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New York Times, Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Author:
Timothy Polin
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4812/11/201111/7/20182
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74962002
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1.626140
Timothy Polin

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JKQVXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 48 for Mr. Polin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
The LEA/NIN/GTO/WER – literally leaning! Another Tim (Croce) and I had bandied around this idea years ago, but we couldn't find ... read more

The LEA/NIN/GTO/WER – literally leaning! Another Tim (Croce) and I had bandied around this idea years ago, but we couldn't find enough relevant theme material to flesh it out. We were aiming for a Sunday, where I was originally hoping we'd be able to represent Galileo on top of the LEANING TOWER, dropping an apple to the ground.

(There are so many things wrong with that …)

I'm envious of Tim (Polin)'s much stronger notion today. I like the way he fleshed it out – TIP, ANGLE, TILT, PITCH all hinting at the leaning-ness-osity. And PISA ITALY rounds things out nicely.

Also nice that LEA NIN GTO EWER breaks out into decent entries, too! It would have been just about perfect if Tim had made the ___WER slot one square longer so he could have turned EWER into SEWER, but what are you gonna do. It's already a tricky grid layout given how the trigrams need to be chunked apart, requiring so many black squares deployed in the center.

Speaking of black square deployment, you might be wondering why Tim left his SW / NE corners so wide open. Triple-stacked long answers, like in a themeless? That usually isn't done, at least not by sane people! Well, Tim didn't have a choice, given that he'd already spent so many of his black squares in the middle of the puzzle – note that the grid has the max allowable 78 words.

Tim did so well in those corners. I love SNOWBALL, AFRAID SO, TIE ON ONE (says this Taiwanese boy). Along with great mid-length fill like BUSTED, GAL PAL, SPEEDO, Tim's excellent gridsmanship came through in spades. All of the themage, plus great long fill … and only a HOO to show for it?

There's a reason why he's won a ton of POW!s.

This one could easily have been my POW! choice – I wish Tim (Croce) and I had seen this direction way back when – but there's one coming up that I absolutely love.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1107 ( 25,201 )
Across
1. "Caught you!" : BUSTED
7. Rapidly increase in size : SNOWBALL
15. Britain, Spain or France, once : EMPIRE
16. Shrub used to make tea : CAMELLIA
17. Bachelorette party attendee : GALPAL
18. *Seek surreptitiously : ANGLEFOR
19. Author Kingsley : AMIS
20. Under the weather : ILL
22. Faculty heads : DEANS
23. Mormon's donation : TITHE
25. Got ready to run? : EDITED
28. Woman's name that's an anagram of a European native : EDNA
30. Stylish, '60s-style : MOD
31. All the rage : HOT
34. Maker of Team USA swimsuits : SPEEDO
37. Nada : NIL
38. Comic strip opossum : POGO
39. *Fight imaginary enemies : TILTATWINDMILLS
42. "Such a shame!" : ALAS
43. Clearance item holder : BIN
44. "For sure!" : YESYES
45. Deep desire : YEN
46. Ashen : WAN
47. Occasion to dress up : GALA
48. Intestines' locale : MIDGUT
50. Airheaded : DITSY
54. Hard effort, metaphorically : SWEAT
57. "The Cask of Amontillado" writer : POE
59. "Toodle-oo!" : TATA
60. *Baseball throw that might thwart a squeeze play : PITCHOUT
63. Captain Ahab, e.g. : WHALER
65. "Regrettably, it's true" : AFRAIDSO
66. Coleridge's "The ___ Harp" : EOLIAN
67. Get wasted : TIEONEON
68. Commoners' superiors : ROYALS
Down
1. Sired : BEGAT
2. So-called "fifth taste" : UMAMI
3. Tricky bowling situation : SPLIT
4. *Bettors' aids : TIPSHEETS
5. ___ of Good Feelings : ERA
6. New York's Katz's, for one : DELI
7. Burn with water : SCALD
8. Indian flatbread : NAN
9. "U can't b serious!" : OMG
10. Joined with a torch : WELDED
11. Not be colorfast : BLEED
12. ___ Romeo : ALFA
13. Meaning of "Simba" in Swahili : LION
14. Film director ___ von Trier : LARS
21. Grassy expanse : LEA
24. Source of medieval Norse poetry : EDDA
26. Declaration made while anteing up : IMIN
27. "What'd I say?!" : TOLDYA
29. Halfway decent : NOTBAD
31. Fit to be canonized : HOLY
32. Eye hungrily : OGLE
33. Throw out : TOSS
34. Bit of training accompanying "Sit!" and "Speak!" : STAY
35. Stack (up) : PILE
36. Verve : ELAN
37. Diarist Anaïs : NIN
38. Home to this puzzle's featured structure, as hinted at by the starts of the answers to the starred clues : PISAITALY
40. Improvise, with "it" : WING
41. Gin rummy combo : MELD
46. ___ reason : WITHIN
47. 1960s muscle car : GTO
48. Former colony that's a gambling mecca : MACAO
49. Supermodel and actress Kate : UPTON
51. Shire of "Rocky" : TALIA
52. Total bargain : STEAL
53. Exaggerated accounts : YARNS
54. Dustup : SPAT
55. Surfing aid : WIFI
56. Raison d'___ : ETRE
58. Wide-mouthed jug : EWER
61. Tribute that may be urned? : ODE
62. Nonprofit grp. that works with the Defense Department : USO
64. "Boo-___!" : HOO

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

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