Turkic word for island / FRI 10-11-13 / 1960s civil rights leader Brown / Philosophy will clip angel's wings writer / 1998 hit from album Surfacing / Alternative to ZzzQuil / Old co with overlapping globes on its logo
Friday, October 11, 2013
Constructor: Peter A. Collins
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
Word of the Day: Alfred H. BARR, Jr. (7D: Alfred H. ___ Jr., founding director of MoMA) —
Alfred Hamilton Barr, Jr. (January 28, 1902 – August 15, 1981), known as Alfred H. Barr, Jr., was an American art historian and the first director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. From that position, he was one of the most influential forces in the development of popular attitudes toward modern art; for example, his arranging of the blockbuster Van Gogh exhibition of 1935, in the words of author Bernice Kert, was "a precursor to the hold Van Gogh has to this day on the contemporary imagination." (wikipedia)
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AHH (about 1/10 as common as the two-A version), RETIN, CTN, CWTS, PSEUD, THUR, ATNO, REE, USEAS, ENOTE, ESPO, ADIA, HRAP, ASTAR ... all tired and/or ugly. Cluing is off in places too—a real "benchwarmer" would not say "PLAY ME OR TRADE ME" (27A: Benchwarmer's plea); that's something a star player says when he's not being played for whatever reasons. This is to say that just because one happens not to be in a game does not mean one is a "benchwarmer" ("a player who is not among the best players on a team and does not often play : a reserve player who is usually on the bench" says Merriam-Webster). Such a player is in no position to be making demands. Not sure of the logic of having sequential Down clues that play off of one another when the answers to those clues are in entirely different parts of the grid. You can't really appreciate [Revolving feature] followed by [Revolving features?] unless you are someone who goes methodically through all the Acrosses and all the Downs in order (and if you're solving that way, You're Doing It Wrong).
I live in the NE and have never heard of Papa GINO'S. Papa JOHN'S, of course. I got all my initial traction in this puzzle from gimme proper nouns: H. RAP Brown, Katey SAGAL (25A: Katey who portrayed TV's Peg Bundy), OMAR Infante, "ADIA," "Everybody is A STAR." Not as much luck with IRENE or BARR, which were mysteries to me. Thought LYCEE was ECOLE and [Sudoku segment] a BOX, but otherwise, not major mistakes. I think my favorite part of this puzzle was learning "bong"'s language or origin (THAI) (52D: Whence the word "bong").
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld