Adobe Illustrator CS2 on Intel Macs crashes a lot. Usually, the crash has to do with something involving a compound path, even simple ones. The kind that have been working just fine for twenty years. Today I had a reasonably simple, hand-drawn compound path which would crash Illustrator immediately if I so much as tried to change it’s color.
The improbable workaround is to restart Illustrator with the Appearance palette hidden. It really is that simple. Just close the Appearance palette, quit and restart Illustrator. The palette works file after that, at least for the current session.
Chelan on Adobe’s forums deserves credit for discovering this. Me, I just kept doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.