I don't normally get involved with forums. BUT I just registered with this one to express my appreciation and relief at having a very, very frustrating problem solved.
The problem was with the spellchecker in Open Office 3. For no apparent reason it "lost" its (standard English) dictionary and was querying every single word I typed. After hours of searching on various forums, I found the solution in -[Tutorial] The OpenOffice User Profile
Postby Hagar Delest » Sun Nov 23, 2008
Easy to follow, although I still don't understand how my profile was corrupted or why that affects the spellchecker (!!??!!) The main thing is, the problem is now solved. Thank you Hagar.