Patrick Berry’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Series Finale”—Laura’s review
I don’t think we’ve seen Patrick [16a: Vine fruit]: BERRY in the rotation for a few weeks, so, welcome back PB!
This week we’re looking for a “TV show title.” The Series Finale for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, my favorite show, aired on Friday; I DVR’ed it but still cannot bear to watch it, for I fear it will break my heart. On to the puzzle, then — let’s see if we can get a “Series Finale” out of the seven longest across entries:
- [17a: Opening band?]: TEAR STRIP
- [21a: Commander of the Greeks at 57-Down]: AGAMEMNON
- [35a: Bed covers]: CANOPIES
- [39a: Scientific article?]: LAB COAT
- [45a: Kandahar natives]: AFGHANIS
- [55a: Dylan of “American Horror Story”]: MCDERMOTT
- [64a: Business networking opportunity]: TRADE FAIR
Given that there doesn’t seem to be any thematic connection among the entries, I figured that we must be looking for an orthographic pattern. I immediately noticed, seeing ABC in LAB COAT right there in the center, that each of the entries had three-letter alphabetic series contained within them, like so:
If you take the last letter of each series, as the puzzle’s title suggests, you get TOP CHEF, which is indeed a “TV show title,” and our answer. I love to cook, and have not shied away from injecting a bit of competition into the kitchen, but strangely enough, I don’t usually watch cooking shows. They give me lots of anxiety-by-proxy! But I enjoyed this metapuzzle very much, and found it not particularly difficult — maybe 1.5 Metaweeks on the Gaffney Scale.
Here’s a song I realized that I’ve never heard: [71a: “Dear ___” (John Lennon song)]: YOKO.
Slight cluing error in this one: the AFGHANI is the unit of currency in Afghanistan, whereas the people are Afghans (yes, and stop snickering). Not that it affected the solve.
Liked this one. Devious to have A GAME at the start of Agamemnon, since lots of people will have the upcoming series finale of GAME OF THRONES on the brain. Spent a couple of minutes looking for something else relating to GoT before I spotted the letter progressions and found the correct path.
Rachel Bloom will be playing Radio City in May if you are in NY!
The “Series Finale” title led me to the last of the vowels: U
There is only one U in the grid, so I thought there might be a TV show called “Only You.” There isn’t, but there IS a Lifetime/Netflix show called “You,” so I submitted that.
WSJ just announced that they are taking comments for this weekly contest behind the paywall. A sad day for me and many others who do the puzzle but do not subscribe to the paper.
They also claim (at this point anyway), that commenting will be cut off after 48 hrs. – or before the contest ends. So, it must be just to make sure *all* of their readers feel some of the pain.
Bad move, WSJ.
Tom, keep checking the wsj forum. Plans are underway!
Meg, can you clue us in? Is there a new place to “meet?”
Since these were consecutive letters in threes, I took the last three letters in the alphabet, namely “XYZ”, and sure enough, there is a show called “The XYZ Show” which is what I went with. Anybody else.
This was easier than it should have been for me because at one point I had just the ABC in LABCOAT, and it clicked with the title. Nice puzzle, though.