For some reason, I'm craving lamb rogan josh.
Sam is an excellent example of someone who gets theme development. My rule of thumb is that it takes maybe 20 ideas to come up with a glimmer of a seed of a wisp of an idea. Most people fall off well before that point, but not Sam. He regularly sends me batches of concepts, and while I usually craft a response that hopefully sounds more polite than "Bah, humbug!" there's occasionally a peek of notion of a trace of something interesting.
I wish I could say that when Sam sent me this concept, I knew from the start that it would get accepted. I did estimate that there was a 95% chance that some editor would take it, but—
I meant to say that I knew for sure and that everyone should always listen to me.
(I wasn't. They shouldn't.)
It's so much fun for me when a co-constructor's skills have developed to Sam's level. It used to be that I'd always build the grid skeleton, testing it out to make sure it was flexible enough to be filled with color and cleanliness, but Sam is now in the driver's seat. This makes it possible to have rewarding higher-level discussions, like if the cheater square below RIM is worth adding or not.
Or why I can't be Roy Kent instead.
When it came to gridwork, though … tons of themer crossings to fill around … dang it! Wait. We figured out a reasonable fill around BEANIE / BRER! Nothing up our sleeves — oh.
Bah. Now DERBY crossing ROGER is producing problems.
Starting over … yes! No.
And once again because the regions around the first and second themer-crossings don't mesh and again … and again ... throw in a third region requiring themer crossings ... iterate until infinity …
So much for This Magic Moment.
What is magical, though: Sam's work ethic and his total dedication to kaizen. Most constructors spend nearly 100% of their time developing their grid chops, but Sam has also put serious effort into his cluing. Many of the clever riffs today are his. It's a joy to open up a set of clues he's drafted and experience some delightful bit of punnery that's new to me.