I don't know if Mike Nothnagel reads this blog...but this is absolutely his best puzzle ever.
And if you didn't read yesterday's blog, you oughta do that before you go on! If you did, you probably had an easier time with this puzzle.
The clue at 53A (Speaker of the catchphrase that starts 20-, 27- and 47-Across) reveals the theme. The answer is Timothy Leary, the LSD advocate of the 60s, who coined the phrase contained in the first words of the three theme answers:
20A: Revolve (TURN ON an axis)
27A: "Don't miss the next episode..." (TUNE IN tomorrow)
47A: Become a recluse, perhaps (DROP OUT of sight)
Earlier this evening, Janie posted a comment on Rex Parker's blog indicating something very special about the Wednesday puzzle. I just assumed she was referring to an Ava clue that I'd like. Not so.
A nice tie-in is 28D: Go around and around (orbit), since Mr. Leary's ashes did that very thing. Well, he's had more than his share of press at this blog, so I guess I'll move on to the rest of the puzzle.
This didn't seem very Wednesday-ish, but maybe that's because I caught the theme early on. I breezed through it while watching Elton John's 60th birthday celebration at Madison Square Gardens. I'm a fairly good multitasker, but I don't normally attempt the puzzle while I'm doing anything else...except maybe breathing.
9A: Schindler of "Schindler's List" (Oskar) threw me the last time I saw it. I'm happy to say that it was a gimme today. The other one I remembered from past puzzles was 49D: Verdi opera featuring "Ave Maria" (Otello).
15A: Writer Ephron (Nora). If you haven't read her newest book, "I Feel Bad About My Neck," you should. You don't have to be sixty, or even female, to find plenty of humor in it. It's true! (23A: Honest!) I read parts aloud to my husband and 17-year-old, and we were all in stitches. I recommend it as a gift to anyone over 50.
37A: Start of many a pickup line (hey baby). This never worked with me. I'd like to know if anyone in the world ever fell for it. I don't want to know if any of the men out there ever used it.
1A: "I'm glad that's over!" (whew). I like that it begins and ends with W. The second crosses with 4D: On paper (written).
We have two types of humor in this one. 1D: Like some humor (wry), and 16A: Like some Groucho Marx humor (punny).
Two answers I especially like. 43D: Light muffin (popover) and 46D: Frog's perch (lily pad). You could put them together to create a better pick-up line, such as, "Why don't you pop over to my pad, Lily?"
Stumbled momentarily on 50D: Gave birth in a stable (foaled). I thought it might be referring to Jesus, but Timothy Leary saved the day...sort of.
32A: "Bye Bye Bye" boy band (N Sync) reminded me of a professor whose roll sheet always asked a question. Once it was "best boy band?" -- anyone who answered N Sync or Backstreet Boys was doomed for the rest of the semester. Since he was around my age, I knew I'd score points with Beatles.
I almost missed 57D: Big prowler (lion). Surely fellow blogger Donald will be happy to see that.
This is my Jubilee blog...yep, it's been 50 days. While there aren't many comments, the number of readers varies from 140 to 200 a day, some from as far away as Pakistan, Beirut and Switzerland. I enjoy doing this, but I'd like it to be fun for you. Madness...Crossword and Otherwise is still evolving, and I'd welcome comments about the direction you'd like to see it take.