Another sloppy puzzle for me. I hemmed and hawed over OVIPARA (10D: Egg-laying animals), but eventually put it in because STRAP (21A: Flogging implement) seemed to be right. I would have preferred "wet noodle" there, but one can't have everything. Anyway, when I didn't get the "Congratulations!" screen and the music I ran the alphabet on that P, to no avail. I then spent a few more minutes going through every answer. I quickly found that I had left in "wHir" where CHOP (14A: Use a Veg-o-Matic) belonged. Totally wrong, "whir," but sometimes when solving electronically you enter something in a panic and then it comes back to haunt you. It is an argument for solving on paper, perhaps, or for just taking your damn time and solving a puzzle the way you're supposed to. Either way, that was one (or three) of my errors. The other was that I spelled KRAKEN (25A: Sea monster of Norse myth) with a C, which made ROARK (9D: "The Fountainhead" hero Howard) wrong, too, but since both still sounded right, I didn't notice it for quite some time.
Anywho, you don't want to hear me prattle on about my mistakes, do you? No! You want insightful criticism! You want witty banter and obscure references! You want erudite appraisal! You want assigned value! You want a simple "Thumbs up" or "Thumbs down!" You want product! You want it all! ... what do I know what you want? What does anyone want? All I know is that you probably will come away disappointed if you actually "want" anything. From this blog or from life. There. You're welcome.
The theme today is quite pretty, actually, especially if you picture each of the falls. (I've started you off above.) It's a little weird to have two fifteens that are unrelated to the theme, but CALIFORNIAGIRLS (17A: Per the Beach Boys, they're the cutest in the world) are always welcome. FOURSTARADMIRAL (59A: Chester Nimitz or William Halsey) was a little surprising, since "four star general" also fits, but I got there eventually. A few unfortunate and/or tough R-answers appeared - RIATA, REZA, RAJIV - but overall, the grid is relatively clean.
Some fun cluing for VAIN (16A: Fond of self-reflection), VICTIM (49A: Mr. Boddy, in the game Clue), and THEIRS (39D: His and hers), and it took me quite a while to understand that "sewer" was supposed to be pronounced "sow-er" in 39A: Sewer's protection (THIMBLE). I kept wondering how "manhole cover" was going to fit in there. Derp.
Some tough names, some crosswordese, but overall, a decent Wednesday.