PUZZLE 157

Puzzle 157 – “Aaaaaahhhhhhh, The French”

puz here / pdf here / solution here

First things first: that title refers to this (spoiler for 17-Across at the link). It’s… something.

So, this is a grid I made a good while back, originally close to two years ago, back when I had been at this for a little while, but still maybe indulged some bad habits in construction that I wouldn’t now. Looking at the grid shape now, it’s crazy ambitious… an unusually high number of long entries here, for me, and a few pieces of short fill that I maybe wouldn’t use now but that aren’t really dealbreakers either. (I also probably wouldn’t put 33-Down in a grid now, as it’s a pretty you-know-it-or-don’t bit of trivia… but I think the crosses there are fair.)

Favorite clues here: I like the misdirect at 22-Across, the fun fact at 59-Across, and the bit of silliness at 55-Across.

This is an odd one, maybe, but why not kick off Year Four here with an odd one.

As ever, comments are welcomed. Hope yall enjoy. Happy solving, friends.

4 Comments

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  1. ChatGPT’s contribution:

    [Orson Welles enters the set, slightly stumbling, with a glass of wine in hand.]

    Orson Welles: Ah, my dear friends, gather ’round for another exquisite moment with Paul Masson… [pauses, squints at the script] Masson… wines.

    Director: And… action!

    Orson Welles: [clears throat] Ahem. Paul Masson wines. [chuckles] Ah, cut, cut! What was that? Let’s try again.

    Director: Take two, action!

    Orson Welles: [leaning in dramatically] Paul Masson wines… for a moment of true…[hiccup]… indulgence. Cut! Cut!

    Assistant: Mr. Welles, maybe a sip of water?

    Orson Welles: Water? Water’s for fish! Let’s do this!

    Director: Take three, action!

    Orson Welles: [leaning back in his chair] Paul Masson wines… [starts to chuckle] Ah, you know, the French… they’ve been making wine… since before… [bursts into laughter] Cut, cut! This won’t do.

    Director: Take four, action!

    Orson Welles: [serious tone, struggling to focus] Paul Masson wines… they improve with age… much like… [trails off, staring into space]

    Director: Cut! Orson, are you alright?

    Orson Welles: [waves dismissively] Of course, I’m just pondering the complexities of this… fine wine. Let’s try it once more, shall we?

    Director: Take five, action!

    Orson Welles: [gathers himself] Paul Masson wines… [pauses dramatically] Ah, cut! Cut! Cut!

    Director: What’s wrong, Orson?

    Orson Welles: [frustrated] It’s not right! It’s not… [hiccup]… perfect! Let’s call it a wrap, my friends. Paul Masson, we’ll get it right next time. Cheers! [raises his glass, nearly spilling it]

    [The crew members exchange amused glances as Orson Welles stumbles off the set, leaving behind a legacy of memorable outtakes.]

  2. Any puzzle that mentions Orson Welle’s drunken Paul Masson commercial and the UC Santa Cruz “Banana Slugs” gets two thumbs up from me. Thanks for another good puzzle!

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