I started this themeless during a time I had been watching a lot of RICK AND MORTY. A lot. So of course I had to get that entry, especially after I saw it had never been in a published puzzle before. My twin sister was also reading David Foster Wallace's INFINITE JEST, so I thought it might be fun to stick that in there as well. After that, everything just fell nicely into place. Although this is a themeless puzzle, there are a lot of entries—DJ SET [in the original—see below], FIST BUMP, THE CLASH, and (in some cases) D STUDENT—that tie the puzzle together as an ode to the interests of a stereotypical liberal arts college bro (i.e., everyone I went to college with). So to all you liberal arts college guys out there reading DFW, listening to "I Fought the Law" on vinyl, and dressing up as Pickle Rick for Halloween, this one's for you.
My favorite part about this puzzle is the center. Making four or five of the six long entries lively would have been plenty, but Claire took care to make all six sparkle. My favorites are RICK AND MORTY, MANDARIN DUCK, and WI-FI HOTSPOTS. Claire also packed lots of bonuses into the corners—I especially like FIST BUMP, MATCHA, TSA AGENT, JORTS, LOCAVORE, D STUDENT, FAT JOE, I'M SORE, ACID TEST, and THE CLASH. Wow! The only corner I tweaked was the upper right. I was sad to lose Claire's lively DJ SET but wanted to make sure the crossings on MATCHA were as easy as possible.