Mr. Patrick Berry produces yet another smooth delight of a puzzle, going down like a shot of Lagavulin, with much the same level of enjoyment. Your beautiful set of three long answers across crossing three long answers down, your expertly crafted clues, your nice pieces of unexpected trivia. Let's get to the highlights.
He knows to start off with a good word - 1A: Refuse on the surface (FLOTSAM), and immediately crosses it with 1D: Checks for heat, say (FRISKS), a lovely clue. 14A is also sweet, with RARAAVIS, and 17A: Amateurish was Cece's first get of the puzzle (INEXPERT). I don't love 2D (LANKER), and 3D (OREIDA) is a chestnut, but everything else in the NW is fine, including the nice trivia about KEDS and the quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes, which I happen to agree with.
Cece also got MIRRORMIRROR, which opened up the middle for us, but not much. 50A: "Milk" man (SEANPENN) is cute. Hope gave us STATIONHOUSES and sussed out SPACEINVADERS. I'm fond of 33A: Inaugural addresses? (STARTERHOMES), as well as the pair of brilliant clues in the NE, 12D: Hunting school (PIRANHAS) and 13D: Brought blessings upon oneself? (SNEEZED).
The list goes on and on. 30D: Hearts and spades, e.g. (GAMES). 33D: They make up poetry (STANZAS). 8D: Deviate from Hoyle (CHEAT). 9D: Fire place? (HELL). I didn't know Bobby RAHAL, but that's about it for issues I have with the entries.
By the way, did I mention that I was in NAPLES recently? Man, it's 2015. It's been almost a year since Italy. That's depressing.
Unlike this puzzle.