It went like this:
Me: "Do you wanna make a crossword?"
Joe: "Yes! But only if it can be a very normal, standard style crossword with no shenanigans whatsoever."
Joe says: "When an inexorable force for cruciverbal good like Norah knocks at your door and offers a collab, you say YES PLEASE! I'm so excited to get to make something with one of the best in the biz. Also, Norah has supported my own timid steps into crossword construction in innumerable ways (along with helping many others find their footing)—thanks for everything, Norah!"
We only ask that whichever road you take, be sure to admire whatever's happening in the other direction.
Joe's got a series of super easy beginner cryptics on his blog - please go check them out!
Thank you so so so much to cryptic maker and test solver extraordinaire Steve Mossberg for making this puzzle much better than he found it. 💕
In other crossword news, please support Alex's fundraiser for the Malibu Triathlon benefiting Children's Hospital Los Angeles - support a worthy cause and you get five awesome puzzles out of it!!