PATTI: I've been waiting a long time for a New York Times byline, and I love that it's on a collaboration with Doug — even though this is our first NYT together, it is the ninth themeless we've co-constructed. Subscribers to Crosswords Club, which I edit, may know our joint puzzles appear under the name "Helena Buchanan," a pen name that hints at one home state and one favorite novel.
I'm sad our clue to 1A didn't survive, which was [One who has no brand loyalty?]. And I'd clued 37A to reference an actress on The Magicians, which is my favorite train wreck of a TV show. That ... was probably a good clue change.
DOUG: It's always a pleasure to work with Patti on a puzzle! She loves the part I don't love (writing the clues), so we make a great tag team. We're like the original Hart Foundation, but with 95% fewer suplexes.
Patti and I are both baseball fans, so we referenced the infamous PINE TAR Game in our original clue for 38D. I love the image of George Brett barrelling out of the dugout with steam almost literally coming out of his ears.