman, but she rather philippizes, it is possible, I daresay, that she was one of the Madames who procured girls for de Sade, or indeed was one of the girls herself, but that is conjecture – we only have the one volume, perhaps others will turn up in the Archives. . . . ." but Auntie Cristo held up a restraining hand: "nothing is insuperable to women such as we, if we put our minds to it, perhaps Maude, dear, you could summarise the most relevant parts of the Journal for us, while Daphne explains exactly what she is ettling us to do about it!"

(by MissTeriWoman)


The city gurriers found themselves to be quite philippized, if not galvanised, by the speech of the Reverend Farquar Toohoots, which ettled the unwashed masses to overcome the insuperable barriers to their social mobility by passing on the virtues of the Lord Jesus for a shilling and sixpence per doorknock.

(by The Masked Pimpernel)
The Quandary for today, Wednesday, June 19, 2019, consists of:
  • philippize
  • gurrier
  • insuperable
  • ettle, v.
Challenge: use all four words together in one illustrative sentence.

Since September 2009, word lovers have offered 7328 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:

verb intr.: To behave, especially to speak or write, as if corruptly influenced.
  1. (dated) A street urchin.
  2. A loutish young man; a ruffian.

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for June 19, 2019 is:

insuperable • \in-SOO-puh-ruh-bul\  • adjective

: incapable of being surmounted, overcome, passed over, or solved


Though it had appeared that the visiting team had an insuperable lead, the home team rallied to win in the end.

"’Life and Fate,’ his resulting magnum opus, is not likely to be unseated as the greatest Second World War novel ever written. Grossman’s challenge over the ten years of its composition seems nearly insuperable: to evoke the scope and magnitude of the conflict without turning his characters into cogs in a vast military machine." — Sam Sacks, The New Yorker, 25 June 2013

Did you know?

Insuperable first appeared in print in the 14th century, and as a close synonym to insurmountable, it still means now approximately what it did then. In Latin, superare means "to go over, surmount, overcome, or excel." (The sur- in surmount is related to the Latin prefix super-.) The Latin word insuperabilis, from which insuperable is derived, was formed by combining the negative prefix in- with superare plus abilis ("able"). Hence, insuperabilis means "unable to be surmounted, overcome, or passed over," or more simply, "insurmountable." The word can describe physical barriers that cannot be scaled (such as walls or mountains) as well as more figurative challenges, obstacles, or difficulties.

OED Word of the Day: ettle, v. To intend, propose, plan (to do something)

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