Constructor's CommentsLooking back at this puzzle, I can think of two particularly noteworthy mentionables, both of which revolve around the entry JANE SIX-PACK, the starting entry for this puzzle.
First, the puzzle's history. . . . I originally submitted this puzzle to Mr. Shortz at The New York Times, who responded with a polite "no, thanks," saying that JANE was a "puzzle killer." He added that it wasn't common enough for such a marquee entry and mentioned that the term, in quotes, only got 10,000 Google hits. That's perfectly good reasoning . . . JANE certainly isn’t used that frequently in our modern parlance, but I still think the entry is saved because of its similarity to the more common JOE SIX-PACK. Solvers would likely have trouble solving the clue for JANE outright, but I reasoned that they could piece it together via her association with JOE.
All of this practically begs the question: Why would you even include JANE in a puzzle if it's not that in-the-language? My main reason for starting with JANE was to promote inclusiveness, something that has historically been absent in most crosswords. (However, that trend has been changing as of late.) Okay, Dave, so you want to be gender inclusive . . . but why JANE SIX-PACK? What kind of inclusivity image are you promoting here? Well, voice that I've created for narrative convenience, I'll tell you: I want to promote a balanced sense of inclusivity. I feel it's important to represent all aspects of any culture/subculture/realm—good, bad, neutral, highbrow, lowbrow, etc. For every Oscars ceremony, there is an MTV Movie & TV Awards. For every Mona Lisa, there is a Fountain (by Duchamp). For every Oprah or Constance Wu or Meryl Streep, there should be a Jane (statistically, more than one). IMO, this contrast of ideas, not some rose-tinted or otherwise lopsided representation, epitomizes inclusivity.
Anyhoo, I think I'm done with my treatise on equality within crosswords. I hope the puzzle was enjoyable! As always, David was great during the editing process. He was a tremendous help in polishing the NW and NE corners; truly, the final version of the NE would not have existed in its current, awesome glory without him. Always a joy to collaborate with David.
If you solved the puzzle and read through this entire blurb, email David and he'll give you a rebate voucher for time spent solving/reading. (But, seriously, don't email David asking for your time back; you're never getting that back. Mwahahaha . . . ?)