This story may or may not beguile you

I teach a bridge class here in South Bend.  Email me at [email protected] if you know anyone who’d like a bridge lesson, at any skill level.

I send out a lot of bridge lessons.  Most are kinda longish.  I was working on one today, which would be very brief.

I was going to label it with a word, which begins with “g” and means sly or cunning intelligence.

As I was getting ready to title my piece, I thought about the spelling of this G-word.

While I attended all the public schools in my hometown, I was also home schooled.  By my mother.

From the time I first learned to speak, she taught me lots of things.  One of my earliest recollections of her teaching occurred when I would ask her how to spell a word.  My mother used a brilliant teaching technique.  She seldom gave me an answer!  Ninety percent of the time she would say, “Look it up,” and point to the set of encyclopedias that we bought at the local grocery store — I think it was the A&P.  Anyone remember them?  They would have one book available every couple weeks.  Put that in your Funk and Wagnalls.  But I digress.

I’m not sure my mother ever used the term phonetics, but she would often reply, “Sound it out,” when I asked her how to spell a word.

This works very well for words like antidisestablishmentarianism.  It’s not as effective for those tricky little words that are not spelled as they sound.

So, back to my bridge lesson.  Being deceptive, sly or cunning is an accepted part of duplicate bridge.  I was going to use this five-letter word that begins with “g.”

I pretended I did not know how to spell it and was going to sound it out.

I arrived at GILE.  Sounds like mile/file/pile/tile/bile (yuck).  Nope, that ain’t it.

I remembered Don Gile, a former Boston Red Sox player, whose name was pronounced “Gee-Lee.”

Ok, GILE won’t work.

I’ll have to think further.  Aha, that’s it—GI’ll.  Nope.

Ok, what other words are in common usage that sound like this word I can say but not spell?

Well, there are three guys named Lyle that I liked.  Sparky Lyle, Lyle Lovett, and Lyle Waggoner.

Waggoner has to be on everyone’s list of handsome TV actors:

This is a photo from “Wonder Woman.”  I was in charge of security for Lynda Carter’s wedding … but that’s another story.

How about Lyle Lovett. How many remember that he was married to Julia Roberts for about as long as it’s taking me to write this?  Where did they get married?  Marion, Indiana.  I once did a security assignment with Ms. Roberts, but that’s another story.

So, is my G-word spelled Gyle?  Nope. 

Then I was thinking of the bride and groom, walking down the aisle.  Gaisle?  Nope.

The Isle of Man?  Gisle?  Nope.

Coat of Arms?  Aren’t they out of style?  There’s that “ile” sound again.

I remembered a small town in Illinois, DuPage County, called Lisle.  Home of former Notre Dame safety and NFL player Glenn Earl, “The Quiet Assassin.”

Gisle?  Nah.  Same reason.

The Germans have a greeting/salutation word, “heil”…………could it be Geil?  Nah.

Ok, I confess I knew it all along.  It’s guile.  Why put that “u” in there?  Just to torment us phoneticists? 

I feel guilty for beguiling you with this.