I spent the day resting...doctor's orders...but I have no business being up this late. Leslie and Candy came over for dinner, and Elaine served up a delicious beef stew with homemade biscuits. She's turning into quite the cook. Anyway, they didn't leave until 9:45, so I was very late getting to the puzzle.
Not a good thing when it was a Friday puzzle...not a good thing when it was one of Paula Gamache's puzzles.
If I knew for sure that I'd be home tomorrow, I would have waited until morning to solve it. It was foolish to tackle it this late, and I basically threw in the towel. Had a few answers, Googled a few more...ended up with the top half of the puzzle finished and a good part of the bottom. But it was late...and time to declare the puzzle finished (thanks, Donald...good advice).
Fellow blogger JimH had already posted his finished grid, so I borrowed a couple of answers from him. That gave me enough of a toehold in the bottom half to finish things up.
The long answers were all good...and all multiword. How does Paula Gamache manage to stack things like this?
In the top half:
1A: Climbing Mt. Everest, for Sir Edmund Hillary (claim to fame).
12A: 1937 Paul Muni drama (The Woman I Love).
14A: Art, metaphorically (jealous mistress). That was so good I can hardly stand it...although my first answer was imitation of life.
The bottom stacks:
45A: Census Bureau data (vital statistics).
47A: Only if it's worth the trade-off (not at any price).
48A: London Zoo locale (Regents Park).
Other multiword answers were 17A: Probe (poke into), 27A: It's hard to recall (dim memory), 6D: Like most medicine bottles (tamper resistant), 11D: 50-50 proposition (even bet) and 29D: It's headquartered in the G.E. Building (NBC TV).
I had a few gimmes, some with pretty clever cluing. 18A: Manfred __ Earth Band (Mann's), 20A: Basic verse option (ABAB), 22A: Drum containers (ears)...clever, 25A: Legato indicator (slur)...thanks to piano lessons, 26A: Coast Guard boat (cutter), 33A: Clued in, once (hep), 7D: Things in rings (onions), 19D: Princess Ozma's creator (Baum), 25D: "Dear" ones (sirs) and 35D: Meter makers (poets).
Unfamiliar answers, many of which I got from crosses, include 23A: Site of the siege of Candia (Crete), 38A: Singer who is part owner of Forbes magazine (Bono), 41A: Cousin in a Balzac title (Bette), 10D: Holmes fought him (Moriarty), 14D: Artist Wyeth (Jamie)...I only know Andrew, 22D: Nine __ (London district) (Elms), 28D: "Blue II" painter, 1961 (Miró)...I know the name but not particular works, 30D: Sacramento suburb (Florin) and 46D: Country singers England and Herndon (Tys).
It's time for me to get cozy (26D: Under a quilt, say) if I want to cure (23D: Bug zapper?) what ails me.
Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.