Happy May! I've been loving the spring weather recently in D.C. With the new CDC guidelines it has been wonderful to be able to get back to singing in person, which I've sorely missed over the past year. I have my first in-person concert in early June (!!!), and we're incidentally performing one of my pieces "An Fear Róin" (The Seal Man) which is very exciting.
I had both the NYT and LAT Saturday puzzles on May 1 in a fortuitous turn of events. Check those out if you haven't already!
Anyway, this puzzle started with the open center, where I again expanded the grid - this time left and right - to add in some longer entries. Each of the corners has a set of black square ･ﾟ*✧･ﾟ*sparkles*･ﾟ✧*･ﾟ to throw in some extra pizzazz.
Thanks to Will Nediger for test solving! Hope you enjoy!