Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Crysan* (for Chrysan*)

A constant reader and typo contributor from the Netherlands wrote us the other day to say that she had found 705 cases of Chrystal* in WorldCat, adding that this typo does not yet appear on the Ballard list. She's right, it doesn't, although we did in fact blog on the combined typo Chryst* + Cryt* (for Crystal, etc.) back in 2009. Since I'm currently in the process of memorizing the poem "The Dormouse and the Doctor" by A. A. Milne, I have decided today to feature the contrasting Crysan* (here the H is mistakenly omitted, rather than added to the word in question), a typo for chrysanthemum*. I loved this poem as a child, despite (or maybe even a bit because of) the fact that I was totally unfamiliar with delphiniums, and only vaguely aware of geraniums. And I'm pretty sure I didn't know what a dormouse was either, though I knew that one figured prominently in the book Alice in Wonderland. The Milne poem attempts to answer an age-old, if garden-variety, mystery by concluding: "And that is the reason (Aunt Emily said) / If a Dormouse gets in a chrysanthemum bed / You will find (so Aunt Emily says) that he lies / Fast asleep on his front with his paws to his eyes." In this poem the unctuous yet clueless doctor prescribes for his patient "Milk and Massage-of-the-back," along with "Freedom-from worry and Drives-in-a-car," but mostly insists upon chrysanthemums (yellow and white). We found nine cases of today's typo in OhioLINK (six of which were for the expected errors, with two for various surnames and one for "Crysand Press"), plus 177 in WorldCat.

(Chrysanthemums, c. 1875, by James Tissot, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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