This one started one day when I randomly ran across someone else's grid design and noticed all the 4-letter slots were downs and all the 5-letter slots were acrosses. Of course, my little nerd brain kicked in immediately: "Wonder if a grid like that's been done before? Wonder if it can be?" I thought I might be on to something when the answers came back — surprisingly: "Not that I can find" and "Yup."
Theme development is my constructor kryptonite, but even I figured out pretty quickly that — while a nice technical feat in grid design — as a theme goes, I've had more substance in hospital broth. And that was the end of it. I put it away.
But then the fill. It started to call out to me. Unbidden. At all hours. I realized I had never actually tried to fill that beautiful grid. It's only seventy words. No theme required. Maybe if I just see how clean I can get it...
When all that positivity popped up, my mind started wandering to retirement spots on alluring tropical islands with rum, pirates, sheepdogs, and sappy 1960s television... I knew my soul was home. I hope you found a little comfort as well. Cheers!
Much gratitude to my mentor, Jeff Chen. I wouldn't be here without his support, patience, kindness, and sage advice.