Most people, when solving a crossword alone (myself included), will start at 1A and slowly work their way through, filling in as densely as possible as they go. When solving with Frannie, however, if I start the puzzle, I have taken to going straight through the Acrosses in order, and then the Downs in order, not allowing myself to cross-reference at all. After this, I hand the puzzle over. Today, however, I broke that rule to take one last look at the revealer clue 34A: Puzzlement … or a hint to getting the 10 words on the perimeter of this puzzle (CONFUSION), because I had put several letters through it on the downs, and, well, because it was the revealer. I was able to fill it in at that point, so I looked again at 1A, which stood as "_AV_," and the theme was understood. All this is just a long way of saying that I felt it played a little on the easy side.
That's not to say, however, that we didn't like it. We did. And even with the trick revealed, we still did double-takes on some of them, like 44D: Be patronizing ([CON]DESCEND), and 62A: Pageant, e.g. ([CON]TEST). I mean, they could almost work without the "Con"s. 5A: Court disaster? ([CON]TEMPT) was kind of funny, although I think "disaster" might be a bit strong. If he's using "court" as a verb, then it's a strange, dual, meta clue that I only barely understand. Any thoughts?
I loved the non-theme long answers BATTENDOWN (18A: Secure, in a way) and INLALALAND (56A: Out to lunch). Very nice. 22A: In stitches (SEAMED) was nice and tricky. As were 45A: Coke source (SODACAN) and 47D: Lightheaded one? (CANDLE). Thankfully, the crosses on ELEAZAR (43D: Nephew of Moses) were all gettable (luckily, I know a little Latin!). And while we're right there, I loved the symmetry of the two "unwind" clues 17A: (REST) & 58A: (LAZE).
A decent Thursday.