Constructors' CommentsBruce Haight: David and I played around with various lightning bolt grids and finally landed on this one. How he came up with four theme-related entries in a 68-word grid I don't know!
David Steinberg: See below.
Editor's CommentsBruce and I constructed this puzzle early last year. He came up with the lightning bolt grid art, and I found three theme entries to go with it. Coincidentally, HAILED A TAXI was the only option I had for 16-Down, and we both thought it was a neat theme-related bonus (although not a theme entry per se, since it's structurally different from the other three).
Bruce also did the majority of the nonthematic fill. Having four long entries locked into place along with the constraint of a 68-word grid—which we chose so we wouldn't have too many 3s around the edges—really limited our fill options. Bruce nonetheless managed to add zing through entries like HIT JOB, FB POSTS, and TRADE GAP.
This certainly isn't a traditional Sunday Freestyle, but we hope you enjoy the variety!