*** Click any puzzle to see the full view. ***
This collaboration came about because in the summer of 2012 Dan Feyer and his lovely girlfriend Gretchen organized a fundraiser up in Napa Valley (where Gretchen grew up). In between rounds, Dan entertained up with a trivia game where all the answers had the initials NV, for Napa Valley. I thought that might make a good basis for a crossword.
To me, it would be funny and risque to have a puzzle called "Puzzle NV" so I suggested to Dan that we expand his list into a Sunday-sized puzzle. Never mind that although he is the five time ACPT solving champion, he had only constructed one puzzle and was reluctant to risk his one for one perfect creation/acceptance rate. (It pays to enlist geniuses as collaborators.) So I talked him into expanding the list he had, we found a half dozen nice solid pairs. Lucky for me, Dan wanted the challenge of constructing a Sunday-sized grid, which I've still not yet been able to do on my own. (My three solo Sunday attempts have not been accepted by any major publication.)
Before I knew it, Dan had created a fabulous grid with a crowning touch of stacking three of the theme answers. The hardest part was getting him to not be such a perfectionist and keep creating grid after grid. We settled on one and THEN tried to perfect it.