PROGRAM: [Across Lite]
Tip of the hat to Caleb Madison who goaded me into making this one.
For whatever it's worth, this one rose mightily, phoenix-style, from the ashes of a failed puzzle. An epic failure, I might add. One that never truly had a shot of ever taking flight. It was steeped in such obscurity and ambition, that the only way we could have got it to work (huge maybe) was to hope and pray the theme could be peppered "Easter Egg"-style throughout a themeless. And because it had to be a themeless, that meant we had to lower the word count substantially whilst raising the difficulty level (less room to cram a, wait for it, 71 square theme) to the extreme. And even though I've used 111 words already trying to describe why it wouldn't have worked, it would require an additional 111 words (at least) just to try and explain what the theme was and how it worked. Believe me, if you have a headache now, you would have Michelle Bachmann-sized migraine after solving it.
Share the puzzle. New one on Monday.