Bonjour, mes amis! Je vous souhaite un bon quatorze juillet! And to celebrate la Fête Nationale de la belle France, we have a very non-French theme - to wit, it is one that emphasizes the endings of words. (In French, many letters at the ends of words are not pronounced.)
As is often the case on Sunday, the puzzle's title is really quite clever. On the one hand, it alerts you to the fact that the endings might be special, and on the other, it tells you exactly how they will be special with a kind of homophonic revealer: "[With an] R, we finished [the theme answers.]" (It reminds me of an old "Four-Star Puzzler" title: "Element #18." The 18th element is Argon, and in that particular puzzle, all of the Rs had been removed from the answers. The shock of that realization might have been what set me on this long crossword-loving journey...)
Anywho... the original six phrases are all well-known, and the wacky re-cluing got me to smile - especially the final one: "World's shortest-reigning monarch?" (FIVESECONDRULER). Hah!
And there was plenty of non-theme material that entertained as well. "Cover-up for a robbery" (SKIMASK), "Sole supporter?" (SHOERACK), "One who gets take-out orders?" (HITMAN), "Powerpoints?" (OUTLETS), and the excellent "Pops up in a flash?" (PHOTOBOMBS), for example. And how about "How balloons are priced?" (APOP). That's excellent, good-natured cluing! Clues and answers that make you smile when you get them, not agita-inducing, frat-boy-centric, strain-of-marijuana-type answers that make you go "well, ok, that must be right" when you finally fill them in. N'est-ce pas?
But with puzzles, as in life, you've got to endure both good and bad. This was a good start to my week of reviews, and I'm looking forward to the next one!
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité!