Erato and Clio, two of the nine Muse sisters (the ladies responsible for inspiring creativity and the arts), make frequent crossword appearances. Erato's name, which means "desired" or "lovely", shares its root with Eros (the god of sex -
you might better recognize his Roman appellations: Cupid and Amor. [Classic crossword clues: "Greek god of love", "Roman counterpart of Eros", etc etc. So write 'em down!]).It's fitting, then, that Erato be the Muse of erotic poetry (and just lyric poetry in general, but erotic poetry sounds so much more exciting).
Medea also shows up a lot -- best known, of course, as the protagonist of Euripedes' tragedy, Medea, (which he produced in 431 BC along with three other plays, winning him third prize at the City Dionysia festival that year-
-hang on a sec, there were theatre festivals in ancient Greece? Who knew?! Gonna have to look into that...
Ohhh duh, ok, obviously it was a part of that big religious festival honoring Dionysus...
(see, I always pictured that looking more like this...:
...but that must have been what they were doing on Mount Olympus or something.) In Athens, it worked more like this:
At some point Athenians rejected a statue of Dionysus and he gave the men some kind of genital disease. So, at the beginning of Spring for about 700 years, Athens would throw a week-long party to honor the god (and, more importantly, keep their genitals disease-free).
Day 1: Pompe and circumstance! In a massive parade called the pompe, Athenians from far and wide head up the Acropolis to the Theatre of Dionysus, bearing, amongst other things, the wooden statue of Dionysus, wine, bronze and wooden phalluses (natch), and, then comes my favorite: a cart pulling a giant phallus (where can I get that job?). After the procession, there are singing, flute-playing, and poetry competitions, followed by sacrificing bulls and a giant feast for all of Athens (who was doing the catering?!). As if that weren't enough, the feast gives way to another huge parade dedicated to carousing drunkenly through the streets (they really don't hold back at all, those Athenians)!
Day 2: In a ceremony known as the proagon, the three playwrights announce the titles of their plays and the judges are selected.
Days 3-5: On each of the days, one of the three playwrights performs his three tragedies and one satyr play.
Day 6: Five comedies are performed.
Day 7: Another parade. Winners are announced by the judges, and receive a wreath of ivy (can you imagine how pissy actors would be nowadays if they put on four plays in a day and just got a plant on their heads?).)
There's actually so much more to look into on this front, but we've really gotta press on - I haven't even finished telling you about Medea!
Jason is the rightful king of Iolcus (modern-day Volos), but in order to take the throne, he's charged with the task of producing the Golden Fleece (literally - the fleece of a golden winged ram; see image on left), which was in Colchis (modern-day Georgia). So Jason sets off (on his ship, the Argo - also popular in crosswords), and eventually lands in Colchis.
So, as far as Greek women, Erato, Clio, and Medea all tend to appear fairly frequently in crosswords. A less common one, though, is Arachne. She doesn't show up in a lot of Greco-Roman mythology - it isn't until Ovid shares her story in the sixth book of Metamorphoses that she becomes a household name (Medea's story is told in the seventh book).
Now I'm no Ovid, but here you go: