by Derek, aka Word-Buff
(Brisbane, Qld, Australia)
Word Meaning — n. An important period of time.
Why I Think It's A Cool Word — Well duh! How on earth did this one sneak on to my cool words list?
This one is here for the crossword fans. It turns out that ERA is the most frequently appearing answer in crossword puzzles (at least according to a major American crossword database).
In crossword puzzles, the magic of a word (or, more correctly, an 'answer') often lies not in the word itself, which can be as commonplace as ERA, but in the clever ways in which it can be clued.
In fact, crossword answers are not necessarily 'words' in the ordinary sense - they can include abbreviations, proper names, phrases, or even fragments of these things.
This flexibility gives crossword compilers considerable joy, because they can challenge crossword solvers without having to resort to obscure 'crosswordese'.
For example, I'm sure you would pick ERA as the answer to the clue 'Historical period' without too much trouble, but how many of the following clues would lead you to this word?
- No. that should be as low as possible
- Time piece
- Proposal defeated in 1982
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