Finally...as promised, here's one of my favorite photos from the trip...sunset over the Napali coast. This was the only time we were on the west side of the island at sunset, but we picked a good one. About five minutes later it started to rain.
I didn't get up early very often, but I managed to get two or three sunrises. I'll probably frame four pictures, including a sunrise and sunset, plus a couple of others that really represent life on Kauai...maybe the chickens. If you don't know that story, you can get the details here.
And here I am with my sweetie. The yellow flowers are plumeria, and they are some of the sweetest-smelling flowers on the island.
When we were in Hawaii the first time, we each bought a couple of Hawaiian shirts. Most everyone there wears them, locals and visitors alike. Don and I tried hard not to clash when we'd go out.
Well, it's almost 10:00, so I'd better get to the puzzle. The theme was revealed at 61A: Wishful things?...or a literal description of 16-, 17-, 32-, 44- and 60-Across (falling stars). The last few letters of each theme answer dropped, falling to the down position. The stars that fell were:
16A: "You've Got Mail" actress (Meg Ryan), sharing her last three letters with 13D: Presidential candidate who said "No one can earn a million dollars honestly" (Bryan).
17A: People's 2006 Sexiest Man Alive (George Clooney), who shared his ending with 9D: Insincere (phoney). This was the answer that gave away the theme for me, although it didn't make it any easier to get the rest of the answers. I'm not 100% sure that I agree with People's decision, but I very definitely agree with Esquire naming Charlize Theron as the Sexiest Person Alive. Yes, Charlize! This will be the first issue (maybe the last) of Esquire that I'll buy.
32A: Julius Caesar portrayer, 1963 (Rex Harrison), with 26D: Construction worker (mason). I had no interest in Rex Harrison or Julius Caesar in 1963, but I ought to watch that movie some time.
44A: Frat Pack actor (Ben Stiller), with 37D: Blast constituent? (beer). That brings up two Kauai memories. Ben Stiller has a home there...and we drank a lot of Keoki beer.
60A: R & B singer with a hit 1990s sitcom (Brandy), with 55D: Annual May event, informally (Indy). I'm much more familiar with Indy than I am with Brandy...don't know her or the show.
My favorite answer in the puzzle appears at 35D: Computer technicians' positions (help desks), mostly because I love the three consonants in a row. When I had the LPD, I thought I probably had something wrong.
Other answers I liked:
5D: Robes, tiaras, etc. (regalia).
12D: Shoelace tip (aglet)...even though I struggled to bring the damn word to mind again!
25D: Repeats (echoes). Just because.
Clever clue at 49A: Fertilized things (ova). Don't you just love (hate?) those plural clues with answers that don't end in S?
Great double Italian answers...and they cross one another. 40D: Historic Umbrian town (Assisi) and 56A: City with una torre pendente (Pisa).
Some good side-by-side answers as well...46A: Tasty (sapid) and 48A: Smirk (simper).
And introducing a new feature at Madness...the Word of the Day (WOTD). Every day (as long as I remember to do it), I'll define a word that's very similar in spelling to an answer but has a totally different meaning. Today's WOTD is vapid...which means tasteless, flavorless or flat; also dull or boring.
Time to wrap things up for today. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.