May 13, 2007

Monday, May 14 - Paula Gamache

As soon as I saw Paula's name on this puzzle, I knew that fellow guest-blogger Barry would be insanely jealous. Didn't he just say that he had hoped for one of hers?

This was a fairly typical Monday puzzle, relatively easy. It probably took me seven minutes or so, but I imagine that others--including Al, Rex, and Barry--finished it in under three.

I had been so proud of myself on Sunday, getting the theme on two entries. Then this easy puzzle comes along, I finish it, and I can't understand the theme. Okay, I understood part of it...I thought.

The theme was revealed at 59A: Be logical...or what the last words of the answers to the five starred clues can do? (hold water). The theme clues and answers are:

17A: Mock rock band in a 1984 film (Spinal Tap)

25A: Revealer of vowels, on TV (Vanna White)

35A: Part of a Valentine's Day bouquet (red rose)

37A: Seasoned seaman (old salt)

51A: Local place for making deposits or getting loans (bank branch)

Okay...I can understand a tap holding water, maybe a rose and a branch. It's less understandable for salt. But how does Vanna White hold water?

So I did what anyone else would do in that situation. I emailed Rex Parker (crossword blogger and all-around nice guy) and asked him to explain the damned theme. And he did...but it wouldn't be fair to blog about his answer. You'll see that when you check out his blog.

It goes without saying that the very best clue of the puzzle was 7D: Gardner of "The Night of the Iguana" (Ava). This is the third time in recent months that the incredibly beautiful and talented Ms. Gardner has been clued for her abilities as an actress, rather than as someone's ex. Orange theorized in an earlier post that we may be responsible for this, and she may well be right. Let's just hope that Will (and the NYT constructors) will continue to properly clue Ava Gardner. This is a good time to shamelessly plug my blog, Madness...Crossword and Otherwise. You'll see that it features my favorite picture of Ava. No, I don't really look at all like her, but feel free to fantasize that I do.

Some lively and/or interesting fill:

32A: Hearing-related (aural).

33A: Hawaiian veranda (lanai). Don't settle for a room in Hawaii that doesn't have one. Unless we were asleep, if we were in our room, we were on the lanai. My other Hawaii-related advice is--get a convertible. It's worth paying extra. We'll be spending two weeks on Kauai in September, and I'm taking my own advice.

50A: Tie the knot (say I do). Our older daughter will be doing that within the next year or two. My future son-in-law called me today to wish me a Happy Mother's Day. How sweet is that.

69A: Pub projectiles (darts).

Clever computer intersection at 1A and 1D. Some Apple computers (IMacs) and Quick online notes, for short (IMs).

11D: Skillful (adroit).

23D: Azure (blue). I've mentioned my great-nephew, Azure Moon, on my blog. He has the most beautiful blue eyes.

33D: Talk show host Gibbons (Leeza). I like different names. That's so much more original than Lisa. And because it has a Z, it's really nice to see it in a puzzle.

47D: Course before dessert (entree). Not necessarily so. Sometimes it's a good idea to eat dessert first, especially if there's chocolate involved.

Speaking of chocolate, there's 4A: Butterfinger or 3 Musketeers (candy bar). I loved 3 Musketeers as a kid, and it's still my favorite.

I may be overly sensitive, but I didn't like seeing 28A: Hardly trim (flabby). I've probably put on five pounds (a size when you're as short as I am) since I injured my shoulder in November, and I'm not at all pleased about it. And what's with 20A: Hides the gray (dyes)? Sheesh...

I've enjoyed my time guest-blogging. Thanks again to Orange for the opportunity--and to all of you who keep the crossword blogs going.

Sayonara! (38D: Tokyo "ta-ta!")

Linda G