The Bitter End

[.puz][PDF][Solution] 🥴 Difficulty: 2.5 / 5

Today’s puzzle is actually a sub-in grid, since the crossword I intended to post had a thematic conceit which was rendered decidedly *in poor taste* by recent events within the last day or two. Perhaps eventually I’ll share the unfortunate coincidence, but for now, the substitute puzzle is appropriately in *pour* taste. It’s the most recent puzzle I made for Lamplighter Brewery here in Cambridge, and adorns the label of their Wordplay beer. I highly recommend stopping by their taproom if you’re in the area!

It’s also an appropriate puzzle to post on the heels of a trip that Jessie and I made to Cincinnati this weekend to see team USA play Mexico in a much-anticipated World Cup Qualifier. It was Jessie’s first competitive USA international game, so we did the whole 18 yards: the pre-game tailgate, the march to the stadium with the American Outlaws (flares! drums! song!), and drinking to excess in the supporters’ section behind the goal. And lo! The Yanks prevailed 2-0. If anyone can come up with a soccer or sporting event theme answer that meets the pattern of the theme answers in “The Bitter End,” we’d be much obliged. Leave a message in the comments!

Some thoughts / spoilers for “The Bitter End” after the exuberant jump…

dos a cero! otra vez!

I love love love puzzles like this one. They exist in a creative sweet spot that I relish in crossword puzzles. I think C.C. Burniquel is the master of the type. The theme draws from a set of possible words that’s medium-small (think of all the common synonyms for “drunk”), then imposes a constraint on that set (attach a common noun word that suggest a destination event), and use only results that are reasonably clue-able. Generate a cute revealer answer–in this case I was toying with both FRONT LOADED and BACK LOADED–et voila! A tried-and-true punny crossword theme that’s tight enough to be satisfying and flexible enough to allow some discernment on building out a theme set.

Happy solving, friends!

-As Yet Hungover Ross

13 thoughts on “The Bitter End

  1. The USA-MEX game was great.

    Boxers swaying under too many hits are often called PUNCH DRUNK… But that probably doesn’t work for your puzzle since that doesn’t create a double meaning for DRUNK, it’s just a repetition of one meaning… STRUCK OUT? ROUND HOUSED? Unconvincing synonyms for drunk… I want to say there should be something with BLITZED, in a football sense, but I’m not sure what word would precede it.

    I recommend Advil and a lot of water.

  2. Terrific puzzle and I’m LOVING the grid! Five great themers — all horizontal — PLUS room for four nice long down-fills — including TWO elevens! Super job, Ross, and thank you!

  3. This might be weak. but here goes:

    Football receiver gets a vicious pass interference hit on a Hail Mary pass. Answer: Deep fried.

    As a Location Scout, I worked with a demanding Producer who insisted I keep searching for appropriate film sites after I thought all possibilities were exhausted. Many times the extra effort hit pay dirt. So, I want to encourage Rich to keep going with ‘blitzed’. There has got to be something there. I’m still looking for connections for ‘plastered’ ‘ripped’, ‘sloshed’, and my favorite ‘soused’. Feel free to come up with something for these wasted states of consciousness.

    BTW Ross, great puzzle and thanks for encouraging solvers’ participation.

    • Ha! DEEP FRIED sounds like the wideout was experimenting with pharmaceuticals as well as alcohol. What about ZONE BLITZED? Probably a workable cluing angle there 🙂

      Thanks, as always, for solving and contributing to *the discourse* Dom!

  4. Well done. I admit to having had to look up SLAY (queen!) afterward. There’s an old BritEng phrase, “In His/Her Cups” for having over indulged as in, “Our Lady was in her cups last night!” Probably a stretch but perhaps a connection there to World Cup?

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