Lightning-fast Bolt / 9-26-11 / 1941 chart-topper Maria / Part of 2005 Harry Potter title / 1987 Stanley Kubrick classic

Monday, September 26, 2011

Constructor: David Gray

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: BACK (67A: Word that can follow the start of 20-, 38- or 50-Across) — Football theme, with theme answers beginning with words QUARTER, HALF, and FULL, respectively:

QUARTER POUNDERS (20A: Some McDonald's burgers)
HALF-BLOOD PRINCE (38A: Part of a 2005 Harry Potter title)
FULLMETALJACKET (50A: 1987 Stanley Kubrick classic)

Word of the Day: DUANE Allman (26D: One of the Allman Brothers) —
Howard Duane Allman (November 20, 1946 – October 29, 1971) was an American guitarist, session musician and the primary co-founder of the southern rock group The Allman Brothers Band. He is best remembered for his brief but influential tenure in that band, his expressive slide guitar playing and improvisational skills. // A sought-after session musician both before and during his tenure with the band, Allman performed with such established stars as King Curtis, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and Herbie Mann. He also contributed heavily to the 1970 album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos. // In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Allman at #2 in their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, second only to Jimi Hendrix. His tone (achieved with a Gibson Les Paul and two 50-watt bass Marshall amplifiers) was named one of the greatest guitar tones of all time by Guitar Player. / He died in October 1971 in a motorcycle accident. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is a very nice little Monday. There's nothing very showy about it, but the theme answers are lively and the theme itself is solid and multi-layered. Progression of first words makes sense in its own right, but then throw in "BACK" and you've got an appropriately autumnal football theme. I spent much of the day watching and listening to football, including watching my Lions come back from 20 down and beat the Vikings in OT. It'll be nice when they actually beat a solid, winning team, but they can only play who's on the schedule, so I'll take what I can get.

This puzzle was very easy, even for a Monday. I was butterfingers on my keyboard, continually botching input, and I still beat the 3 min. mark by a good 15 seconds. Got all the 15s with no hesitation. Needed many crosses to get LOADED DICE for some reason (10D: Items for gamblers who cheat — I think of a pair of dice as *an* item), and forgot briefly about DUANE Allman, but other than, it was just fill in the blanks / wrestle with the keyboard. Oh, I had I'M HERE for IN HERE (5D: "Yoo-hoo" response) and misspelled USAIN (USEIN?) at first. These are all very minor things, but they'll add seconds to your time. I wonder how many people are going to claim (once again) never to have heard of USAIN Bolt (59A: Lightning-fast Bolt). Every time he appears, I'm surprised by how many people shrug and go "who?" Not knowing DRAYS, I understand.

I'm currently obsessed with the year 1980—watching movies and listening to music from that year like crazy. Why am I telling you this? Primarily because I'm currently listening to a band called KROKUS. Seeing that name in the grid would make me exceedingly happy.

Enjoy your Monday.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Tobias Duncan 12:16 AM  

I ended up with a medium Monday. I put in LOADEDDICE right off the bat but somehow lost a bunch of time around SHAQ and HESS.

Went to an 80s prom themed party in a yoga studio on Saturday night.I was in the bathroom washing my hands and heard the intro to BABYGOTBACK. Since I had just heard it here that morning it was fresh in my mind. I jerked my my head up and looked directly into the mirror, I knew what I had to do.I burst out of the bathroom onto the dance floor with perfect timing and did the most ridiculous booty dance you have ever seen a smallish white man in a baby blue Saks Fifth avenue micro suede jacket(thrift store find)perform in a room full of hipsters.It was the glory moment I never had in high school.
Thanks Rex.

CoffeeLvr 1:02 AM  

I watched both my teams (KC Chiefs and Mizzou Tigers) lose this weekend, but they both did better than expected, so I'll take it. Nice to see some football in a puzzle, but the crosses for the reveal are so easy that it shouldn't stump anyone.

I got off to a really rough start with tiff for SPAT and welt for ITCH. Later, I misspelled LORen and tried Clockwork Orange first, so a very slow time for a Monday.

Hiss HESS HOSS. Turns out HESS is a company on the East coast, so no wonder I didn't know it. I have been East, but not with a car, except in Maine, VA and NC. Of course, I know all the Bonanza brothers from the song; my little bro's favorite show.

Rube 1:17 AM  

This one went Monday quick, but got hung up when wanted enaTe for "female relations" and tiNA for LANA at 52D. Both were quickly resolved, but Maria ELENA was a total surprise and pretty obscure for Monday.

Nothing here I would call worthy of WOTD, but still a pretty good puzzle.

andrea carla michaels nee eisenberg 1:41 AM  

wow, I'm surprised, I actually thought hard for a Monday...I thought Monday theme/ Tuesday fill.

For example, I've never heard of HESS, put in admit for COPTO,
had to get every cross for Chocolate ___
(Even after I had -H-P, I thought sHoP, sHiP?); couldn't think of anyone but Gregg Allman, didn't know ERIC Holder (oops!); NO idea about a '41 song Maria ELENA; tried to first put in ACLOCKWORKORANGE and then tried EYESWIDESHUT, till I thought to look at the theme; didn't know if DENT? would be a, i, o and forgot tough for a Monday, not even mentioning USAIN!

Now I feel compelled to tell my LORNE Michaels story again! It was odd bec it just came up an hour ago when a friend said it was his favorite story while introducing me to a friend tonight, after his wife reffered to me by my old last name
(I'm back in Minneapolis so folks keep referring to me by the name I had till I was 21)

Back in 1986 when Lorne Michaels was returning to the show after a 5 year hiatus, they were looking for female writers...I was a standup and was summoned in to meet with his assistant, but there were five folks when I walked in (arms folded behind a table, heads of NBC comedy development, etc.)
They went down the line, introducing me, like Letterman's Uma/Oprah routine: "Laila Nabulsi, Andrea Michaels...Andrea Michaels, Fred Wolf, John Head, Andrea Michaels...Andrea Michaels... Lorne Michaels."

Someone then said "Oh, are you two related?"
I looked at him and smiled and said "Why, did your name used to be Eisenberg too?
Everyone laughed...BUT him.

(Turns out he was sensitive about having been Lorne Lipshitz)

He actually offered me the job, but I got lost in some weird backstage politics stuff...and he STILL owes me for a plane ticket...but that's another story!

syndy 2:05 AM  

I also though CLOCKWORK ORANGE but realized it did,t fit the theme and did not put it in-so odd that so many people went the same weird way.I never heard of HESS but got it from crosses-no writeovers excellent time but still some nice fill -TACIT,USURP,THROB and FAJITAS!OLE!

The New Girl 2:05 AM  

An easy Monday for me. Enjoyed the crossing of ADMIRE/ABHOR. Expected @Rex to bemoan the fact that two answers are movies and one is a burger. What other football positions have "back"? Corner, running - anything else? And a movie tie-in? Maybe so.

Anyhoo, solid puzzle. Cool story @Andrea. Happy Monday, all.

- Ellen

JaxInL.A. 3:35 AM  

Does the fact that two Kubrik movies both have 15 letters (okay, without the A for the Orange) suggest a puzzle theme? Anyone done that yet?

I love Andrea's stories. But I want them all to end in "and then I was fabulously successful, as you know." I always find it odd that she leaves out that part.

I feel as though AMIS and amie have appeared an inordinate number of times recently, here and elsewhere. Speaking of which, Merle Reagle's Sunday Philly Inquirer play on Shakespearean titles was fun.

SEO Consultant 3:53 AM  

Excellent post. I am still trying to figure out how you've create puzzle. I just love and hopefully going to learn something it. Thanks

Gareth Bain 4:24 AM  

Tangled myself by putting down TIFF at 1A and crossed it with tmAc... so ended up as a medium time. Agree the BACK raises the quality of what could've been quite ordinary (but suitable for monday).

@ACM: So you used to be an ACE then?

DONALD 5:09 AM  

Hey! How 'bout those Sox? Thank goodness for football!

Anonymous 7:42 AM  

I expected the *reveal* would be MOON. BACK was a nice surprise.

Z 7:46 AM  

@RP - I missed the Lions game because I was at the Tiger game. Know HESS from seeing the sign in the outfield of some east coast team.

I thought this was just classic Monday. Straightforward, lively, with minimal crosswordese.

@Tobias - Niiice

@Acme - You have the best stories

@New Girl - It's a burger, a book, and a movie. The book was movietized in 2009.

jberg 7:50 AM  

Even though I don't know much about Harry Potter, I got QUARTER POUNDER, and then HALF from the crosses, and confidently wrote it whoLe at 50A. That, along with DENTo, had me thinking the Dodge Neon must have had a cousin called the Neno. Aside from that (and the same I'm HERE as Rex), it was a breeze. My only gripe is that there could have been a few more football answers. Oh, also that a BOAR is a male pig, whether or not it is wild.

dk 8:03 AM  

Today's puzzle is brought to you by the letters B and F.

Wish Mr. Fantastic was the clue for REED but a new twist on oboe was just fine. That sums up my opinion of the puzzle: just fine.

The crossing of BOAR and BORE have me thinking of a dk coat of arms.

Hope to hear Andrea stories live this week.

**** (4 Stars) Not a thing to CRAB about.

David 8:13 AM  

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my! Well, at least the two Detroit teams are getting it done, my Bears struggled for the 2nd straight week against a very quality opponent....

Broke my Monday record today, 3 mins 47 seconds (on paper). Big Harry Potter fan and am pretty familiar with all of Kubrick's films, and there were no trip ups at all though I've never heard of DRAY. As Monday puzzles go this one was very smooth.

Anonymous 8:15 AM  

Hess is one of THE gas stations here in Ft Myers, FL. Flowerlady9

joho 8:17 AM  

Solid Monday with fresh theme answers made better by the football theme.

Bengals lost. Again.

Just for fun I went looking to see where BACK might fit with other words in the grid and came up with BACKSLASH and BACKDATE, apropos of nothing!

I liked it, thank you, David!

@Andrea Carla Michaels nee Eisenberg @Gareth Bain makes a great point, either way ACME or ACE your at the top!

DavidB 8:26 AM  

This was much easier than last week's Monday puzzle. I was able to do it in about ten minutes. I am still figuring out how difficult the puzzles will be on any given day. Last Friday I could only figure out about three clues, yet on Saturday I completed the whole puzzle in a bout 30 minutes.

jackj 8:43 AM  

For me, the only memorable piece of this puzzle was the maiden appearance of INFIDELITY, especially in a Monday puzzle where unwitting civilian solvers are encouraged to join in.

It seems certain that the Grey Lady's Manual of Style and Usage dictates against the use of such words, unless they can be wrapped in a state of innocence, illogical as that may seem.

The only tempering usage that seems to qualify the word for placement in this Times puzzle comes from old friend Jimmy Carter who famously told Playboy:

"I've looked on a lot of women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times...."

Gad, talk about taking all the fun out of something; INFIDELITY deserved better.

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

admire,throb,kama sutra, infelity,tears....there's a story here....

M07S 8:58 AM  

Maria Elena was a big hit for Los Indios Tabajaras, a guitar duo of two brothers from northern Brazil in 1962. Anybody else remember the song and the group? (It's not on Spotify so I guess it's rather obscure.)

Teresa in Detroit 9:00 AM  

Good puzzle. Liked the surprise of infidelity.

Go Lions, Tigers! (not Bears, haha)

M07S 9:01 AM  

I stand corrected. Maria Elena is on Spotify.

Perception 9:05 AM  

RE: Rex's quesion,

Usain Bolt has been in the puzzle only 3 times [Usain (2) Bolt (1)], all since April 2011.

Dray(s) also 3 times in the same period --- but 28 times overall.

I guess Mr. Bolt just has a better PR rep. ;)


efrex 9:07 AM  

Lovely theme with the "back" being a bonus throw-in. Some of the fill was irritating, though: NEHI and RARA are a bit too crosswordese-y for Mondays, IMHO, and didn't care for the clue for RES. On the other hand, the FIESTA/FAJITA cross was muy BUENO in my book.

Only writeover: IMHERE before INHERE.

Well done, Mr. Gray!

chefbea 9:10 AM  

Easy fun Monday. Knew Usain of course!! and yummy chocolate chip.

Which Rexite is it who loves U's?? He should be happy..there are 7

Brian 9:16 AM  

Just goes to show you can't please all the people all the time.

I thought the puzzle was FAR too easy. Even boring. I plugged in SHAQ, checked 20A, wrote in QUARTERPOUNDER, saw two long 15-acrosses and thought, "It better not be musical notes." And then filled in HALFBLOODPRINCE and FULLMETALJACKET.

The rest of the puzzle was incidental, although I did appreciate LOADEDDICE and INFIDELITY. And I liked the FIESTA, FAJITA cross. I also enjoyed HOSS making an appearance because I used to love that show.

I thought for certain there would be some objection to the clue "Part of a 2005 Harry Potter title." I think it's dreadful.

Also, I question the cluing for RES: "Bus. opposite"? I think it's a stretch to say "business" has an opposite and that that opposite is "residence"; unless I'm not understanding the clue/answer.

Overall, I was surprised this one made the grade, to be honest. There wasn't a single "ah-ha" moment for me or even a "That's clever." I think it needed something more. Perhaps if the theme answers had shared something in common such as all being movies or books or something, I would have been more impressed.

acme 9:31 AM  

Thanks! But I don't add that...bec I wasn't...
Lot's of "close but no cigar" in my life, but I don't care...bec lots of fun stories and good memories, even tho I never quite "made it" in the big time!
I thank god that this old lady stumbled upon Rex's fabulous blog to have a perfect place (for me, anyway) to recount them from time to time when the puzzle jogs loose a memory!

A Kubrick puzzle would be great, tho as they say "list-y" if you couldn't add another element (like an anniversary of his death or something) but I'll leave it to the million-layered folks!

yes, only regret of becoming Michaels was losing ACE! When I named my naming company, got to reclaim it in a way! (Thanks, Joho!!!)

ANd yes, I will see dk tonight...saw Seth last week, just two of a million ways this blog has made my life better! Happy 5th blogday again, @Rex! THANK YOU!!!

jesser 9:37 AM  

I'm typing and solving slower than before after having smashed two fingers while helping a friend move furniture last Thursday. I'll probably lose a nail, and I certainly lost some of my dignity, but am otherwise OK headed into this week, but no more furniture moving for a while. Gravity works.

The puzzle was hard for me, mostly because -- over and over again -- I read the clue for 19A as the clue for 20A, and was having a hell of a time watching Q U A R T E R P O emerge and thinking WTF mirages does David Gray have in his world?

Writeovers were REt before RES at 45A and FlauTA before FAJITA at 46D. Otherwise, it went down pretty dang quick. Es muy BUENO!

@Tobias made me laugh out loud. Please tell me the dance was at the Anglada Building, where my own dance career was abruptly ended all those years ago.

And @Andrea: It's true that you really DO tell the best stories!

@Rex: I remembered USAIN!

And I thought SLASH would have been better clued with a Guns n' Roses reference!

John V 9:38 AM  


If BUS opposite is RES (business/residential), that's really ugly, IMHO. Got it from the crosses, but ugly.

@Sparky, picked up a Pilot FriXion over the weekend and think I like it. Works particularly well on the Sunday magazine puzzle. Pencil does NOT work well on glossy paper. Thanks for the suggestion!

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

I'm thinking BUS v. RES as in the phone listings on say Superpages. BUSiness listings versus RESidential listings.

quilter1 9:57 AM  

Very easy.
Loved Bonanza. You always knew if there was a love interest for one of the boys she was a dead woman walking and the said brother would end the show mournfully skipping stones across Lake Tahoe. Sigh.

Tobias Duncan 10:01 AM  

@Jesser, I have been working on a way to for you to redeem yourself at the Angladas building.I have built an animatronic cowboy suit for you to wear, it senses any movement you are trying to make and physically restricts you form moving until you are in sync with the beat.With this two stepping suit you cannot go wrong!The suit is just a bit puffy still because of all the steel rods and hinging, but I have gotten the hydraulic pump and CPU assembly down to a pretty compact size.You still have to wear a pretty huge cowboy hat to house it all though.

Sfingi 10:19 AM  

Love those HESS trucks.

Write-over: INHERE after ImHERE.

Hubster gave me Maria ELENA. It was written in 1932 to the Mex. Pres's wife. Sung by Chet Atkins, Ames Bros., Jerry Vale, Los Indios, Michael Buble...
Hubster was watching those 2 endless games last night. Normally, I ignore, but that awful whistling was getting to me.

Googled after to learn what a 4-bagger and an USAIN lightening bolt was (a sports person!) Two new sports answers. Hope they stick.

@Efrex - isn't that what Mondays are for?

Liked the BOAR/BORE cross.

Matthew G. 10:20 AM  

My fastest NYT puzzle, ever. Would have been another fifteen seconds even faster if I hadn't made the IM HERE for IN HERE error and had to hunt for the square that kept me from submitting.

I think I'm getting better at what Rex refers to as "grid navigation." I was more deliberate about choosing which entry to move to next than I usually am, and it paid big dividends.

I was pleased that the Giants upset the Eagles yesterday -- shocked and delighted is more like it.

Arundel 10:21 AM  

Not bad for a Monday, David Gray. Quick, clean and entertaining!

With only a few exceptions (like RES) this was much better fill and cluing than usual for a Monday. But it's a good thing ESAI has a career in crossworld. I can't recall the last time I heard of that Morales brother for anything else. At least USAIN has the brilliant surname that provides a clue to his renown!

@Tobias Duncan, when you finally get that outfit perfected and @Jesser to road-test it, the video will be priceless!

David Gray 10:36 AM  

Hey everyone. Thanks for all of the comments and to Rex for the write-up.

This was my debut puzzle and the entire process has been really fun.

The original cluing was much harder. Tuesday-Wednesday maybe. Will said it would be a Monday so most of the clues were changed as a result.

Bottom right corner was also Monday-fied.
KAMA was KAVA, TASK was TEAK, and AMIS was AVIA.

This was submitted near the end of last years NFL season and was accepted a couple of months later. Will said he would run it next (this) season, so let's just say I was hoping for an amicable end to the lockout.

Thanks again!

archaeoprof 11:20 AM  

@David Gray: congrats on your debut. Very nice Monday.

One writeover, when I thought Harry Potter's prince was half blind...

joho 11:20 AM  

@Sfingi ... BORE/BOAR made want to see BORABORA.

@David Gray ... did not know this was your debut ... congratulations! Well done!

foodie 11:21 AM  

Congratulations, @David Gray for your inaugural puzzle. Always terrific to hear a little bit of the back story. I'm with Andrea in that some of the content felt more like a Tuesday, but the cluing helped and my time said typical Monday or even slightly easy. I think a lot depends on whether you guess right in the first couple of spots.

@Andrea, I love your stories as well. I have an additional take on Mr. Michaels reaction, beyond being touchy about his own name change. I think may be he was in "tough interviewer mode", not making it too easy for you to break the ice. I can't pull that trick off myself (I have no poker face whatsoever), but I've seen people do it. How the person being interviewed moves on beyond that flat response is very telling. You must have done that very well, as you were offered the position. Obviously, all conjecture on my part, by I'm guessing that in Hollywood they're pros at this sort of stuff...

Lewis 11:42 AM  

Congratulations, David, on your maiden NYT puzzle. I can imagine how good it feels to have your name credited to it, but I wonder how it feels to have your creation modified so greatly. Maybe that's part of a constructor's growth: over time the modifications become fewer and fewer...

Mel Ott 11:43 AM  

@David Gray: Excellent debut.

@Anon 7:42: I also expected the reveal to be MOON. And I was looking for a theme answer starting with NEW.

Good day for a football theme.

Sparky 11:51 AM  

Oh, goody, I found it easy too. Took a lot longer than 3 minutes, though. Again fell into USAIr but remembered USAIN in time. If a FAJITA is a wrap what's that big omlett thing? I stumbled on that one.

I used to buy the HESS truck for my nephew every Christmas, but now he's too big. Good story @ACME. Keep telling them. @JohnV: you're welcome. Nice start to the week.

Shamik 11:56 AM  

@David Gray: Congratulations! I thought it might be your debut puzzle. Well done.

Easy for me...and I'm sorry, but now I have to go google USAIN Bolt. Damn!

@ACME: Love you. Love your stories. Wish you lived next door.

Campesite 12:00 PM  

Happy Bloggiversary, Rex!
I love the mini-blog provided by ACME, keep the stories coming.
Fine puzzle.

DBGeezer 12:04 PM  

Advantage to being 82. 34D. 1941 chart topper, "Maria... " was a gimme. I can still sing it in my sleep. "Maria Elena, you're the answer to my prayer. Maria Elena can't you see how much I care. To me your voice is like the echo of a sigh ...."

Sparky 12:45 PM  

@DGGeezar. Atta boy. I'm singing along too. Good start David Gray. My Grandfather was a drayman says so right on the 1920 U.S. Census. Ouch @Jesser. Feel better.

skua76 3:24 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
sanfranman59 3:50 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:09, 6:51, 0.90, 14%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:19, 3:40, 0.91, 11%, Easy

Texas Momma 3:54 PM  

49A Partners for mas = pas? Would someone explain it to me? It was my only mistake because I was certain Mrs. Gorbachev was Raina.

Thanks in advance

Brian 4:00 PM  

Well, now don't I feel just like a regular jackass.

Mr. Gray, congratulations on your debut puzzle. That is terrific. I came across harshly, I'm afraid, and that was rude of me. I apologize for that.

Again, congratulations on a fine achievement!

And in the future I'll be more constrained in my remarks.

David Gray 4:23 PM  

@Brian, no worries my friend. All comments are appreciated.

Lewis 4:35 PM  

@texas momma -- "mas" is the plural of "ma" as in Ma and Pa Kettle.

Texas Momma 5:01 PM  

Ohhhhh. Thanks Lewis.

JenCT 6:18 PM  

NY Giants fan here, so had a good day yesterday.

Don't know how long the puzzle took me because I was typing with one hand & petting the cat with the other.

Great debut, David!

@Andrea: maybe Lorne was cranky because some kids called his house asking "Are you Lipshitz? Does your a** whistle?" Not that I would know anything about that...

commoncents 8:15 PM  

CONGRATULATIONS on being chosen a Blog of Note! I'm glad I found your site...

Common Cents

nycscott 8:22 PM  

"Maria Elena" will always be a Smithereens song to me.

sanfranman59 10:14 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:10, 6:51, 0.90, 14%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:14, 3:40, 0.88, 5%, Easy (6th lowest median solve time of 118 Monday puzzles)

Stan 10:33 PM  

Good puzzle, David Gray. Hope to see more.

@Rex: 1980, great year! Now I get why we've just seen the Pretenders and something from Remain in Light. A few recommendations you may not be familiar with: The Feelies: Crazy Rhythms; Joy Division:: "Love Will Tear Us Apart"; The English Beat: "Mirror in the Bathroom," "Twist and Crawl"; Soft Boys: Underwater Moonlight; Gang of Four: Entertainment; Rockpile: Seconds of Pleasure. Cheers.

acme 1:10 AM  

yes, congrats on debut! No wonder there was that little mix of M/Tu.
I didn't know a whole theme answer (HALFBLOODPRINCE) so quite hard for me, in relative terms...
but the important thing is I got to tell a story, that was NOT about INFIDELITY, which by the way was a wonderful nontheme entry!

dk and I got to solve a 10 word wordsearch puzzle on the pacemat of a maltshop...took a photo and will post one day.

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

Elmer FUDD is my favorite actor.

Saturday we had BABY GOT BACK, today a BACK theme. Discounting Sunday, that's back to back back.

Guitarist sub-theme with DUANE Allman, SLASH and PRINCE.

Dirigonzo 4:32 PM  

From syndiland (Boo! - it's Halloween) I thought this entry was just a tad meatier than the typical Monday fare and now we know why. Thanks, David Gray, for the puzzle and for the inside story here.

Now let's see what Rex was up to on Halloween 2006"

- "Solving time: 7:03

THEME: Dracula's least favorite ...

Happy Halloween! Today's puzzle was ... well, it was a little scary, although all the theme clues involved things that would repel Dracula, so the puzzle seemed to be trying to diminish rather than augment the fear (factor). Still, there were some scary words."
- " 23A: Cozy inn, briefly (B-and-B)
This little jerk is showing up far more often than he ought to. Twice in the past week. I'm sure a B-AND-B has been the site of more than a few horror movies, but I can't think of any to quote or grab pics from off hand. Imagine your own script."
- "The best, best, best fact about The French Revolution, if Wikipedia can be said to contain facts, is this:

After the completed manuscript of the book was accidentally burned by the philosopher John Stuart Mill's maid, Carlyle had to begin again from scratch.

What the hell? Did she use it for kindling? "Blimey, this neatly-stacked pile of paper with ink scribbles all over it will make for a loverly fire. I could use a spot of tea just now, I could .... gov'nuh." I just want to know what happened immediately after Carlyle found out. I'm sure that was scary. For the maid."
- "See this FOX News "article" (first and last time you'll hear me say that), which has "Daylight Savings" in the title, but "daylight-saving [hyphen!] time" in the body of the article."
- There were 5 comments including this: "Anonymous 2:37 PM
Thanks for your extensive and well-researched comments on my first holiday NYT puzzle. You make me wish I had found spooookier factoids upon which to base clues.
Maybe next year!

Anonymous 9:50 PM  

good monday puzzle. Anyone - what is rara (avis)?????

Dirigonzo 1:58 PM  

@Anony 9:50 PM - translated from Latin, literally "rare bird"; current definition would be a rare person or thing. ("Google" is your friend.)

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