City south of Kyiv / TUE 4-23-12 / Nicolas who painted Four Seasons / Bill who co-owns Four Seasons hotel company / Dweller along Mekong
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Constructor: Severin T. Nelson
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: Four Seasons — grid includes all of the seasons (each clued as [One of the four seasons]), as well as four different answers related to the phrase "four seasons":
- 7D: Bill who co-owns the Four Seasons hotel company (GATES)
- 32A: Nicolas who painted "The Four Seasons" (POUSSIN)
- 48A: Antonio who composed "The Four Seasons" (VIVALDI)
- 57D: Frankie of the Four Seasons (VALLI)
Word of the Day: Nicolas POUSSIN —
Nicolas Poussin (French: [nikɔlɑ pusɛ̃]; 15 June 1594 – 19 November 1665) was the leading painter of the classical French Baroque style, although he spent most of his working life in Rome. His work is characterized by clarity, logic, and order, and favors line over color. Until the 20th century he remained a major inspiration for such classically oriented artists as Jacques-Louis David, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Paul Cézanne.He worked in Rome for a circle of leading collectors there and elsewhere, except for a short period when Cardinal Richelieu ordered him back to France to serve as First Painter to the King. Most of his works are history paintings of religious or mythological subjects that very often have a large landscape element.
• • •
ITE, -ENNE, and of course -OON, which always ENDUES me with LOL) and prefixes and partials and more French than I care to shake a stick at. The coup de grace, the piece de resistance, the joie de vivre, is of course the one-essed ODESA (44A: City south of Kyiv). I'm laughing even as I'm typing it. Maybe that can be fill at some point: ONEESS. I mean, if ONE HORSE, why not ONE ESS? Here's the thing—anyone who constructs knows there is No Excuse for how needlessly bad the fill is. The standard for fill now appears to be "someone used it somewhere at some time" or "it's in some database so good enough!" But an editor simply should not allow a poorly filled grid like this one to go out into the world. Take the time to encourage polish, esp. with less experienced constructors. For the love of all that is good and pure in the world. Please. I mean, the theme is cute—the fill should let us appreciate that, not suffocate us in a miasma of mediocrity.
I like the clue for ITO, mainly because it sounds like a drink order (20A: Midori on the ice).
Glancing over the dull-as-dishwater clues, I realize I have nothing more to say about this puzzle. Again, there's a spark of imagination in the theme, but you've Gotta set the bar higher where fill is concerned.