Gimme Shelter

My fellow you remember when you first knew that's what you were?

I do. I was maybe eight years old, and I had just walked down the street to a friend's house. When I got inside, his aunt asked me a question (details below the fold, for spoiler reasons). I answered, and she scoffed and said, "Why didn't you just say ____?"

A full-grown adult made fun of me for using what she considered to be a "large" word when a simpler word would have sufficed. I remember being confused; the word I used was more accurate! The word she wanted me to say was fine, but it wasn't exactly right. Where was the nuance?!

Thankfully, rather than discourage me from exercising my vocabulary for fear that snarky adults would make comments, her reaction crystallized my love of lexicography. And a nerd was born!

...I still don't understand how some people don't get joy out of finding just the right word. But I'm probably preaching to the choir ;)

This puzzle's theme is inspired by that story, which I think about (almost) every time [REDACTED].

Enjoy the solve/stream/merciless hunt for typos! Let me know if you find any by using the contact form above.

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