Last week, BEQ HQ got pommeled by Mystery Illness X, knocking all three of us out of commission for the greater part of it. I'll spare you the gory details, but I'll say it was pre-e-etty bad all around. I was hard-pressed to remember a time that I was that sick. But then again, since Tabitha's come into my life, I've been hard-pressed to remember two days ago. So, anyway, huge thanks to Joel Fagliano and Caleb Madison for stepping up big and making this puzzle for the Themeless Monday slot.
Joel's a junior at Pomona College in Claremont, CA studying cognitive science and has been making puzzles for about three years now. He pulled off, in my humble opinion, one of the all-time best subliminal messages ever in the New York Times in this puzzle. As for today's puzzle, Joel writes: "I've always admired Caleb's puzzles, in particular his themelesses. He contacted me about collaborating on a puzzle and I pitched the idea of 1-Across as our seed. I constructed the NE and NW stacks and he took the SE and SW. I'm particularly happy with 30-Down, if only because the clue would never fly in the Times."
Now regulars to the site are familiar with Caleb Madison's prolific work. Ole' Cee Em is a member (like yours truly) of the newly-launched American Values Club, né the Onion Crossword. And he had asked me to announce that he will be writing a bonus Sunday sized puzzle for that soon. Should be fun. Are you a member yet? Anyway, as for this puzzle, since Caleb is puzzle royalty, he called the shots during the construction of this crossword. He writes: "I liked [Joel's] last name, so I let him get me tea and send me email in exchange for half a by-line." And now you know how collaborative crosswords are made. Almost exactly like Michael Bay movies.
Thanks again for the puzzle, guys.
Share the puzzle. New one on Thursday.