Possibly acpi, yes
Shutdown from gnome menu does not completely shutdown
From mintMenu I suppose
You get hibernate, suspense or something else?
The option noacpi added to the line in menu.lst that contains the kernel could do it.
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kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.22-14-generic root=/dev/sda7 ro noacpi quiet splash
Closing the lid
In Control Center is an option for power (from my localized version I can't guess what it's called exactly, probably Power handling) In the "General" tab you have an option for the hibernation button and I think the lid switch is such a button
As for an OS wide spell check I don't think I've heard of one - but it's a good idea