Sunday, February 20, 2022

Sunday, February 20, 2022, Victor Barocas

PARDON MY FRENCH

Hey folks! It's me, Colum, back again. And I've been thinking hard about when the next European vacation might take place. So I was in a good mind place for today's puzzle.

Mr. Barocas takes French words which are homophones for English words and puts them at the starts of well known phrases, and then clues them wackily. Hilarity, as we like to say, ensues. Except for those solvers for whom French is a foreign language. Well, I mean, more foreign than some.

Some I like much better than others. 22A: Positive thinker's motto? (OUISHALLOVERCOME) is lovely, as is 83A: Answer to "What is Roquefort or Brie?"? (CESTCHEESE). Hah! I'm less impressed by DIEUPROCESS and REINECATSANDDOGS just because the pronunciation is off, but what the hey, it's fun stuff.

Reminds me of the ludicrous book "Mots d'Heures: Gousses, Rames," where children's poems are phonetically recreated using French words, and then translated and treated as serious pieces of poetry. The first one starts:

Un petit d'un petit / S'├Ętonne aux Halles / Un petit d'un petit / Ah! degr├ęs te fallent...

(Just say it out loud.)

LONDON

Meanwhile, back in the NYT, I liked some very interesting crossing answers, like 7D: Lose possession? (EXORCISE) and 11D: Word that becomes more dramatic when you add an "R" in front (EVOLUTION). Likewise, who doesn't like CARYATIDS

Other fun clues included 48D: One who can see what you're saying? (LIPREADER), and the OUTRE 69D: Them's the breaks! (NAPS). Yes. Yes, they are.

I raise an eyebrow at ITSOK and OKED in the same grid. Normally I wouldn't raise it, but this one seems pretty obvious, and probably should have been avoided.

By the way, I had DIVeRgED at 59D: Split (DIVORCED). ESTo seemed possible, but when I fixed it, 83A made a lot more sense.

Looking forward to the week!

- Colum

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