It's about time I nailed a puzzle. I was beginning to think it was time to turn in my Pentel.
The title, Movies You May Have Missed, is only slightly deceptive in that they weren't movies at all. The theme answers are plays on the names of well-known movies, with a twist...revealed at 78D: Lois Lane player of early TV, whose first name is a hint to this puzzle's theme (Noel Neill).
No, it's not about Christmas. Noel = No L. That letter is missing from each movie title, and the new titles are then clued.
Theme answers in a moment...but here's Ms. Neill with the man I will always picture when I think of Superman...George Reeves.
And the theme answers are:
24A: Prison movie about a medical miracle? (Dead Man Waking). I never saw Dead Man Walking...it was too intense for me.
31A: Tim Allen comedy about unionizing seasonal workers? (The Santa Cause).
50A: Prequel to "Reservoir Dogs?" (Pup Fiction).
64A: Ingmar Bergman classic narrated by Jacques Cousteau? (The Seventh Sea).
79A: Chaplin comedy about a religious migration? (The God Rush)...the second best answer.
98A: Chiller about glass-climbing reptiles? (Snakes on a Pane)...another good one. The answer, not the movie...which, of course, I didn't see.
109A: Tom Cruise action thriller about a nasty argument? (War of the Words).
6D: Sci-fi movie about gender discrimination? (Men in Back).
38D: Spoof about the soul of a fraternity? (Anima House). THE very best of the theme answers.
42D: Bogart/Bacall mystery about serious basement dampness? (The Big Seep).
I picked up on the theme fairly early on...up in the corner where Men in Back and The Santa Cause intersect.
Some days I like puns better than others. Today was a day that I liked them, and I thought this was a fun puzzle to solve. I'm probably a little giddy because I was able to finish it without tearing my hair out.
The award for the best clue for an often-seen answer goes to 20A: Garden figure (Eve). Second place...22A: Cookie introduced in 1912 (Oreo). If they've clued it that way before, I've forgotten.
There were a couple of connected clues in this puzzle...1D: Parade honoree, for short (St. Pat), with 15D: Home of 1-Down (Erin); and 73A: With 69-Down, not just hard of hearing (stone/deaf).
This is the third time in just a couple of weeks that "My Hero!" has appeared. Today it's a fill-in-the-blank, with the answer appearing at 66D. I wonder how many others thought it was My Word.
My favorites...either for the clue or the answer...include 30A: Global warming? (detente), 36A: Monkey business (trickery), 45A: Court pseudonym (Roe), 53A: Onetime host of "Classic Concentration" (Trebek)...I think of Hugh Downs, but I guess he was pre-Classic, 59A: Judicial cover-ups? (robes), 60A: "Answer the question" (yes or no), 72A: "Out of Africa" author (Dinesen), 78A: Cloud of gas and dust (nebula)...prettier than it sounds, 93A: Joan Baez's "Farewell, __," written by Bob Dylan (Angelina), 115A: Jealous Olympian (Hera), 7D: French red (Medoc)...a wine, not the French word for red, which is rouge, 13D: "Honest!" (I swear), 41D: Singer __ Neville (Aaron), 54D: Chihuahua, por ejemplo (estado), 61D: County of Cooperstown, N.Y. (Otsego), 75D: __ Reader (Utne)...classic crossword staple, and 99D: Pitcher of milk? (Elsie)...my absolute favorite clue!
Things I didn't know (or didn't remember) but got from crosses...10A: "__ fan tutte" (cosi), 23A: Movie critic Kael (Pauline), 28A: O.K.: Var. (indorse), 47A: Home of golf's Sony Open (Oahu), 55A: Home of Chennai (India), 58A: Airports (dromes), 4D: Jazz guitar great Herb __ (Ellis), 57D: Sister of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (Irene), and 82D: Pizzeria in Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" (Sal's).
I just noticed that we have both Mom and Dad in the puzzle...Mom at 7A: One making a delivery (no question mark?) and Dad at 29D: Pops. I didn't put an S at the end of that one...didn't know what was up, but I was sure something was.
That's it for today. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.