When my Theme Generator 3000 machine is in the shop, I have to write my crosswords the old fashioned way:
stealing one of Patrick Berry's themes using the old bean. When I'm really in a pinch (like say an immovable deadline) I sometimes start off with a phrase that is obviously saying "do something word play related here!" For example, "Breaking Bad" yields a theme of two word phrases, the first ending in either -B or -BA, and the second starting with either AD- or D-. Or "Spare Change" means we're shuffling the letters S, P, A, R, and E in some order in the middle of base phrases. Workmanlike, but if the gimmick's funny, then that's all that matters.
Then there are times when I start with a word or a phrase that really kinda has to be used in a puzzle, like right now, if not yesterday. But then again, there are days when the Time Machine 3000 is in the shop, too. And that really sucks because having to pay for repairs on both machines hurts the wallet. But we were talking theme development, weren't we? So yeah, I brew an extra pot of coffee, and I start free associating with the Obvious Word or Phrase to come up with the gimmick. Today's offering was one of those times, and astute solvers will spot that base word in a heartbeat. Hope you enjoyed it.
Share the puzzle. New one on Monday.