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.


Add yours →

  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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