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The Cruciverbalist


January 22, 2005

Unexpected Pleasures

Three weeks.  Perhaps you’ve been a little more aware of some of these words as you’ve done crosswords lately.  I think I’ve seen at least half of them since the beginning of the year.  Some of the words like “Asti” and “etui” I’ve seen multiple times. 

It’s been a great ride so far.  I’m learning much more than I thought I would:  I knew nothing of Coco Chanel, much less that she inadvertently popularized sun bathing.  I didn’t realize that prior to the Civil War many counties of the South were actually opposed to secession.  I didn’t realize that I.M. Pei designed the rock and roll hall of fame.  (Interesting – my spell-checker doesn’t even recognize “Pei”.) 

Also amazing to me is how far off I was on the pronunciation of many of these words.  I’ve been running into these words for years now – pronouncing them wrong every time and never being corrected.  For example: Asti (AH-stee) – I’d always pronounced it A-stee.  And then there’s Etui (ay-TWEE) – I’m afraid to admit how I pronounced that.

Another unexpected pleasure has been the great people I’ve met as I’ve done research on the words.  I’ve met college professors, mountaineers, kayakers, photographers, and others.  I can’t wait to see who I’ll meet next…

I’d love to hear from you.  Please write me let me know what you think of the site. 

Paul Stynsberg, © 2004