After a day of celebrating (my birthday, as well as Father's Day), it was nice to sit down and blast through Randall J. Hartman's Monday puzzle.
The three theme answers all relate to water, specifically, [something] of the [some body of water]. Huh? Here they are:
20A: She offered Excalibur to the future King Arthur (Lady of the Lake)
37A: Popular canned tuna (Chicken of the Sea)
48A: Columbia, in an old patriotic song (Gem of the Ocean)
Ordinarily, I'm ecstatic when I get a 15-letter answer with no letters in place. In the case of 37-Across, though, I guess it was pretty much a no-brainer. Still...
The winner for best clue is 1A: #1 number two who became the #2 number one (Adams). I'm sure glad I did this puzzle before dinner (i.e., before beer). As it was, I had to read the clue several times. I thought it might have something to do with Hertz and Avis. After doing the downs in the northwest, I hit on it. For those of you who may still be confused...John Adams was Washington's vice president. He then became the second U.S. president.
Nice little religious mini-theme going with 17A: Food from heaven (manna), 19A: __-again (like some Christians) (born), and 25D: Holy city of Islam (Mecca).
Enjoyed seeing My bad at 10D, clued as "Oops! I made a mistake." I never said that until a few months ago. If it's in the New York Times, though, I guess it must be okay to say it.
And speaking of okay to say it, we have sex at 58D, clued as Topic for Dr. Ruth. It's always good to have an X in the grid, and especially good if its cross is a great word like Essex (64A: County ENE of London).
My sweet Don makes an appearance at 13D, even though he's clued as "__ we now our gay apparel." He was gracious enough to let my birthday trump his Father's Day.
A big thank you to Mr. Hartman (and/or Mr. Shortz) for 61A: Do, as a puzzle (solve). It's about time we all got some recognition for what we do...day after day...sometimes to the exclusion of everything else.
Favorite word of the puzzle has to be 38D: Crayfish dish (etouffee). We had a really good Cajun restaurant in town for about two years. Their etouffee was to die for. The college owned the building they were in and didn't renew their lease. The building was needed for expansion that hasn't happened...almost two years later.
One of Rex's favorite words is in the puzzle again at 23A: Garment accompanying a girdle (bra). If you didn't read his post a few days ago, you should. By the way, I wear a bra at least 350 days a year, but I have never worn a girdle. The two do not go hand in hand, so to speak.
For some ridiculous reason, I scheduled physical therapy for 8:00 tomorrow morning, so I must get to bed early. This go-round is actually helping, owing in large part to the fact that we had a diagnosis to work with. And I love Matt and Nicole. I get 20-30 minutes of massage on my arm, shoulder and upper back, followed by 20 minutes of electrical stimulation (and hot packs) to my bicep and shoulder. I am definitely getting a lot of bang for my co-pay.
Good night, sweet dreams.