Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Wednesday, October 5, 2016, Michael Dewey


Is there anything more refreshing than a nice cold root beer? AANDW (also known as A&W) is a reasonable example of a root beer, certainly. The revealer describes the theme answers, two word phrases with the initials AW. I'm most impressed by the two 15-letter answers intersecting in the middle. I'm familiar with ABIGAILWILLIAMS, having read a wonderful history of the Salem witch trials recently (The Witches, by Stacy Schiff). I have no complaints with any of the other answers, though, so that's pretty good.

It's a large amount of theme material (69 squares), so you might expect there to be tradeoffs in the fill. But I really liked the NE and SW corners. ONEALARM feels a bit made up (we'll all agree there is such a thing as a three-alarm chili, but I don't think it generalizes in the other direction), but it is amusing that it crosses AFIRE.

STLEOI is a classic crossword escape clause. What a collection of otherwise unparsable letters. OKNOW fares slightly better. And I can't exactly excuse NAY and NAW being in the same puzzle, both clued as a negative. Oh, yeah! And IMAGER. I hate that kind of answer.

All right, so there was a fair amount of POOR fill. AFTA, DASANI, TAHOE, CAMRY. That's a lot of branding.

Maybe the best moment was thinking of a RASTA and a WICCA standing next to each other.

No grade for 1A (theme material); and my first confident answer was WAN.

- Colum

P.S. I saw that statue on my recent visit to the Louvre.


  1. 11:49 (FWFE (Is that a thing?)
    Maybe I should have just taken a DNF. I had pcWAR because I didn't know the theme yet and didn't check after I did. I even, of course, new that "pc" doesn't refer to a Mac but left it in regardless. Also, I don't know ERNANI, the Broadway star, and didn't think too hard about the "Co. board member." So there you go. Anyway, the rest of the puzzle went pretty fast. Sure, there's quite a bit of junk, but that's expected with so much theme fill, I guess. Nice that TOON is adjacent to SWEE, even though I never liked the latter. And how about all of those proper names in the NE (ABIGAIL, CAMRY, IRMA, DROZ, GRAZ, STLEOI, ATIVAN, DIANA), not to mention the rest of the grid. Not much else of note, except that DROZ looks odd in the grid.

  2. I pretty much did take a DNF on this one, for that same NW corner. I, too, inexplicably, put in pcWAR, even though PC was in the clue! Maybe I was fooled after having entered CEO (then CFO, then CIO...) for 2D. I guess I should pay more attention to Broadway, then I might have known ABE Burrows. Is he in Hamilton?

    Anywho, I never mind being reminded of the APPIANWAY, and DINGY and BARRETTE are good fill. But maybe a little too much ASAMI, NIPAT, and (yeah) IMAGER for it to be a strong Wednesday.

  3. So all those theme answers were kind of fun. Did the fill suffer? Well, kinda seems like it, with GRAZ (where?), KAOS (probably only accessible to people of a certain age with a certain type of misspent youth, like me), and then a whole lot of forced phrases like ONATIP and OKNOW which would be fine if they were a bit more clever but which kind of just sit there. But somehow this didn't bother me much, I guess because these are mostly novel answers rather than the same old crosswordese. And because the obscure stuff (at least to me) like AHN and ATIVAN is gettable from crosses. ABE crossed with ERNANI was pretty bad though, only got that by leaving it to the end and running the vowels until I got a beep.