Comment on WordPress Theme Development by SEO Dave.
If you bought Talian three years ago you were automatically upgraded to Stallion when I was looking for feedback on Stallion 6.0: basically when Stallion 6 was in beta release gave all Talian 5 users Stallion for free. Info about this at Talian 5 Theme Support (Stallion 7.1.1 zip file download link on the right as well).
I won’t be taking the Talian 5 code as it currently is any further (will fix major bugs of course), I plan to use the Stallion 7 core code minus non-Talian colour schemes as the next Talian update because Stallion is so much better in all aspects (next Stallion update adding Google Panda Busting SEO features you won’t find anywhere else), but haven’t figured out how to do the Talian 5 to Talian 7 (using Stallion code) yet without a massive amount of work. Since you probably already have a Stallion ID would make sense to update to Stallion 7 which will give you dozens of new features that’s not part of Talian 5: Stallion includes the Talian 5 colour schemes and Talian layout.
It would be a LOT more CSS code changes to get Talian to do what you want than Stallion, Stallion includes 12 layout CSS files for the different layouts, one of the left sidebar layouts (there’s 3 of them) would be a much easier starting point than the Talian 5 css file. I personally wouldn’t attempt it with Talian 5.
Regarding the layout you propose I took a look at the New York Times and didn’t see it in action, example link?
If I’ve understood what you want it would be a cool layout and I’m thinking about trying to add it to Stallion even if it is a pain to get the code working with all Stallion features.