A long time ago, I was solving this puzzle and got stuck at an unguessable (to me) crossing: N. C. WYETH crossing
NATICKat the “N” — I knew
WYETHbut forgot his initials, and
NATICK… is a suburb of Boston that I had no hope of knowing. It was clued as someplace the Boston Marathon runs through (???). Anyway,
NATICK— the more obscure name in that crossing — became shorthand for an unguessable cross, esp. where the cross involves two proper nouns, neither of which is exceedingly well known.
NATICKtook hold as crossword slang, and the term can now be both noun (“I had a
NATICKin the SW corner…”) or verb (“I got
NATICKEDby 50A / 34D!”)
Here’s the Urban Dictionary entry. Learned that that “crosswordese” is a thing. Been doing the NYT Crosswords fairly regularly over the past few years and that page has a lot of useful, vowel-y ‘bridge’ words and phrases (e.g.