My time: 13:03.
I enjoyed the hell out of this puzzle by Timothy Polin. Its theme is directional. Three Across shaded entries read, north to south, I CAN / CERES, as in Tropic of, then EQUATOR in the middle, and below that the Tropic of CAPRI / CORN. All very clever, but I wondered if there was more to it.
There was! And I didn't even notice until the puzzle was almost entirely complete! All the perimeter clues have a cardinal direction implied but not written. For example, "home to Santa's workshop" gives POLE. I thought that was somewhat odd, but shrugged and moved on. But it's at the top of the puzzle, so it's actually [North] POLE. On the right, we have "resident of China or Japan, but not India or Iran" giving ASIAN, which befuddled me to no end. It's [East] ASIAN, of course.
Me not noticing this means that I'm a bit of an idiot. "Lefties" isn't PAWS without the South part added at the front. And yet I put PAWS and kept going without breaking stride.
Case in point: "popular clothing brand," at the top, gives FACE. I've never heard of that, I said dumbly, and gave no more thought to it. It's [North] FACE! Argh!
"Minnesota NHL team from 1967 to 1993" is STARS. Since there's the Dallas Stars, I figured they just moved, like the Utah Jazz. Which is accurate. But they were originally known as the Minnesota [North] STARS.
Charles READE is a now little-read novelist, best known for his 1861 historical novel The Cloister and the Hearth. Some of his works were regarded as indecent in his time.
The MEDULLA is the lower part of the brain stem that regulates necessary life functions such as breathing and heart rate. I love my medulla. Without my medulla, I'd just die.
Aloysius, yclept ALOIS Alzheimer, first identified what he called "presenile dementia." The disease was named after him by his colleague Emil Kraepelin.
CITI Field is yet another of those American ballparks named after faceless corporate behemoths that strip the game of all character. It replaced Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
"Notre Dame setting" is [South] BEND, Indiana.
"Affluent Connecticut town" is [West]PORT. It was ranked 22nd richest town in America by Bloomberg.
COSEC reappears, last seen way, waaaayyyy back on November 15.
Did you know Tina Turner wrote an autobiography called, I, TINA? Me neither. It was co-written by beloved elder news anchor of MTV, Kurt Loder.
Totally new to me department: I keep boasting about my extensive knowledge of Greek myths and it keeps biting me on the ass. I could not possibly have come up with Eurus, the [East] WIND. He is one of the four anemoi, or cardinal direction winds.
I had a lot of fun sussing this puzzle out, but it was tough. I was all ASEA.
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