Well, they went ahead and had a mini theme on Friday and, being something of a romantic myself, I approve. Frannie got POPSTHEQUESTION (8D: Delivers a romantic Valentine's Day surprise, maybe) off of just a few letters, but I over-thought "36A: Phrase from Virgil appropriate for Valentine's Day," by mistakenly going to Ovid's (maybe I was thrown off by the sight of OVOID...) "If you want to be loved, be lovable" and, believe it or not, I actually tried to enter the Latin version of that quote (ut ameris amabilis esto) into the grid, despite Frannie scoffing at my vain hope for so much Latin. Luckily, it's not fifteen letters, or we would have been in big trouble! Ironically, omnia vincit amor is fifteen letters, but before I got there, the crosses gave us the English version, LOVECONQUERSALL. Whew!
This was a good fight, and Frannie and I went through various "guess stages" on a few clues, like LAKEPOET (32A: Wordsworth or Coleridge), on the way to finally hammering it out. First we had "deadPOET," then "LAtEPOET," before finally realizing that YOKELS were 24D: Sticks figures?. Tough clue, that 24D. And did you further notice that "EternalLY" fits in where ENDLESSLY (12D: Forever) ended up? And that "clapping" fits into the space where PUPPETRY (39A: Handy work in a theater?) belongs?
Frannie thought LILLIPUT (36D: Fictional island with a small population) was funny, and 31A: Standard offspring (ESSO) fooled us for a good long while. Overall, we liked most of the 9/8 stacks in the corners, and didn't have too many complaints, and now it's time to have another glass of wine, find a nice romcom on the Netflix, and settle in on the couch. Who knows, maybe we'll even put off the Saturday puzzle until Saturday morning!