It was bound to happen sooner or later. The oft-used tennis-related clue for ACER has driven world-class tennis players to game-ending distraction. After spotting a puzzlemaker at courtside during this year's U.S. Open, Serena Williams interrupted play to give him an earful about crossword cluing:
According to CBS Sports' "sensitive microphones," Serena is fed up with seeing ACER clued as: "Serena, at times" or "Serena, often." Can you blame her? Tennis players don't say "acer." I played varsity tennis in high school and college . . . I never heard of an ACER in tennis. Please trust Serena and me on this one. Our combined on-court experience--my 8 years as an adolescent tennis bum, and Serena's 23 Grand Slam titles-- speaks for itself.
ACER, a handy crossword fill term, is legit: there's the computer brand or the maple tree genus Now that the ACER corporation has become the world's second-largest computer manufacturer, it's okay to let go of the iffy tennis connotation. Let's send it off into the sky in Richard Heene's Jiffy Pop balloon.
Strategic Takeaway: Take note of evolving cluing angles for crossword "regulars" like ACER, now a major brand. Brand names (especially short ones) are valuable: DELL, AIWA, BOSE, SONY, etc.
[Full Disclosure]. In a weak moment, I may have used the iffy tennis clue prior to the Acer Corporation becoming a household name . . . but let's keep that between the two of us. Please don't tell Serena!