Author: Joon Pahk
Theme: Phrases that contain Norse Gods (Odin, Thor, Tyr, and Loki).
- 18a: *Classic jazz composition by Duke Ellington and Barney Bigard (MOOD INDIGO). Great tune. Here's a little different version by Nina Simone.
- 28a: *Boundary of a black hole (EVENT HORIZON).
- 47a: *Common political principle (MAJORITY RULE).
- 59a: *Friend of the penguin Badtz-Maru (HELLO KITTY). I had absolutely no clue when I read this clue, figuring it was some reference to "Happy Feet" or something. But I've certainly heard of Hello Kitty, so it wasn't hard once I hit a few crossings.
- 53d: With 58-Across, what can be found in each of the answers to the asterisked clues (NORSE / GOD).
It definitely would have taken me longer to figure this theme out without the helper clues, especially since TYR is not as familiar to me as the others. But it's definitely a nice and well-executed theme, with each deity spanning the two-word phrases that contain them.
- 2d: Doll in the National Toy Hall of Fame (GI JOE). I still my old ones, minus a couple of hands and feet. The oldest has the smooth molded head; the other has the fuzzy buzz cut.
- 3d: Maestro Seiji (OZAWA). Formerly the head of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. A gimme for me.
- 25d: Result of a hook-and-eye connection? (SHINER). Excellent boxing reference here.
- 29d: Possible cause for an R (NUDITY). See? I don't always rise to the bait. Some things just scream for pictures; others I leave well-enough alone. Great fill though.
- 1a: They can be inflated (EGOS). I knew this even before I saw it was a 4-letter fill.
- 5a: "ER" costar of Julianna (ERIQ). I know I've mentioned this before, but it's been a long time since Eriq La Salle has been on "ER". Please, Eriq... do something else of note so we can update these stale references.
- 14a: Sphinx site (GIZA).
- 17a: "The blue dot cleanser" (AJAX). A couple of nice, Scrabbly short fills. I don't know if they still use that phrase in their advertising, but I certainly remember it from TV commercials growing up.
- 22a: Victim of Bart's prank calls (MOE).
- 23a: Two-___ (kind of fastball) (SEAMER). Easy for a baseball fan. There's also a four-seam fastball, which has different action on it due to the way airstream passes over the seams.
- 25a: Web user (SPIDER). I know you wanted us to put SURFER in there, didn't you. Luckily, I already had the I in there.
- 32a: Emmy winner Woodard (ALFRE). You're right, Karen M. Tracey, I remembered it this time. I even remember that her middle name is ETTE.
- 38a: Little biters (RED ANTS).
- 42a: Turn and river preceder in hold'em (FLOP). Some day, I'd like to play in the Main Event. That'll be after the kids are out of college, as there's no way I can front the entry fee right now.
- 44a: North Pole list header (NICE). As opposed to NAUGHTY. Which one are you on?
- 50a: Rock genre? (COMEDY). Chris Rock, that is.
- 55a: Rock genre (EMO). And, of course, EMO is also a comedian, so it's kind of a tight loop.
- 63a: Swift, e.g. (BIRD). Aww, Joon. We can't get a Larry clue here? How about "Johnson rival"?
- 4d: Zoot's instrument in Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem (SAX). Love the clue. The reference, if you don't know it, is to "The Muppet Show" band.
- 5d: "Freaky Deaky" author ___ Leonard (ELMORE).
- 6d: Quadratic formula solution (ROOT). The first of two mathy clues which, as a former math major, were gimmes for me.
- 8d: Abbr. that a proof reader might come across? (QED). This second one was well-disguised, which made it even nicer.
- 13d: Roadway writing (SLO). I've never seen SLO written in a roadway.
- 19d: Customs duty (IMPOST).
- 27d: Colleague of Lauer and Vieira (ROKER).
- 30d: Rockets star McGrady (TRACY).
- 31d: Cousin of a congo snake (NEWT). I didn't know this off-hand, but I'm glad it avoided yet another first-name reference.
- 34d: Nickname for a fast woman (FLO-JO).
- 39d: City hard by Vance AFB (ENID, OK.). I didn't parse this correctly until just now. I saw it as Enidok, which I was not at all comfortable with.
- 40d: Leaves in a bowl (SALAD). I've seen this clue before, so I wasn't fooled.
- 43d: Large citrus fruits (POMELOS).
- 59d: Haw's partner (HEM). You know it's either HEM or HEE.
- 61d: Lucy who voiced Viper in "Kung Fu Panda" (LIU).
Suns of Bitches:
- 35a: Former name of Broadway's George Gershwin Theatre (URIS).
- 56a: McFarlane who spawned the comic book "Spawn" (TODD).
- 64a: "Eight Men Out" author Asinof (ELIOT).
Nice theme and nice puzzle by Joon. Plenty of Scrabbly letters (in fact, it's a pangram, containing every letter at least once) with interesting fill and some clever cluing. Maybe a touch name-heavy, though it could have been moreso if EMO, BIRD, and NEWT had been clued differently. Everything was gettable from crossings, so all-in-all, it was an entertaining Wednesday.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.