Monday, August 21, 2006

"Hosta" La Vista?


Time for a little rant. Okay, I'm a word nerd. I like to use the right word in the right place and it bugs me when I come across words that have been used incorrectly. I do crosswords, sudokus, cryptograms, and other puzzles and it REALLY gets on my nerves when I find spelling or usage mistakes in those. So, last night I was working on a crossword in one of the Big John's Puzzle Books (which I like because the cultural references tend to be aimed at my baby boom generation) when I found two pet peeves in one crossword clue and had to give up out of frustration.

The clue was something like "hearty plant." First of all, plants are "HARDY" -- as in able to survive in extreme conditions -- not "HEARTY" meaning jovial. Those words seem to be used interchangeably, especially by people who aren't avid gardeners and have simply misheard the word. But then when I wrote in the word "hosta" into the crossword spaces I realized it wouldn't work. The puzzle needed it to be spelled "hasta." AAUUGGHH! "Hasta" is a Spanish word, known to most of the English speaking world from the Terminator's famous line, "Hasta la vista, baby!" It is NOT the name of a plant, hearty, hardy or otherwise! It is HOSTA, formerly known as Funkia, sometimes called plantain lily. Also one of the most popular perennials in the U.S., and definitely the most popular perennial for shade. Grrrr.

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