Ancient Athenian magistrates —SAT 8-28-10— Angel player 1970s / Ruffian on Stair playwright / Literary character always good tempered not very clever
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Archon (Gr. ἄρχων, pl. ἄρχοντες) is a Greek word that means "ruler" or "lord", frequently used as the title of a specific public office. It is the masculine present participle of the verb stem ἀρχ-, meaning "to rule", derived from the same root as monarch, hierarchy and anarchy. [...] In Athens a system of nine concurrent Archons evolved, led by three respective remits over the civic, military, and religious affairs of the state: the three office holders being known as the Eponymous archon (Ἐπώνυμος ἄρχων; the "name" ruler, who gave his name to the year in which he held office), the Polemarch ("war ruler"), and the Archon Basileus ("king ruler"). Originally these offices were filled from the aristocracy by elections every ten years. During this period the eponymous Archon was the chief magistrate, the Polemarch was the head of the armed forces, and the Archon Basileus was responsible for the civic religious arrangements, including many of the law courts. After 683 BC the offices were held for only a single year, and the year was named after the Archōn Epōnymos. (Many ancient calendar systems did not number their years consecutively.) After 487 BC the archonships were assigned by lot to any citizen and the Polemarch's military duties were taken over by new class of generals known as stratēgoí. The ten stratēgoí (one per tribe) were elected, and the office of Polemarch was rotated among them on a daily basis. The Polemarch thereafter had only minor religious duties, and the titular headship over the strategoi. The Archon Eponymous remained the titular head of state under democracy, though of much reduced political importance. The Archons were assisted by "junior" archons, called Thesmothétai (Θεσμοθέται "Institutors"). After 457 BC ex-archons were automatically enrolled as life members of the Areopagus, though that assembly was no longer extremely important politically at that time. (See Archons of Athens.) (wikipedia)
• • •
This guy! This guy is always on my wavelength. Maybe it's because we attended the same college (btw constructor Joel Fagliano begins classes there next week (see article here)—good luck, buddy), I don't know. But I always like his stuff, and I always *get* his stuff. For what seems like the billionth week in a row, Saturday was easier than Friday for me. Did this one in under 10: highly respectable time for me. What was weird was: I started out superfast in the NW, and that changed my expectations for the puzzle as a whole (i.e. I started thinking "I'm going to set a new Saturday record"), which *then* made the rest of the puzzle seem tough! "What? Resistance? How dare you!?" So, no record, but a decent time, and, more importantly, an entertaining time.
Started out waaaaay too easy. MISO = gimme (1A: ___ soup), which created a string of gimmes: MEGS (1D: Drive units, briefly) and IHOP (2D: Chain with many links —btw, please, constructors, kill this clue, OK? Just kill it) and EHUD (13A: Former Israeli P.M. Olmert) and ODOREATER (4D: Product associated with the annual Rotten Sneakers Contest) went into the grid in a matter of seconds. 10 seconds, tops. Made quick work of the NW as a whole, but got ... blocked at ARCHONS (didn't know it) and APERTURE (39A: Light limiter), and so had trouble moving as quickly through the rest of the grid. Problem seeing APERTURE arose from having CLAM instead of COOP (27D: Shut (up)). So I squeaked out of the NW via the center, where I grokked the FAWCETT clue quickly (24D: Angel player of the 1970s) and knew ZAK from crosswords gone by (28D: Drummer Starkey). Made my way steadily through rest of puzzle, with biggest problems (by far) coming in the little NE and SW corners. Even with YAKOV as a gimme (9D: Comedian Smirnoff), I had trouble seeing what the four-letter words up there were. Doable, but only with some fumbling. Things were worse in the SW, where I was saved only by BOSN (61A: Rigging handler, briefly), of all words. Couldn't get anything west of TSAR until BOSN gave me the terminal "O" in RHINO (46D: Record label named after an animal — an animal with a HORN! (22D: Feature of Africa ... and some of its denizens)) and the terminal "B" in MCJOB (45D: Not the most stimulating work). Needed Every Single Cross to get CHIRRUP (50A: Twitter), which I think wants to be CHIRP. That, or CHERRY SYRUP.
- ULM (?) for URI (37D: It's between Bern and Graubünden)
- DUMMIES for DUMDUMS (36D: Yo-yos)
- LEANS for TILTS (47D: Has a list)
- ADVERTIZE for ADVERTISE (31D: Throw out pitches?), and thus
- ZENO (!?!?) for ST. LO (60A: Historic town on the Vire)
- BASE SIXES (!?) for BASE SIXTY (32D: Number system used by the Babylonians)
- and lastly SUN, and then SPA, for SEA (57D: Source of rays)
[42A: Bits (SMITHEREENS)]
- 14A: Beast on Botswana's coat of arms (ZEBRA) — GNU!? GNO.
- 16A: Running gear component (AXLE) — yeesh. Really not apparent to me. An automotive term I didn't know. Answers.com says "running gear" is "The working parts of an automobile, locomotive, or other vehicle." Not sure what parts are *not* working, but OK.
- 45A: Literary character who's "always good-tempered" and "not very clever" (MR. TOAD) — had the -OAD, and thought "TOM JOAD!? Dang, doesn't fit."
- 56A: Kind of line symbolizing a cultural boundary (MASON-DIXON) — I guess it *is* used symbolically. Got it easily, but never thought of it that way.
- 3D: Alternative to a cup (SUGAR CONE) — a truly fantastic clue. Did not see the ice cream angle until I had SUGAR C-N-
- 5D: Range near Wal-Mart's headquarters (OZARKS) — Got it from the "K." Made getting ZEBRA reeeeally easy.
- 43D: Features in many Fra Angelico paintings (HALOES) — Got it from the "H." Helped that clue had "Angel" in it.
- 48D: "The Ruffian on the Stair" playwright (ORTON) — Joe. One of many playwrights I know only from crosswords. ODETS. ALBEE. INGE. OK, I probably know those guys from being an English major, but I *remember* them because of crosswords.
- 51D: Three-time grid champs of the 2000s (PATS) — Yes, you (fellow) dorks, there is another, non-crossword meaning of "grid." Usually, it's followed by "iron," but whatever.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]