See the 7 answer words debuted by Josh Radnor.
Letter(s)-addition puzzles usually have all sorts of themer possibilities, and OM is a pretty common doublet. So it came as a surprise to me that there were so few possibilities. I thought three themers (in addition to PREMEDITATION) would feel thin, so thankfully, there were just enough that worked.
No constructor is dumb enough to use themers of length 12 / 11 / 9 / 11 / 12 (PREMEDITATED had to come last). It's completely inflexible, forces themers to be squished up and causes all sorts of headaches in the middle of your puzzle. No matter how hard we tried though, we couldn't come up with any shorter themers as replacements. Drat!
There were so few possibilities in the layout that I thought the concept might be dead (or necessitate a larger grid). Thankfully, the one you see seemed to work out … although it had a ridiculous number of long slots everywhere in the grid. It felt like there was no way it could all work out, especially given the pesky J within OMITS NO JOKE.
But somehow, it did! There was precisely one possible skeleton — I like to have at least 5-10 to consider — so it was a minor miracle. NET JUDGES isn't something I strive to incorporate usually, but man, did it save our butts.
I didn't intend to make it a low word-count puzzle, but that's what it ended up having to be.
Josh helped figure out what the best options for each corner might be. Fun to do the optometry test — which is more clean and colorful, A, B, or C? Since Josh is doing plays these days, we prioritized getting play-related material in. Glad to work in OFFSTAGE right at 1-A.