See the 4 answer words debuted by Jesse Eisenberg.
JESSE: Patrick Blindauer and I initially created this puzzle thinking that it would be released around Thanksgiving. As a nod to my family, vegetarians who celebrate ThanksLiving (yes, a vegan Thanksgiving), I thought we could create a puzzle for vegan dinner options. How did that morph into a food snowman? I don't remember.
I've never made a puzzle before, but I love solving them. Working with Patrick, who is a puzzlemaster, was thrilling; it was simultaneously an exercise in boundless, abstract creativity (a food snowman?) and rigid boundaries (we need exactly two 13-letter and two 10-letter foods that are also parts of the body!). It's a discipline that requires multiple parts of the mind: 1/2 Jackson Pollock, 1/2 Alan Turing.
It was also a good opportunity to express my love of African geography (SENEGAL), my family's heritage (POLE) and mention my playwright friend Will (ENO). And it was primarily exciting to use clues that have never appeared before (e.g. Christian with some intelligent designs? for DIOR; What revolting people do for RIOT).
PATRICK: I had a blast working on this with Jesse; big thanks to Will for putting us in touch.
We brainstormed at least a dozen ideas before settling on this, a wacky concept that we originally pitched for a Monday. I was in the middle of my Kickstarter campaign for "Piece of Cake Crosswords," and Jesse was eagerly anticipating the birth of his child. I had recently become a father myself so we chatted about that, as well as our mutual love of theatre. He was eager to learn about all aspects of construction and was an excellent collaborator. It was fascinating to watch his agile mind at work.
Congrats on your debut, Jesse, and happy birthday to the New York Times crossword!