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)

Word of the Day: ELY, NV (50A: Nevada birthplace of Pat Nixon) —
Ely (/ˈli/ee-lee) is the largest city and county seat of White Pine CountyNevadaUnited 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)
• • •

An ingenious puzzle that I didn't care for. I mean, it's architecturally amazing. So many thematic elements co-mingling in such a chaotic but ultimately logical grid.  Really something. But solving it was a chore, largely because of the backward thing. I honestly didn't see that there was a real pattern to it all until very, very late. I thought the theme was HURRICANE and the grid had just been destroyed, i.e. words were backward and forwards willy-nilly, even though some part of my brain knew that Couldn't be right. Anyway, the result was that I thought every answer was a kind of coin toss as to whether it was right way 'round or not. There are also symmetry issues, which really killed me toward the end. Why are both 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.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


August West 12:01 AM  

Wow. Just...wow!

In-side out.
Boy, you turn me
Up-side down.
And round and round!

Dizzy. Reeling. Not...this...stupid. What the hell is going on here? CYCLONEs and TYPHOONs and HURRICANES, oh, my!

Started to catch it at LONDON(EYE)OPENER, which prompted me to GIMLET(EYE)OFNEWT, but still had a hell of a time keeping track of where I was in the vortex. Ultimately, I literally envisioned myself in a car at the bottom center of the EYE, commencing to move counterclockwise. *Up* the right side, *R-L* along the top, *Down* the left side, *L->R* along the bottom, to off-load where I'd started the ride.

And what a ride. Great fill. Fun Cluing. How great are the clues for KILROY, OMERTA, INSEAM? Being a proficient solver is nice. Being keenly aware that I'd never even think of, let alone be able to attempt this construction is truly humbling. Better than DOUBLE FEATURES. Most creative and difficult construction I've seen in...well, I can't remember how long, even if it isn't truly symmetrical.


::..in best, fully acted out, Wayne and Garth..::

We're not worthy! We're not worthy!

jackj 12:02 AM  

Even before determining that the center square was meant to be the “EYE”, it was clear to this New Englander, who lives near the ocean, that the symbol created in the center with the eight dark squares surrounding the white square was a hurricane warning flag.

The hurricane rotation also showed up early on when OMERTA, ANDRE and ANTI, all known knowns didn’t jibe unless one of them flipped direction and ERDNA it was to be as the winds had begun their swirling.

Once revealed, the theme gimmick at times became vaguely irritating but, fortunately, there was enough stellar cluing to salve any sting of the skewed solve.

Putting the word reverses aside, Timothy wasted no time in establishing his cleverness bona fides as “Made ends meet?” proved an excellent clue for RHYMED and its Y and H were nicely spun off with WWII’s “KILROY (was here)” paralleling the sassy MOUTH (off).

Additional highlights were many and made even more so, at times, by the way the words looked when written backwards. ROLEPLAYS was liberating and made a nice foil for its mirror entry, LEERINGAT, while the BRIDE clue of “Name dropper, often?” also provided a nicely played bit.

Favorites were many among the smaller entries, (usually a good way to assess a puzzle), including the KEA, usually seen competing with LOA for Mauna; GLOM, that upstaged the run of the mill GRAB; OILY, mainly because I’m a big fan of its clue word, “Unctuous” and the upside down TSYRT that made for a further complication of a likely already confusing affair.

Constructors will no doubt love the theme and its execution while wordies will find favor with the excellent cluing and that sounds like a happy resolution for all from Timothy Polin.

Good show!

jae 12:06 AM  

To quote today's AV Crossword 12d clue "Did that just happen?!?!"  The answer is my reaction to this puzzle.  Wow!  There was a note which I didn't read and apparently didn't need to.  The puzzle actually seemed kinda medium once I figured out the counter clockwise storm rotation.  Lots of erasures, of course, but no WOEs.   Knew something was off when HURRICANE CARTER and ANDRE didn't seem to fit and the pattern slowly emerged. 

I agree with Rex on KATRINA as an outlier. 

Brilliant! Loved it! Great Thurs. work out!  Congrats Mr. Polin!

Steve J 12:06 AM  

This puzzle pissed me off like no puzzle I can ever remember doing. I hated virtually every second I spent with it.

Maybe I'd at least begrudgingly accept the acrobatics of the construction if the construction had been consistent with itself. Alas, as Rex mentioned, it wasn't. It was one step off from being sheerly random in what direction clues were displayed in. If you're going to pull off a trick like this, pull it off in a way that's internally consistent. The puzzle's failure to do that leads the puzzle to being a failure, from where I sit.

(Just saw August West's comment as I was typing mine. Polar opposites. I'm guessing this puzzle is going to engender a lot of that sort of reaction, with no middle ground.)

JFC 12:09 AM  

On Wordplay tonight they couldn't resist gushing over this puzzle. I simply wrote: I dissent. I then came here.

Rex explained why....


Anonymous 12:12 AM  

Genius. Amazing. It is extremely unlikely that I will hear an acceptable quibble. The haters are gonna hate on this one. I loved it. Brilliant.

Anonymous 12:18 AM  

I got the center and four entries that use it quite early. Struggled mightily because obviously correct answers would not work. Discovered a backward entry that did, so on my way.

But I never figured out what is supposed to be some kind of vortex, but clearly isn't. I just tried every entry both ways.

Ann Heil 12:22 AM  

Oh. My. God.

By the time I was done with this one, I felt battered and bruised and as if I'd been through a hurricane myself. It's the only crossword I've ever done where the theme also described the process of solving the puzzle.

I realized something was amiss when ANDRE just didn't fit with the crosses. Was there another Agassi? Nothing was working. I gave up on using the NYT iPad app, printed up a nice PDF and grabbed a pencil.

Some sort of light went on in my brain with the clue for SOARS ("Go up, up, up") and i realized that some of the down clues went up. Do they all go up? Maybe the even ones go up, and the odd acrosses go backward. No, that wasn't it. I kept trying different things, looking for a pattern. Before I was done, the engineer in me took over and I had lines drawn though the grid where the "wind" direction changed and arrows pointing up and down for which ways the clues should go.

Brutal to solve, but absolutely brilliant. I don't know when I've been so proud to finish a puzzle. It might have been a bit easier if I'd ever heard of a GIMLET EYE.

P.S. was on a Southwest flight yesterday and was delighted to see two puzzles by BEQ in their in-flight magazine. It's been fun learning about the constructors from this blog.

I skip M-W 12:34 AM  

Even though nothing was obvious at first, I eventually solved this in near record time ( for me).
Very clever, well-clued..has anyone else pointed out that the London Eye Ferris wheel also moves in a circle that corresponds with answer directions?

Harry Hassell 12:51 AM  

I really liked this puzzle for the clung/answers but thought it just fell short of brilliance because of the lack of symmetry … It would have made sense to me to have each quadrant begun with the radiating theme answers, but it seems that the constructor opted for a different kind of consistency, choosing one row and one column to be the switching points. It doesn't scan.

Erik 1:24 AM  

I wouldn't have the second glass of wine at dinner had I known I would be staring at a HURRICANE of a puzzle... OTOH I kinda liked it despite the pain!

because KATRINA was in there, I would have liked to see the clue "PBJ sandwich on the beach, maybe" which would of course yield SANDY...

A fun and challenging puzzle!

Rube 1:25 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rube 1:27 AM  

Got the SW with no trouble and whne ANDRE wouldn't work, knew something was afoot. Started reversing answers until the, more or less, pattern became apparent. 'Twas doable, but required lots of trial and error until the pattern emerged.

Sorry... have been elsewhere

This is my 6th try for the furshligginer robot!

Michael Berman 1:28 AM  

There is a completely consistent symmetry in this puzzle. There are three answers above, below, left and right of the "eye" - 6,7,19; 33,36,41; 43,44,45; and 31,34,40. Those are all written "properly", i.e. to the right or down. The horizontal answers above the horizontal triple line go right to left, and below the line left to right. The vertical answers to the left of the vertical triple line go down, and the ones to the right go up. 100% consistent, brilliant, and, to me, lots of fun to solve (except it's painful in the iPad app to enter a word backwards.)

Brian B 1:31 AM  

It looks symmetrical to me. The clues AROUND the center, which don't radiate directly from the box in the middle, follow the hurricane pattern. The ones that begin or end AT the box, in the general cross shape, take their normal orientation.

Maybe it's not the choice you'd have made, but it IS consistent.

Questinia 2:06 AM  

This was the closest I ever got to feeling like I was having sex with a puzzle, and not necessarily great sex.

Gill I. P. 4:46 AM  

I can't top @Questinia so I'll just add that this was the most annoying puzzle I've ever done.

Danp 5:25 AM  

This was the wrong puzzle to do in ink. The key for me was the certainty that 36D was chowline. It will go in there one way or another!!! From there it was quite easy. And the symmetry was right. If an answer wasn't subject to the counter-clockwise forces of a cyclone, they followed normal crossword directions. That's why Krypto, AIG, London and Opener are all normal.

John Child 6:18 AM  

Upside out or inside down
False alarm, the only game in town
No man's land, the only game in town
Terrible, the only game in town

Anonymous 6:40 AM  

Got the 4 EYE answers immediately but just could not see any pattern or order to the forward/backward spellings. Drove me crazy, but thought there were some terrific clues.

loren muse smith 7:06 AM  

Look. I still can't get the puzzle. Can someone send me a pdf or something? AARRRGGHH!

Gareth Bain 7:33 AM  

@LMS: I've sent the puzzle to your facebook and your email...

Asmazz 7:41 AM  

@Michael Berman
Don't the answers KRYPTO (31A: Superman's dog) and AIG (33A: 2008 recipient of govt. largesse) break the rules of this puzzle? Shouldn't they be running east to west?
They were the only two that kept this ingenious construction from being perfect.

dj1969 7:57 AM  

Best. Puzzle. Ever.

dk 8:00 AM  

Technical marvel, stupefying solve. 2 of this puzzles solves are for KYRPTO and GIMLET .

Grandfather owned fishing boats and one summer I had the joy of cleaning holds and SEINES. Now there is a smell.

Given that I fix an evil EYE on all stunt puzzles this one, while annoying, has a certain charm... like when your girlfriend snores.

🌟🌟🌟 (3 Stars) Think about Harry Powell's tattoos

dk 8:01 AM  

2 of this puzzles stars....

Milford 8:10 AM  

I'm feeling torn, because I really had fun solving/detangling this puzzle, but I have to admit that the whole EUGES KRYPTO area did mess me up because it wasn't fitting whatever symmetry I thought was going on.

But I can see what @Michael Berman is getting at: each entry that abuts the black square (aka "flag, as @jackj notes!) is crossword "correct", and then the hurricane pattern begins. The answers that parallel the flag edges are always in the hurricane pattern. Confusing, yes, but consistent...I think.

I got the backward trick with HURRICANE CARTER, ironically because I felt MOUTH was very correct... Turns out I had to flip it to HTUOM, but that U was still in place!

I honestly missed the KATRINA TYPHOON connection to the theme.

If this is a love it or hate it puzzle, then I have to love it, just for originality and the workout it gave my brain.

Thank you Timothy!

@lms - congrats on your house closing! Feels good, doesn't it?

Mohair Sam 8:11 AM  

Thank you KATRINA and KILROY, two gimmes that let me know the answers here were in some strange order (first time I solved a puzzle online instead with pen, and what a pain keying things in upside down and backward is in Across Lite).

Feel really foolish because I caught on to the circular flow of the puzzle early but never, ever caught the obvious hurricane theme.

I'll come down on the side of folks who enjoyed this one. It was different, clever, and hence a lot of fun. I thought the clues were a bit on the easy side for a Thursday to compensate for the difficult flow (except NUNCIO which seems awfully obscure to me).

Z 8:14 AM  

@Questina - What's that old saying, " anyone one worth doing is worth working for?" Oh, wait, "AnyTHING..."

Yes, it is a workout. All the words are going in the correct counterclockwise direction. With consistent changes in directions. Throw in the bonus hints of "transition" and "go up, up, up" and you have just a wonderfully constructed puzzle. I've been in the "Ididntgetit" camp in the past, but that isn't a problem with the puzzle,

Same problem with EdGES as OFL, but now I see why It has to be backwards. THESAURI is the worst POC in the history of puzzledom in my book, but that weak gruel for nit-picking.

On the technology front, Crux couldn't handle this puzzle. It skips the middle EYE square while navigating through the puzzle. When I tap on it to try to enter the rebus, Crux crashes. The puzzle timer keeps going though. This is why I only iPad solve when I travel.

r.alphbunker 8:16 AM  

This puzzle reminded me of the puzzle in the ACPT a couple of years ago where the rows alternated between backwards and forwards. I think Patrick Blindauer was the constructor. There was a note that I didn't see that warned the solver that something was afoot. Not having seen the hint I spent most of the time lost.

That puzzle helped me to start writing things backwards in the rows but it was no help in writing things backwards in the columns. At the end it was just trial and error. As RP put it "I just solved this like a puzzle where an answer might be backward or forward and who knows why?"

Glimmerglass 8:19 AM  

This one beat me. I did not get the "wind direction" gimmick.

Blue Stater 8:21 AM  

Word-games like this used as crossword puzzles just make me angry -- they are a complete waste of my time. If the NYT wants to make space for exercises like this, fine -- put them in a separate section, as they do for sudoku and ken-ken. But give us our crossword puzzles every day. That's what I pay extra for.

Milford 8:25 AM  

@Z - especially when it looks like THE SAURI and you are thinking, who the heck are they, and who cares about their gaming laws?

Naugahyde 8:25 AM  

This puzzle, in premise and execution, was fan-freaking-tastic. Just beautiful.

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

!Ti ekil t'ndid I

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

Hated this one.

Z 8:33 AM  

@Milford- T. Rex is the constable, I presume.

Doris 8:54 AM  

Sheesh! It's supposed to be challenging! The people who complain about this terrific puzzle evidently don't like to be challenged. It covers all the bases. To me the best part was that some of the answers were backwards and some forwards. At first I thought they'd all be backwards. Reminds me of my favorite of many years back where, in the verticals, "The Bronx is up" went bottom to top, and "The Battery's down" went from top to bottom. Thank you, Comden & Green.

loren muse smith 9:12 AM  

@Gareth, chefbea – Thank you so much for sending me the puzzle! EWE Saved me this morning! EI REally appreciate it. Anyone else still not able to get to the Times site? Is there a number I can call?

Wow. I never could have “finished” this one. I saw EYE in the center very early and thought, “Hmm. Not a lot of spaces devoted to theme.” Then I just thought TYPHOON and CYCLONE were serendipity and the as-yet-not –figured-out LEERING AT periphery theme fill. Looking back at the filled grid, I have to agree with those who are impressed. Really, really cool.

“Swami” for RABBI mucked up that area, not believing the clue/entry for ANT would be in a puzzle so challenging.

I agree that KATRINA doesn’t fit with TYPHOON, HURRICANE, and CYCLONE, but that was the least of my worries. “Tornado” or “derecho” would have been a better fit there, IMHO.

@Z, Rex – I liked the clue and THESAURI entry. But THE SAURI does look like those three vampire boss guys out of Twilight. Hi, @Milford. Actually, we close today at 1pm. Fingers crossed.

ELY, Minnesota is where I dogsled. Plug for Wintergreen Dogsledding – a terrific, affordable vacation for anyone aged 7 to 77! TYROs welcome!

Tough, tough, impressive puzzle, Timothy. My GLOM just wasn’t GLOMming this morning.

Josh Miner 9:13 AM  

Hard to see this as challenging, since I had essentially all the correct answers almost immediately, in addition to the EYE/HURRICANE theme part, but then never would have thought in a million billion years to start putting the answers in backwards, or looking for a pattern to the backwards-ness. If there exist a large group of experienced solvers for whom a gimmick is not even remotely get-able (apparently the case here), then I would argue there is something wrong with the puzzle.

I'd call this one easy/impossible, which is a REALLY bad combo, whether or not you got the trick or enjoyed the solving experience.

John V 9:18 AM  

Did not connect. Not On my wavelength. A complete train wreck for me.

It happens.

Shamik 9:21 AM  

One of the few times that I absolutely 98% agree with Rex. My only difference was calling it medium challenging for me at 12:00 minutes. Never got the hurricane theme. Can never remember if it's REHCO or ERHCO. Just willy-nilly looked for things to be backward or forward.

Like a hurricane, I'm glad it's over.

Carola 9:21 AM  

Now, this was a puzzle after my own heart - clever, tricky, just-right tough. Like others, I suspected some reverse action was afoot when ETOILE, ANDRE, and HURRICANE CARTER didn't work with Downs, but at first I could see no RHYME or reason to it.
The LONDON EYE gave me what I needed for the rotation theme and then I "just" had to figure out how things were swirling. I found it a lot of fun. But probably not a puzzle for a Thursday TYRO.

The symmetry issue bothered me a little - I marked out the directional chunks on the paper after I finished - but then I remembered that the "arms" of a hurricane aren't always arrayed symmetrically around the eye, as this photo of Irene shows. @Michael Berman and @Brian B - I hadn't thought of looking at it that way, thanks.

@I skip M-W - At first I thought it was a Ferris wheel theme.

@Timothy Polin - Thank you, just terrific.

[captcha: youtries] And sometimes you finishes!

Questinia 9:26 AM  

@Z, Don't get me wrong...this puzzle could have been great sex had I not been doing it:

a) on an iPad
b) on a midnight train
c) outta Manhattan in a car with a bunch of teenage boys smoking electronic hookahs.

That was *really* working for it.

Eric 9:26 AM  

Don't know if its been mentioned, but its the 8th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, hence the theme and 'out of place' theme answer.

G. 9:26 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Asmazz 9:28 AM  

@michael Berman (again!)
Whoops. My bad. I misread your comment. And I failed to see the pattern of threes that you mentioned. I was just looking at the single lines through 'eye' (not the bigger picture).
All is well in Crosswordland again.

John V 9:32 AM  

Just now read all the comments, etc. On balance, I'd line up with the idea that this is not a crossword puzzle. The fancy word may be,"sui generis" Did not like.

Norm 9:37 AM  


G. 9:38 AM  

There is an elegant symmetry to this puzzle that Rex missed in this grid. Of course the N was Left to Right, E was Top to Bottom, S was Right to Left and W was Bottom to Top. The four answers that met the middle EYE were normal as were the answers that met the box surrounding the EYE. Thus the EYE with its border divided the four quadrants.
Elegance, symmetry and geometric logic...this was LUFITUAEB.

skua76 9:42 AM  

AARGH! Now that I'm reading some of the comments, I don't hate it quite as much, but the symmetry bothered me. Major problem was I couldn't remember boxer CARTER's first name, kept thinking it was something+Reuben. And didn't notice the gale/hurricane flag. After getting the EYE part, I thought for the longest time that it was the point of perspective--ie the words read outward from the center. Which didn't work either. Then everything fell into place except for forgetting Superman's dog. Before googling that I thought that THE SAUdI might some special rules for billiards.

mike h 9:42 AM  

I thought this was completely brilliant, one of the best puzzles I've ever solved. A little surprised Rex and so many others didn't get the spiral/vortex theme, and that some still don't see the successful symmetry -- all the 12 clues words from or ending in the "eye" are going the right way (which they kindof have to be, if you think about the hurricane spiral… though you could defensibly have kept only the 4 aimed right at the center) while those in the four quadrants outside of those may be reversed as the spiral dictates.

I did not know that the shape in the center was also the hurricane flag symbol, another impressive detail.

Milford 9:46 AM  

Last I had heard, yes.

cheeseguy 9:48 AM  

Awful. Rarely comment, but this was one of my least enjoyable solves in months. Just my opinion.

Lindsay 9:50 AM  

I conceived that some of the answers were mirror-like reflections in the EYE. So the rotational pattern went over my head, and the forward/backward choice seemed random.

Thus finished with EdGES as Rex described. Wasn't troubled by THE SAdRI. I just figured it was just some crime syndicate I'd never heard of, probably due to OMERTA.

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

I thought a GIMLET EYE was something like beer goggles.

Steve J 10:14 AM  

Thanks to @Michael Berman for explaining the architecture. I had thought only the center arms directly intersecting with EYE were all standard orientation, not the adjacent lines that abut the eye wall. That is internally consistent, and I stand corrected on my earlier comment that it wasn't.

Maybe if I'd noticed that, I wouldn't have found solving this such an unpleasant experience. Even once I sussed out the puzzle's rotation, I thought the transition points were arbitrary and unorganized (because, as I mentioned, it seemed like only the EYE lines were consistently the correct orientation). It made for a very unpleasant solving experience as a result.

This puzzle ultimately reminds me of calculus: I recognize and even appreciate the internal logic and power of it, but I hated every minute I spent with it.

Remarkable construction achievement, and nice to see that many loved it. I'm just not one of them.

(Ha, the number in my captcha actually is 42. Guess I'll have to come up with something else if I want to continue with not teaching Google how to read numbers.)

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

KATRINA is not an outlier. Those of us in New Orleans are well aware that today is the 8th anniversary of Katrina's landfall.

chefbea 10:17 AM  

Got all the eye-words and then came to a standstill. too tough for me FND!!! Ingenious to construct and brutal to solve!!

Carola 10:22 AM  

@Steve J - re: the captcha - thanks to a tip from another commenter, I never enter any number, just the goofy letters.

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

I'm not as good at puzzling but I loved this. Thought it so clever. I filled the SW corner inc. bklyn cyclones and scattered others before OPENER tipped me off to the EYE at center. Then got 3/4 of EYES. Solving 30d made me see RAOS which clued me into the backward answers.
Took me a long time to find the backward /forward pattern. I finally drew lines vert/hort to find the pattern but didn't get weather pattern till I got hurricane theme. What stuck me and made me mad was NE Corner. TYRO? Really? ARRGHHGRRA!!!!!

Nancy 10:23 AM  

Solved it! Don't ask me how. Thought the directions answers went in were totally arbitrary. After Rex explained (sort of) I still don't get it. But I solved it and that's the main thing. And I love difficult puzzles, so I guess I loved this. Sort of.

Steve J 10:25 AM  

@Carola: I enter wrong numbers, just to mess with them. (I'm sure it has no effect whatsoever, but it's my tiny little way of fighting the man.)

Martia Larts 10:37 AM  

This was an absolute gem. I'm betting all the Friday / Saturday lovers hated this puzzle...just as I find Friday / Saturday puzzles a total waste of time. "Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet."

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

I loved it.

Two Ponies 10:41 AM  

Fought my way through this amazing puzzle but now I have a headache.

I can't believe Katrina was 8 years ago.subsoryi 36

Notsofast 10:51 AM  

A mess.

r.alphbunker 10:55 AM  

I had Reuben "Ace" Carter. Finally googled it. I could hear the Bob Dylan song in my mind. Maybe the part of my brain that remembers names was getting interference from the part the processes backwards words.

A thought: if you had said "I Googled Superman's dog" at Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech what would the people around you have thought?

DJG 10:55 AM  

I'm with the "didn't really like it" crowd. The gimmick is just too difficult to follow visually in the grid. I get that isn't haphazard, but it *seems* that way.

Sandy K 11:05 AM  

Amazing puzzle!

Got the backwords part at ANTI/ANDRE, the HURRICANE part at EYE OF NEWT, and the pattern of it @Rex. Thought it was random...

Loved the xtra TYPHOON and KATRINA swirled in. Last thing to go in was THE SAURI? Then my aha moment!

Apologies if I'm repeating anyone else's comment, but I was blown away by this one!!

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

Made me dizzy - loved it!

mac 11:22 AM  

A lot of work, but the eye and the theme were easy to figure out.

I had a bad start at 17A; after a couple of crosses I filled in "naciremA", not being up on my boxers.

Good puzzles, good clues, but I'm tired now.

@dk: that was the funniest comparison!

Airymom 11:28 AM  

Dear Puzzle---"I want to love you but I'm getting blown away".

Anonymous 11:33 AM  

I've now seen it explained and, I must admit, I still don't get the point of it all. Perhaps because I don't live in a hurricane or tornado region, the gimmick just escaped me. Altogether. Bring on Friday and some sanity!

Eather Henry 11:50 AM  

I found this puzzle to be a real pain. I did not like it at all. I finished it once I figured out the backward issue. But I didn't know why until I read the blog. Doing it on Across Lite was no joke. Ugh!

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

gniyonna eb ot sdrawkcab gnitirw dnif I.

ahimsa 12:04 PM  

Wow, this was so confusing. But it was still fun for me in spite of all the confusion.

I had no trouble getting the central EYE without even knowing there was a note. In spite of not knowing either HURRICANE CARTER or the BROOKLYN CYCLONEs the puzzle grid looked like a storm pattern to me.

So LONDON(EYE) was the second thing I wrote in, right after TYRO. Then I wrote in the other 3 entries that went with EYE. GIMLET was the slowest of the four but I finally got it from the T in OTOH.

Then I got totally confused in the NE section and almost gave up. And this is why I download the PUZ version, not the PDF. That way I can get a hint if needed. But usually that happens on Fri/Sat, not Thursday.

I should probably have been more patient. But since nothing seemed to be working I opened the PUZ file to check out COL (e.g., enter the answer and then use the "check word" option).
Hmm, only the O is correct. The other two letters are not. Oh! (the light dawns)

So, this counts as DNF for me since I needed help to finish.

After I saw the trick the hardest thing was figuring out where the "winds" were going to change direction. As others have said I was expecting the change of direction at row/column 8, the edge of the central EYE square, not the edge of the black box surrounding the EYE. It was one row/column off from what I was expecting.

But that's not a criticism of the puzzle -- what an amazing feat!

I recommend checking out the comments at Xwordinfo today (see http://www.xwordinfo.com/Crossword?date=8/29/2013 )

!elzzup nuf a rof niloP yhtomiT ot soduK

Anonymous 12:06 PM  

just simply not fun. not logical. unsatisfying.

lymank 12:12 PM  

I don't remember ever successfully finishing a puzzle that Rex rates as Challenging. I'm usually dismayed to find that a puzzle that really kicked me around gets an Easy-Medium rating from Rex. So I'm feeling great right now that I finished this puzzle without any external help.
Loved the puzzle! Michael Berman's explanation of the symmetry is right on. The symmetry is without any flaws, as long as you look at it the right way.

Jim 12:26 PM  

Count me in the "Loved it!!!!" camp.

Carola 12:30 PM  

Thanks to those who pointed out the HURRICANE flag symbol and KATRINA anniversary.

@Steve J - Ah, I understand. I guess I take the "You can't make me" approach :)

Benko 12:41 PM  

I think I'm the only person who didn't love or hate this puzzle. I figured out the gimmick pretty early, so the puzzle became, as it usually does for me, all about the fill. Some was good--KRYPTO, HURRICANECARTER, and the unheard of GIMLET EYE. Some wasn't so good. All in all only a slightly above average puzzle for me.

Rob C 12:54 PM  

Had about half the puzzle done before I figured out the gimmick. Once I did, the rest went easy. Had mixed feelings, but in the end, liked it. The ingenuity won me over. We all want new and different, well here it is. Interesting that a bunch of us seemed to have figured it out at ERDNA.

Liked the clues for INSEAM and KILROY.

@Quest - you seem like you lead an interesting life, or at least had an interesting day yesterday.

Robert 12:58 PM  

It's fitting the SW corner filled out really quickly for me. My brain just wouldn't accept this puzzle's odd construction.

Filled in HURRICANECARTER, ANDRE and KATRINA on my first pass at the across and even managed to snag the EYE bits as soon as I saw the clue that ended up being BROOKLYNCYCLONE, but it took a good 45 minutes after that before I realized some crazy nonsense was afoot. The fact answers like KRYPTO, AIG, etc. ran the proper left-to-right regardless of where they fit into the theme was the biggest irritant.

Have to agree that the execution was ingenious, but I really didn't enjoy solving it.

Also, THESAURI has to be the worst word I've seen on a crossword in a long time. Hate, hate, hate it. (I admit the clue is pretty clever, though.)

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

I had no problem with this puzzle, in terms of the gimmick. The backwards and forwards ness of it did seem arbitrary when I was doing it, but the Happy Pencil Guy popped up when I put in the last letter, so I didn't fret over it--figured it had something to do with a hurricane structure and didn't ponder on the specifics. Overall, the puzzle struck me as fair--the words which were backwards or upside down were generally pretty standard, even quite easy, so all it took was to try to or three word combinations to find out a particular orientation. My biggest hangup wasn't the structure but the Carter question. I know the Dylan song so well that its popped into my head so quickly that I walked away from the question thinking the question itself mentioned "Hurricane." Even after I realized that "Reuben Carter" didn't fit I didn't think to put "Hurricane Carter" until quite late in the game, because I was sure the question had used the word "hurricane" explicitly.

rgards 1:01 PM  

An exhilarating and exhausting circumnavigation o'er storm-tossed seas.
i usually do the Thursday through Saturday puzzles ink on paper -- a practical, self-limiting device as the grid, after three or four passes, becomes illegible and I can get on with my day. But, the printer is not printing, so I turned to Crux software -- armed with infinite rewrites and infinite time, I was quite pleased to fight my way to a satisfactory completion in an hour or so, but the Crux grid crashed on touching the center square. Literally back to square one, I filled it in a second time and again it crashed. Big time aargh. I would like to think that I would have caught the edges/segue trap if I had studied the completed grid, but as it was a memorable dnf. First enabled than ultimately unmanned by the technology but provided an enjoyable ride in between . . .

Thanks for a wonderful puzzle. Thanks also to Rex and his regulars who add so much pleasure to my day.

joho 1:03 PM  

I just got here to see 83 comments which I haven't the time to read so I'll make my point and catch up with those later.

I was delighted when I thought I got the backwards trick and managed to get the whole bottom including "EYE." But the top was hopelessly lost as I confidently wrote in HURRICANECARTER going the right way ... which turned out to be totally the wrong way as the puzzle was conceived. So even though I knew answers up top, like RACES .. I had that written as SECAR going down which also supported ANDRE.

I am in awe of this puzzle's construction but it made my head hurt! And in the end I got no satisfaction.

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

Haha! Another puzzle where Rex's impression seems directly related to how it affect his delicate ego.

GUARANTEE that if Rex had solved this quicker, he'd be raving about it.

The directions of the answers made perfect sense, but it's hilarious to watch Rex struggle to figure it out, and then moan about it as if it's somebody else's fault.

(To all of you who are thinking: "If you hate Rex so much, why do you read him?" The answer is, I read him PRECISELY because I hate him. I find his peevishness and poorly-concealed insecurity entertaining. And, I really enjoy reading the comment section, which is far more interesting, intelligent and unbiased.)

Rich Lennon 1:39 PM  

Onerous, but did it. I agree it was neat, but I like the challenge of a straight up crossword, not going around in circles. Never have used gimlet eye before, just had gimlet drink, lots of them

ahimsa 1:45 PM  

I forgot to ask about the clue "Made ends meet?" for RHYMED.

Clearly the ends of lines in poetry don't meet in the sense of touching or coming together. So, is the clue using the word "meet" in the older sense of appropriate or fit? Or is there some other interpretation that makes the clue work? Thanks!

ANON B 1:47 PM  

This is not why I do crosswords.
I still don't completely understand
Rex's explanation.

Anonymous 1:48 PM  

My experience precisely the same as Rex's. Admired it, but hated it.

Anoa Bob 1:54 PM  

I've been a subscriber to the puzz on the NYT web site for several years. When I figured out the gimmick, I hit CTRL-INSERT and typed in the "Certain three-letter word" EYE.

Afterwards I could not escape from that square. The EYE of the storm had me trapped. No matter what I tried (ESC, CTRL-DELETE, END, etc.), I could not get the cursor back to another square.


Kim 2:02 PM  

Thank God for Across Lite.

Paul Keller 2:03 PM  

Loved this puzzle! Having to (or being able to) look outside the immediate clue and look for hints in the pattern, the theme words, and the special role of the central square made this puzzle one of the most interesting.

I can see why some people expected the reversals to extend into the 7th row and the 8th column, but the designer had to make some choices and I think the ones he made were as good as any. One could think of all the elements of the puzzle as having normal orientations until some were altered (reversed) by a passing cyclone. The reversals are made in a logical pattern.

Blowin in the Wind 2:07 PM  

Ain't been whupped this bad since 4th grade.
Great, but twisted, idea. Automatic thUmbsUp.

Will always remember today as when Hurricane Timothy hit.


Anoa Bob 2:09 PM  

BTW, this doesn't quite work for the solver living south of the equator. Down there a CYCLONE rotates clockwise.

math guy 3:04 PM  

One of the hardest puzzles I've seen in quite a while. I found it a real challenge and it took me a long time. But unlike some of the toughies I've done, I thought that the clues were completely fair, including THESAURI.

It seems that Rex doesn't like tough puzzles.

Brett Chappell 3:04 PM  

This was nasty. I got the eye part within a minute, but EARL didn't work at the top, and it was only when I switched to DROL did I figure out something backwards was going on..basically, I got whooped upside the head with a stupid stick. The fact that there was little continuity among the backwards and forwards led to frustration. I cleared this puzzle in 23 minutes, but I wasn't satisfied afterwards.

Anonymous 3:10 PM  

Whoever said easy/impossible nailed it. Fun for a day will be glad to get back to just plain difficult this weekend. May be Im a purist after all these years but when the cluing is easy and the construstion is impossible its not a crossword puzzle its a worg game. In any event when a puzzle takes more than an hour to do you kinda lose interest rather than build it

syndy 3:33 PM  

HURRICANECARTER HAD to be right: ditto ANDRE so I knew something was up. BROOKLYNCYCLONE made me realize it was storm wind related. could not quite figure out the pattern but- tried reverses if I needed to! liked it except thought that THE SAURI were the enforcement arm of the Illuminati.

OISK 3:44 PM  

Several years ago, on April Fools Day, there was a TIMES puzzle in which the clues to the left went down, while the clues on the right went up. It beat me, but I thought it was brilliant. This time, I finished, with a wonderful sense of satisfaction! I thought it was brilliant in so many ways. Wonderful puzzle!

Mohair Sam 3:50 PM  

@loren muse smith - if you've really been dog sledding you have to read "Winterdance"

@those spelling Rubin Carter "reuben" - Reuben is what I had for lunch today in Quakertown, PA. Learning once again to never order a reuben outside of New York City. Never.

Masked and Anonymo4Us 3:57 PM  

Things that would make for an even more "challenging Thursday of the year" crossword than today's puz...

1. Syrian Electronic Army also goes door-to-door and swipes all the delivered NYT newspapers.
2. NSA-encrypted clues. (bad)
3. Bob Klahn-written clues. (worse)
4. IRS-written clues. (worst)
5. Black squares that move.
6. Clues that change, everytime you look at 'em. I know this from personal experience.
7. Roman numeral clue numbers.
8. Random Roman numeral clue numbers.
9. Notepad blurb written in French.
10. Grid is continued in tomorrow's paper.
11. Two words: Hurricane Rebus.


RI Squasher 4:02 PM  

@Michael Berman- I still don't get your 1:28am explanation (I'm sure it's because of my confusion). For example, one of your groupings is 33, 36, 41? Those three answers aren't near each other. Also, 30D which runs right next to the "eye" doesn't run properly but according to what you say it should. What am I missing?

The way I look at it is that All the acrosses above KRYPTO and AIG run backwards and all below those two (and including them) go the correct way. For the downs, everything to the left of ANTI and NUNCIO (including those two) run correctly and everything to the right of those runs down to up.

Seems a bit off to me since the dividing lines in both directions are a bit off center but at least it makes things consistent (at least in my mind)

Anonymous 4:06 PM  

Rex. Look how many comments this one got and compare that to your norm.
It was an awesome puzzle. My husband and I both had fund doing it. It helped that he knew Hurricane Carter right off the top, but figuring out the swirling answers was great fun. I'll take more of these any day. Keeps your brain nimble and that's what we're here for, right?

Lewis 4:19 PM  

I like the pinwheel around the center square --on top of everything else, a graphic element as well.

I solved it like Rex, didn't figure out the pattern, and now, of course, it seems obvious and I feel like slapping my forehead with my palm. One simple realization would have made this puzzle so easy!

For those who complain that it's not a real crossword puzzle -- this is Thursday, and this is what we expect. I don't see this as Timothy showing off. I see it as him devoting all his energies to making an extraordinary gimmick puzzle.

And, Timothy, even though you flummoxed me, here's a sincere and exuberant BRAVO!

Anonymous 4:27 PM  

The clues were actually pretty easy for me -- but it took nearly an hour to solve because I could not make heads or tails of which answers were frontwards or backwards!

sanfranman59 5:00 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Thu 27:04, 16:44, 1.62, 99%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Thu 18:02, 9:27, 1.91, 100%, Challenging

At this point, not only is this Top 100 solvers ratio the highest of the 192 Thursdays in my database, but it's the highest of any of the 1,283 puzzles, irrespective of the day of the week.

MetaRex 5:01 PM  

Wonderful, amazing, brilliant...

Thought the intricate trickeration of Sunday's theme was not gonna get beaten for a long long time...and now, just four days later, this...wow and wow again.

As a CW denizen this one blows me away even more than Sunday's did...think that one works better by a fair margin for real worlders...if any econ nerds are reading this, this puzz is like Nash (1950)and Sunday's is like Schelling (1960)...or ya could say that one is like Spiderman and this one is like Watchmen...or that one is Monet's Orangerie waterlilies and today's is Pollock's drips.

bad hair day 5:06 PM  

It took me nearly two hours to do this puzzle but I am glad that I stuck it out. All the ups and downs and forwards and backwards was so confusing. Never heard of gimlet eye. I didn't know Hurricane's last name. Remembered that Denzel Washington played him in a movie so looked it up on IMDB. Could have Googled it but Mr. Washington is so nice to look at...

Anonymous 5:22 PM  

Aren't hurricanes in the Northern HemosPhere and cyclones in Southern Hemispherw?

Judith 5:34 PM  

He's so clever he'll cut himself. (English expression)
Yes this was that clever. So what? It was a word game, not a crossword puzzle.
When I want to do a word game, I'll look for a word game.

Reminds me of the punchline to an old joke:
I say it's spinach, and I say the hell with it!

retired_chemist 5:39 PM  

Since I had to do it on a pdf (thanks,@chefbea!) in two sessions I have no honest estimate of my time. But it was long.....

The whole puzzle was a WTF outside the SW for a long time. The SW,of course, is where there are no srewsna drawkcab. I finally got enough confidence that there were some, probably a lot, from 49D TSYRT. Went to the trouble spots, tried some srewsna drawkcab, and voilà - they worked! Still found it easier to treat the direction as randomly determined than to suss out the system. Did that after I had a correct solution. In retrospect I had many correct answers on the first pass, but of course in the forward direction, which led to garbage.

OVER for 20A, which needed to be changed to a reversed OH SO, was my major overwriting of the day.

Had BROOKLYN and eventually dredged up CYCLONE from a dim memory to finish it out. No such luck with LONDON EYE - never heard of it.

Liked this, didn't love it. Interesting to solve but I prefer my puzzle challenges to be based on vocabulary. De gustibus......

Thanks, Mr.Polin.

Joe The Juggler 5:50 PM  

It was a DNF for me, and a frustrating one because I knew Hurricane Carter, DNA, etc. were right, but they just didn't seem to fit together.

I do like that SEGUE appears on a "Transition" in horizontal word directions.

Joe The Juggler 5:52 PM  

And I did get EYE in the center, and HURRICANE, TYPHOON and CYCLONE, but just didn't get the direction thing.

And I doubt I would have gotten it no matter how long I looked at it.

Everett Wolf 6:10 PM  

Best puzzle in a loooong time.

Print it out and run arrows through the answers in the direction they go, think of the arrows as wind, and you see the beautiful symmetry.

Counter-clockwise right around the graphic eye, just as an actual cyclone or hurricane would be (in the northern hemisphere).

Amazing puzzle.

Steve Henry Herman 6:15 PM  

Hey folks--when you're in the midst of a Hurricane things will get more than a little bit chaotic, so why should we get all pissy when the symmetry of this puzzle seems to be iffy in spots? If you stayed calm and loosened up it fell into place.

This was the best and most fun I ever had with a puzzle. Period.

SWVL 6:22 PM  

Did anyone else notice that the end of 17D, read L-R, says RETRACE? I don't know if that was intentional, but I like it as an extra little Easter egg! Overall, I loved this puzzle. Very difficult, maddening at times, but so satisfying to crack the code. My favorite Thursday in a while.

SWVL 6:23 PM  

(I meant 17A, obviously. Clearly this puzzle addled my brain.)

gifcan 6:28 PM  

Impressive construction.

Did not like it.

Anonymous 6:30 PM  

Clues definitely should have been debuffed.

Andre Carter Maesni 7:25 PM  

Nothing more really to add 'cept I didn't know
a) Superman had a dog and b) it's odd he was named so closely to kryptonite!

Some of the naysayers nits are kinda of amusing in an uptight sort of way...Is there no part of them that can't recognize the creative brilliance of this puzzle?

Oh, and memories of grandpa (GeorgeHerman!) taking me to Coney Island and riding the Cyclone about 45 years ago. I was 7 or 8 and mostly remember he broke his glasses.

Was at Stockholm's amusement park Gronde Luna yesterday, listening to folks scream on the "Insane" rollercoaster, very cool design... But biggest concern as we walked under it was not to be vomited on!
Leaving tomorrow :(

Fwiw, I don't snore! ;)

Ann Heil 7:26 PM  

Well, at least we can all be thankful it wasn't an earthquake puzzle. Not sure how you'd do that - perhaps a fault line down the middle, and answers shifted in random directions, or perhaps tossed up and down.

jburgs 7:37 PM  

You think this was bad. I hear the constructor is working on a tornado rebus. Talk about spin then!

Bob Kerfuffle 8:10 PM  

Loved it. Fun puzzle. One write-over, echoing @Shamik, had 13 D as ERHCO before REHCO.

Anonymous 9:27 PM  

Doing this on the iPhone is painful. But I'm not a fan of over creative puzzles like this anyway. It is better than the one with deliberately misspelled words I remember from a year or so ago. That is the nadir to me (to use crossword-ese).

michael 9:52 PM  

I didn't find this as hard as many of you did, even if I only partly understood the theme. But I did wonder who the Sadri were.

sanfranman59 10:03 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 5:43, 6:09, 0.93, 18%, Easy
Tue no data
Wed no data
Thu 27:40, 16:44, 1.65, 99%, Challenging (2nd highest ratio of 192 Thursdays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:29, 3:49, 0.91, 11%, Easy
Tue no data
Wed no data
Thu 17:36, 9:27, 1.86, 100%, Challenging (highest ratio of 192 Thursdays)

plink plonk 10:36 PM  

Any fussing about a perceived incorrect placement of the meridians in this puzzle is silly. It is the most elegant puzzle we've seen in a long while. Some people describe solving in a randomly backwards - forwards approach. Huh? How did you not feel the counterclockwise rotational movement of this thing? Call yourselves Pattern Recognizers? Ha!
A masterpiece.

skua76 10:38 PM  

This is a bit late, but for @loren or anyone else, this afternoon I got an email from the NYT about the hacking. Part of what it said was "We resolved the issue by early Tuesday evening but there have been some lingering problems due to some Internet Service Providers not yet updating our Domain Name System records.

"We fully expect that all access will be restored by the end of the day today and we deeply regret any inconvenience this may have caused."

If you just subscribe to the crosswords and not the entire paper (I get home delivery) you may not have received this email.

My ISP's DNS (Domain Name System) records, the default if you don't enter them explicitly) are somewhat flakey and slow at times, so I use Google's which work much better. They may be tracking me, but they know too much about me already. https://developers.google.com/speed/public-dns/

Burt Offerings 10:56 PM  

Call me conservative, but these puzzles suck. Resorting to backwards words? Really? I like a challenging puzzle just as much as the next person, but things like this just strike me as cheap. Guess I'm just a stick in the mud!

Cruciverbitch 11:00 PM  

It seems the inflection point occurs at roughly the same relative latitude at which Hurricane Katrina occurred exactly 8 years ago today.

h_lina_k 11:57 PM  

The worst part was when I had T,S,HI,R,T for the affair clue and C,E,S next to it. I was like OMG there is a rebus and upside down clues. OTOH my original realization that E,R,D,N,A was right lead me through the storm.

englishteacher59 12:27 AM  

This puzzle is brilliant. Period. End of discussion. It is also challenging, fair, and possessed of a perfectly logical theme and construction. The answers move in a circular pattern around the eye, just as winds in a storm do. (At least they move in a circular pattern as much as they can in a rectilinear grid.) There is nothing gimmicky about the puzzle. Best daily puzzle I can ever remember solving.

Lee Glickstein 1:16 AM  

Breath taking, enchanting, fair and unbalanced masterpiece, one of the best uses of 15x15 grid ever, most difficult puzzle I've ever completed. It battered me and I wouldn't give up and finally survived it, washed ashore exhausted and exhilarated. Cannot ask more from a puzzle experience.

waqas farooq 6:08 AM  

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Mitzie 7:57 AM  

Just wanted to weigh in on this, though there's hardly a need to.

This puzzle was beyond brilliant. And totally unsolvable, for me.

Great job.

Craig H. 9:22 AM  

For all the naysayers, puzzles like this are common at ACPT, and they are absolutely kosher.

This one was absolutely brilliant and a tour de force - everything from the hurricane warning flag to the answers following the wind patterns. And this was on the eighth anniversary of Katrina making landfall. This may be one of my favorite fills ever.

This one was 11:57 for me, one of my Thursday best. I got DNA then LONDON [EYE] and DROL, and that was enough to unlock the entire concept. I actually thought that would be sufficient for most solvers to see through the clever theme. From what I'm reading here, I guess not.

puzzledpaul 10:00 AM  

Actually pissed that there was a hint to solving this - Like - who needed it? Love the old straf who can't handle variety.

Acme 10:28 AM  

@ann heil 7:26pm
asammatteroffact one of my first puzzles (2001?) for nyt was a Monday with
And I asked Will to put a " tear " in the middle...
He shifted some of the squares up a bit , like a fifth of a squate and some down...
But folks thought something wrong with puzzle grid in the paper and didn't solve (this was before blogs and online)
And in the reprint in books there is no shift at all, just a regular grid :(

Anyway, this puzzle will live on for a long time!

Dave 1:27 PM  

So I ended up figuring out that everything above the 3x3 center box went left to right, everything that on the right of the box went bottom to top. But otherwise, this was just painful.

Clever idea, but no thank you!

Anonymous 2:56 PM  

Rex Parker is nothing if not predictable. This blog can be reduced to a simple algorithm: Rex Parker Understood==Rex Parker Liked. Rex Parker Was Tricked==Rex Parker Does Not Like.

This was far and away the best puzzle all year. It is certainly not the fault of the constructor that Rex Parker could not figure out that hurricanes (and cyclones and typhoons) go in a circle around the eye. Katrina and Andre I knew had to be right, and I was 90% sure about Kilroy. Once I put in Katrina backward, it all clicked. The whole fun of the puzzle was figuring out which ones went which direction. And as others have said, the clues were great.

To show you the denseness of Rex Parker, it didn't MATTER whether the clues went one way or the other. Think about it, you have a 5 letter word with two letters filled in. It's either going front-ways or back-ways, is it SOOO hard to look at the word in both directions?

This puzzle was GREAT. A masterpiece to be talked about for years to come.

Ann Heil 9:17 PM  

@acme I would love to see your earthquake puzzle! Darn those nyt folks for messing with it.

ZenMonkey 6:21 AM  

I'm glad to see so many commenters felt the way I did, that this was an amazing accomplishment, and a rough but rewarding workout.

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

Cheers to Timothy Polin, constructor extraodinaire. This may be the most brilliant puzzle I've ever completed. It's a masterpiece. It's beautiful. It's a work of genius.

waqas farooq 5:03 AM  

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spacecraft 11:17 AM  

Big fat DNF for me. It is now apparent from reading these blogs that I have landed in the middle of a MENSA meeting. I thought I had the EYE gimmick, but then other problems surfaced. Some of this seemed to be headed west and north--but I could not tell which; the pattern was inconsistent. Having ANDRE intersect LONDON just threw me too far off; I could not see to reverse the name.

Oh, and I have never, NEVER, heard of something called a "GIMLET EYE." Doesn't even make sense to me.

Challenges like this I simply don't have the IQ for. Mine's a sad, paltry 126. Show me the door, MENSA guys. I don't belong here.

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

As stated, clever but inconsistent and not fun - boo

Anonymous 1:25 PM  

Spacecraft @11:AM Loved your comments. Don't be hard on yourself, this was a real pisser! I figured it out but still DNF because of the NE corner. Just couldn't see Thesauri. If I ever meet Mr. Polin, I will bang him over the head with a Thesaurus until he apologizes.
Ron Diego 10/3/13 La Mesa, CA

sdcheezhd 4:18 PM  

Hated this while I was doing it. I got the eye pretty quick but then had ferris wheels on the brain so then was thinking about the way ferris wheels go instead of how hurricanes go. Now that I see it and figure out it is all consistent it's great. Also had EDGES/THESADRI at the very end. Thought maybe that SADRI are some Eastern mystics who preach slowness. The hardest Thursday I remember; the only one I remember that was close was the one a while back with all the TINs across the middle.

Hi Ron Diego; I guess the syndicated folks in PDT bring up the rear.

DMG 6:05 PM  

Getting ONE gave me the SW quarter, but aside but from a few scattered words, all in "wrong" direction, that's all I got . Never tumbled to the crazy directions thing. Never seen a hurricane flag, but doubt that would have helped! Never heard of the boxer, couldn't find a clue for voting against that fit with the R in my forward placed ANDRE, quit, did the Cryptoquote., and moved on with my day. admittedly if was clever, just not my piece of cake.

Captcha: Yahroup. Probably what I would have said if I'd solved this one!

Dirigonzo 6:25 PM  

Syndi-solver on EDT here - I knew something was afoot when many of my "certain" answers were wrong - it was TSYRT that tipped me off that at least some of the answers were going the "wrong" way. The EYE of the storm was already in place (thank you, EYE OPENER) so trying a few more backwards answers revealed the proper wind direction and everything made sense. Except GiMLET EYE, that is - the term is foreign to me and THESAURI eluded my perception so I went with an "a" and hoped for the best. Of course my completed grid is so messy that you'll just have to take my word for it that the rest of the answers are what they should be as there's no friggin' way anybody could read them.

@DMG - "Yahroup" describes exactly how I feel for *almost* finishing this puzzle.

Dirigonzo 6:39 PM  

I hate it when I leave off the punch-line. I meant to end with, "Now that I've finished this puzzle I feel like I need a drink or to smoke a cigarette (Hi, @questinia)".

Not worth the effort of coming back, you say? You're probably right.

strayling 8:01 PM  

I'm going with "unfair" on this one. If you're going to reverse words, a revealer should be a bit more specific. Clever puzzle to construct; unsatisfying puzzle to solve.

strayling 8:03 PM  

Have an emoks for me while you're at it.

Dirigonzo 9:01 PM  

@strayling - typing backward is harder than it looks (I have trouble forward)but I think I take your point. It was good for me but I'm sorry you weren't satisfied - maybe next time?

Solving in Seattle 10:35 PM  

157 Comments? WOW! (you can read wow backwards.

As a USAF weatherman (100 years ago) I'm proud to say I solved the Rubik's Cube on this one. Got it with TYPHOON, HURRICANE & CYCLONE.

@Diri, bet my newspaper is messier than yours.

Had a little trouble in the IPUT a spell on you. Remembered it as casT.

Technically DNF at the natick of EgGES/THESdRI, even though it makes no sense.

It's late, so soida.

Waxy in Montreal 1:55 AM  

Jet-lagged after 2 weeks on the left coast with no NYT crossword puzzle access and I come home to this! Took all day and as per @SiS technically a DNF due to THESADRI/EDGES & HEM (read line, not lane) at 61A.

OK, so bring on Friday - oh, it's already here. Later...

Ginger 2:29 AM  

Late to the party...just got home and I'm sitting here with a dirty martini (Hi @Diri), quit smoking years ago, but this almost made me reverse that course.

Impressive puz, but it chewed me up and, well you know......


Anonymous 10:11 AM  

Likely totally random but...

"NOLO" (New Orleans, Louisiana) there on the Northern border of this puzzle in disarray.


Mike from Ohio

Catte Nappe 10:14 AM  

Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Loved it. Hated it. Loved it. Got the "eye" part pretty quickly, but the reversals had me stumped for the longest. Andre, Katrina, London, Hurricane Carter, none of it was working ont eh crosses; until suddenly I could see what must be going on there, and then it was just a matter of working through it all.

Joe Trivers 10:31 PM  

Yikes! That puzzle was OHSO puzzling! Is there anybody still reading this?

Here in Toronto we get Tue and Thu puzzles with syndication delay in the free subway paper that only prints twice a week, and that's about all I can handle. I can usually finish Tue in less than an hour; I finish maybe half the Thu puzzles without cheating, but usually after a day or two. I'm slowly improving, though.

Spent my hour subway ride Thursday filling in the SW corner and a smattering elsewhere that seemed sure--DNA, LONDON, OF NEWT, also ILE, KILROY, ANDRE all unreversed. Nothing else would fit, so I left it for the weekend.

Monday I spent another hour's commute filling in THESAURI and ROLEPLAYS, also EUGES and TSYRT and CES from crosses with no idea what they meant. Just seemed like more obscure words than usual. Then noticed TSYRT is TRYST spelled backwards and wondered if the clue "affair to remember" somehow meant to spell it backwards (remember=reminisce=reverse?).

Tuesday I grabbed the paper from the box but didn't look at it to avoid glimpsing Thursday's solution before I finished. Today (Wed) the Thu paper was in my other jacket so I opened the Tue paper and it turned out to be another copy of Thursday's. So I filled in the SW in a fresh grid and noticed CES was SEC backwards and EUGES was SEGUE backwards and wondered briefly if 30D was lOft going up but then SOAR fit with the (eye) OF NEWT and I was off to the races. Finished correctly, only a week late. Never heard of OMERTA but got it from crosses.

Best. Puzzle. Ever.

So, does anyone know if there's a way to see the date (not just time) that a comment was posted?

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