Play Soap Opera Trivia | Wednesday - September 14, 2016 right here on thatsup.info.
Soap Opera Trivia | Wednesday - September 14, 2016
Constructor: Dan Schoenholz
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: PICTURE / FRAME (25A: With 36-Across, what this puzzle features, literally) — the "frame" (i.e. words around the perimeter of the grid, are all motion "pictures" that were "honored" (... in some way ...) by the ACADEMY of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (50A: Organization that honored those referenced in the [PICTURE / FRAME], with "the"):
Word of the Day: RENA Sofer (37D: Sofer of "General Hospital") —
Rena Sherel Sofer (born December 2, 1968) is an American actress, primarily known for her appearances in daytime television, episodic guest appearances, and made-for-television movies. In 1995, Sofer received a Daytime Emmy Award for her portrayal of Lois Cerullo in the soap opera General Hospital. (wikipedia)
This is a variation (VARIETAL?) of a well-worn theme-type (words-around-the-outside). Conceptually a bit of a mess, in that PICTURE FRAME suggests a static image, and PICTURE FRAME ACADEMY make an odd-ball assortment of central themers. I know very well that the word "frame" means something in movies too, but the phrase "PICTURE FRAME" doesn't evoke the film version of "frame." Just google it if you doubt me. Further, the whole ACADEMY angle is pretty weak. Or, rather, "honored" is weak. They all appear to be Best Picture nominees, though only "PATTON," "AMADEUS," and "PLATOON" actually won. I get that the clue for ACADEMY can't be a lot more specific than "honored" without giving the gimmick away, but it still leaves the exact nature of what the movies have in common pretty vague (I was surprised that either "GHOST" or "TESS" was actually nominated). So it's a sort of cute idea, but the theme-type is old and the overall execution is a little wobbly.
The rest of the puzzle is utterly forgettable. Fill is a little subpar, though the grid's fairly theme-dense, so I don't hold this weakness against it that much. The most memorable answer (SILENT L) is also it's most regrettable, in that it doesn't really feel completely silent, somehow, in the example provided (47A: It occurs twice in "chalk talk"), and I don't think of SILENT L as a good stand-alone answer. But then again I'm lukewarm to cold on all answers of the SILENT_ type except SILENT E, which is def a thing. Waiting to see whether AORTAS was going to be the English or Latin plural was about all the excitement to be had today. Puzzle zipped by with very little resistance, and very little in the way of entertainment. Hardest answer for me was ARGUED, as I think of [Wrangled] as meaning "herded" or otherwise "handled" (as livestock, horses, etc.). The clue is correct. I just had the wrong frame of reference. You see: exciting! There are some answers that I suppose you could consider bonus themers (FADE IN, ROLE, various actresses), but I don't. Too loosely connected to theme, too common. Good to not have any other movie titles in the puzzle besides the "frame" ones. Otherwise, the puzzle was just OK.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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