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New York Times, Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Author:
Timothy Polin
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
5012/11/20118/8/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
74962202
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
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.

1
B
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U
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D
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N
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C
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H
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1107 ( 25,201 )

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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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