When I think about Boston this overwhelmingly sad feeling takes over. I missed out on seeing The Pixies when they were good. I more or less stopped drinking so weekend trips to get Trillium no longer make sense. Even the BoSox 2018 World Series title has been tainted recently. It all makes me wanna grow up to be...be a debaser.
Oh, you were probably expecting the recent Boston casque find to be included in the above, weren't you? I'm actually quite okay with what went down in Boston. The North End has been discussed for years(yes people picked up on this beside Krupat) and home plate in the image was pointed out long ago. Sure, I along with many of you chose to ignore these things. That was a huge mistake which hopefully I have learned from and can apply to other puzzles.
What did I learn?
First and foremost, the Boston puzzle was based heavily on misdirection. Once you understand that verse 3 points to Boston, the wording over several lines tricks the brain to think about Fenway. I am supporting the misdirection with the Japanese hint, a hint could lead immediately to an answer. I'm not sure that a hint would lead to the answer per se but there is a high likelihood it would completely ruin the misdirection.
Secondly, pay very close attention to the literary clues as they may be more important than we thought. The first four lines of verse three are essential to putting you in the proper area of the city and getting to the dig spot.
There may be line splits in the verses. There is absolutely no reason to include Who pass in this verse unless you are to combine Near those and Who pass as a reference to Copp's Hill Burying Ground.
I'll break down the entire verse based not necessarily on the simplest interpretation but what appears to make the most logical sense. This after all is a puzzle and was not by any means simple. The most likely dig spot is 5 steps from home plate walking towards the water with your back to the stairs. North places you in the North End, it doesn't tell you which way to walk.
If Thucydides is
North of Xenophon
Take five steps
In the area of his direction
The Horace Walpole quote from one of his letters to Horace Mann can be found in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations(the same book that you can find the Melville quote from V1). Remember that V1 Japanese hint about a book of quotations? Maybe we do need books for this puzzle but anyways. End game, we should take five steps in the North End of Boston.
A green tower of lights
I'll buy into the lighting surrounding the baseball/softball fields. The bridge could definitely work though.
In the middle section
It makes a ton of sense to go with the middle ball field for this one. Field is even a synonym for section which surprised me when I looked it up.
Who pass the coliseum
I personally like the wordplay of Copp's Hill as stated above. Coliseum has to be either the field or the hockey rink but why point to the field again? It seems to me that he is saying, find the middles field. It is near Copp's Hill, the hockey rink, and our next line - Old Ironsides
With metal walls
Metal - Iron, walls - sides...it's just too good. Chain link fence? Yikes....
Face the water
Do it, face that water.
Your back to the stairs
Put that back to the stairs.
Feel at home
Stand on that plate.
All the letters
Are here to see
This could very well reference the painting and the semaphore flags that appear to be iron on the sides of our witch. Also, could the letters point to the literary reference needed? The Horace Walpole letters to Horace Mann.
Lit by lamplight
In truth, be free.
The tie to Andrew Puopolo is very good. He was a Harvard(veritas-truth from the Harvard seal) student and football player who was stabbed and murdered in 1976. This event and it's trial was national news. One of the most highly publicized Boston murder trials in the 70's. If you read the paper or watched television, you were aware of this case.
One last interesting thing that has been pointed out is a potential anagram of all of the first letters from the verse. INTIAINWWFYFAAETLI = WTF II ITALIAN FENWAY....Byron pokes fun at his own puzzle with a brilliant anagram of What the fuck to Italian Fenway. Thanks BP, I know that many of us felt exactly this way when we heard the news.
Congrats to Jason Krupat for making those connections. As they say, often times it's not what you know but who you know and that pulled another casque from the ground. I dig it and hope you do too! Keep those promises folks and Until The Next Time...I'm Shipping Up To Boston!