Mark Bowden, at The Atlantic:
“Good prose is like a windowpane,” wrote George Orwell in his famous essay “Why I Write,” a rule that would seem to counsel against ever stopping a reader with an unfamiliar word. It’s good advice for beginners, but serious readers are also lovers of language. I find that the occasional obscure word, used correctly, spices prose.
+1. Emphasis on “used correctly,” and if, as Rick Atkinson notes in the story, the word is “exactly the right one.”