Friday, November 25, 2011

Star Wars 101: Attack of the Clues

In a bid for long-lasting fame, George Lucas came up with several vowel-rich names never before seen in crosswords. Sure enough, Star Wars is now much the most popular six-part Sci Fi movie franchise to appear in puzzles: the likes of Leia, Artoo and Oola will no doubt appear there many eons after the movies themselves have faded into obscurity.

The first thing you need to know about Star Wars is that each movie begins with an opening crawl, always starting with the immortal words:

"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...."

Padmé Amidala (portrayed by Natalie Portman) is queen of the planet Naboo. She is the secret wife of Anakin Skywalker and mother of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.

R2-D2 (conveniently rendered Artoo-Detoo in crosswords) is the astromech droid who supports the rebels (i.e. the good guys) at various points in the saga, along with his fey companion C-3PO.

Jar Jar Binks is a bumbling Gungan from the planet Naboo.

Lando Calrissian (portrayed by Billy Dee Williams) is Han Solo's friend.

Chewbacca (or Chewie for short) is a Wookiee and Han Solo's co-pilot. The online reference about Star Wars is punningly entitled Wookieepedia.

Mos Eisley is a spaceport town on the planet Tatooine, home to the cantina where Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first meet Han Solo and Chewbacca.
Ewoks are the teddy-bear-like creatures that inhabit the forest moon of Endor.

Boba Fett is a bounty hunter hired by Darth Vader. He's the unaltered clone "son" of Jango Fett, whose clones were otherwise destined for the Clone Army.

Jabba the Hutt is the large slug-like gangster who enslaves the dancer Oola.

A Jawa is a cloak-wearing rodentlike inhabitant of the desert planet of Tatooine.

Obi-Wan Kenobi, a Jedi, is played by Ewan McGregor in the prequel trilogy, and by Alec Guinness in the original trilogy. Here he's seen wielding the iconic light saber.

Oola (portrayed by Femi Taylor) is the green-skinned young T.wi'lek dancer enslaved by Jabba the Hutt. Her prominence in crosswords bears no relation to her very minor role in the saga.

Princess Leia Organa (portrayed by Carrie Fisher) hails from the planet Alderaan. She's the daughter of Padmé Amidala and the twin sister of Luke Skywalker. Her well-known coiffure has been dubbed the "doughnut hairstyle". She's an excellent markswoman, rarely missing with a blaster.

Anakin Skywalker (nicknamed Ani) goes to the dark side, becoming the evil Sith Lord known as Darth Vader. He is a skilled pilot and wins a significant [Why? Ed.] podrace (also v. podrace, podraces, podracing, podraced; n. podracer).

Luke Skywalker (portrayed by Mark Hamill) is the main protagonist of the original trilogy. He's the son of Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker (aka Darth Vader) and the twin brother of Princess Leia Organa.

Han Solo (portrayed by Harrison Ford) is god's gift to crosswords, and love interest for Princess Leia. He co-pilots the Millennium Falcon spacecraft with his hirsute buddy Chewbacca.

C3PO (conveniently rendered Threepio in crosswords) is the protocol droid who helps our heroes along with his quirky  companion R2-D2.

TIE fighters are small fast spacecraft powered by ion drive (TIE stands for Twin Ion Engines).

Yoda is the diminutive Jedi master who trains Luke Skywalker and renders sentences in a modified object-subject-verb order.

And if you have trouble taking any of this seriously, might I suggest you try Spaceballs:

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