Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wednesday, September 9, 2015, Michael Hawkins

9:13 (FWTE)

This was a cute theme. There are six theme answers, each a fictional establishment from a television show. My favorite, of course, was TENFORWARD, from STTNG:
I suppose some might prefer MOESTAVERN, or as I put it in a strange fit of absentmindedness, jOESTAVERN. Did I know better? Yes. Did I notice that ADAjSRIB was wrong? Yes. Did I fix it? Yes, after I got the message I had a mistake. My other mistake came when I entered NFlEAST instead of NFCEAST. I blame the fact that the week feels off since we had a holiday Monday.

Anyway, I knew CENTRALPERK, and I'd heard of MELSDINER, but MACLARENS and THEPEACHPIT were unknowns to me. It's impressive that there is not a single down answer that does not cross at least one (and sometimes three) theme answers. By the way, is OPENTAP a bonus theme answer? I guess not.

There are very few places where the fill LAIDANEGG. I'd have preferred MII to be clued with reference to the Wii system, rather than the hackneyed random Roman numeral. EERO and IROC are flashbacks to ancient crosswordese. PERTER is allowable, but unaesthetic. There are some unfortunate crossings of 3-letter answers such as ERE/ERA, AID/AIR, and ALE/ALA which I don't like.

I enjoyed AZKABAN, and was amused that the symmetric placement was ZAPOTEC. I doubt that was SLAPDASH. And 1A: Inhaler user's malady (ASTHMA) was a very nice introduction to the puzzle. I'll give it an A-.

- Colum


  1. What, no mention of one of the greatest and most unexpected clue/answers in recent memory?! I'm referring, of course, to "Soft drink, in the Northeast." Vindication for my dad; apparently that's not just something from his 1930s childhood. TONIC with that definition is so well known in our family but so little known in the real world that, even though I thought "tonic" immediately, I couldn't quite believe that that would be in a national puzzle. In Minnesota we supposedly say "pop," but all my life it's always been "soda" to me. Anyway, this was a nice little Wednesday. The themes were well-crossed, which was important to me since I have never seen "Friends," Beverly Hills 90210," or "How I Met Your Mother;" and I have maybe seen one of two episodes of "Alice." Mel's Diner, though, may be the most iconic venue on here. But, like you, my favorite themer by far is TENFORWARD. I don't have much else to say, except that the N intersection of UNES and INEZ is really, really tough for a Wednesday. I wouldn't call it a Natick since when you think about it nothing else would really work for a name of Don Juan's mother, but it's still tough.

  2. 11:19
    I've seen all of those shows (with the least number of episodes, by far, being "Beverly Hills 90210"), but didn't know either of the two names of pubs for which Colum also needed several crosses. TONIC was never said by our family (we were "soda" folks as well), and in fact, I wanted "Moxie" in there, but had already entered ASTHMA with no crosses, so that was out. TENFORWARD is unquestionably the best theme answer, though MOESTAVERN runs a close second. INEZ was not a problem, although without it, UNES would have been. HAIRY had a good clue, as did BACOS and SOMENERVE (11D "What chutzpah!"). Thumbs up for this one.

  3. UNES went in without crosses, as TONIC would have, had it not been for ASTHMA being already in place. The only difficulty with it was that one does not always think immediately of the feminine plural.

    The generic use of "TONIC" seems to me equivalent to the use of "Coke" in the southwest: it's a fizzy drink. I think I might start using "TONIC" more frequently...

    I knew only the three eateries that ET59 did, and I did let out the biggest smile for TENFORWARD, partly because of my fondness for the show, but also because it is much less common in a crossword than the Simpsons' reference.