Egocentric tyrant / SUN 2-21-16 / Augural observations / Wallachian prince who inspired Dracula / Toothy turner / B-roll from Splendor in Grass / DuPont creation of 1941 / Border disputer with Ethiopia / Classico competitor / Pindaric composition / Longtime employer of Helen Thomas / Her fans are called Little Monsters
Sunday, February 21, 2016
Constructor: Patrick Berry
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Awesome!" — homophone puzzle where "aw" sound stays the same but meanings / spellings of the words containing that sound change (via wackytastic "?" cluing). In every case, spelling change is from "O" to ... something else:
- BAWDY BUILDING (23A: Burlesque theater?)
- POPCORN PAUPERS (31A: Moviegoers who can't afford concession stand snacks?)
- NAUGHTY PINE (42A: Bad kid's Christmas tree?)
- SHUTTLE CAULK (61A: Sealant used by NASA?)
- STALK FOOTAGE (67A: B-roll from "Splendor in the Grass"?)
- PAWED PEOPLE (87A: Owners of large enthusiastic dogs?)
- CHALK FULL O' NUTS (92A: Writing implement from Planters?)
- THE "MAUDE" SQUAD (106A: Supporting actors in a Bea Arthur sitcom?)
Héloïse (// or //; French: [e.lɔ.iz]; 1090?/1100–1? – 16 May 1164) was a French nun, writer, scholar, and abbess, best known for her love affair and correspondence with Peter Abélard. [...] Beyond the love story they tell, Héloïse's letters contribute one of the earliest, most radical feminist philosophies of not only the 12th century, but even today. Héloïse plainly writes of her disdain for marriage and even feminine life, stating in her first letter, “I preferred love to wedlock, freedom to a bond.” She is also later quoted with her famous lines, “What man, bent on sacred or philosophical thoughts, could endure the crying of children…? And what woman will be able to bear the constant filth and squalor of babies?" (wikipedia)
• • •Shakespearian character: O-HEL--. Go.
OPHELIA) because I was staring at that precise pattern and only one character sprang to mind: OTHELLO. Weirder still—OTHELLO is in this damned puzzle. Just ... later on (69D: Game with a 64-square board). This little bit of Shakespearean weirdness will be far more memorable to me than this theme, which seems a little Sub-Berry in its ambition and execution. Underdone. PINKBERRY? If you're being corny, yes. It's a simple sound change. These can be OK if they result in killer answers, but these are just adequate, and some of the clues go beyond wacky to just weird and implausible? Hard to imagine a Christmas tree being "bad." Not hard to imagine a car air freshener fragrance designed to make you horny. Do you see what I mean? The cluing just wasn't daring enough, funny enough, interesting enough. And what the hell are "popcorn poppers?" Seriously. My popper knowledge ends at "jalapeño." (LOL I just realized that "popcorn poppers" are simply the machines that pop the popcorn.... yes. That makes sense).
I just went away to have dinner and now I'm back and remember virtually nothing about this puzzle (beyond the theme), which isn't a great sign. Was there actual grass in "Splendor in the Grass?" I think "Children of the Corn" (or even "Field of Dreams") is a far, far, far better movie reference for "STALK FOOTAGE." Because CLOUDSCAPE clue had a "?" on the end, I thought it was a themer at first. "Clod ... something? What?" (46D: Heavenly painting?). I had EMITTED instead of EFFUSED (88D: Gave off), and TORN OUT instead of TORN OFF (43D: Roughly removed). Not much more to add here. A pleasant diversion of a puzzle, but not very very Berry.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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