Marie Kelly’s (Really Mike) Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Camera Shots”—Dave Sullivan’s write-up
Welcome back to the second week of Friday meta contest puzzles from the Wall Street Journal. Friday’s was by constructor Marie Kelly, an anagram of Really Mike, referring to the WSJ’s puzzle editor Mike Shenk. Its contest question asked for the name of an Emmy-winning TV show.
Let’s look at the five theme answers in this one and see if we can find a pattern:
- 17a. [1939 John Ford film nominated for Best Picture], STAGECOACH
- 30a. [Expected behavior], SOCIAL NORM
- 36a. [Term popularized by Ben Bernanke in 2012], FISCAL CLIFF
- 44a. [Tourney type], ROUND-ROBIN
- 60a. [Flambéed dish], STEAK DIANE
So which TV show had characters with these five names? Why Cheers, of course! The series ran from 1982 until 1993 and was right in the sweet-spot of my early adult must-see TV schedule. Main characters not included in the theme set were Sam, Carla, Frasier, Woody, Rebecca and Lilith, whose names are apparently not as easy to use as the last word in a two-word phrase. Lilith Fair would have made a nice entry if the constructor wanted to mix the names up among first and second theme words.
The set chosen did a good job of hiding the characters’ names, with the exception of STEAK DIANE, where the eponymous DIANE refers to the Roman goddess of the hunt, sharing the same name. (Lilith, a name from Jewish mythology, suffers from the same infelicity, so who am I to judge?) STAGECOACH also appears as one word, not two, in the film title. That aside, I found this just a skosh more difficult than last week’s VW puzzle. (One wonders if Matt knew what was in store for the German automobile manufacturer in the week that followed his contest puzzle!)
The fill seemed to suffer from the weight of five theme entries–YALE U (just YALE, in my book), RESNAP, the foreign UNS and LIS, the non-North American (CORNISH?) variant of plow, PLOUGH, a troublesome 7-letter partial THE HALL, and Commander in Chief abbreviated as CINC. [Clumsy sort, in slang] for SPAZ felt like an derogatory schoolyard taunt, making fun of what is likely a medical condition.
Highlights included [Rural inspiration] for FRESH AIR (“inspiration” in the sense of inhaling), PLAY GOLF (clued to Mark Twain’s disparaging remark), the colloquial USED UP, and the geographic trivia for EURO, PERU, UGANDA and CALAIS.