Commas

Q. I have a question about using a comma with the word and. I am an editorial intern for an art journal, and the most recent piece I am editing has a sentence written thus: “Henry Darger is both illuminating and, at times, frustrating.” The question we have been debating in the office for a significant amount of time today is whether or not there should be a comma inserted after the word illuminating to offset the and.

A. Since you would not put a comma after illuminating if you omitted the parenthetical “at times” (Henry Darger is both illuminating and frustrating), there’s no reason to add one just because the parenthetical is there. Please see CMOS 6.32 for a related comma issue (which I can imagine your office also debating for a significant amount of time).