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.


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

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