And besides, I didn't have enough time to write this morning, what with my early morning doctor's appointment and everything. And since you asked, I'm happy to report all the tests came back positive. Can't have enough positivity in my life.
But let's face it, I really wanted to see how the solving played out. It turns out my suspicions were correct.
First off, hat tip to reader Peter Abide who gave me the idea for this puzzle a few weeks ago. I decided to wait on it as it was originally a little too insidery. Peter's suggestion relied heavily on the now-infamous "Natick Principle," coined by blogger Rex Parker after he did a New York Times Sunday puzzle by yours truly. Rex states: "If you include a proper noun in your grid that you cannot reasonably expect more than 1/4 of the solving public to have heard of, you must cross that noun with reasonably common words and phrases or very common names." That's crossword construction 101 gold, there.
(FWIW, while I was making this puzzle, I ran the question "what do you call two shitty entries that cross each other?" by a couple other puzzle editors. There was no consensus answer, so I went with BAD CROSSING. It's probably a good thing there's no term for them because it's sloppy puzzlemaking.)
So, with the theme in place, I set out to put in what I felt were four completely crappy crossings in there: THE XX / KLAX, AVEY Tare / VISANTHE Shiancoe, Roger BISSIERE / BASF and ORKUT / GHOTI. Looking back on it now, I wished I put in a few extras in the NW and SE corners. Oh well.
Anyway, I tried to make them varied enough that there would be at least one unsolvable crossing per solver. So how'd it play out? Most people did get stuck with at least one of them. Looks like top-flight solver "Steely" Dan Feyer got caught on three, and Amy Reynaldo, who makes a cameo at 27-Across, thought there was only two. Thing is, with any bits of trivia, there's no 100% foolproof not-one-single-person-knows-it trivia. Somebody out there is going to know maybe, possibly one of them. For example, one of my test solvers knew GHOTI without knowing ORKUT, another knew VISANTHE without knowing AVEY (although for another friend it was the total opposite).
The moral? I'm an asshole. And I promise no more post-modern puzzles unless I think of a good theme.
Share the puzzle. New one on Friday.