Exonerated boxer who is subject of Bob Dylan song / THU 8-29-13 / Fig mentioned in Miranda warnings / Ambassador from Holy See / Nevada birthplace of Pat Nixon / That being said in textspeak / Minor-leaguer whose team is named after Coney Island roller coaster / Giant Ferris wheel on Thames / Onetime sponsor of what is now Minute Maid Park
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Constructor: Timothy Polin
Relative difficulty: Challenging
THEME: EYE of the storm — Theme answers include TYPHOON, KATRINA, and long answers that contain the words HURRICANE (i.e. HURRICANE CARTER) (17A: Exonerated boxer who is the subject of a Bob Dylan song) and CYCLONE (i.e. BROOKLYN CYCLONE) (55A: Minor-leaguer whose team is named after a Coney Island roller coaster). There is a free-standing EYE at the center of the grid, and the answers all flow, directionally, in the direction that winds would flow around the eye of a storm, i.e. roughly 1/4 S to N, 1/4 E to W, 1/4 N to S, and 1/4 W to E (so ... with both the Acrosses and the Downs, 9 are going "right" way, 6 the "wrong"). Puzzle note: "a certain three-letter word, appropriate to this puzzle's theme, goes in the unnumbered center square." The EYE is part of all four of the answers that flow toward it or away from it:
- GIMLET EYE (34A: Piercing gaze)
- EYE OF NEWT (35A: Ingredient in a witch's potion)
- LONDON EYE (7D: Giant Ferris wheel on the Thames) (??!)
- EYE OPENER (43D: Enlightening experience)
Ely (//, ee-lee) is the largest city and county seat of White Pine County, Nevada, United States. Ely was founded as a stagecoach station along the Pony Express and Central Overland Route. Ely's mining boom came later than the other towns along US 50, with the discovery of copper in 1906. Though the railroads connecting the First Transcontinental Railroad to the mines in Austin and Eureka have long been removed, the railroad to Ely is preserved as a heritage railway by the Nevada Northern Railway and known as the Ghost Train of Old Ely. As of the 2010 census, the population was 4,255. (!!!!!!!?) (wikipedia)
• • •
KRYPTO and AIG going W to E? Why are both ANTI and NUNCIO going N to S? Why aren't any of the EYE answers going the "wrong" way? The fact that KRYPTO was facing the "right" way made me accept EDGES as the right answer just above it. The clue is 27A: Transition. Not that EDGES is a good answer, but it was holding as "plausible" for me because KRYPTO was above the center line and headed the "right" way, so why shouldn't EDGES go that direction too? But the correct answer is SEGUE (backwards), which I only got because of THE SADRI = ???? I had to go through letter by letter with that answer and imagine alternatives before I saw that it was THESAURI (ugh) (I really hate that word *and* its clue) (2D: Hustling is the same as cheating, according to these authorities). I guarantee that this not only plays "Challenging," but is the most challenging Thursday of the year, probably by a wide margin.
I knew HURRICANE was the guy's first name, but had no idea about his last name, and early on it hardly mattered, as the grid was gibberish. I knew ANDRE was 100% correct, and when crosses did not make sense, I knew something terrible was afoot. Eventually tried ANDRE backward (for some reason) and made ANTI work, and then thought "oh, it'll be something about answers starting with odd numbers or whatever." Ugh. Honestly, after that, I just solved this like a puzzle where an answer might be backward or forward and who knows why? It was doable on that level. A KATRINA is not a storm type, it's a storm name, so that theme answer doesn't really work for me, but other than that, and the symmetry thing, I don't really have structural quibbles. Again, it's a piece of work, this puzzle. It just wasn't fun to solve. Not for me, anyway.