Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Wednesday's New York Times crossword puzzle solved: November 7, 2018

My time: 7:09.

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Timothy Polin takes us on a whirlwind adventure to PISA, ITALY, where the famous landmark is.  What famous landmark?  Well, four themed answers hint at it: ANGLE FOR ("seek surreptitiously"), TIP SHEETS ("bettors' aids"), TILT AT WINDMILLS, and PITCH OUT.

This last, a "baseball throw that might thwart a squeeze play," was Greek to me, as is "squeeze play."  A PITCH OUT is "a ball that is intentionally thrown high and outside the strike zone with the purpose of preventing a stolen base, thwarting a hit and run, or to prevent a run-scoring play on a suicide squeeze play. The pitcher delivers the ball in such a manner for it to be unhittable and in a position where the catcher can quickly leap to his feet to catch it."  A squeeze play, a.k.a. the squeeze bunt, is basically bunting to get a man on base.  A suicide squeeze is when the runner on third goes for it even before the pitch.

So much tedious baseball.

Back to the grid.  In the middle, sections of grid running down, connected diagonally, spell out LEA / NIN / G TO / WER.  Of Pisa!

CAMELLIA sinensis is a shrub whose leaves and buds are used to make tea.

Coleridge's "The EOLIAN Harp" is a 1795 poem addressed to his future wife, but meditating on man's relationship with nature.

MELD came up as a play in canasta on January 11, but today it's clued as "gin rummy combo."  Melds are groups in rummy also, either three or four of a kind, or sequences of three or more consecutive cards.

Clever clues: "Got ready to run?" is EDITED --- as in run a story in a paper.  "Surfing aid" is WIFI.  "Tribute that may be urned?" is ODE.

Would have done better on this if I knew anything about baseball?  AFRAID SO.  Well, whether EWER doing well or poorly, at least you learn something from the crossword.  This one has a nice theme, very clever grid arrangement, and NOT BAD clues.  And with that, TA-TA.

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