Where There Never Was A Puzzle (collab with Norah Sharpe)

Hey, remember that 15x themed puzzle I promised? It's here! And it's another collab with Very Good Crossword Person Norah Sharpe.

Stephen Sondheim was hugely influential in the theater world--and, it turns out, the cryptic crossword world (see Ben Zimmer's article). Therefore, it's no surprise this isn't the first tribute puzzle (see puzzles by Francis Heaney, Brian CimmetNo-Feet McGee, and Andrew Ries), but as a musical geek and a proponent of the "holy shit! two cakes!" school of creativity, I had to have a go at it. The news of his death (and the realization that our revealer was 15 letters long) hit shortly before I had a long car ride and little to do but ponder theme ideas. That weekend, Norah mentioned listening to Sondheim while making the last of her NaCroWriMo puzzles (which you should 100% check out--I'm still impressed), and since our last collaboration went so well, we decided to work together on this one. Overall, we tried to make the puzzle a love letter to Sondheim and to musical theater in general. Enjoy!

From Norah:
Look we made a puzzle! Where there never was a puzzle! Rose and I started talking about this project just as I was wrapping up my NaCroWriMo series. (Yes, I might have just broken my promise not to touch crossfire on day one...) Because this puzzle was meant as a timely homage to someone whose work has touched so many, I'm so grateful to Rose for being patient with me while I got my groove back. I love Rose's fresh and fun take on cluing, and there's no one else I could have done this with. This is our second collab (see Eleven here), but definitely not our last!

Thanks to Will for providing valuable feedback when test solving that definitely made this a better puzzle.


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