Chris Words #52: “Series Finales”

Check out Chris King’s latest puzzle here if you’re looking for a good show!


Hey guys, Sam here. Some of you all may already know me as The Grid Kid (for better or for worse!), but today I’ll be making my puzzle blogging debut on this fantastic site! Fortunately, Chris has made it super easy for me to get started, presenting us with a neat offering; let’s see what we’ve got, shall we?

THEME: 2-word TV shows whose second word alone is also a TV show

  • 17A: [CBS comedy that ends with now four people learning and living about life in Brooklyn?] = 2 BROKE GIRLS. Girls.
  • 24A: [Animated 70s/80s show that ends with the main characters playing in a fountain?] = SUPER FRIENDS. Friends.
  • 46A: [Wartime comedy that ends with the main characters saving the cheerleaders, thus saving the world?] = HOGAN’S HEROES. Heroes.
  • 56A: [A&E reality show that ends with the central family now investing in oil?] = DUCK DYNASTY. Dynasty.

Very cool find, Chris! Actually took me until post-solve to really grok what was going on…after all, I’ve only ever seen “Friends” and a bit of “Duck Dynasty,” so my knowledge of TV is rather limited. But this theme is truly awesome, and doesn’t take a cinephile to appreciate it. As Chris notes on his blog, he tried to squeeze FULL HOUSE into the grid too, but came up short; bummer that it wouldn’t fit, but I’d much rather have a more wide-open grid with great breathing room and limited crosswordese.

This brings us to the fill. One thing I’ve always admired about Chris’s style is that there’s never anything TOO crazy in his grids, yet the indie vibe is still present. Honestly, with the numeral in 17A aside, I almost saw this as a NYT-worthy grid at first glance; pretty smooth, with a great amount of sparkle in TAKE FIVE, SHOWBOAT, BONE DRY, and IT’S FINE. And then there’s the indie component, with stuff like RED FLAGS, the clue [Missile coming right for us, as seen on this here sonar] for BLIP, and GOTYE (the last entry I filled in, actually, though this was simply because I never got to the bottom-left until much later…what a way to end a solve!). With all this in mind, it was pretty easy to ignore stale bits like MAORI, TORS, ROTO, double-A WAAH, CRI, and ELAND.

Three-Point Miscellany:

  • The duped clue of [Cracker Barrel offering] for both OKRA and TEA felt a bit off. For the latter, I tried HAM, then PEG. But tea? Man, oh man, this Virginian sure does love his Cracker Barrel…but tea is practically the last thing that comes to my mind for that place. It’d be like cluing SALAD as [McDonald’s offering], y’know? So this clue left me hungry…in multiple senses, of course!
  • Forgive me if this sounds like I’m stating the obvious, but one of the best parts about crosswording is coming across cool tidbits of information to store for later in the deepest recesses of one’s mind. Today, Chris treats us to [Hawaii’s oldest island, geologically] for KAUAI and [Shakespearean character with the second-most lines, only after Hamlet] for IAGO. On one hand, some solvers treat these clues with a “who cares?” mentality. Me? I LOVE learning this kind of crap, for that very reason! So keep this stuff up, Chris, at least in moderation. *Insert Facebook like emoji here*
  • Whew, that top-left corner tripped me upppp! Since I speed-solve, I immediately filled in APPS for 1A seeing only the phrase “and GarageBand” in the clue (which was [Guitar and amp for GarageBand, for one], so I’m an idiot). Then I filled in PEGS for 3D because of my goddamn Cracker Barrel mishaps. But DEA had to be right for 20A…so I erased everything else, saw the E in 2D [Ice formation], and wrote FLOE…ugh. Then, wait, perhaps that GarageBand clue I still hadn’t completely read yet was referring to file extensions?? Which audio files contain an F? Regardless, in went the S–again–as the last letter to 1A. Sigh. AND…this was all before I had to spend 6894980938 seconds figuring out what to do for the single blank in IN?D at 1D. GG WP, crossword.

Welp, that’s all I’ve got for now, but I’m sure looking for more Chris Words solving fun! I’ll be back next week, hopefully with more of a voice and something called humor…but I guess that’ll develop as I blog more often, right?

Grid Kid is OUT.

  1. Thanks for covering the puzzle Sam!

    I didn’t really ever get to do a tribute to Henry Hook anywhere on my site, so I think that 2 sitting in the grid is about as Hookian as anyone could ever do.

    And for all of you readers, are there any more TV show sets? The only other show I could find where the final word was also a show was LAND OF THE LOST. If y’all can find anymore, let me know.


  2. xworddoug said:

    Really fun puzzle, Chris! “Hogan’s Heroes” is one of my all-time favorite shows, and I loved the “Super Friends” back in the day. (Yeah, I’m old.)

    I’ve got another show for your list. One that just started and looks pretty cool: THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE.


    • Thanks! I really loved how 3 of the 4 themers involved one older and one newer show, which would make the puzzle enjoyable for all age groups, in theory.

      And good find on that new show. I’ve been seeing some heavy marketing for that new Amazon show, and I’ll probably end up watching it in the next few weeks.


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