More crossword vocabulary

The smallest unit of DNA was the clue. I ended up backing into the word. The dictionary definition includes a little more information, though.

muton: n. The smallest unit of DNA at which a mutation can occur; a nucleotide.

An ostrich-like bird? It ended up as “maa”. The definitions I found were not quite consistent with the clue, though. An abbreviation for Master-At-Arms; an ethnolinguistic group in Vietnam; macroaggregated albumin (???); and a common European gull. Unless European gulls are significantly larger than their American cousins, the “ostrich” clue seems a bit off.

Pali’s clue was a Sanskrit dialect. More specifically,

a dialect descended from Sanskrit, and like that, a dead language, except when used as the sacred language of the Buddhist religion in Farther India, etc.

Who knew that an echidna was an egg-laying mammal? Not I. Here’s a more precise definition:

Either of two nocturnal, burrowing, egg-laying mammals of the genera Tachyglossus and Zaglossus of Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea, having a spiny coat, slender snout, and an extensible sticky tongue used for catching insects. Also called spiny anteater.


Filed under english, language generally

2 responses to “More crossword vocabulary

  1. Coming to Australasia would help you with your crosswords! The Echidna and the Duck-Billed Platypus are both from Australia and we all know about them! There’s also Long-beaked Echidna recently “re-discovered” in PNG.As for your “Maa” – you should try “Moa” instead – it was a large flightless bird bigger (like an Ostrich but slow moving) resident to New Zealand. Unfortunately hunted to extinction. Although a pub in Arthurs Pass swears there is one still wandering around – like Nessy!

  2. jmc

    Moa makes better sense…but that means my other answers were wrong. Uh oh.Australia is on my list of places to visit, along with NZ and Pacific Islands. Sadly, I must intersperse travel with work, since I haven’t figured out how to be paid for my travels 😉

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