South American tuber / THU 6-20-13 / Wolf in Kipling's Jungle Book / Enya's homeland / Rapper with 2002 hit Hot in Herre / Home of Cocoa Beach / Home to Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World informally / Scottish port on Firth of Tay
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: Rags to RICHes — eight part word ladder going from POOR (1A: Start of a word ladder whose first and last words are suggested by 36-Across) to RICH. Tying the whole thing together is the central clue/answer: 36A: Lucky lotto participant (INSTANT WINNER)
Word of the Day: Via SACRA (22A: Via ___ (main street in ancient Rome)) —
The Via Sacra (Latin: Via Sacra) (Sacred Road) was the main street of ancientRome, leading from the top of the Capitoline Hill, through some of the most importantreligious sites of the Forum (where it is the widest street), to the Colosseum.The road was part of the traditional route of the Roman Triumph that began on the outskirts of the city and proceeded through the Roman Forum.In the 5th century BC, the road was supported by a substructure to protect it from the rain. Later it was paved and during the reign of Nero it was lined with colonnades.The road provided the setting for many deeds and misdeeds of Rome's history, the solemn religious festivals, the magnificent triumphs of victorious generals, and the daily throng assembling in the Basilicas to chat, throw dice, engage in business, or secure justice. Many prostitutes lined the street as well, looking for potential customers. (wikipedia)
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INFINITI was a "make" of Nissan (36D: Nissan make) ... or had anything to do with Nissan. Had I known that—no hole falling. So I went into the SW somewhat blind and ended up writing in the most amazing wrong answer for 52D: 8 on the Beaufort scale (GALE). I wrote in ... TALC. Yes, I completely mixed up my scales, confusing Beaufort (wind) and Mohs (mineral hardness). Yes, TALC is a 1 on the Mohs scale, not an 8 (an 8 is topaz, by the way). But that's neither here nor there. The point is that TALC is a perfect wrong answer for two reasons. First, it's got two of the right letters (-AL-), and second, it puts a "T" in that first position, giving me --TAT for 51A: Bother persistently. So, yeah, EAT AT worked very well. So at this point I am so deep in a hole I can't see daylight. Only by working the word ladder backward do I get RILE, which finally allows me to see INFINITI, and thus change EAT AT to NAG AT and (finally) TALC to GALE.
"I, FOR ONE," YALE MAN, NOT DONE, OKEY DOKE, etc.), so I have no strong complaints. Never heard of the Via SACRA or Verdi's "CARO nome," but no one ever accused me of being kultured, or of being an Italophile, so that's not too surprising. The only Italian guy I knew was OVID, and he was wrong (it's OMAR—6D: "While you live, / Drink!"). Thought a [Good baseball hit] was an RBI (nope: DBL). No idea what Cocoa Beach is, but I had the "FL-" no FLORIDA was a cinch (21D: Home of Cocoa Beach). Got NELLY easily, but am somewhat stunned to see the way that "Here" is spelled in the title of the song (38D: Rapper with the 2002 #1 hit "Hot in Herre"). Also surprised some insane enterprising young constructor hasn't tried to sneak HERRE into a grid somewhere along the line.
This is my last post for a couple weeks. Tomorrow one of my own puzzles comes out (probably my last for the NYT), so someone else is blogging that, and then I'm off to Oregon on Saturday. Guest bloggers are all lined up. All pros. You'll love them. I'll check in when I have the time / inclination.