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

Attempts to resolve the Quandary:


The morning of the 25th of February 1947 was hoary with frost and especially dense with one of the infamous Glasgow smogs, which cause Glaswegians to be so impertinent, heavy with the sulphurous smokes of an industrial city, and the coal fires which burned in every house, tenement apartment, and office building; the smogs turned bodies grimy, clothes sooty and lungs as black as tar, but that didn't stop Snooker Tam and Wee Boabie from finding the address which had been given them by Sadie Glenfinnan, whom they now knew to be Bernie Cohen's squeeze: it was a black building at the bottom of a dark row of tenements which clambered down towards the Canal, just stopping short and leaving only room for pedestrians brave enough to make the passage in single file; half way along, under the heavy stone bridge which turned the gloom to near pitch-darkness, there was a small refuge, a cutaway into the stone where one man could stand to allow another coming from the opposite direction to pass, and it was just big enough for two boys to press their bodies into the deepest recess and become invisible, even more invisible than small boys were at the best of times; and there they waited, shivering in the damp, moisture heavy fumes which drifted up from the deep, dark waters of the Forth and Clyde, and they waited, and then, when their bones were beginning to ache and their joints to stiffen, they waited just a little longer and heard, in the distance, echoing as they came under the bridge, the distinctive rat-a-tat-ta of the boots worn every day by AKA, black, shiny, tacketty boots which were perhaps the only remaining vestige of the Reichsmarschall he had once been, boots which might have rung on a parade ground, or at Nuremberg, boots which had clattered through the Reichstag on the night it burned, and crunched glass underfoot on Kristallnacht, boots soaked in blood, in brains and the ashes of books burned outside Universities only because the authors' names sounded Jewish; and they drew near, and paused, one heel above the path and not quite striking down, and they heard the noise of a match which sent shivers down their spines, saw the flare which briefly illuminated the heavy jowelled face of the man they awaited, but the flame momentarily blinded him and he did not see them, as he put it to his pipe and drew deeply, puffing out clouds of smoke lighter than the smog, and finished the stride, tat-ta, and moved on and before he reached the end, they were behind him, moving swift and silent in sannies, knowing that their own boots would hinder them on this mission; they closed the gap until they were walking in the faint shadow cast by the occasional street-lamps, only visible as dim yellow globes above head height, like disembodied melons – but Tam and Boabie had never seen a melon, only once or twice a banana, so perceived the lamps as ghosts in the swirling smog; they followed AKA for what seemed like miles, they guessed that outside of the city, morning must be breaking, but here, in the canyons and gullies of the tenements, the smog was still as dark as Satan and movement was made by stealthy caution, relying as much on hearing as touch and almost independent of sight which told you nothing; but these boys knew Glasgow, the real Glasgow, which is nothing to do with Commercial Glasgow, or Educational Glasgow or Civic Glasgow, nothing to do with Glasgow Cathedral, Sauchiehall Street or George Square, but more with the slums and the bomb sites and the back-courts and closes and the tunnels which run underground and under river and drip with condensation and the occasional rattle of a tram overhead, or a train coming fast towards you; they knew the short-cuts, the ginnels, and runnels, the hidey-holes, and dead-letter-drops, they knew where the whoores stood and where they avoided (even if they didn't yet know what whoores did) they knew the back doors into picter-hooses, the crawl-spaces beneath floors, the sounds of a polis truncheon on a thin-skinned skull, or a creaking cart followed by the cry of "Rag-a-bo-hone" which brought children running into dangerous streets with whatever junk their mothers wanted rid of and returned with a sweaty balloon or a farthing chew, or a cuff round the ear for lollygagging and wasting the carter's time, though he kept everything and added it to his pile, for everything had a value and a price and could bring him a penny profit here or there, they knew where you would stand a fair chance of picking up a penny or ha'penny, maybe a tanner or a bob; at last their target led them to a large house above Byers Road, where he knocked and was admitted by a maid in a black uniform; the boys quickly identified the house number 4 and the street name Dundonald Road and Tam slotted it neatly into the shovelwear of useful and useless, fascinating, esoteric and nonsensical but strangely absorbing contents of his head; after all, "what are little boys made of? rats and snails and puppy-dogs tails, that's what little boys are made of," as opposed to: "sugar and spice and all things nice, that's what little girls are made of," and truth to tell, "such is life," said Mrs Umbraticus!

(by MissTeriWoman)


What once was a mere runnel of online traffic to our site has become a mighty torrent: this newspaper is a hoary institution—and we're proud of our tradition—but we need to get with the times; I want us to get away from the, to put it frankly, shovelware we've been lollygagging about with so far and move towards more bespoke online content. (by umbraticus)
The Quandary for Saturday, February 25, 2017 consisted of: Challenge: use all four words together in one illustrative sentence.

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