Kind of a mixed bag today, we thought. The idea of closed-off "rooms" nicely mirrored the game, but I was half-expecting a secret passage of some kind, and it never materialized. I have no idea how that would have been accomplished, but I think of it as an integral part of Clue. Oh well. As it was, Frannie got all of the actual answers in the SE quadrant before many of the other circled clues were filled in, which made them somewhat easier to figure out. It was a little odd that in the NW, all the circled words could follow "scarlet," in the NE, they were all synonyms of "lounge," and in the SW they were all anagrams of "rope." At least they were internally consistent. So, overall, the theme was fine, but not really transcendent.
The fill had some nice high points. PTERODACTYL (15D: Prehistoric menace) is awesome. ABANDONSHIP (75D: Captain's last order) is lovely. ROLLINGPINS (80D: Cartoony clubs) is fun.
I thought it odd that, having been a Cub Scout once, I didn't know AKELA (19D: Cub Scouts leader), but I see know that it is a British term (we always just said "Den Mother"), so I'm not surprised anymore. That L crossing with NALA (33A: "The Lion King" queen) was the last letter we entered today, and it was an educated guess based only on past crossword experience.
Didn't know CRENNA (138A: Actor Richard), NADIA (105A: Tennis's Petrova), or SENNETT (144A: Director Mack of early slapstick), but we did know ALBANO (93A: Wrestling star Lou), EMERIL (71A: "Bam!" man), OLIVA (12D: Tony the Twin) (!), and LAHR (132A: 1939 Garland co-star), so I guess it's pretty much a wash on proper names.
Nice intersection of tricky clues at 93A: Thing in doubt? (SILENTB) and 84D: Part of U.S.: Abbr. (INIT). That second one took some thinking even after it got filled it in! Ohhh…. initial! And I liked seeing EUROVAN (140A: 1990s-2000s Volkswagen vehicle) in there. From birth to college and beyond my family had a VW bus (four actually), and a Vanagon. Normal cars always seemed so damn small!
Lastly, when we only had ___EM at 46D: "I don't care what they do," I briefly considered "F them" as a possible answer. HAH! As if. Soon Frannie got ALIENATTACK (45A: Early Coleco hand-held game), and LETEM showed itself. Not bad.
I guess I warmed up to this one while we were solving. It's a fine Sunday.