Oscar Stew

Merl Reagle, April 26

Sigh. I have mixed feelings about this one. I hate-hate-hate when he starts off the puzzle with a “Note” — if you have to explain the theme, maybe it’s not that great, right? Also, why are you doing an Oscar-themed puzzle in April, two months after the red carpets have been rolled up?

Anyway, the theme answers in this puzzle combine the titles of films that have won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Yet the answers only incorporate parts of some titles: 84 Across, “Film about traveling around Florida?” is DRIVING IN THE HEAT — from “Driving Miss Daisy” and “In the Heat of the Night.” Same with 110 Across, “Film featuring people whose ears are hairier than their heads?” — ALL ABOUT OLD MEN. That combines “All About Eve” with “No Country for Old Men.” In both cases, I think he’s leaving too much of the titles out.

I think he’s more successful with 30 Across, “Film about a new kid in town” — THE APARTMENT HUNTER, from “The Apartment” and “The Deer Hunter.” I also liked 65 Across, “Film about a transplanted New Yorker? (really transplanted)” — MARTY OF ARABIA (“Marty” and “Lawrence of Arabia”) and 96 Across, “Film about a music fan’s Vegas fantasy” — DANCES WITH TOM JONES (“Dances with Wolves” and “Tom Jones”).

I never was a fan of stews.

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