So there it is, definition and all. Use it in a sentence? The best I can come up with is a book title: The Case of the Perspicacious Pachyderm.
You remember the old Perry Mason TV series (1957-1966)? The character was based on novels by Erle Stanley Gardner. He wrote over eighty of them. Many of them had alliteration in the title, like The Case of the Dangerous Dowager. You can find troves of them at flea markets and used paperback stores next to the Zane Grey and Louis L’amour books.
The stories followed a standard format: There’s a murder, someone is accused, he or she comes to Perry, he gets them off by finding who really did it. A whodunnit. Some call it pulp fiction. I loved this kind of stuff. There used to be private eye shows that followed close to the same formula but Perry Mason was the best. Think Sherlock Holmes without the arrogance. Monk was along those lines (‘This is how it happened’) but that was really more about Monk’s idiosyncrasies than about who did it.
To make a successful Perry Mason episode you had to follow the rules. The audience had to know everything Perry knew. There had to be at least two or three characters who were potential culprits. And one of them should be, well, curvacious. The crime had to be murder. If you started with some other crime you knew there would be a murder coming up pretty quick.
So what about this Pachyderm? Let’s see. The handsome trapeze artist fell to his death. The police know it was not an accident and they think his curvacious partner did it. She comes to Perry. Turns out the deceased was carrying on with the knife thrower’s curvacious assistant/wife. So you have the accused, the knife thrower, and his wife (she was jealous of the partner). Whodunnit?
The elephant in the title is very smart. Loves to pick up a piece of chalk and conjugate verbs, work calculus problems, write literary criticism. She would blog but the keyboard is too small. And she knows who did it. But she’s not talking. Or texting. Or chalking.
You know what I think? I think the elephant did it.