Slight spoiler here, so if you want to have a clean solve, you can read this bit later. Or never. It's up to you. Anyway, I was working on this one last week, and the first pass of this one had a fatal flaw. A terrible misspelling in one theme answer. One that couldn't just be changed, but rather, so egregious that the whole grid had to be ripped up and started anew. In the process, two of the theme answers had to be changed, and when I was cluing the second pass, only then did I notice that the gimmick had been used before. In the New York Sun some eight years ago. To my horror, I may add, because I checked the original answers in some databases to confirm it was a new gimmick. I'd checked the first pass answers, but specifically 40-Across, because, well, if you're going to do this gimmick, why wouldn't you use that answer? Anyway, panic time struck. Around this time, a friendly IM window popped up, and it was Pat Blindauer. We exchanged pleasantries, and then we began sleuthing to see who had made this similarly themed puzzle. After a few moments, we found out it was Blindo himself. You can see his idea here, but we agreed that since my puzzle required the gimmick to be done twice in every answer, and his twice in only two answers, it was a different puzzle. And Pat, being a theater guy, was kicking himself for not thinking of 40-Across. Anyway, great minds think alike and all that.
Share the puzzle. New one on Monday.