ADA is the answer to crossword clues like
[___-compliant (wheelchair-accessible, maybe)]

ADA crossword lovelace computing compliant teeth Nabokov title character
[Computing pioneer] ADA Lovelace, painted by Alfred Edward Chalon, via Wiki Commons

Cluing ADA as the initials for the Americans with Disabilities Act, as in [___ – compliant], is a very new turn for this age-old crosswordese answer. Despite the passage of the legislation way back in 1990, I don’t believe the New York Times clued ADA in connection with the [Law with bldg. requirements] until 2017.

And it wasn’t for a lack of opportunity: by my count it showed up over 200 times in the Times before Brendan Emmett Quigley teamed up with John Lithgow to present it as a [Law regarding access for the handicapped, for short].

On the other hand, the paper had good reason not to reference the legislation. In fact, it had several good reasons. Because although ADA might not strike a chord immediately with solvers new to crosswords, there are many ways to ring it up in puzzles.

As [Toothpaste tube letters] for the American Dental Association, ADA can get stuck between gaps in a grid as

  • Cap-and-crown org.?
  • Org. with oral reports?
  • Org. for drillers?
  • Org. for bridge builders?
  • Crest letters?
  • Org. concerned with choppers
  • Org. with an oral fixation?
  • Org. with crowning achievements?
  • Pro-canine org.?
  • Decay-fighting org.
  • Grp. with a lot of pull?
celebrated the second Tuesday of October, Ada Lovelace Day honors women working in STEM fields. (image via Lirazelf)

Additionally, there’s the great mathematician ADA [___ Lovelace, computing pioneer who was the daughter of Lord Byron], making ADA the solution to

  • Lovelace considered the first computer programmer
  • Lovelace called the “enchantress of numbers”
  • Programming language named for Lord Byron’s daughter

Here are two short videos about her. There’s also a solid hour-long BBC [Original airer of “The Office”] documentary here.

Geographically, ADA is the name of an [Oklahoma city], the [Home to Ohio Northern University] and [Boise’s county].

ADA crossword lovelace computing compliant teeth Nabokov title character
Ada, Oklahoma, which happens to be two hours north of ORU, the [Christian inst. in Tulsa] was founded by the aptly named televangelist, ORAL [Mouthy?], [What comes before B?] Roberts.
ADA crossword lovelace computing compliant teeth Nabokov title character
Ada, Ohio

ADA crossword lovelace computing compliant teeth Nabokov title character
Ada, in IDA, a [Neighbor of Wyo.]

Despite all that, the most common clue for ADA references the Vladimir [Nabokov novel], the [1969 novel subtitled “Ardor: A Family Chronicle”]. Ada is [Nabokov’s longest novel] and draws its name from the [Nabokov heroine], Ada Veen, the object of the obsessive love of her brother, Van Veen.

Finally, among the other famous characters named Ada are Charles Dickens‘ [Miss Clare of “Bleak House”], [Nicole’s role in “Cold Mountain”], and [Holly’s role in “The Piano”].

So, yeah, while it’s great to see the inclusion of references to the Americans with Disabilities Act, it’s clear there are plenty of attractive options for ADA, a [Girl’s name meaning beauty] or adornment.