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sudo cp /var/lib/aspell/en-*.rws /usr/share/scrivener/bin/Aspell/dict/
I had previously installed libaspell-dev, libqt4-gui, and libqt4-core to no effect.
There were some .rws files in /usr/share/scrivener/bin/Aspell/dict/ already but they are shown as type "unknown". On restart the spellchecker works, although the first time I used it it killed Scrivener. Now seems OK.