Choreographer Lubovitch / THU 12-5-13 / Nephew of Moses / Democritus Leucippus philosophically / 2012 political chant / Locale of long-running Mideast conflict / Holyfield rival / Clarke who played bride of Frankenstein
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Constructor: Dan Schoenholz
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
All (Mod) CONs:
Word of the Day: ELEAZAR (43D: Nephew of Moses) —
Eleazar (or Elazar; pronounced //), (Hebrew: אֶלְעָזָר, Modern Elʻazar Tiberian Elʻāzār ; "God has helped") was a priest in the Hebrew Bible, the second Kohen Gadol (High Priest) - succeeding his father Aaron. He was a nephew of Moses. (wikipedia)
• • •Liked it somewhat better when I thought the corner answers were what were being "fused," but it's still a decent puzzle with the "fusion" simply being the *addition* of CON- to the beginnings of the words around the perimeter. Theme was pretty simplistic, and very easy to solve once you caught on (and I caught on very early, in my first pass at the NW). It's not a very interesting grid, except for NBA DRAFT, which I like quite a bit (35D: June event televised by ESPN). Otherwise there's nothing terribly contemporary, nothing terribly special. SE is easily the weakest corner, but overall there's not a ton of weakness. Fill is just OK. You'd expect somewhat better than just OK with all those cheater squares* in there. But it is what it is. Sparkling fill is clearly not the NYT's standard, however much it should be.
This is not a puzzle about which there's a lot to say. Crosswordese MAE is given an old-timey, non-West clue, which does little to endear it to me (24A: Clarke who played the bride of Frankenstein). I don't believe anyone ever chanted MITT (7D: 2012 political chant). That was possibly the hardest answer for me to get in this relatively easy puzzle. "MIST? Did people chant MIST?" Wow, the more I look at this grid, the less I find to love. ATOE = painful (16A: Vol. 1 of a four-volume encyclopedia, maybe). The "maybe" in the clue should be changed to "please, I know this is terrible, forgive me." Hard to imagine calling anyone a RIBBER. LAR? CMI? IST? ON AN? PES? FATAL, indeed.
*black squares that do not increase word count—they are added solely to make the puzzle easier to fill. Today, see, for example, the black squares that precede 38-Across and follow 33-Across, respectively.