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…
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