10.22.10 — Ignis Fatui

Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia ca  1914

Anastasia's supposed survival is one of the most celebrated mysteries of the 20th century making the Duchess almost legendary. Anna Anderson, the most notorious Anastasia impostor, first surfaced publicly between 1920 and 1922. She contended that she had feigned death amongst the bodies of her family members and servants, and was able to make her escape with the help of a compassionate guard who rescued her from amongst the corpses after noticing that she was still alive. Her legal battle for recognition from 1938 to 1970 continued a lifelong controversy and was the longest running case ever heard by the German courts where it was officially filed. The final decision of the court was that Anderson had not provided sufficient proof to claim the identity of the grand duchess. ~ Wikipedia


Friday, October 22, 2010

Puzzle by Scott Atkinson, edited by Will Shortz

This fearsome Friday crossword cleverly mixes the real and the illusory in a good amount of misdirection, likely to leave a few solvers flailing in its swamp of fact and fantasy.

Across — 1. What a wink often means, I’M KIDDING; 10. Words that prevent firing, I QUIT; 15. Gunpowder ingredient, SALT PETER; 16. “A Season in Purgatory” novelist Dominick, DUNNE; 17. Romanov family member, ANASTASIA; 18. Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da SILVA; 19. Job description detail, DUTY; 20. Repetitive composition, RONDO; 22. Get out of the field, REAP; 23. Chorus heard at some retreats, OMS; 24. Let one’s god down?, SIN; 25. Old Asian title, MIKADO; 27. Havens for folkies?, RICHIE; 29. Thick, HEAVY-SET; 31. Brand written about by Hawthorne, ETHAN; 32. Davis of Hollywood, GEENA; 33. Stadium thrillers: Abbr., HRS; 34. Creator of the currency system consisting of galleons, sickles and knuts, J K ROWLING; 37. Time of the fall: Abbr., SEP; 40. Racing form data, SIRES; 41. Hot partner?, HUMID; 45. Like financial statements and hospital patients, EXAMINED; 47. “Sorry, too busy!”, NO TIME; 48. It may be handed down, RULING; 49. Sob story subject, WOE; 50. Corporeal case, SAC; 51. Host of the 1974 Asian Games, IRAN; 52. Begin’s partner, SADAT; 55. “La Légende des Siècles” poet, HUGO; 58. Congressional feminist of note, ABZUG; 58. “Avalon” band, ROXY MUSIC; 60. Chilled, so to speak, LAZED; 61. Court star being courted?, FREE AGENT; 62. Hissies, SNITS; 63. Compound combinations, SYNTHESES.

Down — 1. ISADORE Sharp, founder of Four Seasons Hotels; 2. Let go, MANUMIT; 3. Gabbers’ gathering, KLATSCH; 4. Opposite of 55-Down, informally, ITSY; 5. Vaccine combo, DPT; 6. Sweets, DEARIE; 7. Row announcement, IT’S ON; 8. Cologne contradiction, NEIN; 9. Former Lenin adherent?, GRAD; 10. Items checked before flying, IDS; 11. Offbeat, QUIRKY: 12. Let go, UNLEASH; 13. Saxon or Celt, once, INVADER; 14. Big-eared china, TEAPOTS; 21. Certain Bedouin, OMANI; 24. Becomes understood, SINKS IN; 26. Literary classic featuring the jester Wamba, IVANHOE; 28. Once-in-a-lifetime trip, for some, HAJ; 29. Stuck (to), HEWED; 30. Elusive types, EELS; 32. Stick, GORE; 35. Equipment near a horse, RINGS; 36. Ready to be totally remodeled, GUT; 37. They appear in installments, SERIALS; 38. Almost in the sticks, EXURBAN; 39. Grand Canal sights, PALAZZI; 42. Exploits, MISUSES; 43. 1970s peace anthem, IMAGINE; 44. Concentrates, in a way, DECOCTS; 46. It often includes a trio, MINUET; 47. “Hold on”, NOT YET; 49. Like some realistic statues, WAXEN; 53. Pound racket, ARFS; 54. Small fishing vessel, DORY; 55. Monster, HUGE; 57. They’re peddled: Abbr., GDS; 59. Chinese game name starter, MAH.

"Reason, an ignis fatuus in the mind,
Which leaving light of nature, sense behind,
Pathless and dangerous wandering ways it takes,
Through error's fenny bogs and thorny brakes;
Whilst the misguided follower climbs, with pain,
Mountains of whimsy heaped in his own brain."

~ John Wilmot Rochester, A Satyr Against Mankind, 1679


Click on image to enlarge.

Puzzle available on the internet at THE NEW YORK TIMES — Crossword Puzzles and Games.

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