Former colony that's gambling mecca / WED 11-7-18 / Meaning of Simba in Swahili / Tricky bowling situation / 1060s muscle car / Gin rummy combo / Baseball throw that might thwart squeeze play / Comic strip opossum

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Constructor: Timothy Polin

Relative difficulty: Easy (3:27)

THEME: PISA, ITALY (38D: Home to this puzzle's featured structure, as hinted at by the starts of the answers to the starred clues) — LEA / NIN / GTO / WER (?) spelled out and depicted in the grid, and then there's a bunch of themers that start with synonyms for "lean":

Theme answers:
  • TIP SHEETS (4D: *Bettors' aids)
  • ANGLE FOR (18A: *Seek surreptitiously)
  • TILT AT WINDMILLS (39A: *Fight imaginary enemies)
  • PITCH OUT (60A: *Baseball throw that might thwart a squeeze play)
Word of the Day: CAMELLIA (16A: Shrub used to make tea) —
  1. an evergreen eastern Asian shrub related to the tea plant, grown for its showy flowers and shiny leaves. (google)
• • •

This puzzle wins the Trying Too Hard award for the year, man. I mean ... so much stuff, and none of it works. It's kind of amazing. First, that tower ... it's leaning a preposterous, physically impossible amount. As an approximation of the Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italy, as you insist), it's hilariously off-the-mark. Then there's the fact that the revealer is absurd. PISA, ITALY? As opposed to PISA, TEXAS? And then the verbs at the "starts" of the theme answers aren't ones you'd ever use in relation to that tower. And then the tower itself is built out of discrete words (... kind of interesting ...) except the foundation, which is just -WER. And poor DELI's just sitting up there like "what about me? Come on, let me in! How 'bout this: DE LEANING TOWER!? That sounds good, right? Guys!" This puzzle is what happens when you draw something, and it's not quite right, so you add a new element, and now it's actually worse, so you try another little fix and, nope, still worse, and etc. Also, lots of crosswordese and also EOLIAN and CAMELLIA :(

LOL I almost forgot about MIDGUT, what the hizzeck is that? I'm literally laughing at that dumb answer. When would you even use that? "I hit him in the gut." "Which gut?" "Uh ... MIDGUT?" I mean, "gut" kinda already implies "mid," as in the midsection of your body. Also, the clue is dumb. Your intestines are ... you've seen anatomy textbooks and doctors' office diagrams and stuff, right? Your intestines are not in one place in your "gut" (still laughing at the scientific precision of all this). They are all over your "gut"—left to right, top to bottom. What is this answer? What is this clue? I'd redo the entire SW corner before I let MIDGUT stand.

Gonna go cap off this mixed-result but generally good election night with a shot of whiskey. Mwah!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


chefwen 2:22 AM  

Tuesday and Wednesday switched out? Much easier than yesterday’s puzzle with the stupid heroes. Got a little hung up in the SW but puzzle guy helped me with PITCH OUT, never heard of it. And ba da bing, we were done!

MID GUT, yuk.

Chaiminded 2:29 AM  

It is Macau not Macao!

jae 2:53 AM  

Easy-medium. Cute/clever, liked it more than @Rex did.

Horace S. Patoot 3:47 AM  

Midgut is a fine anatomical and embryological term relating to the intestines. It’s not used by people on the street, but isn’t that true of a lot of terms in crosswords?

John Child 3:53 AM  

Actually Macao is the more common spelling. Macau has gained popularity in the last few decades, but it’s still the variant spelling. See

Agreed that MIDGUT is sad, it I liked the puzzle a lot more than @Rex did.

ZenMonkey 4:19 AM  

Yeah, I dig it. I notice much of what Rex notices, but much less of it bothers me. I'm fine that the tower is an inexact representation; I get what they meant and it was cute.

Also never heard of PITCH OUT and hung up there; had PITCH in first because of the theme but only got the rest from the crosses. I guess I'm not as much of a baseball fan as I thought.

Loren Muse Smith 4:20 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 4:41 AM  

Entered the grid with the gimme EOLIAN. I adore curling up with a dainty little pot of camellia tea and my dog-eared book of Coleridge. Paganini on in the background.

Snort. I did learn EOLIAN here. Has to do with wind or something. See? I learned the word and didn’t whine about its esotericsomeness.

Man oh man, you tend to overthink this stuff, Rex. But that’s why you’re paid the big bucks. I just figured the tower was on the ground, so I didn’t have any issue whatsoever with the airborne DELI deal. PISA, ITALY was weird, but I just shrugged it off.

I actually got the trick with LEA and NIN. Boldly filled in the rest of the tower, glanced at the clue for 38D, and the rest was history.

MIDGUT didn’t really offend me, either. I thought about it and decided I’d rather have some funny business going on midgut. Any issue in the lower gut would feel more urgent.

The thing that ruined it for me was that the tower is leaning to the west. I always thought it leaned the other way.

The clue for EDNA made me pause. Seemed kinda random. The clue for 16A coulda been “shrub that anagrams to “llama ice.”

Off to school for the fifth day of a boil-water advisory. This means that our water fountains are covered in black garbage bags and the students are immediately, desperately thirsty all the time. I get it. I guess I feel thirstier, too, when I know there’s no water to drink. Add this to the fact that our faculty sink leaks when you wash your hands. C’mon… you see where this is going… water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink. Seriously.

Anonymous 4:49 AM  

The midgut is the embryologic origin of your intestines.. as opposed to the foregut which forms your mouth/esophagus/airways and hindgut which forms the last part of your large intestines. Agreed though, not a common term.

Lewis 6:08 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:10 AM  

This was a huge feat of construction, with 61 theme squares, and 49 of them symmetrical. Plus, there are three answers crossing that central spanner, two of them nine letters long. That the grid came out as clean as it did shows great skill.

But as always for me, the important question is how was the solve? I like the little word ladder of answers NIL/NIN/NAN/WAN, and I like how the circled answers did evoke that leaning tower feel. My only nit is that the cluing feels a bit easy for a Wednesday puzzle, and a bit too direct for this day of the week (although the EDITED clue is quite lovely). Overall, I'm inclined, as it were, to say that it gave me plenty of joy, and thank you for that Timothy!

Hungry Mother 6:32 AM  

Perfectly Wednesdayish. No SWEAT here, but crunchy enough to be fun.

OffTheGrid 6:36 AM  

Pretty easy and fun but DNF. I filled in all but one letter, no Googles or checks. I did not not know UMAMI or AMIS so the M got me. I made a couple of guesses then had to concede. Theme was easy. Mini theme BUST(ED), TATA, TIT(HE).

Michael 7:04 AM  

Natick on the EOLIAN / TALIA cross.
Got TILTATWINDMILLS before the leaning tower. iPhone app highlights the theme answers and they lit up in a sorta windmill shape, so thought maybe that was going to be the theme. Alas, PISAITALY

Know Your Guts 7:08 AM  

The gastrointestinal tract: foregut, the hindgut, and the midgut.

kitshef 7:26 AM  

Didn’t get a lot of joy out of this one. Cluing was just too on the nose, plus TOLD YA crosses YES YES, and somebody named LARS von Trier …

But what really bothered me is that the angle of the LEANING TOWER is nowhere near as severe is in the grid. The angle in the puzzle at least triple that of the actual tower. Why did this bother me so much? No idea. I’m guessing it’s because the overall easiness left my brain free to wander.

Also, the actual tower leans to the south, so I had to face east and hold the paper vertically while I solved.

There is a skyscaper called Capital Gate that leans about the same amount as the one in the paper, but ABU DHABI, UAE wouldn't quite fit in that PISA, ITALY slot.

mmorgan 8:18 AM  

I liked it more than Rex, though I pretty much predicted everything he objected to (MIDGUT, the extraneous ITALY, the shape of the "tower," etc.). I guess that's some sort of skill. However, I didn't expect him to pick on poor DELI.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

I had leaning tower but still thought (after stealing home/PITCHOUT) that that there was a baseball sub-theme (TOSS/STEAL/[KC]ROYALS) that would pacify Rex's reaction to all else!

chefbea 8:26 AM  

Fun puzzle !!! I have seen the leaning tower!!

@Loren muse smith..I sent you an e-mail...did you receive it?

GILL I. 8:36 AM  

NOT BAD. Clean and simple. Like a DELI bought cheese pizza made with Fontina.
Speaking of....UMAMI. Term coined by the Japanese in recent years. It's the so-called meaty taste that we don't get from the 4 other tastes. There have been interesting cook-offs with some mighty fine chefs. Imagine winning the UMAMI of the year award.
Two things bugged me. This would have fitted better in the Tuesday slot me thinks and the LEANING TOWER is leaning the wrong way in my estimation. I use me and my just so you know this is my opinion - subject to change.
Where is Don Quijote when we need him?

Suzie Q 8:40 AM  

This played OK and the visual was kinda cool.
You don't think the orientation of the tower is correct? Wow, now that is really really picky.

I don't know this Lars person but I actually cannot suggest another one. I didn't know pitch out either but at least we got our daily dose of baseball.
Considering how many answers relate to the theme I'd say we got off easy without too much to groan about.

michiganman 8:47 AM  

Which way does it lean?

East, @LMS
South, @kitshef

It's south.

How much does it lean?

More than depicted in the puzzle, @Rex
Less, @kitshef

Google search finds that degree of lean is 3.99 degrees. I no longer have a protractor so can't check grid. Anyone?

pmdm 9:10 AM  

I liked this puzzle and disliked the write-up. I wonder if Mr. Sharp first reads Mr. Chen's opinion, and if (as happened today) Jeff likesit a lot Mr. Sharp has to find silly things to tilt at. I suspect not, but sometimes it seems that way. The art of negative thinking seems to be on display. I accept that one doesn't like this puzzle. I think the reasoning of the analysis is a bit over the top.

I think I'm falling into the trap of getting too negative myself.

QuasiMojo 9:15 AM  

I have read NIL of the YARNS by the literary LION named NIN but I’m told she’s NOT BAD. She was no POE, but Gore Vidal had a TOSS with her.

Odd Sock 9:21 AM  

With Busted as clued for 1A I was ready for a decent Not Bad puzzle.
I agree this could have been switched with yesterday.
What I will remember most about today's review will be that Boy George video. It's a catchy little tune but wow. That has to be the worst video I've ever seen. I wish I hadn't clicked on it.
Funny word association though from camellia and chameleon.
Let's hope tomorrow asks a bit more from our little gray cells.

Nancy 9:22 AM  

Must say that I read -- and loved! -- Rex's critique today. As usual, I'd paid no attention to the annoying tiny little circles -- I pretty much never do. So when Rex informed/reminded me of the LEA/NIN/GTO/WER of Pisa theme, and of how ridiculously the tower was leaning, and of how the forlorn DELI might have made it DELEANING TOWER OF PISA, I howled. I also agree with him on the ridiculousness of MIDGUT. Nice review, Rex.

I found this boringly easy in the NW and SW, slightly harder in the NE, and moderately difficult in the SW. My favorite clue/answer was PITCHOUT. Couldn't see it without crosses. I was looking for some kind of THROW HOME or PEG HOME, but nothing fit. A fairly bland puzzle if you ignore the TOWER. An oddball puzzle if you don't.

Brian 9:28 AM  

From the left of the R in WER to the right of the G in GTO measures 3.5 degrees.
(Iphone Photo Protactor app)

Nancy 9:32 AM  

The things people know or think they know on this blog never fail to amaze me. @Loren thinks the tower leans to the east, @kitshef thinks it leans to the west. @Michiganman picked up the discrepancy about an hour ago and gives the definitive [researched] answer. Meanwhile I'm left thinking that I may be the only person on the blog who had absolutely no idea which way the tower leans and had never thought about it even once.

Z 9:41 AM  

Muse’s EOLIAN riff caused a sincere belly laugh.

You might be doing too many puzzles when EOLIAN goes in with nary a wasted nanosecond.

Man O Man, that EDNA clue. wasted many precious nanoseconds on that whole anagram business. It would have much better for me to have stopped reading at “Woman’s name.”

Thanks to all for the MIDGUT explication.

Your Daily Elvis Costello.
The Sound of Silence just because.

Bree140 9:46 AM  

Rex, you're "literally laughing" at MIDGUT? Is that different
from figuratively laughing? If I were a college professor
and a student handed in a paper in which she said she
"literally laughed" about something, I would suggest that
she probably meant to say that she "actually laughed"
about it.

I realize that some dictionaries say that "literally" may be
used to mean "figuratively" as a means of adding
emphasis to something that could not literally have
occurred. So (if one accepts this somewhat loose
definition) one might say that she "literally busted
a gut laughing", but "literally laughing" ... just no.

pabloinnh 10:00 AM  

EOLIAN or AEOLIAN with one of those squished ae things I can't make on my keyboard is a word you run into in an English course dealing with the Romantics and once seen is hard to forget, so no problem there.

A PITCHOUT is a ball a batter can't hit, formerly described as "high and away" but these days the preference is for "up and out". I'm not sure when that change occurred but it did, pitches are now not "low" but "down", for instance. Time marches on.

Thought this puzzle was fun, and since fun=good, a good puzzle.

JC66 10:10 AM  


Why doesn't @Rex follow his own advise and Google stuff he doesn't know before ranting?

From his FAQs:

16. The puzzle has an error! I am indignant!

99% of the time, you (the complainer) are wrong. Sometimes the clue is inelegant. Sometimes the clue is stretching the meaning of a certain word. Sometimes the clue is using a word in a way you aren't thinking of or haven't heard of. But flat-out errors are Rare. Very Rare. So reconsider your position. Then, if you must, see 15, above.

Kieran Kramer 10:14 AM  

Timothy, this was a lot of fun! Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle!!! I couldn't construct this in a million years, so hats off to you.

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

EOLIAN is a great word. There are the Æolian islands, just north of Sicily, named for the wind god Æolus. An "æolian harp" is a symbol for poetry and, finally, "eolian" is the French word for an electricity generating wind turbine. Interesting that the word appears in the same puz as "windmills."

Unknown 10:15 AM  

The direction in which the tower is leaning (left, right, etc) depends strictly on the point of view of the observer

Colin Richardson 10:20 AM  

Thank you, that's a given. Made that corner awkward till I saw tie one on

Banana Diaquiri 10:24 AM  

anyone who watches that Effete '60 Minutes' will recall that concrete residential tower in San Francisco that's sinking and leaning. trouble is, it's in the middle of other towers. LToP, not so much. concrete construction is both cheaper and heavier than structural steel. not a good idea in not-bedrock places. most of The Donald's (lock him up!!) buildings are such. are you surprised??

Banana Diaquiri 10:28 AM  

A PITCHOUT is a ball a batter can't hit, formerly described as "high and away"

close, but no cigar. high and away is a standard pitch, meant to flummox the batter. it is caught by the catcher, who doesn't move from his position. a PITCHOUT is typically thrown outside of the opposite batter's box, requiring the catcher to stand up and move to the ball, thus giving him a clear shot at the runner. I know, picking a nit, but the Saux won.

Civility 10:51 AM  

Why write a review in that style? When you write, show some humility for the fact that all you do is criticize, instead of being the Trump of the crossworld.

Fun puzzle. Enjoyed myself, which is the point of the little daily amusement.

Banana Diaquiri 11:05 AM  

instead of being the Trump of the crossworld.

man, that's wicked cruel.

Roo Monster 11:09 AM  

Hey All !
Well, I thought this was a great puz! Sure, the TOWER may lean Southerly in actual direction, but I agree with @Unknown 10:15 in that it depends where you are physically when looking at it.
So we're in PISA, ITALY, standing on the East of said TOWER, then puz is spot-on. YES YES. AFRAID SO. Har (if my DITSY directon-ness is wrong, just use your imagination as to what I'm trying to say) :-).

Timothy got just about all the common LEAN synonyms in here. TILT, TIP, ANGLE, PITCH. Plus they are symmetrical, with the revealer AND having to get the actual TOWER in, actually leaning. So a great feat of puzzle making. I'm surprised it fit into a regular type grid, not having to go to left-right symmetry.

Rex's rumblings about EWER and DELI not contributing all of their answers is preposterous. Stop looking for Will bashing moments, and get back to enjoying neat feats of puzzledom like this.

SW corner got me good. Couldn't get actual surfing out of the ole brain, so Wave went in and out several times. 54D was todo-SniY-SPAT. ODE and USO wickedly clued, making the Acrosses tough. Plus not getting that last synonym of LEAN as PITCH also messing me up. So had to use Check feat finally fanangle that corner.

But still an enjoyable puz. TOLD YA.


Michael Collins 11:14 AM  

threw down 16A HIBISCUS, downhill from there.

Flying Pediatrician 11:16 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Masked and Anonymous 11:22 AM  

Leanin' Tower of Circled Weejects! What's not to like? [other than MIDGUT]

@RP: Nope. nope. nope. Leanin Tower of Texas is in Groom, TX.
Also, I'm pretty much with @muse: Makes some good sense that the leanin circled tower pic would be firmly anchored to the bottom [ground] part of the grid canvas. Sooo … ok by m&e.
Do agree with U, that LEA-NIN-GTO-WER's finale non-WERd might get a microscopically slightly desperate har. But, no biggie. Call it a quaint building defect.

staff weeject pick: HOO. With a primo moo-cow eazy-E MonPuzlike clue of {"Boo-___!"}. Well ... at least boo-hoo-cow eazy-E.


Thanx for the eazy-E fun, Mr. Polin. NOTBAD.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


David Schinnerer 11:26 AM  

You guys have to know Mike was in that group in high school that sat in the corner criticizing everything as “lame”, meanwhile getting no enjoyment out of life, because that seemed “cool”. He is still that person. If he doesn’t know something, it’s not valid. “Midgut...never heard of it”. Never mind that it IS valid in the real world, as explained above by people who DO know stuff. And never, ever admit that something is fun or enjoyable...there goes your cool rating. Then he picks on the depiction of a leaning tower in a grid made of connected squares? Maybe the constructor should have used half squares. So I suppose abstract, cubism, etc. art is not Sharpe’s cup of tea? “Things aren’t shaped like that!”

Jeesh, what a tool! Can’t even imagine how miserable that home must be...

Whew! Sorry for the rant. I am always appreciative of these human beings (with feelings) that take their time to offer me a few moments (or a LOT of moments, many times) of escape before I start my day. And to bash their work just rankles.

Great day, all!

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

The community of the midgut challenged is the next up and coming political pressure group, so don't micro aggress us. Actually, it was the weird clue for USO that baffled me. Why not just use CIA-front group and be honest about it?

Z 11:37 AM  

@Odd Sock - Not knowing your musical tastes, let me still suggest that either of the videos I linked to today would serve as a good aural palate cleanser.

@Bree140 - Mayhap Rex was laughing
you know
like out loud
not “figuratively” as in was amused by
but actually literally laughing.
Unlike “aural palate cleanser,” which was

@JC66 - Uh, Rex never said MIDGUT was an error. “When would you even use that?” Now we know, if you’re an embryologist or pediatrician. So accurate but obscure. Is it common enough to be crossworthy? I’d say yes, now. I wouldn’t have even considered that “gut” had any specific scientific usage prior to today. It seems pretty colloquial to me, so I understand Rex’s response.

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

Wanna know how I know Rex has never had a hard conversation with a doctor about someone gravely ill with cancer in the transverse colon?

Rex, I assure you the midgut is not only a real term ( and place), on certain floors of some hospitals it's uttered a hundred times a day. It's literally a correct.
I pray you never talk to a doctor about it. If you do, you'll know what punch in the gut feels like and how figurative and literal things aren't alike at all.

Matthew G. 12:04 PM  

Correct — a pitchout is not meant to fool the batter and is an assured ball, but may help to catch a runner. A high and away pitch, by contrast, may be an attempt to get a hitter to chase the pitch foolishly.

GHarris 12:13 PM  

Respectfully, both of you miss the mark. A pitch out has always been a pitch out and remains so. @banana accurately describes the mechanics but if you read the clue more carefully, the pitch, in this instance, is intended not to position the catcher to throw out a baserunner attempting to steal but rather to prevent the batter from bunting the ball as the runner from third heads home (ie prevent a successful squeeze play).

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

It was Macao that got me. I've only seen it as Macau. So that kind of made the SW corner tougher than it might have been. Rest of the puzzle was pretty easy.

Anoa Bob 12:51 PM  

I've always seen 66A EOLIAN spelt AEOLIAN, after the Ancient Greek god of the wind, Aeolus. My trusty old Random House does not list the A-less version, but I'm sure someone, somewhere does. I'm familiar with the term as the name of a harp that is designed to played solely by the wind, hence AEOLIAN Harp. Here's an example of one on the beach near the shore around sunrise.

Teedmn 12:51 PM  

The SW made me SWEAT a bit when I couldn't think of anything WITHIN reason that would fit in 46D and I fell for the "surf" misdirection of 55D and put in Wave, sheesh. And spelled 48D as MACAu. But I finally saw the PITCH OUT and fixed it all.

A rather odd theme but with the leaning words, the LEANING TOWER in circles and the revealer, it is a pretty nice feat. Thanks, Timothy Polin.

Masked and Anonymous 12:53 PM  

Thanx to all the primo smarter-than-m&e commenters for all the good info on that gutsy MIDGUT debut-word puzentry. Part of what I always enjoy about this blog … all the new stuff U learn, here. Research via the M&A Help Desk official dictionary did verify that MIDGUT is indeed a valid thingama-gutter.

I sometimes worry that all these talented puz constructioneers might not feel properly appreciated, since we commenters maybe tend, now and then, to jump on a raised-by-the-debut-wolves entry that sort of makes us wonder "W.hat O.n E.arth have we here?". M&A thinks that almost all NYT-sized x-wordpuzs, definitely includin this puppy, are amazin little miracles of the mind. We're lucky to have all these folks who luv to create em.

Shoot -- Constructioneers might even rate more under-appreciated respect here than letter U's. [That's a big amount, btw.]


p.s. While I'm here, allow me to also lavish a little respect-praise on snark-o-potamus rex blogmeister @RP. Keep stirrin up the pot for us all, my son. har

jberg 12:58 PM  

I did notice that the ITALY was superfluous, and not something one would ever say, and that the central tower violated puzzle symmetry by having a bottom but no top. But geez, how else are you gonna do this one? And it was worth it for the clever theme.

As I read all the comments by the medically knowledgeable, it sounds like the MIDGUT literally is the small intestine, rather than the region of the body where it is found (which is what the clue asks for); but good enough for a crossword, I guess.

I had CAMomile before CAMMELIA (and wanted CAMelia before that), but it's not a bad answer, anyway. There's an annual CAMMELIA Show here in Boston, or at least used to be, so there's that.

Umm, guys, pretty sure @Loren was trolling you with that leaning West thing. You fell for it, too. You can get even with her by pretending not to understand her Coleridge joke.

JC66 1:02 PM  


@Rex writing that MIDGUT is obscure isn't what I was referring to. However, what @Rex wrote ("Your intestines are not in one place in your "gut" (still laughing at the scientific precision of all this). They are all over your "gut"—left to right, top to bottom") is saying MIDGUT (Intestines locale) is wrong, Check this out.

pabloinnh 1:03 PM  

@Matthew G.

Fellow baseball fans: I know perfectly well what a pitch out is, having seen hundreds of them, and if my abbreviated description was insufficient, my apologies. My intention was to give a brief idea of what was meant by the term to someone entirely unfamiliar with it, as some solvers seemed to be. Of course your further explanations are also correct.

Also, Red Sox.

Banana Diaquiri 1:11 PM  


well... if you're on third, there are two kinds of squeeze: suicide and safety. for the former, a PITCHOUT is contraindicated, since the only way to get the runner out is to throw a fastball over the plate. the runner takes off with the windup; he's committed from the getgo. the less the catcher has to do, the better. OTOH, for a safety squeeze, the runner/TB coach measure the pitcher before taking off. in this case, a PITCHOUT will discourage all but the dumbest runner from taking off. if the fielding team has copped the signals of the runner's team, they'll know if a safety squeeze has been called and will PITCHOUT. if they cop that a suicide squeeze has been called, then fastball down the pike. with a suicide undetected, neither the pitcher nor catcher, can call for a PITCHOUT, since the runner takes off once the pitcher starts his delivery. inside baseball.

Joey from the Bronx. FTLT 1:14 PM  

@pabloinnh you have a type on your last post. You left off "suck".

Doc John 1:56 PM  

As explained above by the other medical professionals in this thread, MIDGUT is indeed a valid term, described accurately in the clue. Rex's objection to it because he's never heard of it makes him sound EXACTLY LIKE TRUMP. The difference, of course, is that Rex will actually learn from criticism.
(Yesterday we restored some sense of stability- yay!)
And I liked the Leaning Tower concept. CAMELLIA and EOLIAN both easily gettable through crosses (I didn't even see the clue for CAMELLIA.)

Gregory Schmidt 2:06 PM  

Not bad other than the Natticky vowel cross of EWER and EOLIAN. As a musician, I'm certainly familiar with the "A-olian" scale, and I think I've heard of the "Eolian Harp", although I guess I'd never seen it spelled out. I couldn't remember if EWER was ewer or ewar, so guessed an A (based on my experience with A-olian). When that was wrong, figured it must be ewer. Sure enough.

Z 2:20 PM  

Spoiler: Baseball nerdiness to follow

@Banana D1:11 - You have it backwards. A team wants to PITCH OUT on a suicide squeeze. The runner is coming, the ball is waiting for him at home. Unless we’re talking Billy Hamilton type speed or a pitcher incompetent at keeping the runner on third close, the attempted steal of home will fail. A PITCH OUT is contraindicated on a safety squeeze because the runner doesn’t break for home until the bunt is laid down. A PITCH OUT on a safety squeeze is just giving the batter a ball. Either way, the play is thwarted.

As for the high/low versus up/down discussion, I think it just depends on the announcer and context.

@JC66 - I see your point but I don’t buy it. We have lots of examples of people saying an answer is wrong. Rex doesn’t really state anything about MIDGUT, instead he asks three times what it is. Your one sentence example could be taken to mean he is saying it is wrong, but within the overall tenor of the paragraph it seems clear to me Rex is only saying that MIDGUT is a term to avoid. Again, there is merit to your interpretation, it’s just not how I read that paragraph.

JC66 2:59 PM  


Well, at least I can take comfort In the fact that several other commenters seemed to agree with me and felt that it was necessary to correct @Rex. ;-)

Monty Boy 3:27 PM  

I liked this one a lot. As a student of language and crossword fluidity, I have no problem with how far the tower leans. Some of my foundation engineering students have done reports on the tower, and there have been repairs to halt the leaning and some success in correcting it. My take is that saying 3.99 degrees is way too precise. About 4 degrees is better. And an angle built in a crossword grid is acceptable too.

On a different topic: The clue/answer for Fountains of Wayne yesterday prompted a lot of comment. I offer the following Frazz comic from today:

Peter P 3:28 PM  

This one was fun, although very easy for a Wednesday. I finished it in probably my second or third fastest Wednesday time ever. Main stumbles were not knowing what a CAMELLIA is, so I needed all the down clues to help fill that one out. (I almost went the camomile route, but that's usually spelled "chamomile" and the downs I was sure of didn't let me fit it in.) EOLIAN Harp was an easy one, and not one I know from crosswords. We learned what one of those was in grade school, for some reason, although we spelled it "aeolian." (Plus there is also usage of the word in music theory, as the Aeolian mode, aka the natural minor scale.) But the spelling was easily inferrable knowing how many words lose the "a" in "ae" combinations.

MIDGUT is perfectly cromulent.

Nice puzzle, but somewhere between Monday and Tuesday level for me.

BarbieBarbie 5:28 PM  

Can’t believe nobody responded to @michiganman. The tower’s puzzle-lean is about 3/11, counting the squares, which is about a 15 degree tilt. But a 5 degree tilt would have looked stupid. I thought this was a cute idea and a fun puzzle.

Smirkin 6:41 PM  

I threw in “Macau” immediately off the “M” and took me a while until I saw “tie one on” because of that “u/o” discrepancy…

Z 5:05 AM  

@JC66 - HeHe - No doubt. Which is why one should always be careful about saying anything is “wrong.”

rondo 10:35 AM  

In 1990 the tower leaned at an ANGLE of 5.5 degrees, but following remedial work between 1993 and 2001 this was reduced to 3.97 degrees.

Approximating the lower plane, if our TOWER is drawn in 2 dimensions, the “lean” from the bottom left of the R to the top left of the L = 14.036 degrees. The tan is 3/12 or 0.25 which correlates to said ANGLE.

Any clue containing “supermodel” is an automatic yeah baby, especially for Kate UPTON. HOT.

No write-overs. Easy puz.

thefogman 11:26 AM  

TOLDYA! Rex thinks this puzzle is a PISA crap. A steaming HOT PILE. My MIDGUT had a feeling he'd hate it. It's a themer - which he rarely likes. But it's NOTBAD at all. YESYES, there is a bit of dodgy fill, but it was no SWEAT to complete and HOLY smokes it was fun to solve. ALAS, I had a couple of erasures, but that's par for the course on Wednesday. I see Rex is ready to TIEONEON after yet another SPAT. To constantly TILTATWINDMILLS WITHIN the NYT can make one thirsty or ILL enough to reach for the whiskey. Is he being a bit of a WHALER or perhaps an ALFA male on this one? I'm AFRAIDSO!

spacecraft 11:38 AM  

Meh. Broke it with the gridspanner gimme. Pretty much what @OFL said. I don't mind MIDGUT that bad--only a little--but ANGLEFOR for "seek surreptitiously?" Well, I buy it--but it's a ha-ard sell.

What @rondo said re DOD, with honorable mention to "Yo Adrian!" Par.

Burma Shave 12:22 PM  


DEAN’S large-BUSTED GALPAL is NOTBAD, (his POE WIFI never met),
OMG, those TATAs in a SPEEDO clad: so HOT it makes you SWEAT.


Diana, LIW 12:43 PM  

PSSSSST!! Here I am - over here.

Missed a couple of days. Went to a ballet (Nutcracker, if you must know - then on to a wonderful din din) on Sunday, but Mr. W was already getting a cold. The (2 hour) ride home was very long with him not feeling so well.

So Monday and Tuesday I was keeping the bedroom (where my computer is lurking) dark and quiet so Mr. W could sleep and get better. Even went to a Macy's sale (did you miss it?) to get him some PJs.

Monday's puzzle was Monday easy, but I had the dumbest of dumb mistakes yesterday. Shan't tell you what it was in case you haven't done the puz yet - spoilers and all that.

Yes, PISA,ITALY is like "Washington State." (vs. D.C.) Really? You didn't know the forest was in the state, and not D.C.? You thought Puget Sound was across the avenue from the White House? A newspaper columnist I often read has a real nit to pick about Washington State in articles. So here's to PISA. Just PISA. Where there is a tower. Which leans.

And oh yes - thanks @Rondo for the shout-out on Monday - @Teed told me we were mentioned. Remember, @Ron-man, we'll always have cat videos. Just like Mr. Hill.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 3:42 PM  

A mixed bag of goodies here. Circles, asterisks, a graphic, revealing clues, and a revealer. Like a bag of party treats that you might not want to snarf down.

Slowed down a bit for some reason by line-up of OMG, ALFA, LION, and LARS in the NE. Also a stray head scratch before EDNA/DANE anagram (European "native"? Okay).

One write-over: DITzY before DITSY.

Baseball mini-theme: ERA (earned run average), PITCHOUT, TOSS, STEAL, and Kansas City ROYALS.

Kinda entertaining. Liked it.

rainforest 3:50 PM  

Interesting puzzle. There seemed to be some consternation that maybe the angle of lean was excessive. If you visit PISA ITALY, there are some locations from which it seems to be leaning at a lesser or greater angle than it seems close up. The thing I found curious was the vision of Don Quixote galloping through Tuscany. Maybe THE TOWER would be something he'd tilt at. That's my MIDGUT feeling. Har.

Speaking of that entry, I had my MIDGUT opened up by a 12-inch incision last year, and that was the terminology used by the surgeon. Felt like I'd been hit by a truck afterwards.

Grid art is a hit-or-miss thing, and this one at least gets the idea across which is all you can ask for. Plus, Kate UPTON.


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