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Maypops, Apothegms And Monoskis - Pahavit's Universe

pahavit
Date: 3-9-2017 12:15 AM
Subject: Maypops, Apothegms And Monoskis
Security: Public
Tags:crossword
Maypops, Apothegms And Monoskis: A Crossword Puzzle Rant


I like solving crossword puzzles.  And I dislike encountering archaic and obscure crossword puzzle clues.  They make it unnecessarily difficult to solve the puzzle, especially when there are a few too many clustered together in the same puzzle.

As I have been working my way through an old book of 500 crossword puzzles I found in a second-hand book store, these kinds of clues began to annoy me so much that I began keeping a list of them, just to get an idea of how ridiculously hard they made it to solve the puzzles.


Fanon
This makes me think of some kind of architectural ornamentation, for some reason.  But it's a type of religious vestment.


Calumniate
My brain wants to make this be calumet.
  definition: make false and defamatory statements about.


Lacrimator
I guessed it was something to do with tears, because of the "lacr" prefix.  And I was right; it's a substance that irritates the eyes and causes tears to flow, such as tear gas.


Monoski
This word looked so strange it could very well have been Martian, for all I knew.  But it's exactly what it says it is, a mono-ski: a single wide ski used for skiing on snow.


Hilum
  definition: the scar on a seed marking the point of attachment to its seed vessel.
Sure.  Everybody knows that. 


Apothegm
Apothecary phlegm?
  definition: a concise saying or maxim; an aphorism.


Orarion
Onion oratorio?
  definition: a type of religious vestment.


Quotidian
My mind keeps trying to turn it into quotient + meridian.
  definition: ordinary or everyday, especially when mundane.


Arethusa
I once played a piece of music with this word as its title.  It was about some mythical weeper who was turned into a fountain, I think?
  definition: a Greek nymph


Paravane
Not the dance pavane!
  definition: a water kite (a device towed behind a boat).


Chartulary
My brain kept trying to make this word be Charcuterie.
  definition: a medieval ecclesiastical manuscript.


Maypop
Sounds like some kind of portmanteau a start-up would use.
  definition: passionflower.


Swivet
Swiveling rivet?
  definition: a fluster or panic.


Vexillum
What a vexing word!
  definition: a flag-like object used as a military standard by units in the Ancient Roman army.


Depside
Not despite, no matter how much my dyslexia repeatedly attempts to make it so!
    definition: a type of polyphenolic compound composed of two or more monocyclic aromatic units linked by an ester bond.
Sure.  Sure it is.  Mmm-hmm.  Of course.  Everyone knows that. 


Torsk
Norse tusk?  Not too far off: the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish word for Cod and Atlantic cod.


Oribi
This made me think of some kind of gazelle, for some reason.  And I was right: it's a small antelope found in eastern, southern and western Africa.


Dalmatic
Automatic Dalmatian?
  definition: a type of religious vestment.


Whilom
While?  With whom?  William?  Woo-hoo?
  definition: formerly; in the past.


Teredo
Torpedo tornado?
  definition: a shipworm.


Peculate
What lispers do when they hypothesize?
  definition: embezzle or steal (money, especially public funds).
So why do we have this word, when "embezzle" is a perfectly good word itself?


Dzo
How on earth am I supposed to have any idea what in the world a word like this means?  Dzo?? 
  definition: a male hybrid of a cow and a yak.


Encolure
Not enclosure!
    definition: the neck of an animal.
And the word "neck" isn't good enough?  Yeesh.


Genethliacon
Genentech + biathlon + Necronomicon?
    definition: a birthday poem.


Remuda
Ramada + barracuda?
    definition: a herd of horses that have been saddle-broken, from which ranch hands choose their mounts for the day.


Crosette
    definition: a projection at a corner of a door or window architrave.
(And now I have to go look up "architrave." This is why, beyond a certain point, pedantry really annoys me.)


Mazuma
Not the volcano.
    definition: money; cash (slang).


Esparto
"Esperanto" for those in a hurry and have to condense the word?
    definition: a type of grass.


Girasol
Not a sunflower, but a kind of opal reflecting a reddish glow.


Pullulate
A pustule that ululates?
    definition: to breed or spread so as to become extremely common.


Chevet
    definition: the apsidal eastern termination of a church choir typically having a surrounding ambulatory that opens onto a number of radiating apses or chapels.


Burbot
When a robot burps?  Actually, a cod-like freshwater fish.


Thimblerig
A place for storing sewing notions?
    definition: shell game


Taffrail
Something used to pull taffy?  No, it's the rail and ornamentation around a ship's stern.


Spile
Not spite!
    definition: a small wooden peg or spigot for stopping a cask.


Pallium
Not the element palladium, but a religious vestment.


Razzia
Razzle-dazzle with raffia.
    definition: a slave raid


Cacomistle
The "mistle" part made me think of the European bird the mistle thrush, but it's really a raccoon-like animal native to Central America and southern Mexico.


Vilipend
Vilification of Filipendula?
    definition: to regard as worthless or of little value.


Bombinate
    definition: to buzz or hum.
I pictured someone planting a bomb.  Or a character like Yosemite Sam swearing, "What in bombination has that derned rabbit gone and done now?!"


Frazil
Not a fragile Brazil, but a form of ice.


Abecedarian
Sounds like a song you'd hear on Sesame Street.  And it means what it says: arranged alphabetically.  But I never see that word anywhere except in crossword clues.  Which is exactly why I hate it when I see words like that in crossword clues.


Kelep
This word comes from Kekchi, a Mayan language of Guatemala, so there was no way I could suss out what the hell it means.
    definition: a stinging ant, Ectatomma tuberculatum.
And why any crossword editor thought it made for an acceptable clue is beyond me.  How well-versed did that editor expect solvers to be in Kekchi, anyway?


Diaskeuast
What a nasty-looking word.  And how do you even pronounce it? 
   definition: editor
Editor?!?  What's wrong with just saying "editor"???  Yikes.


Fortunately, present-day crossword puzzles seem to have left such archaic terms behind, and favor more sensible clues instead, much to my relief.


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