This was only the third crossword puzzle I'd ever made, so the original draft of this puzzle was, you know, pretty rough. Instead of four rhyming-couplet clues, the original draft had six treasure hunt clues that spanned across the board diagonally and in all four compass directions. Simply put, it was way too complicated. So I'm glad (and extremely lucky) that Joel and Will took a chance and allowed me to salvage this puzzle!
Fun fact: when I originally sent off this puzzle to the New York Times, I printed it on old-timey parchment paper and included a handful of plastic pirate doubloons in the submission envelope. I'm not entirely sure if that ended up helping or hurting me. But, if there are any aspiring cruciverbalists out there looking for a quick way to get published, remember: sometimes bribery works!