I've seen some old Eggs that have spent years uncovered develop the spider cracks in the glaze. Brother Oakpit has one.
As for the "soot", that sounds like a problem caused by excessive moisture and lack of use. Apparently the moisture seeps into the ceramic drawing the gunk from the inside with it & out of the sides of the Egg (the little cracks providing easier access out). With how long Dan has been away from his cookers I wouldn't be surprised about the moisture.
Here's a post
elsewhere reporting this problem. Here's another
And a link
to something about those hairline cracks.
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Last edited by R2Egg2Q; 11-29-2012 at 11:03 PM..
Reason: Added link to "crazing" explanation.