Constructor's CommentsThis puzzle was conceived when my eye fell on an old DVD of Meet John Doe with the Me obscured by another DVD box. E.T. JOHN DOE tickled me so much that I tried to figure a decent revealer on the spot, with DON'T START WITH ME coming soon thereafter. (ME)TA CENTERS was the editor's suggestion to round out the theme. Voilà!
Editor's CommentsI love Ross's story about how he came up with this theme! As a constructor, I have a lot of trouble identifying what inspires me—ideas just pop into my head randomly, especially during stressful times. In fact, I do most of my constructing right before exams! The New York Times recently published an article on procrastibaking, so I'll coin my "condition" procrastiverbalism.
Ross also mentions the theme entry (ME)TA CENTERS. He originally had D STUDENTS in that slot (from med students), though it bothered me that D students was a legitimate expression. We both dug around to find other possibilities, and for whatever reason, my eye landed on metacenters and confused it with the much more common word epicenters. Excited that I'd found something, I sent it off to Ross, and he reworked the lower part of the puzzle accordingly.
Fortunately, our test solvers asked me what on earth a metacenter was! After a quick Google search, I realized I'd goofed. Discovering (ME)GALOPOLIS, which tickled me and could be substituted in without losing too much of Ross's top-notch gridwork, was a last-minute stroke of luck. Many thanks to Ross for giving me more credit than I deserve and to our test solvers for keeping me honest.