I can't imagine constructing a puzzle...but I really can't imagine constructing one with someone else. This is the third joint effort by Stella Daily and Bruce Venzke since I started this blog...the last one was in September.
I'm fairly easily entertained, and I love a good pun, but this puzzle...Baby Talk...had some that made ME groan. Once I caught on to the theme, though, it was somewhat easier to get most of the theme answers. One exception...more about that later.
The eleven theme answers are in-the-language phrases...but the L sound has been replaced with W...baby talk. The new phrases are then cleverly clued.
28A: The old frontier you and I don't remember? (west we forget). I don't know why, but I found this funny...and one of the top three clues/answers.
45A: Climate that's copy-protected by law? (patent weather). Hmm...this one, too.
65A: Merlin on an Imax screen? (giant wizard).
89A: Eyelid moistener at a museum? (Art Winkwetter). The very last one to fall, and the one that elicited the loudest groan. Must have been the double W.
107A: Rouse a beloved English queen? (Wake Victoria).
3D: Better half takes the stage? (wife goes on).
6D: Married in error? (wed astray)...one of the top three clues/answers.
16D: Tush made of shuttle thread? (weft behind). It helped to have a little knowledge about weaving...warp and weft are the two to remember.
69D: Stick one's foot in Chardonnay? (toe the wine).
75D: Development of amnesia? (memory wane)...the best theme clue/answer.
81D: Fabric that needs serious mending? (sick weave).
Some of my favorite clues...20A: Bean town? (Lima), 38A: Donkey Kong, for one (ape), 49A: Ralph Nader and Ross Perot (also-rans), 73A: Lose one's marbles (go mad), 96A: Asian school of thought (zen), 105A: Mover left or right (arrow key), 113A: Buggy drivers (Amish)...no S at the end of that one, 11D: Able to be followed (coherent), 25D: Grabbed surreptitiously (swiped), 34D: Not just ask (coerce), 47D: Didn't walk or go by subway, say (took a cab), 51D: Enjoy the theater (see a show) and 65D: 3.5, e.g.: Abbr. (GPA).
There were several things I didn't know and wouldn't have gotten without crosses.
7A: Kind of jacket (flak).
27A: Mark who won the Masters and British Open in 1998 (O'Meara).
35A: __ d'amore (oboe). Maybe someone can explain that.
60A: Like some grasses (awned). Here's a picture of awned canary grass.
82A: F.B.I. director appointed by Clinton (Freeh).
116A: National airline of Afghanistan (Ariana). That sounds vaguely familiar...like maybe I knew it at one time.
5D: "S.N.L." alum Cheri (Oteri)...must have been after I stopped watching it.
44D: Harriet Beecher Stowe novel (Dred). I only know "Uncle Tom's Cabin."
48D: __ Epstein, Red Sox G.M. starting in 2002 (Theo).
61D: Painter Mondrian (Piet). This is one of more subtle pieces I found.
63D: Former Israeli president Weizman (Ezer).
79D: Illustrator for Charles Dickens (Phiz)...knew that once but forgot.
Some of my favorites:
23A: Like some titmice (tufted)...because I love birds. I thoroughly enjoyed my day at home and spent at least two hours just watching birds at the feeders and playing in the snow.
30A: Is covered in dew, perhaps (glistens).
53A: Sound from a fan (whirr). In the past, that clue has referred to fans in a crowd at a sporting event...like cheer.
57A: Richness (opulence). It's just a beautiful word.
78A: What to follow in the forest (foot path).
117A: Coca-Cola trademark (Fanta).
120A: Boasts of (vaunts)...not a word I hear often, but I knew it. And liked it.
124A: Tangle up (in) (enmesh).
4D: Christmas on Capri (Natale).
12D: Bath scrubber (loofa)...I usually see it with an H at the end, but either one works.
76D: In __ (stunned) (in a daze).
84D: Bequests (legacies).
91D: Tricks (knavery). KN words are among some of the best ever.
I can't believe I fell for 46D: Elite (A-list). I thought I was past that...and it came along again and tripped me.
I didn't know 83A: Jimmy of DC Comics...but guessed Olsen. I remember him from Superman on TV in my younger days, but I didn't know he had his own comic book...little Jimmy Olsen.
I've scrapped the idea of picking up the car tomorrow. Things only got uglier, and I'm not up for more conflict. I wish that this had never happened. It's a bad situation...seriously bad.
I'm beat and ready to call it a night. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.