Monday...an easy, breezy puzzle with some entertaining fill.
The name of the game is Twenty Questions, revealed at 55A (Game suggested by the first words of 17-, 25- and 42-Across), and the theme answers are:
17A: Sex appeal (animal magnetism)
25A: Where to grow carrots and spinach (vegetable garden)
42A: Places to find some gems (mineral deposits)
I loved the V at dead center. While 29D: Resided (lived) wasn't that exciting, its cross at 37A: Anchor hoister (davit) was definitely good fill. If it's been in a puzzle in the last six months, I don't remember.
My favorite word in the puzzle was Rosetta, appearing at 41D: __ Stone (hieroglyphic key). I keep calling my daughter's future mother-in-law Rosetta, but her name is actually Rozellah. Must remember that.
Also like 5D: Appease (placate). When you have toddlers, you do a lot of placating. When you have teenagers, you do a lot of it. When you have anything in between...you get the picture. Now that my daughters are adults, I wonder if I'll be able to do less of it.
There were a couple of connected clues. The very cultural 50A, combined with 52A: Thomas Gainsborough portrait, with "The" (Blue Boy). I'd upload a picture, but I'm pretty sure Rex will. (I just peeked when I went to get the link. He's already posted, and he did.)
The Dalai Lama is also divided, appearing at 18D and 30D, clued as Tibetan V.I.P.
Clues and/or answers I liked seeing:
9D: Source of vitamin D (sunlight).
37D: Sharpshooters (deadeyes). Not sure if it's one word or two. It's definitely not eight (34A: Two cubed).
40A: "Don't let these guys escape!" (get 'em)
44A: + (plus). A perfect segue into a great story. My friend Angie was helping her fiance pack up some of his things in preparation for his move into their new house. Sean had driven race cars and still had his driving suit. Angie saw an A+ on the front of it and made a comment about what a good driver he must have been. Sean looked at her grimly and said, "It doesn't mean plus, Angie. It means positive. My blood type is A-positive."
15A: Belle's gent (beau). Beast wouldn't fit, but it was my first thought.
X appears twice in the grid. 11D: Sartre's "No__" (Exit), intersecting with 16A: Auto shaft (axle), and again at 31D: Meticulous (exact) with 35A: Tool that's swung (axe). Not the most X-citing words, but that's permissible when X is involved.
Other scrabbly letters:
1A: Penny-pinch (skimp), sharing its K with 2D: "Citizen __" (Kane). That's one of the films we watched in a World's Greatest Films class I took in 2004. I probably would never have watched it otherwise. "Rosebud..."
Another K at 21A: Vintner's container (cask). I had case at first, but it just didn't work with the intersecting 7D: Unauthorized disclosure (leak). Leae is definitely not a word.
The only ? clue in the puzzle was 48D: Way off base? (AWOL). Clever.
And my very favorite. 28D: John, Paul, George or Ringo (Beatle). If you've read this blog before, or my profile, you know that the Beatles are my absolute, number one favorite band. Have been since they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in...never mind when it was.
Tomorrow's Monday and no work for many of us. That's always so nice, even when you love what you do. Enjoy the day, and be safe.