Hi everyone! I'm a pediatrician in Cincinnati by day. I'm into movies, painting, origami, literature, and theatre, as well as science and medicine, so I hope I bring an eclectic vibe to my puzzles. I've been a crossword puzzle lover as long as I can remember, but mostly solved cryptics and only discovered the joy of standard crosswords a year and a half ago when I started religiously doing the New York Times puzzles. When I found out they took open submissions, I thought, "I'm a smart guy, I can do that, how hard can it be?" After more rejections than I'd care to relate (including this puzzle initially) I discovered the answer was, "pretty darn hard".
It was a humbling experience, and gave me a new-found respect for the folks who do this on a consistent basis. Luckily, with some patience, perseverance, and practice, I got this one to clear the bar after a resubmission and some tweaks. Coincidentally, I also had my first puzzle published in the Wall Street Journal a week ago Saturday. Many thanks to Will Shortz and the editorial team for giving this one a second look, and especially to Joel Fagliano for his support and suggestions.
And, of course, thank you to my wonderful wife who put up with all those hours of me sitting on the couch solving and building crosswords with a glazed look on my face, occasionally looking up and grunting when I discovered she had been talking to me for ten minutes. Love you!
The inspiration for this puzzle came when I was trying to build a puzzle with a "musical chairs" theme. I didn't come up with anything, but the pun "musical chores" stuck in my head, which ultimately led to the rest of the theme.
As expected, lots of my original clue hints were edited. Two that I was sorry to see go were "Source of income for early Amazon entrepeneurs" (RUBBERTREE) and "People who don't do things by the book?" (NONREADERS). Hope you enjoy the puzzle!