Austrian city where Kepler taught / WED 10-5-16 / Salem witch trials accuser / Canonized fifth-century pope / Graphics-capturing device / Caffeine laden nut
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Constructor: Michael Dewey
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: A AND W (65A: Classic root beer brand ... or a hint to the answers to this puzzle's starred clues) — two-word phrases, first word starts with "A," second with "W" ...
- AD WAR (1A: *Mac-vs.-PC during the early 2000s, e.g.)
- ACID WASH (6A: *Give a worn appearance to, as jeans)
- APPIAN WAY (22A: *Road to ancient Rome)
- ARIZONA WILDCATS (36A: *Tucson collegians)
- ALTAR WINE (49A: *Holy Communion drink)
- AIR WAVES (64A: *Radio medium)
- ABIGAIL WILLIAMS (6D: *Salem witch trials accuser)
Abigail Williams (September 15, 1680 – c. 1690s) was one of the primarily initial accusers in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, which led to the arrest and imprisonment of more than 150 accused witches. (wikipedia)
• • •
Wow, NYT has lapsed into some kind of theme-type funk. Really dusting off the oldies of late. This theme is flat like bad rootbeer. A ... and ... W. And ... that is all. An assortment of A/W phrases, crammed into a poorly filled grid. The end. Pretty POOR. And so much of it. When you try to make up for a weak theme by cramming a lot of it into the grid, you make the problem worse, first because increasing bad never equaled good or even better, and second because your cramming efforts end up causing the rest of the grid to suffer. Terribly. DIR ERNANI ASAMI RENTS before I even got out of the damned NW corner. Problems continue from there. I won't bother enumerating them. They're everywhere. Surprised this one was thought to be NYT-worthy, either in concept or in execution.
Gotta get back to the AL Wild Card game, as it is tied in the top of the 9th, so ... drama! Luckily, I don't have too much to say about this puzzle. I tore through it, with only ABIGAIL WILLIAMS (whom I didn't know) holding me back at all. GRAZ was another mystery. ATIVAN I've heard of, vaguely, but couldn't have told you what it did. ST LEO I is really really bad. Usually it's just STLEO or LEOI, but STLEOI, hoo boy, wow. Two terrible tastes that taste terribler together. I somehow remembered "ERNANI" (not sure how, but it's good to know that 25 years into my solving habit, opera answers are finally beginning to stick). My errors today were stupid and boring, e.g. ATRA for AFTA (22D: Mennen product), OLAF for OLAV (54D: Norway's patron saint) ... I think that's it. Happy to move on from this puzzle. See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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