Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Chesnut* + Chestnut* (for Chestnut* or Chesnut*)

A reader commented on a recent blog entry for the typo Oiho with some disappointment that the reference made to his home state had merely been to a clock known as the "Ohio Clock," which, as he pointed out, is not even in Ohio. He then listed a bunch of much cooler things that are, one of which is the Ohio buckeye tree. He added, meaningly: "Many people don't know what a buckeye is or looks like." At first, I didn't think I knew either, until I found out it's the same thing as what we generally call a "horse chestnut" tree in New York. The kids in my neighborhood would peel the spiny outer hulls off the smooth round seeds (or leave them on), then set about throwing them, rolling them, or smashing them against the rocks. We girls would occasionally try to make "necklaces" out of them, but once pierced, they would rapidly lose their plump, their sheen, and their charm. (I still feel rather let down about that, myself, Gentle Reader.) We all understood, though, that, unlike the "chestnuts roasting on an open fire" at Christmastime, the horse chestnut was poisonous, which perhaps only heightened its allure. The buckeye would seem to be an ephemeral thing, meant to be handled, admired, and kicked to the curb. I'm wondering about their names now too. Do the words "horse" and "buckeye" refer to the way these chestnuts appear, when first opened to the air, like the big dark eyes of those bucolic creatures? Buckeyes are lovely in other ways as well. They're tall and stately, have large shiny green leaves, and produce a really striking flower. The chestnut has also lent its name to what is probably the most appealing shade of brown. Take a good look around the next time you're in the great state of Ohio, and enjoy everything Buckeye! Speaking of Ohio, we found 43 cases of today's typo in OhioLINK, and 711 in WorldCat.

("Pod seed. Capsule. Chestnut. Buckeye." 5 October, 2011, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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