Patrick Berry's puzzles are always on the tough side for me, so a 15-letter gimme at 15A: He conducted the premiere performances of "Pagliacci" and "La bohème" (Arturo Toscanini) was a nice Valentine's Day gift. Thanks, Patrick.
Don sent a quartet (complete with red vests and red bow-ties) to the office today, carrying red roses for all of us. They sang four songs (I wish I could remember all four) in perfect harmony...it was a treat for everyone who was there. One of our coworkers made beautiful knitted scarves for all of us...red for me. It was just a nice day all around.
And then there was this puzzle...with more gimmes:
21A: Star of "Gigi" and "Lili" (Caron).
25A: Maker of Coolpix cameras (Nikon).
27A: __ Couple (yearbook voting category) (Cutest). Awwwww.
28A: "Field of Dreams" actress Amy (Madigan).
31A: 1979 #1 hit for Robert John (Sad Eyes). I still love that song...you can hear it here. [Update: That shouldn't be read to mean that I condone cheating on your significant other...I just like the song.]
2D: Photographer/children's author Alda (Arlene). Alan's wife, for those of you who don't know that.
13D: Awaiting burial (in repose).
25D: Some Degas paintings (nudes). This has always been one of my favorites.
41D: Rwandan people (Tutsi).
Alas, those didn't provide enough of a toe-hold, so I called upon my friend Dogpile to get a couple of answers, including:
7D: Stage actress who wrote "Respect for Acting" (Uta Hagen). I think I should have known that.
26D: 1939 film taglined "Garbo laughs" (Ninotchka).
That gave me enough that I was able to just work through the rest of the puzzle, including some great multiword answers:
1A: Didn't take advantage of (passed up).
17A: Bands of holy men (clerical collars).
24A: Strand at the airport, maybe (fog in).
45A: Sometime soon (in the near future).
47A: One with a guitar and shades, stereotypically (rock and roll star).
12D: One that gets depressed during recitals (piano key). That one took forever to see...couldn't figure out what would end with OKEY.
Favorite clues and/or answers:
9A: Muscleheaded (stupid). Boy, did I feel stupid when I had most of that and couldn't see the answer.
26A: Stray animals don't have them (names)...not homes.
32A: More of the same (clones).
1D: Game featuring Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde (PacMan).
3D: Jelly seen on buffet tables (Sterno)...never thought of it as a jelly.
8D: Pilot light? (Polaris).
16D: Boxy Toyota product (Scion).
27D: First African-born Literature Nobelist (Camus).
28D: "Is There Life Out There" singer (McEntire).
29D: Titular mouse in a classic Daniel Keyes novel (Algernon). I could cry thinking about it, so I won't.
33D: Number to the left of a decimal point, maybe (dollars). Took way too long to figure that one out.
Can someone explain why 30D: 1600 to 1800, on a boat is dogwatch? Never mind...I'll bet it has something to do with military time. Maybe someone can confirm that, though. [Update: Thanks, Wendy, for clarification of that. It should have been up there with the multiword answers.]
That's it for this one. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.