ALL YOU NEED
Happy Valentine's Day, Dear Reader. If you're an old softie like me, seeing the heart in the center of the grid today made you smile. And maybe you read "1A: The Beatles' first single, 1962," and wondered for a minute or two whether it was "Love, love me do" or just [LOVE]MEDO, and it wouldn't be until you got down to IN[LOVE] (32D: Smitten) that things really started to come together. But right around that same time you started to get confused, because that very answer crossed the (sort of) revealer VALENTINESDAY (31A: Romantic date), but it also crossed "37A: Scapegoat for the Fab Four breakup" (ONO). Hmmm... The title "All You Need" seems to refer to The Beatles and love, and 1A, of course, is the same, but now we have a clue referring to The Beatles and breakup. And then there's 33A: Belittled (ABASED), "43: 'Enough!,' in Ensenada" (NOMAS), 10D: Declined (SAIDNO), CAREER criminal, and the HAGUE Tribunal. Yuck. The whole thing becomes an ENIGMA. I can't decide what it AMOUNTSTO. Is it a TEASER, or does it ENRAGE? So much impolite eyeing with STARESAT and OGLES... do I SHUN it or do I DEALWITHIT, let go of my TIRADE, and concede that Amor vincit OMNIA? I suppose I could revel in the more RRATED and/or BLU portions like LEI and CREAM...
*Ahem.* But seriously, there's a lot of less-than-desirable fill in today's grid. BARIC, UNAPT, ILIA, AERO, ANZAC (?), BABIYAR (?), RESAND, and my least favorite fill of all, REUNE. And since when is Q.E.F. mainstream? (Quod ERAT faciendum). I'm not sure I've ever seen that before in a puzzle. Then there's the duplication in OGEE and GEE, and so many three-letter answers. As I said, I liked the grid design, and I didn't mind the rebus, but the puzzle as a whole is kind of a HOTMESS.
Favorite clue/answer? 118A: Comedian Poehler (AMY). Well, it's really just more of a favorite answer.