Prestidigitation: For those of you who have seen the movie "The Prestige" this should be easy to remember. To be honest, I had never come across this word except for one obvious instance - but it seems not outlandishly obscure, at least not inside The New York Times.
Meaning: (n.) Sleight of hand, legerdemain, magic
Etymology: French, from prestidigitateur prestidigitator, from preste nimble, quick (from Italian presto) + Latin digitus finger
Indebted to the site www.merriam-webster.com for this.
"If "Prof." J. Richard Miller's skill were as wonderful as his grammar he would be the greatest living prestidigitateur. Unfortunately for prestidigitation this is an impossibility. "Prof." Miller is a gentleman who delights in gold braid, brass buttons, epaulets, and other military paraphernalia and who does a number of conventional tricks very cleverly at Dockstader's Theatre."
The New York Times, Sep. 28, 1889...for the full article click here.
"A professor and a librarian have performed the astonishing act of phenomenal prestidigitation, hitherto unimaginable, right before the very eyes of startled onlookers: they have made the works of the amazing Houdini reappear."
The New York Times, May 25, 1992...for the full article click here.
"In 1978, when Mr. O'Brien's third novel, ''Going After Cacciato,'' appeared, some critics said his tale of an American soldier who simply walked away from the Vietnam War had strong elements of the Latin American school of fiction called magic realism. In his new work the magic is in the storyteller's prestidigitation as the stories pass from character to character and voice to voice, and the realism seems Homeric."
The New York Times, April 3, 1990...for the full article click here.
"Even though the world of magic may have lost some luster in recent years -- as when David Blaine was pelted with eggs by unimpressed Londoners -- torches still burn here for the fading art of prestidigitation."
The New York Times, May 15, 2005...for the full article click here.
Here is my own...
Only a prodigious thaumaturgical propensity portends the precious preservation of "prestidigitation" in your psyche's platform.