Some Crosswords Words Make Me Cross!

crossI thoroughly enjoy the Sunday Boston Globe magazine section, and especially the crossword puzzles. I keep them handy for something fun to do when I need a break.

Sometimes, however, they’re not fun. I am amazed at some of the answers (and my spell check doesn’t recognize three of them: abysm, chiliad, or palimpset), and cranky when I don’t recognize them. But let’s face it: crossword words are not always a regular part of our vocabulary . . .

Here are a few recent ones that I had to look up after filling in (or nearly so) the blanks. Are you familiar with any of them? I sure wasn’t, except for lexicon, which I had heard and knew had something to do with words, but . . .

Acyclic
Not cyclic. Used especially of flowers whose parts are arranged in spirals rather than in whorls, as in magnolias.

Abysm
1.  A bottomless pit
2.  Synonym for abyss

Chiliad
1. 
A group that contains 1,000 elements
2.  A thousand years
3.  A millennium

Lexicon
1.  The words used in a language or by a person or group of people
2.  A book containing an alphabetical arrangement of the words in a language and
their definitions
3.  The vocabulary of a language, an individual speaker or group of speakers, or a
subject

Palimpset
1.  A manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has
been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain
2.  A very old document on which the original writing has been erased and
replaced with new writing
3.  Something that has changed over time and shows evidence of that change

Now, don’t you feel smarter?