Words I've only ever used in crossword puzzles

. . . Well, at least up until now.

Sere. (Though I actually heard it used in an NPR report the other day.

(When I saw your question on the list, my first thought was, “Mine Entrance!” (Adit)


Nene! Also Oona, although that’s a name.

Isn’t it oleo?

that’s margarine.

Olio is a mixture, an assortment, a jumble of many things.

Not too common, considering the board’s spellcheck has it underlined in red…

I know there are more but this is all I can think of right now:

Lisle - a kind of fabric
Erne - a sea eagle
Sere - austere
Rurideconal - Of or pertaining to a rural dean - only ever used once in the history of English, in James Joyce’s Ulysses I believe, until this damned crossword. Luckily it was an anagram clue so possible to work out.

Then again, I read somewhere long ago that a TRULY good crossword constructor avoids those kinds of words if at all possible, because (s)he KNOWS that only crossword fanatics would know them.

But I guess that if it’s a choice between using one of those words, and messing up an otherwise elegant puzzle, the choice seems clear.

Some of these I have used in scrabble, but never in conversation (unless it was about a scrabble word during a game)

Twee: Artificail cultural or artistic value, often applied to antiquities
Alee: Leaning against
Aper: Archaic, “regarding an amount”
Aa: Molten rock, lava
Smit: A small, airbourne piece of soot
Clidal: A special type of horse shoe nail

Asea (at sea). I don’t think I’ve ever even heard it in a sailor’s chantey.


Sten (an old British gun) seems exceptionally attractive to crossword puzzle designers.

The first half of your post is correct; the second is incorrect. A good constructor will rip out and redo as much as possible to get rid of this crap. Crosswordese is just lazy construction.

My contribution:** anoa**

twicks, former xw editor

Why do I find this so appealing?

Tet: a Vietnamese holiday

Cwm: glacial valley
Erg: unit of energy

Fast flier: SST
With “out,” just get by: EKE
Ano start: ENERO (sorry, I cannot get the tilde above the “n” in “Ano.”)
Paris summer: ETE (an even sneakier clue is “Nice summer.”)

I know that ENERO and ETE are likely often used in the daily life of Spanish and French speakers, respectively. But in the spirit of the OP, I must admit that I have no cause to use these words in my everyday English-speaking life.

“Lea” - for meadow or pasture or the like

And 2 church related ones “nave” and “apse”

twickster, I’m curious what someone in the business would think of Wordplay. I was surprised that a movie about crossword puzzles and crossword aficianados could be so fascinating.

alee doesn’t mean leaning against. It means towards the leeward side of whatever.

and, it’s an odd puzzle that features ‘aa’

Sere means arid.

My contributions:

ogee – a type of molding

oast – a kiln used in beer making.