LYNN: This collaboration was something of a blind date set up by Will, and it was all done via email. We both decided from Day One that the theme would be comedians, but it took a while to get from there to this puzzle. At first we thought of using names like (Lucille) BALL, (Bob) HOPE, and (Chris) ROCK that could be used in everyday phrases—and we batted around some possibilities. We also considered a few ideas that included revealers.
But then, among ideas for those themes, Joy included PRYOR COMMITMENT … and I knew immediately that she'd come up with something different and perfect. She'd found our theme angle for sure, and her example was even 15 letters for a terrific central grid-spanner. After emailing back and forth, we decided on this set. Three of the five themers (PRINZE, PRYOR, and IDLE) were Joy's ideas, and all but one of the theme clues were hers (all but BARR). Unfortunately, BARR HOPPING didn't fit. A few names that didn't work were Chaplin/chaplain, Marx/marks, and Bee/be.
I did the grid, which Joy approved. And I wrote clues that she then went through and edited, preferring to make them more challenging. Will changed very few of them. If you guessed that Joy wrote the great clue for GO APE, you'd be right. Also the ones for RESCUE DOG and HELIX, just to name two that I especially liked.
Working on this with Joy was great fun. Her emails were guaranteed to include some funny choices I never would have thought of. I loved the way the puzzle turned out. I hope all of you solvers do, too.