I extend my welcome to the new member, insofar as another new member can do so.
Vetinari has always seemed to me to be the Disc's version of Sherlock Holmes. If anyone's read the Holmes stories, I think you'd agree they are very much alike - that's why Vetinari bursting into laugher is something I really love about the character (I only know V from the later novels), because I'm already used to the idea of a sexless, ever-calculating character finding something, every so often, completely hilarious. For someone construed as emotionless, Sherlock laughs an awful lot.
I like the idea of Vetinari being in a non-sexual, psuedo-romantic relationship with Lady M. By pseudo-romantic, I mean he might hold a torch for her, but in the only way someone like Vetinari could. As for the Crossword Lady, it seems to me he simply enjoys having a perfectly harmless sparring partner. It might be fun for a guy like him to play a mind game in such a safe setting. Why would he laugh when he finds he's beaten her? And he acts like I do when I lose at Poker with Monopoly money - aww! Dang - this is fun, let's play again
. Has anyone here read the Holmes story, A Scandal in Bohemia? The Crossword Lady is Vetinari's Irene Adler!