Title: Sound Argument
Theme: A childish debate (28- and 109-Across) and the phonetic sound of “is.” There are *four theme answers where the “is” sound must be inserted and **four where it must be deleted. By adjusting that sound as needed, wacky phrases become common phrases.
21A. *Shrink who’s always changing his diagnosis? = Fickle therapist (Add f[is]ckle = physical)
26A. **What ballet patrons dine on? = Dancing cuisine (Delete cu[is]ine = queen)
40A. *Oregon State’s mascot played by actress Arthur? = Bea as a beaver (Add B[is]ea = busy)
54A. **A deal on Afro wigs? = Buy one get one frizzy (Delete fr[izz]y = free)
80A. *How actor Bill feels about houseguests? = Murray loves company (Add M[is]urray = misery)
95A. **Find cake of Jell-o in the back of the fridge? = Dig up dessert (Delete d[ess]ert = dirt)
113A. *Fall colors? = Autumn spectrum (Add Aut[is]mn = Autism)
121A. **Question from El Al security? = Are you for Israel (Delete [Is]real = real)
Understanding the theme was a challenge. It was one of those puzzles where even after filling in most of the theme answers, I still couldn’t quite figure out what was going on. The proverbial light bulb came on when I realized it was all about phonetics.