WHAT'S MY LINE?
We liked the theme just fine, and we also liked that it was quite a bit tougher than a normal Sunday, but some of the crosses seemed unfair, and there were a lot of obscure answers. Where to begin? Let's start with the killer crosses.
LALO (21A: "Le Roi d'Ys" composer) (ahh, yes, Le Roi d'Y…) and AGITA (29A: Gut feeling?) (this one, we recognized, but still…) both crossing DONAT (17D: Robert who played filmdom's Mr. Chips). Tough.
RAMON (37A: San ____, Calif.) crossing MENLO (31D: College in Atherton, Calif.). Inferable, perhaps, but still tough.
And finally, the one that did us in - LAO (73A: Pathet ____ (old revolutionary group) crossing FALA (68D: F.D.R.'s Scottie). A Laotian group from the '70s crossing a dog that died 62 years ago. Hmpf.
Other obscurities - FEHR (57A: Longtime baseball union exec Donald), FARFEL (99A: Small pellets of noodle dough in Jewish cuisine), LANDAU (44A: Vinyl-roofed car), SAMUEL (61A: ____ de Champlain, founder of Quebec), NORA (60A: Romance novelist Roberts), PRAHA (18A: European capital, to natives), HATLO (20A: Jimmy ____, "They'll Do It Every Time" cartoonist), DEKE (83A: Astronaut Slayton), IED (87A: Iraq War danger, for short), ETHAN (98A: Hunt in "Mission: Impossible"), NOTH (118A: Chris who played Mr. Big on "Sex and the City"), TROCHE (6D: Throat soother), NIOBE (24D: Weeper of myth), AAU (40D: Org. with the Sullivan Award for character, leadership and sportsmanship) … and I could go on. It's not that any of those is unfair in and of itself, but so many? I've only done a few of the Maleska-era puzzles, but this had that kind of a feel. Like they're just cramming things in because they can - because Hey, it's a real thing! It's fair!
Well, ok, it's fair, then, but it isn't fun.
Least favorite clue - 85A: Email virus, power outage, etc. (WOES).
Best clue - 48A: Butler's quarters? (TARA).