A young contestant at the recent national Spelling B contest in New York asked the event's star guest Julie Andrews if she would spell out her famous Mary Poppins catchphrase. But halfway through, the 71-year-old actress got stuck and began to blush.
Her mistake has delighted the Simplified Spelling Society in the UK, which believes it lends weight to its campaign. The organisation has previously picketed the annual American contest, with placards criticising the inconsistent nature of the English language: "Enuf is enuf!" and "We're thru with 'through'".
Masha Bell, campaign member and literacy expert, said: "Whenever we get evidence that English spelling is really bad, it gets passed over because the educational establishment is unshakeably convinced that literacy problems must be due to bad teaching and nothing else."
Ms Andrews should be forgiven for her error, given the complexity of the word and the fact that the sound of it is "something quite atrocious". We would recommend that spelling campaigners instead turn their attention to her Sound of Music song Do-re-mi, which has no doubt left generations of children confused about how to write the word for female deer.