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New York Times, Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Author:
Kevin Christian and Bradley Wilber
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
95/22/201311/27/20173
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0422010
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64011
Kevin Christian
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
512/19/200510/21/201725
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
001201434
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60001
Brad Wilber

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 36 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 6 for Mr. Christian. This is puzzle # 45 for Mr. Wilber. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
KEVIN: This is the first puzzle that Brad and I collaborated on chronologically, even though our Seuss-themed puzzle was published ... read more

KEVIN: This is the first puzzle that Brad and I collaborated on chronologically, even though our Seuss-themed puzzle was published last month. I first got the idea for this theme in early 2013 but I didn't do anything with it right away because I didn't have an ODIN theme answer that I liked. I considered GOOD IN MATH, but I thought it was kind of weak. I looked at other GOOD IN ???? possibilities, but never found anything that really grabbed me. I let the idea sit until one day I ran across MOOD INDIGO.

The hardest part of the grid was the SW. I wanted to use BORA at 38-Across but Brad talked me out of it and ultimately we went with the grid that you see here.

BRAD: When Kevin and I decided to work together on something, he sent me a handful of theme ideas, and I zeroed in on this one pretty quickly, as being fully formed and ready to go without any tweaking to the theme entries. We only have a small handful of Norse gods who are household names (one maybe shading into crosswordese), and Kevin had settled on some common but lively relevant phrases.

The original grid design had an excess of 3-letter words at the center, but we were able to add a pair of white squares back in and even jazz up some of the original fill in the swath from the NW to the SE. We did a bit of haggling over the NE and SE, but it was constructive and amiable, and the final result represents a nice melding of our styles.

Jeff Chen notes:
NORSE GODS hidden in colorful phrases. ODIN, THOR, LOKI, and … TYR? Apparently Kevin and Brad aren't afraid of getting on ... read more

NORSE GODS hidden in colorful phrases. ODIN, THOR, LOKI, and … TYR? Apparently Kevin and Brad aren't afraid of getting on Baldur, Frigg, Freyja, and Sif's bad side. Seriously though, it's too bad BALDUR doesn't get his due, as he has a great story, the "invincible" one getting killed by his one downfall, mistletoe. Someone have a famous kid named ARCHIBALD URANUS or something.

Tyr? Anybody? Bueller?

Great construction. There was so much excellent fill that I had to stop and admire it a few times during the solve. Five themers with a central 11 is a tough arrangement, so it's really cool that Kevin and Brad worked in BOSSMAN and LAW FIRM adjacent to that central TRUTH OR DARE. Great bonus material! I also liked those big SW and NE corners, with the juicy HEEL TAP, TELL MAMA, and EN VOGUE. Even BARRON was fun for this financial type (although BARRONS would have been much better).

Interesting to work in two Olympic figures, Matt BIONDI and SHANI Davis. I think the former is perfectly legit, with 11 medals, including five golds in one Games. SHANI Davis … I usually avoid that S???I pattern because SHANI is one of the few entries that works. But I read up more on him, and the fact that he's the first black athlete to win a Winter gold in an individual event is groundbreaking. Okay, he's perfectly fine too.

Took me a while to figure out why PIANO was an apt instrument for Alicia Keys. Keys. Keys! D'oh! Good one.

Nice to know that an EEL's blood is poisonous. Eel's blood vs. mistletoe? I'll take my chances on the latter.

Really strong execution. If TYR had been at ODIN, THOR, or LOKI's level, this would have been a serious contender for the POW.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0902 ( 24,039 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1. Platform for a drum set : RISER
6. Army E-3 : PFC
9. Rheumatic ills : ACHES
14. Japanese genre with voice actors : ANIME
15. Portfolio part, for short : IRA
16. Arles's river : RHONE
17. College prank popular in the '50s : PANTYRAID
19. Do the honors on Thanksgiving : CARVE
20. "Ooky" cousin on TV : ITT
21. Emailed, say : SENT
22. Surname on a financial weekly : BARRON
23. Cameron of "Charlie's Angels" : DIAZ
25. Classic Duke Ellington tune : MOODINDIGO
27. They may be determined by sonograms : SEXES
29. Hand-wringer's word : WOE
30. On the contrary : BUT
31. Head honcho : BOSSMAN
35. How a ship's sails may be positioned : ALEE
36. Slumber party game : TRUTHORDARE
38. Perlman of "Cheers" : RHEA
40. Place where people practice : LAWFIRM
41. Fish that's never served raw because its blood is poisonous : EEL
42. Parochial school teacher, maybe : NUN
43. Lollipop-loving character of 1970s TV : KOJAK
47. Japanese toon with a red bow : HELLOKITTY
52. Oblong tomato : ROMA
53. Leonard who wrote "Get Shorty" : ELMORE
54. Abound (with) : TEEM
56. Dark half of a Chinese circle : YIN
57. Game console pioneer : ATARI
58. They're hidden in 17-, 25-, 36- and 47-Across : NORSEGODS
60. Breaks, as a stallion : TAMES
61. Eliot's "cruellest" mo. : APR
62. Composer with a horn named for him : SOUSA
63. Hit bottom? : SPANK
64. "Don't text and drive" spot, for short : PSA
65. Invitation senders : HOSTS
Down
1. Rafter's challenge : RAPIDS
2. Headed for overtime : INATIE
3. Cigarette levy, e.g. : SINTAX
4. CPR expert : EMT
5. Margret and Hans, who created Curious George : REYS
6. Alicia Keys's instrument, aptly : PIANO
7. Crunchy corn chip : FRITO
8. No Mr. Right : CAD
9. Understood by few : ARCANE
10. Certain salad green : CHARD
11. Really, really bad : HORRIBLE
12. All-female group with the hit "Free Your Mind" : ENVOGUE
13. Cross-reference words : SEENOTE
18. "Losing My Religion" group : REM
22. Matt with 11 Olympic swimming medals : BIONDI
24. N.F.L. ref, slangily : ZEBRA
26. Tower over : DWARF
28. Nearly worthless old French coin : SOU
32. Acts of the Apostles writer, by tradition : STLUKE
33. Olympic speed skater Davis : SHANI
34. Do a golf course job : MOW
35. Cover of knight? : ARMOR
36. 1968 Etta James album : TELLMAMA
37. Craft for couples : ARK
38. Readies, as leftovers : REHEATS
39. Shoe lift : HEELTAP
42. Without a downside : NORISK
44. Happy, and then some : JOYOUS
45. In the heart of : AMIDST
46. Setting for Capote's "In Cold Blood" : KANSAS
48. Best Actress for "Two Women" : LOREN
49. Some 'Vette roofs : TTOPS
50. Earth, in sci-fi tales : TERRA
51. "What is it?" : YES
55. Fit together, as gears : MESH
58. Spend time in a hammock, say : NAP
59. Icky stuff : GOO

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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