Thursday, January 13, 2011

Schwarzenegger, Anna Chapman, and City Hall

Am I ignorant, or what?  After 26 days in Russia, I still could only get three of the 16 answers on the “The Moscow News crossword:”

 

And really, 11-across was just a guess anyone could easily make.   (See clues below.)  I have since Googled “Schwarzenneger visit to Moscow” and learned that the now-former Governator visited Russia in October 2010 and braved the Moscow Metro too.  I also learned that I spelled his name wrong -- it's actually one "n" and two "g"s, but I already wrote on the puzzle and snapped the picture, so oh well.  

I had some knowledge of 13-across because, in the days when I could get my hands on The Economist, I had read that the president of Russia had relieved Moscow’s mayor of his position, and I remember thinking it odd that the country's president could just outright fire a city mayor.  But then, what do I know about Russian government and politics?  (Answer:  apparently very little.)

And just like our darling redhead Lindsay Lohan there, Anna Chapman (8-down) is all over the place in Russia.  She's the young, pretty spy who got booted from the U.S. and sent back to Russia in a reported “spy swap,” only to go on to major fame.  And that’s all I will say because I am still in a part of the world where the mere mention of the word “spy” makes me a little afraid.  In fact, I felt like people were watching me after I took the following photo in St. Petersburg:

I didn't dare go in.  And are those numbers on the windows some sort of secret code?

On the rest of the crossword’s answers, I remain in the dark.  I’ve reprinted the clues so you can try your hand, just for fun.

ACROSS

2
New name for Russia’s militsia (8)
3
Russian rocker who “knocked on heaven’s door” with Bono at Luzhinki (8)
4
Square where 5,000 football fans and nationalists rioted (6)  
7
Driven by Putin 2,000 kilometers across Siberia (4, 6)
11
Governor invited by Medvedev to come and terminate Moscow’s transport problems (13) [SCHWARZENNEGER]
13
Luzhkov left this building (4,4)  [CITY HALL]
14
Scientist whose seeds were threatened by a real estate project (7)
15
Dictator elected for a fourth time (10)

DOWN
1
Director who got sunburned (again) and caught up in a hotel scandal (9)
3
Putin’s stand-in at the World Cup ceremony in Zurich (8)
5
Activity that led to the disappearance of a deputy head of Russian foreign intelligence (8)
6
Beaten Kommersant journalist who emerged from a coma (4, 6)
8
Who received a medal from Dmitry, sang with Vlamidir and stripped for Maxim? (4, 7)  [ANNA CHAPMAN]
9
Artistic protestors who made a Neva bridge rise to the occasion (5)
10
Revolutionary whose death 70 years ago was cited as an example to emulate in the case of a defecting colonel (7)
12
Russia’s position in the medals table at the Vancouver Olympics (5)

[Note:  I have tried for the past ten minutes to delete that extra space between "ACROSS" and the table of clues, and realized this is why I can't get my books written faster.]