Word of the Day – Thursday, August 6th



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ANOA (uh-NOH-uh)

A miniature water buffalo on Indonesia
Common clue: Endangered buffalo; Celebes ox; Small buffalo; Buffalo seen in crosswords; Dwarf buffalo; Forest ox; Wild ox of puzzledom
Crossword puzzle frequency: Once a year
Video: Anoa attacks a box at the LA Zoo

Crosswordese are the words that usually are from the depths of the unabridged dictionary that are very useful to crossword makers because they’re short and they’re full of vowels, but are rarely seen in everyday life. Classic examples are esne, which is an Anglo-Saxon slave, or anoa, it’s a Celebes ox from the Island of Celebes in Indonesia. Those two words, for example, used to appear in crosswords all the time. You could hardly go a week in the New York Times crossword without seeing one or both of those. Nowadays you almost never see them. Those are desperation-only answers because they’re not part of life. You know, crosswords should reflect life and the way people speak. It’s off-putting to encounter words that you don’t know and you don’t think have any purpose in your life. It’s not bad every once in a while to learn an unusual word; I like that. That’s part of crosswords. That’s part of their appeal. But it’s no fun to have words thrown at you that just feel stupid. ~ Will Shortz

There are two species of anoa: the Mountain Anoa (Bubalus quarlesi) and the Lowland Anoa (Bubalus depressicornis). Both live in undisturbed forest, and although they are essentially miniature Water Buffalo, are similar in appearance to a deer, weighing 150–300 kg (330–660 lb).

Both are found on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia; the Mountain Anoa is also found on the nearby island of Butung. They apparently live singly or in pairs, rather than herds, except when the cows are about to give birth. One young is born per year.

Both species of anoa have been classified as endangered since the 1960s and the population continues to decrease. It is believed unlikely that there are more than 5000 animals of each species remaining. Reasons for the decline of the anoa include hunting for hide, horns and meat by the natives (though they were rarely hunted by natives before the introduction of modern firearms); shooting by the military; and loss of habitat due to the advancement of settlement. Currently, hunting is the more serious factor in most areas. The anoa do not appear to be adaptable to humans.

Mountain Anoa are also known as Anoa de Montana, Anoa de Quarle, Anoa des Montagnes, Anoa Pegunungan, and Quarle's Anoa. Lowland Anoa are also known as Anoa de Ilanura or Anoa des Plaines.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Anoa".