Sometimes it's just plain refreshing to do a Monday puzzle. After I've taxed my brain doing Saturday and Sunday, it's nice to just go on automatic pilot. And for me, the larger, easy-to-see grid is the real payoff!
David Pringle's theme is revealed in 37A: Identify exactly...or a hint to this puzzle's theme (Put ones finger on), with four theme answers, arranged in perfect symmetry. Very nice.
17A: 3" x 5" aids for speakers (Indexcards)
23A: Corporate office staffers (Middlemanagers)
47A: Fonzie's girl on "Happy Days" (Pinky Tuscadero). Here's the happy couple, for those of you who don't remember, can't picture her, or never saw the show.
and the final theme answer:
58A: Head of a cabal (Ringleader)
Nothing difficult about the fill, either. I'm always excited when I remember things from previous puzzles, such as:
10D: Cousin of a monkey (lemur). Some of the pictures of them were downright frightening. This one will always have me picturing them dancing across a field, rather than baring their teeth at me.
Thought that 64A: Roly-__ had to be something other than Poly, but it wasn't.
Nice to see User clued as something other than a druggie. 57A: End-__ (ultimate buyer). Don thinks I'm the end user of way too many things, including, but not limited to, shoes. He often refers to my Imelda Marcos shoe collection. Honestly, I'm not even close (fewer than 100--way fewer).
Okay, I didn't really remember this one, but I won't forget it again. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, and I'm getting ticked at someone! 13A: __ Gay (W.W. II plane) is Enola. Maybe if I look at a picture of it, I'll remember it the next time it appears. And it will.
Television, movie and book clues/answers
...in addition to the Happy Days clue/answer above.
42A: Edgar __ Poe (Allan). This time I remembered it's with an a -- not Allen. The Telltale Heart was my absolute favorite, and I saw it in a puzzle not too long ago. Maybe in one of my many NYT crossword books.
66A: "__ of the D'Urbervilles" (Tess)
39D: __May of "The Beverly Hillbillies" (Elly). Wanted to spell it differently, but then Pinky wouldn't fit where I knew she belonged.
51D: Murphy who's heard in "Shrek" (Eddie). That donkey was just too cute. I watched the movie multiple times (well, my kids did, so I heard it multiple times), but the donkey always made it worthwhile.
Yesterday it was an answer, today it's a clue. Getting on in years (Aging) appears at 22D. I could take this personally, but David Pringle doesn't know me (nor does Victor Fleming, or Will Shortz), so I won't. I'm actually very excited about turning 55 in a few months. Herberger's, my favorite department store, offers a 20% off sale day once a month for 55-and-overs. I plan to go there the day after my birthday (if not the day of). I'll probably buy shoes. There is a reason for this, and many women can identify with it, I'm sure. On a day when I'm not feeling particularly slim, and I don't want to try on clothes that maybe won't fit...well, I always wear the same size shoe. This also works with jewelry, but don't tell Don.
Which reminds me...55A: Leo's symbol (Lion) is the icon for frequent visitor and fellow blogger, Donald. Be sure to check him (and it) out at The New York Times Crossword in Gothic.
38D: Drug agents: Var. (narks). Okay, I didn't see the "var" until I was just doing this. I had narcs at first; again, Pinky wouldn't fit. Now I see the reason for the K.
65A: Mishmash (mess). Had olio at first and was quite proud of myself.
22A: Sky-blue (Azure). I have a family member named Azure, and I'm sure you'd assume it was a female. You'd be wrong. Azure Moon is my precious great-nephew. We would have called his parents hippies in the seventies. What's funny is that the name really does fit him, and he has the most beautiful blue eyes.
33A: Birds__feather (ofa). That we are. Comments made earlier today (yesterday when you read this) really made me aware of the virtual family that exists among bloggers.
Ain't life grand? Thank you all for being here.