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.