Cycle cross is a style of frame built for the sport, makes for a super versatile bike.
you end up with a bike that's racy, but also stable. Lots of clearance for any type of tire you need to put on it, room for fenders. I love my cx commuter, it's not as zippy as my road bike but it carries weight better and can take on light trails fairly well. I wouldn't do serious mountain biking with it though.
There isn't really a bike that will do everything well, you can equip a bike to do off road well, but it will suck at road. Or you can equip it to do road well, but it will suck at down hill & obstacles. A cx frame built to be a commuter can do a little of both, but I'm not going to be joining pace lines or ripping down a mountain on that bike. And you don't want shocks unless you really are ripping down a mountain, they'll slow you down if you're using them on the road.
I think you should ask your bike buddies to take you window shopping.
As far as weight goes, I don't worry about it. It's good to know if you want to get a steel or aluminum frame before you buy, they both have their advantages and disadvantages too.