"Dead wood," "dead duck," "dead air," "dead body," "dead weight," "dead letter," "deadhead," "dead-eye," "dead ball," "Dead Sea," and "Deadhorse." That's a lot of death, even for a Wednesday morning. Solid DEADEND theme today. It's a common theme, but it's well done here. So full marks there, as they say.
Unfortunately, points will be deducted for 1A: Xbox alternative (WII). I'm pretty sick of that crosswordese, so 1A gets a D. 4A would too, if we scored every entry, but we don't. Thank goodness. But it is an indication of just what happens when the puzzle is almost all theme. LOTSA ENYA, ENTO, JDS, FFF, PXS, ANTH, ALKA, DOYA, and LEAS. NONONO! It's enough to make one CUSSAT the MIC.
There are some nice long downs: SAUTERNES (5D: Sweet white wine from Bordeaux), ONTHEMAKE (32D: Ambitious and unscrupulous), and even SHALLOT (10D: Food item often caramelized) (I like them roasted with a little balsamic vinegar) are welcome, but there's just a little too much that's either old (ENYA, EARTHA, LADE) or gluey (VOIT, LOEB, LLOSA). Even my favorite clue/answer - "8D: Let a hack do the driving" (CABIT) is kind of gluey... but as has been said before, bad fill can be saved by good clueing. Today, though, there just wasn't enough of that.