Kyrgyzstan's second largest city / FRI 7-26-13 / 1955 Pulitzer-winning poet / Annual with deep-pink flowers / Literally cottonwoods / Diplomat who wrote Tide of Nationalism / Construction project that began in Rome / Guys and Dolls composer/lyricist
Friday, July 26, 2013
Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: BANKSY (58A: Noted graffiti artist) —
Banksy is a pseudonymous England-based graffiti artist, political activist, film director, and painter. // His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humour with graffiti done in a distinctive stencillingtechnique. Such artistic works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world. (wikipedia)
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his own website. This is a very nice 68-worded, with big open spaces in the NE and SW, and some very fresh entries, like BANKSY and "... SO THAT HAPPENED." But it's middle-of-the-roadish and kind of tame compared to the stuff you can get from him directly twice a week. Some of the fill seems a little flat—TESTATORS and ESS and IDEATE and ERODENT and RENAIL and ALO and OSH. I did like this puzzle quite a bit—solving in under 6 minutes helped with the good feelings—but by BEQ standards (which are High), it's just OK. Better than most puzzles, just OK for BEQ. Clear? Clear.
POGS. Ha ha. The very word makes me laugh (49A: Game discs).
I have a hard time believing 44A: Abba's genre was BEQ's clue for EUROPOP. I mean, ABBA is in the grid (ABBA EBAN) (9D: Diplomat who wrote "The Tide of Nationalism"). He's usually pretty careful about such things. He probably had someone like Blur or Lily Allen in there instead. But Abba's an easy default—which would be fine if ABBA weren't Already In The Grid.
I have no idea what COWHERB is (25A: Annual with deep-pink flowers), so that took every cross. Nice to see "Guys and Dolls" back for a curtain call after yesterday's fine performance (35A: Guys and Dolls composer/lyricist => LOESSER). WALLACE STEVENS looks great in the grid (4D: 1955 Pulitzer-winning poet)—never mind that I (ridiculously) wrote in WALLACE STEGNER at first. Love the fake-out clue on ERIE CANAL (12D: Construction project that began in Rome) (there's a Rome, NY). Never saw the clue on LOS ALAMOS (31D: Literally, "the cottonwoods"). Weird how sometimes even very long answers just seems to fill themselves in without my really noticing.