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This just started happening today. I have no idea what is causing it. No useful system.log information. I tried rebuilding the envelope files to no avail.

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If you quit mail, turn off all networking and restart Mail, can you reproduce the delay? –  bmike Aug 3 '12 at 2:22
    
Also, open Mail's activity window. It might provide useful information. –  Harald Hanche-Olsen Aug 3 '12 at 13:11
    
Yes, if I turn off networking, the delay goes away. It does appear that Mail is trying to make some sort of synchronous network connection that has nothing to do with contacting mail servers -- but which one? No, Mail's activity is blank during the hang. –  odysseus Aug 7 '12 at 15:16
    
Today one of my email accounts was broken into, so it was locked; I had to change its password as well as that of the other main email account that I use. Mail required that I reenter several passwords related to these accounts. This afternoon, I noticed that the delay was gone. I think that a case could be made for some sort of keychain conflict/problem/corruption (although I had run Keychain First Aid) that was resolved by this changing of passwords. –  odysseus Aug 9 '12 at 4:28

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