Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunday, March 2, 2014, Alan Arbesfeld

Oscar Double Features

Due to a Sunday full of activities involving other humans and starting as early as 7:30AM, we didn't get a chance to tackle the puzzle until late in the day. We completed it while watching the Oscars. Ellen Degeneres is funny. My favorite of her jokes so far is, "Good job, sir," said to the man impersonating Liza Minelli. Ha! Almost like a female Bea Arthur. But I digress.

I felt no love for this puzzle. The theme was, in a word, weak. Horace claims the theme clues were the clever part, but I found them to be uninspired. Here's one example: 118A. Seaside outing? [1955*, 1954] (PICNICONTHEWATERFRONT).  Is the question mark there because seaside and waterfront are not really equivalents? That's probably why, right?

Let's focus on the positive. I did enjoy a few old favorites who turned up in the answers including MARLO (2D. Thomas of TV), TATI (43D. Star of "Mr. Hulot's Holiday"), LONI (80D. Actress Anderson). You may have gotten the impression that I HATES (110D. Can't stand) the puzzle, but I think  LACK (17D. Deficiency) sums it up a bit better. Now, back to the show.


I concur. Ellen is hilarious. About the puzzle, however, I have to disagree, at least a little anyway. I thought the two-Oscar-winning-or-nominated-title answers were clever. Come on, GOINGMYWAYBABE (86A: Cheesy pickup line? [1944, 1995*]) was good! And what about ROCKYWITNESS (30A: One giving unreliable testimony? [1976, 1985*])?

The fill suffered somewhat for all the long theme material with some odd FEH (25D: "Yuk!") & BAFF (27A: Strike the ground in a golf swing), obscure ALOIS (108D: Dr. Alzheimer) & REDAN (104A: V-shaped fortification), and forced NYM (65A: Ending for acro- or homo-) & EAUDE (75A: ____ cologne), but you also get some nice stuff, like FINAGLED (63D: Achieved through trickery), PINPRICKS (81D: Small irritations), and TOUSLE (13A: Muss). Both the clue and answer on that last one are great words.

It wasn't the best puzzle ever, but it's not a bad tribute puzzle, and it's certainly not all bad.

- Horace


  1. I'm entering my comment a day late. I'm untimed on this one; especially as I had to leave it at various times for Bolognese and a ballet performance. I didn't love the theme, and thus didn't love the puzzle. I assume the stars indicate nominees that didn't win. I don't like that they couldn't do the theme only with winners; seems a mixed bag. In any case, the ? simply mean that the answer is a theme answer, and a bit of a joke, although I agree with Frannie that PICNICONTHEWATERFRONT isn't really that funny. ALOIS is obscure to some, and I'll leave it at that.

  2. Hah! (not used "triumphantly" here, but humorously) I thought of you, specifically, when I wrote that ALOIS was obscure. Would EDER (33D: Linda of Broadway's "Jekyll & Hyde") have been better?

  3. Definitely! I never heard of this Linda EDER. I don't remember filling in the answer, which means I had it entirely through crosses.

  4. 53:03
    I enjoyed the puzzle. The square that took the longest for me was the H cross of FEH/HEMAL, even though I'm familiar with hemoglobin and other uses of the "hem." I thought that someone would have mentioned the timely BRAVEHEARTOUTOFAFRICA Mandela tribute. Of course, I needed nearly all of the crosses to get RIPKEN (I wanted Gehrig in there), but I'm no ET59. I never heard of an Apple LISA, so I needed every cross for that.