Savory deep-fried pastry / WED 10-30-13 / Battling Bella of 70s politics / Prince Igor composer / 1988 Salt-N-Pepa hit / Thick sweet liqueur / Pizzeria owner in Do Right Thing

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Part of a Halloween dinner? — that is the clue for all the theme answers, which are candies with names the second parts of which sound like foods one might have at dinner:


Word of the Day: RISSOLE (40D: Savory deep-fried pastry) —
rissole (from Latin russeolus, meaning reddish, via French in which "rissoler" means "to [make] redden") is a smallcroquette, enclosed in pastry or rolled in breadcrumbs, usually baked or deep fried.[1] It is filled with sweet or savory ingredients, most often minced meat or fish, and is served as an entréemain coursedessert or side dish. (wikipedia)
• • •

It's not Halloween yet, but why not? This is a cute way to frame what is essentially just a candy-brands puzzle. Fish, beans, corn, tamales, roll. That's actually a pretty plausible meal. I don't think it's a requirement of the theme that the "foods" all go together, but I like that they don't seem far-fetched or disgusting in combination. I also like this grid's odd shape. It's not jarringly strange, but something about the layout makes the grid look more like a floor plan than most grids. The N/S and NW/SE in particular seem like little self-contained rooms. And those corners are all quite big—seemed like a lot of white space to get through, and a couple of answers were real stumpers (to me), but in the end, my time was actually under my normal Wednesday time.

NW was easy once I got JELLY BEANS because that "J" made CARL'S JR. obvious (1D: Fast-food chain with a smiling star in its logo). SE, also easy, but those big NE and SW corners posed more of a problem. Clue on HAIRDOS totally baffled me (11D: Bob and others). Very clever use of misdirection there with the initial (and thus capitalized, and thus name-like) "Bob." "Afro" or "Page boy" would've been more transparent. As it was, I kept thinking "who is Bob HAI ... something?" Thankfully the surrounding answers were easy enough (I somehow even remembered BORODIN) (27A: "Prince Igor" composer), and I figured the "Bob" thing out without too much struggle. The opposite corner was tougher, as RISSOLE was utterly new to me. Couldn't infer a thing about it. Had to trust that all the crosses were correct. Seems a real outlier in this puzzle, but ... it's a thing, and the crosses were more than fair, so I'm not exactly outraged. Enjoyed seeing ABZUG and "PUSH IT." I like tough broads. Very disappointed to find out that the very Halloween-y 1A: What quoth the raven? had nothing to do with Poe ("quoth the raven, 'CAW'" = first draft stuff).

Great clues:

[Spare wear] = G-STRING
[Black and blue, say] = TWO-TONE

Not so fond of plural TAHINIS (13D: Pastes used in Middle Eastern cuisine) — is that what you make HUMMUSES out of? (note to constructors: that was a joke; please don't ever use HUMMUSES)

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Steve J 12:10 AM  
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Steve J 12:11 AM  

Really enjoyed this. Very nice theme that was clever, well-executed and actually helped me with the solve. Some very good cluing (indeed, the clue for HAIRDOS was fantastic, as was the clue for G-STRING), and the clunky stuff was pretty sparse (the only nit I could pick would be having both AVE and RDS in the same section).

Only blemish: 64A. If RECRUIT is intended as a noun, then the answer needed to be ENLISTER; if RECRUIT is intended as a verb, then ENLIST is flat-out wrong. The military RECRUITs people who then ENLIST. It's like having a clue of "Throw" and having the answer be CATCH. So, either this is a surprisingly rare flub, or I'm completely missing something (experience tells me the latter's more likely, but I really can't think of how these go together).

That one thing doesn't really matter in the overall assessment of the puzzle, which was excellent.

jae 12:11 AM  

Charming Halloween puzzle and I learned something new.  We live in a complex that does not get trick-or-treaters so I have no idea what types of candy exist these days.  Never heard of SWEDISH FISH or HOT TAMALES as candy, but a post solve google filled me in. 

This was mostly easy, but being iffy about FISH and not knowing BORODIN or PUSH IT made NE tough. 

Pretty smooth grid, cute theme, liked it!

@M & A.  Yesterday's LA Times by David Steinberg had 9 Us if I counted right.

John Child 12:14 AM  

The clues were tougher than Wednesday-standard I thought. I had to work well through the grid before filling in any of the theme answers and understanding the candy thing. How old I feel: of course candy corn and tootsie rolls make up Halloween dinner!

Very fun to have a Wednesday puzzle stretch he mind a bit.

Evan 12:18 AM  
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Evan 12:19 AM  

I'm a little more ambivalent about this puzzle -- I'll readily admit that the fill is pretty clean and lively in a way that I'd always expect from Joel's grids (MY BAD, PUSH IT, RYE BREAD, CATEGORY, and G-STRING are all good), but I found the theme a little bit thin. I guess it is based on candies which have real foods in their name, but in the end, I thought it was that candy. I also would have preferred that REESE'S hadn't been in there, or at least, if it's going to be a bonus theme answer, I think it would have been better to fit another candy in the northeast corner.

I dunno, I'll probably appreciate this more in retrospect. I'm glad I got a chance to get ABZUG today since that hit me by surprise at the Lollapuzzoola tournament.

I found this very slightly above medium, meaning not tough enough to be considered medium-challenging, but tough enough to slow me down much more than I expected it to. I got tripped up right away with HARDEE'S instead of CARL'S JR. It turns out that both have the same smiling star in their logos and are owned by the same parent company. You learn something new every day.

wreck 12:28 AM  

Found the puzzle pretty entertaining .... but had never ever heard of SWEDISH FISH! Doesn't sound so yummy!

retired_chemist 12:36 AM  

Good puzzle. Medium. Wanted NEVERMORE for 1A but it was a bit too long.

Did. Not. Know. SWEDISH FISH and HOT TAMALES as candies, so at first they stood out as thematic oddballs. Of course the confusion was self-engendered.

Food-related megatheme. In addition to the actual theme, we have CARL'S JR., PESTOS, TAHINIS, BASTE, STEAMER, EGG, CREME, RISSOLE, RYE BREAD, REESE'S, SAL (Pizzeria Owner), and (if clued as the Japaneses seaweed) NORI. Hmm- is the Mickey D's down the road open 24/7?

Thanks, Mr. Fagliano.

Unknown 12:40 AM  

surprisingly easy to me except Rissole and EBON. I agree about CAW and had MAILMAN for bit before seeing POSTMAN. Just saw the Entertainment Weekly reunion piece about Do The Right Thing, which helped with SAL. Agree I expected more from the raven, but some nice extras for the theme including some costumes -- ET, YODA and, uh, GSTRING! Agree that Reese's seemed superfluous and unclever, though. Fun one and probably published today bc it would be way too easy for a Thursday.

Unknown 12:42 AM  

P.S. Swedish fish are delicious.

Benko 1:38 AM  

Weird. This was my fastest Wednesday ever, beating my previous fastest (last week's, strangely enough) by ten seconds. Thought it would be Monday easy to everybody.

Carola 3:17 AM  

I like Joel Fagliano's puzzles, but I often CANT finish his late-week ones. This one, too, I found on the challenging side but got many smiles from the sweet theme answers and clever clues. My favorite was also "Spare wear" (at first I thought this might be some Spanx-type garment to rein in a spare tire), with "Bob" a close second. I think I'm in the minority on liking REESES Pieces for the ETS, with YODA as an extra extra-terrestrial trick-or-treater.

New to me: RISSOLE. Do-overs: amati before STRAD and cob before EGG salad.

@Joel Fagliano - Tricky, but very much a treat - thanks for the fun.

Jisvan 3:58 AM  

I solve online and sometimes also in syndyland, with ink in my local paper, as a sort of test to see what I recall 5 weeks later. The ET puzzle just ran yesterday, with the Reese's Pieces clue, so that was a gimme. I had a fast time for a Wednesday, maybe because candy sticks in my brain (as well as my teeth and my thighs...) A nice pre Halloween romp, and calorie free! Thanks Joel, I liked it!

Autocorrect 4:00 AM  


Aviated CarlaJr Masses 4:11 AM  

No tricks, just treats!

Never heard of SWEDISHFISH not HOTTAMALES as candy (thought maybe those were somehow Swedish/Mexican Halloween traditions, I was confused!)

I can't decide if I like ten other food references or if they add to the atmosphere...
This blog must be getting to me, bec I also didn't like PESTOS and TAHINIS as plurals! And yet TOOTSIEROLL there was only one measly one!

One sweet memory, I loved TOOTSIEROLLs so much as a child I was called TOOTSIE (before the film) and still have a giant TOOTSIEROLL piggy bank...

One bittersweet memory... "PUSHIT" by Salt 'n Pepa was the only thing (cassette) I took from my friend Chris upon his death, as a memory from all the times we had danced to it in college. It's been almost 20 years, but RIP my love!

I'm so old, maybe I'll wear a big hat and go as Bella ABZUG...

Thanks for the memories, young Joel!

MetaRex 7:06 AM  

Did not cohere as I was solving...starting w/ CAT/TEASERS for CAW/WEASELS in the NW didn't help. After the fact, am impressed by the combo of the (kinda disturbing) candy food themers w/ other food answers like RISSOLE, PESTOS, and TAHINIS.

The Eseometer reading for today is here...RISSOLE, PESTOS, and TAHINIS all got scored as 1 point, btw.

Milford 7:07 AM  

Fun Wednesday puzzle, filled with candy! My kids like that gummy-type of candy, so I know SWEDISH FISH and HOT TAMALES well. Actually, I've known runners who carry SWEDISH FISH on long runs for energy - they aren't sickly sweet.

I'll admit that at one point I asked my husband if he knew of a fast food place ending in JR, which did help that top corner get finished. I'll also admit I didn't see the "real food" component of the theme until coming here, but it makes me love the puzzle. I'm with @Rex, that it making a plausible meal makes me happy.

The G-STRING clue was awesome, as were the BOA and HAIRDOS clues. MY BAD and PUSH IT were great entries. And I love REESES so I don't care if it's a candy outlier.

Thanks, Joel! I kind of hope we get some sort of Halloween rebus tomorrow.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:10 AM  

Fun puzzle, and definitely at least Medium for me.

I wouldn't say I Never heard of CARLSJR or RISSOLE, but neither is in my usual vocabulary.

@Steve J -
en·list (n-lst)
v. en·list·ed, en·list·ing, en·lists
1. To engage (persons or a person) for service in the armed forces.
2. To engage the support or cooperation of.
1. To enter the armed forces.
2. To participate actively in a cause or enterprise.

jberg 7:28 AM  

It WAS fun to write in all those candies. The first theme answer to come up was 18A; I had SWE from the crosses and almost wrote in SWEet potato, figuring the theme was orange, or maybe orange and black, foods. Fortunately I didn't.

The G STRING clue was indeed great, but there must have been some way it could have linked to ONAN (28D).

INStill before INSPIRE, Poe before CAW, and the beginnings of cArom, though I remembered MASSÉ before I'd finished writing it in.

My only complaint: PESTOS are not a group of sauces made with basil, they are a group of herb-flavored pastes, some of which have basil in them. I still enjoyed the puzzle, though.

John V 7:34 AM  

Easy, save for TAMALES/CREME cross

Glimmerglass 7:40 AM  

@steve j: The clue for 61A says nothing about the military. In ordinary speech one says, "I'd like to enlist your help." Or "Let's enlist some new donors." ENLIST just means "place on a list," which is a meaning of "recruit."

Anonymous 7:49 AM  

Is Carl's Jr a regional chain? Never heard of it in Midwest. Constructors should not be geographically centric.

Anonymous 8:04 AM  

CARLS JR. Hmm. I slapped down HARDEES, then Google it to find they are siblings.

Scarab 8:04 AM  

I also had enjoyed this one. With just a few letters in there, I got SWEDISH FISH right away. They were the first gummy candy I ever encountered, probably about 35 years ago. That immediately gave me the theme, so I was able to cruise through without too much difficulty.

The NW corner was last. I had thought Poe but also considered CAW and didn't write anything I until I had some crosses. I also thought Hardee's first, but since that didn't go with either of my raven quotes, I walked away from that corner for a while. CARL'S JR isn't around here, but I've heard of it, and it recently came up in conversation because my son is reading a book about fast food for school. I couldn't get it right away even with the JR, but got it once I had the L.

wreck 8:05 AM  

On the old Tonight Show ..... Johnny Carson used to joke quite often about "Carl's Jr" -- so it DID get quite a bit of national exposure. As mentioned earlier the chain "Hardee's" has the same logo and is owned by the same company.

Loren Muse Smith 8:08 AM  

@Evan – me, too for "Hardees" before CARLS JR (which this NC LASS has never heard of). I have the copycat Hardees biscuit recipe, which is da bomb.

@retired_chemist – I kept seeing that seaweed, NORI, too.

@acme – I love TOOTSIE ROLLS, too. A few months ago at the country club, all was quiet – no appointments, meetings, nothing, so I ate, uh a few TOOTSIE ROLLs. I had just deposited the fifth, count'em fifth little TOOTSIE ROLL in my mouth when a woman showed up at the door to my office to ask about a date. My mouth was so full, I couldn't even talk. Trying mightily not to drool chocolate, I could but offer her the bag of candy. Luckily I kind of knew her and luckily she laughed and took one.

Shout out to @nanpilla at 4A! ;-)

Time to be a SWEDISH FISH snob. I have friends in Sweden who send a bunch of assorted candy at Christmas. Authentic SWEDISH FISH is so different from our red FISH. Not as sweet, and, well, just, righter, somehow. (They have licorice that is salty and to dye for, too.)

I read a while back about a Hooters waitress who was suing the company. There was a wine-selling contest and the winner was promised a new "toy YODA." She felt duped when she didn't receive a car.

@Steve J – good CAW on the AVE and RDS. For the latter, I had "rts" for way too long. But I had absolutely no problem with the clue/answer ENLIST. Is that going to be today's TROOPER? @Rex – agreed on the northeast plural sauces CATEGORY.

Joel – I'm so impressed with the four triple seven stacks in the corners! As always, you deliver A VERy fun puzzle.

Off to prepare an assortment of hummuses. Right.

Yes, Mom. That dye was intentional.

dk 8:09 AM  

I prefer Gummy Bears with my hummuses. Otherwise I filled each cavity with ease.

Carving pumpkins today. Last year was emoticons. No idea what I will do today, except all these power tools sure make it fun. Perhaps constellations!

Never forgot the Scripps' girls who came to one Halloween Party (many years ago) as punctuation marks. Best use of white leotards (singlets) and Sharpies -- they sure spiked a few ECGs .

🌟🌟🌟 (3 CARLS JR icons). Thanks Joel.

Elle54 8:16 AM  

Hilarious! Of course this is the dinner for kids on Halloween. They eat all their candy! Hahaha!
I'm all ready with hundreds of pieces to give out since our house is in a neighborhood where kids get dropped off to trick or treat!

Unknown 8:25 AM  

This one was hard for me, I just couldn't get started until hitting SWEDISHFISH. Of all of the candies, TOOTSIEROLL is the only one I like.

AliasZ 8:31 AM  

Joel Fagliano must have been real hungry when he made this puzzle. Besides the theme, there is a lot of food stuff aspersed around the grid, as @retired_chemist correctly pointed out, not unlike leftovers after a Thanksgiving feast. My best advice to the young constructor is: never go food shopping when hungry, or you'll end up with a grid full of stuff you didn't need.

I CANT quite AVER that I AVIATED through this one. Having never heard of CARL'S JR, and resisting RDS due to AVE sitting smugly a few rows above it, square 32 was my Gordian knot. I was surprised when the D turned out to be correct.

I have no idea what a chemist may have on her/his table. Maybe @retired_chemist can clue me in. Oh, not that kind of table, YOYO! (Loved the clue). What I was less than ELEVATEd about were the two clumsy food plurals on the NE. One would be forgivable, but both PESTOS and TAHINIS were a bite much.

I had a mental image of Bella ABZUG with a guitar, wearing HABITS and singing "Dominique" flash by as I was filling that crossing. Not a pretty picture.

BORODIN was my initial entry at first scan. For those not up on opera, the musical Kismet is based on music from BORODIN's opera Prince Igor. You must remember the song Stranger in Paradise if nothing else.

One of French composer Emmanuel Chabrier's (1841-1894) most popular works is his rhapsody for orchestra ESPAÑA.


joho 8:34 AM  

I got off to a wobbly start by immediately writing in CARLJRS making me think that 29A began with roll. This mistake was made worse by stS a definite"Ways to go: abbr."

Other tiny trouble spot was EkG before ECG.

Got it all in the end and loved the theme and, yes, the clue for GSTSRING was fabulous!

I think all the other candy and food extras added to the tasty fun!

And speaking of REESES, we hand out a minimum of 150 every Halloween. However, tomorrow is supposed to bring a huge storm our way so we'll see ...

Thank you, Joel ...this was delightfully entertaining and very visual as I now see all the costumed characters arriving at my door dressed as: TWOTONE WEASELS, YODA, USHER, STPETER, nuns in their HABITS, a POSTMAN, Bella ABZUG, TOOTSIE, ARI Onassis, Rin TIN TIN, a loaf of RYEBREAD, a YOYO and a couple of HOTTAMALES with smoky EYES and sexy HAIRDOS. Thankfully not a GSTRING in sight!

AliasZ 8:41 AM  

That was supposed to be "I was surprised when the R turned out to be correct" of course.

Tita 9:01 AM  

RISSOLEs are the appetizer portion of my last meal menu. If I ha dto choose only a single item, rather than a 7-course last meal, it would be RISSOLEs.

Or rather, rissois, as the Portuguese call them.

@Rex - one of my mom's top 3 signature dishes is rissois de camarao. The most sublime thing you could ever wish to have. A delicate and creamy bechamel with chunks of shrimp...

They are lots of work, though, starting from the cooked dough that requires plenty of muscle power to beat into submission before you begin to roll it out.

(@Jen, @mac, @Sparky - you had their easier-to-make second cousin, croquettes, at @Jen's place last summer.)

Was sure OFL would have a picture of cans of "FOOD" from Repo Man to illustrate 43D GENERIC.

The puzzle? Cute. Tonight is Mischief Night, so timeliness is appropriate.

Tita 9:03 AM  

@Rex - not sure if coming up with a vegetarian RISSOLE would make sense - why go to all that work if you're just going to deep-fry the healthy veggies?

jburgs 9:15 AM  

Count me in with the fans for this puzzle. It wasn't easy for me but once sorting out my mistakes I was able to get through without cheating.

What made it challenging was my confidently on first pass entering Amati instead of STRAD, RIT instead of RPI (I wonder if it offers MBA's or MFA's), Mailman instead of POSTMAN AND Ril instead of RIA.
Never having heard of Swedish Fish and Carl Jrs, thank god for crosses.

Puzzle provided just the right proportions of frustration,aha moments, Dammits, gimmes etc to make it fun. I didn't have to enlist any help to finish solving.

Z 9:36 AM  

Before I got HOT TAMLES I was wondering how GuT RINGS fit the clue. G-STRINGS ... I have yet to see one show up at the door on Halloween. However, with well over a thousand expected visitors tomorrow night, I'll be sure to let everyone know on Friday if one does.

Lots of WOEs for me today, CARLS JR, RISSOLE, SWEDISH FISH, PUSHIT. With PUSHer in place it was hard to see the NE. Finished, but more medium+ here.

Three SOCs to go with the POCs today, EAVE, RISSOLE, and TOOTSIE ROLL. All typically come in multiples.

Z 9:38 AM  

Beer Rating: Pumpkin Ale, of course.

mac 9:41 AM  

Beautiful Wednesday puzzle!

Not easy, had to hop about a little, and the Swedish fish confused me, I thought there would be disgusting menu combinations. The jelly beans set me straight.

So much food! We can add even NORI to the list and baste it. Cases and tins of food. Who needs Carl's Jr. I don't think we have those in CT.

There are plenty of humuses (often have a hard time finding the "original" kind) and pestles, but tahinis are usually of a kind.

Got to go candy shopping, now I'm inspired.

mac 9:43 AM  

Pestos, thank you very much spell check.

Lindsay 9:50 AM  

I haven't been reading the blog as regularly as sometimes, but had to come here to find out what the theme was :~(

Never heard of SWEDISH FISH in any sense, or HOT TAMALES as candy. Never heard of RISSOLE or CARLS JR. Obviously a chain that hasn't made it to Maine.

So challenging for sure.

Notsofast 9:53 AM  

My favorite holiday! And a very nice puzzle, too. HARDEE'S began here in NC. Don't know about CARL's JR. And shouldn't that be CARL JR'S?

GILL I. 10:26 AM  

Yep, one of my favorite holidays as well.
A Mexican dinner on Halloween...Yay!
FISH BEANS CORN TAMALES (not too sure about a ROLL though) Boy, I would have loved to see DIA DE LOS MUERTOS in there.
@joho: I'd give anything to see some one in a RYE BREAD me an idea.
@Tita - croquetas de jamon in this house - at least once a month..
Hand up for loving TOOTSIEROLLs.
Well, I don't think you can get much better than this here fun puzzle for a Wed. Gracias Joel F.

NitPicker 10:44 AM  

There was once (owned by the same guy) a sit down restaurant called Carl's. So when he opened smaller fast food places, they became Carl's Jr. They are mostly in the west and southwest. Fifth largest fast food chain.

Steve J 10:50 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle and Glimmerglass: Thanks for setting me straight on ENLIST. I clearly got fixated on one use and couldn't think of any others. I guess I rarely hear ENLIST used as a synonym for "recruit", but I still should have been able to think of the other uses. As I suspected, the error was mine and not the puzzle's.

Living California definitely helps knowing CARL'S JR. As mentioned, they're predominately west coast and southwest. Those of you living east of the Rockies definitely wouldn't have encountered them outside of traveling.

Interesting to see what candies people do know. I remember HOT TAMALES as a kid in the '70s. They were common movie-theater candy at the time.

Then again, I didn't hear of SWEDISH FISH until the last year or two. I thought they were new (to me, they seemed like a knockoff of gummi bears), but I'm surprised to read here they've been around for decades.

quilter1 10:53 AM  

Liked it and finished easily. In our travels we have observed that Hardees is east and midwest and CARLJRS is in the west. Ready for the trick or treaters tonight. The tradition here is that you have to tell a joke or riddle to get a treat. When I was a child we also sang songs or recited Halloween poems. The kids today don't do that so I am armed with silly jokes to tell them and encourage them to use at the next house.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

There is no "Washington Ave" in Washington, DC.

gifcan 10:57 AM  

Misspelled STRAt until MYBAt didn't jive.

Never heard of Hardees but I have heard of CARLSJR.

I liked this puzzle from start to finish. A little tricky for me in the NE.


retired_chemist 11:05 AM  

Knew CARL'S JR because we have them here, know Hardee's since I get East on occasion.

Trivial fact: a similar pair was Bob Evans Restaurants and the now-defunct Owens Family Restaurants. Former started two counties upriver from my home town, latter was strictly Texas based but essentially identical to the former once Bob Evans took them over.

Google Maps 11:18 AM  

Washington AVE, SW, Washington DC

mac 11:27 AM  

MY BAD is one of my least favorite expressions. It sounds insincere, not good enough as an apology.

Kroketten, similar to rissoles, are the Dutch food I miss the most. I try to have one every day when I'm in Holland. Around Christmas/New Year's I make a batch of bitterballen, a small version. Verrukkelijk!

J. D. KaPow 11:36 AM  

Corn and tamales in the same dinner? That seems like a poorly planned menu.

Masked and AnonymoUUs 11:37 AM  

MMMMM. Candy corn. The best.

@4-Oh: Hate to see you go and discourage folks from usin fine, upstandin, 2-U words like HUMMUSES. "Nevermore".

@jae: Thanx. Today's LAT is by Jeff Chen. Limited U-osity, but theme is a near and dear topic, for Masked and Anonymous dudes, everywhere.

Happy Hall-o-week, fellow spooks.

Melodious Fink 11:38 AM  

There is a Washington Avenue, SW, in Washington, DC. Not the nicest section in the area, but it's there.

chefbea 11:44 AM  

Yummy puzzle!!! Put in Hardees right away . Their logo is a star. Never heard of Carl's Jr. Just made a big batch of pesto which I freeze in little cups. Make hummus all the time.

Guess tomorrow's puzzle will be spooky!!!

Unknown 11:49 AM  

Med/Chal Wed. for me. Seemed like slow going all the way through. Fun solve to get us in a Halloween mood. Wonder if there's another Halloween theme tomorrow?

Liked the 7-letter corners. lots of opportunity for interesting medium length fill. That's probably why it seemed like slow going to me. The 7 letter words generally aren't quick fill-ins.

I was surprised that so many didn't know swedish fish, hot tamales, and carls jr. Sometimes when you know something, you just assume everyone else does too.

@Z - "...well over a thousand expected visitors tomorrow night..." - Holy crap! do you live in a mall?

Ray J 11:50 AM  

Joel F. knew what he was doing when he paired CARL’S JR with G-STRING in the grid. I’m not gonna include a link, but if you Google commercials for the burger joint you’ll see what I mean. Kate Upton, Heidi Klum and Paris Hilton are a few of the, um, spokespersons to have represented the brand.

Bella Abzug and Bonnie Abbzug: two of my all-time favorites.

Catch up stuff:

@Rob C – I enjoyed your puzzle yesterday.

@M&A – Thanks for sharing your Har-o-ween puz - lots of fun even tho I did have to cheat a little to finish.

Z 12:04 PM  

@Rob C. - I have a neighbor that starts decorating his front yard on October 1. Flying ghosts, skeltons popping up from behind walls, pirates hanging from the tree, dry ice for foggy effect, and on and on. Plus, I live in a very safe and densely populated first rung suburb of Detroit. Combine these two factors and the craziness starts around 5:30 and goes until 8:00 - the official ending time by city ordinance. My next door neighbor stopped counting at 1,000 last year. It used to be even worse before. I had a neighbor in the other direction that did the same so we used to be one of 13 houses in between the two.

retired_chemist 12:12 PM  

@ Rob C and Z - we live on 45 acres behind an 8 foot fence. No kids of trick-or-treat age even know we exist. Stopped buying Halloween candy years ago because we knew we would end up eating every piece.

michy 12:13 PM  

Loved the clue for GSTRING - at first I was thinking spare tire around one's middle and initially thought GuTRING. I know that's not a thing but it just hit me.

In the south wehave Hardee's, so I popped that in first before JELLYBEANS made that an obvious mistake.

Fun puzzle!

retired_chemist 12:20 PM  

@ michy - wouldn't HARDEES => EELLYBEANS be an interesting Halloween treat?

Lewis 12:27 PM  

OOF before POW, my tough section was the NW. Loved the terrific clues that have been well mentioned already, and liked the theme to help get us psyched up for Halloween, and I too am one of those who is expecting more than 1,000 tomorrow night. In our last house we were lucky to get 6. Location, location, location.

Rex, agree with your take on hummuses. Even worse would be hummusses.

Reading down you get ONANAMA, which looks cool to me.

I like ELEMENT crossing ELEVATE and YOYO crossing YODA.

michy 12:32 PM  

@ retired_chemist - sounds frightfully delicious!

Anoa Bob 12:45 PM  

The first thing I noticed about the grid was the low black square count---only 32---and resultant copious white space giving it a themeless look, especially with those triple-stacked sevens in all four corners.

That plus the five theme slots taking up 51 squares make this a very challenging grid to fill. So I was impressed by this puzz before I even looked at the first clue.

The down side to this kind of themed/themeless hybrid style grid is that one often has to use less-than-optimal fill to get 'er done. This is where infelicities like abbreviations, partials, crosswordese, random Roman numerals, and, yes, POCs, are most likely to be found.

Speaking of the last, I almost never have an issue with the legitimacy of plurals, even in cases such as TAHINIS. I can imagine a TAHINI cook-off with many different recipes and lot's of savory TAHINIS to choose from.

My issue is with the degree to which the POCs make the puzzle easier to fill, especially the two-for-one, helper-square S's, here at the end of WEASEL/RD, TAHINI/CASE, HABIT/REESE, JELLYBEAN/PESTO, & LP/EYE. Kind of like having an open-ended number of blank tiles in Scrabble. The more you have, the easier it is too complete words and at some point it becomes too many and too easy.

Occasionally we might even see a singular of convenience. Bet you can't eat just one TOOTSIE ROLL.

Quaimoto and Anonymous 12:48 PM  

Not as many trickertreaters at our place, since we installed the tippable cauldrin of boiling oil, up over the main entrance.


p.s. happy HUMP day.

C.J. from Green Bay 12:58 PM  

@M&A (just a "hunch") -- worst spelling of Quasimodo I've ever encountered, bar none.

Deliciously fun puzzle. More treat than trick, so to speak. Thanks, Joel.

ahimsa 1:24 PM  

How sweet it is! Many thanks to Joel Fagliano for a puzzle that was bags of fun! As others have said it was packed with many food references in addition to the candy.

100% agree with @Rex on the great clues for HAIRDOS, GSTRING and TWO TONE. I also chuckled at CAW while solving (What quoth the raven?) and then laughed out loud at @Rex's "first draft stuff" for Poe. Great comment!

Oh, and I actually have two different HUMMUSES in my refrigerator right now (one's jalapeno, the other is red bell pepper). Thank U for reminding me of a great U word. :-)

This played slower than usual for a Wed for me esp. in the NE. At 8 Across the only Salt-N-Pepa song that I could remember was Shoop - too short! I got PUSH IT and BORODIN only from crosses. Plus I wrote in Sat (?) at 4 Down (I was thinking satellite, I guess? LOL!) instead of SYS. Brain must be extra slow today.

@Acme, one TOOTSIE ROLL need not be measly. In addition to the tiny, bite-size versions it also comes in a large size about 5-6 inches long. Hmm, I think there may be even larger sizes? I seem to remember a giant one in my Xmas stocking one year.

@Tita said, why go to all that work if you're just going to deep-fry the healthy veggies? Why? Because they are delicious! One can be vegetarian and not be into health foods. :-)

RISSOLES look a bit like pakoras which is the north Indian (Punjabi? U.P.?) version of breaded and fried veggies. And now I'm craving aloo pakoras with coriander chutney. And it's only 10 AM.

Unknown 2:05 PM  

@Z and Ret Chem - I live in a mostly rural area. I get about 40 visitors per year, which is a nice amount. Enough that we feel we're part of the Halloween celebration, but not as much as we feel the need to buy stock in a candy company.

Some people just put out a big empty bowl with a sign 'please take some candy' You don't get disturbed by trick or treaters all night. And the hooligans give you credit for trying, so they don't egg your house. WIN-WIN

@Ray J - thanks

Evan 2:23 PM  

@Rob C:

When I was a kid, whenever people on our block or elsewhere put out a bowl of candy on their porch and a sign that just said "please take one", my brothers and friends and I would just take everything in the bowl. We thought, they're trying to take part in Halloween but they're either not home or too lazy to answer the door, so all the candy's ours. Tough luck, other kids on the block!

Enjoyed your puzzle yesterday, by the way.

Evan 2:25 PM  

@Rob C:

I should add, I've heard tale of some parents leaving the bowl on the front porch, but also hiding in the bushes to jump out and scare kids who tried to raid all the candy. Never happened to me, though.

Anonymous 2:36 PM  

Recruit and enlist are parallel outside their military usages. If I need help with a project, I could enlist help or recruit it.

LaneB 2:46 PM  

NICE SEASONAL THEME AND INTERESTING CLUES MADE for a reasonably fast and pleasant Wednesday. Grazie Signore Fagliano!

r.alphbunker 3:49 PM  

Are the black squares supposed to represent cavities? There are 32 black squares and adults have 32 teeth.

Jisvan 3:52 PM  

@loren muse smith: "Authentic SWEDISH FISH is so different from our red FISH. Not as sweet, and, well, just, righter, somehow. (They have licorice that is salty and to dye for, too.)" Not sure about the dye part, I think it's naturally black from the molasses, but I have to chime in about the pleasures of salted, and even double salted licorice! Works great on long bike rides: gives you sugar and salt, holds up in hot weather, prevents dry mouth while you are sucking wind on a climb-- all around good energy food. I find it in some old timey candy stores. As with many things, hated it as a kid, love it now...

sanfranman59 4:55 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

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

Wed 11:04, 9:44, 1.14, 81%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Wed 6:19, 5:37, 1.12, 80%, Medium-Challenging

Benko 5:18 PM  

@ahimsa said: "One can be vegetarian and not Benito health food!"
You're darn right! People are shocked to find out I've been a total vegetarian for 15 years. Hey, I like beer and French fries!

acme 5:21 PM  

hmmm, Push It came out in 1987 and I graduated in 1980... Chris died in 1994, so we couldn't have danced to it in college! Strange, I have vivid memories of it from college... wow, another mis-memory.
Still love it tho!
Dance break!


Unknown 5:24 PM  

@Evan - You must have been eating Halloween candy past New Years every year. Did they ever refill the bowl, so you could come back for a second serving? Although, if your friends were like my friends, I'm sure that's not the worst thing you did. In the neighborhood where I grew up Halloween was like a war zone. And thanks.

August West 6:58 PM  

Me too for Hardee's first. Also loved the clues for HAIRDOS, G-STRING and TWO-TONE.

Caught the theme at SWEDISH FISH, which are often in voluminous supply around here as, um, the kids just love 'em. Yeah, that's the ticket. How anyone has not heard of, let alone enjoyed, these sweet treats is beyond me. But only the red ones!

Remembered HOT TAMALES from childhood; they're made by the same fine folk who bring us Mike and Ike, although neither has passed my lips in ages. Gimme a box of Good & Plenty, any day. Or Bit o' Honey. Or Goldenberg's Peanut Chews. Mmmmmmmmm....Goldenberg's Peanut Chews. D'oh!

Bird 8:50 PM  

I liked today's puzzle. That 27A/13D crossing slowed me down. Didn't know 1D either.

Like G-STRING, except on ABZUG.

Also like how GORY snuck in there with 36D.

Happy Humpday.

@August - Unbelievable, but Big Blue is only 2 games out of first. When will you upright your avatar?

chefbea 8:56 PM  

c'mon Cards!!!tie it up

Bird 9:26 PM  

I'm with you @chefbea. I'm a Yankees fan, but I cannot root for the AL this year as I hate the Red Sox.

Not looking good in the 4th though.

Z 9:46 PM  

@Bird and @chefbea - is that fat woman I hear singing wearing a G-STRING?

FWIW - I'm agnostic in this series.

sanfranman59 10:03 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. 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 7:13, 6:07, 1.18, 97%, Challenging (8th highest ratio of 201 Mondays)
Tue 7:16, 8:15, 0.88, 16%, Easy
Wed 11:06, 9:44, 1.14, 81%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:16, 3:46, 1.13, 91%, Challenging
Tue 4:36, 5:09, 0.89, 13%, Easy
Wed 6:15, 5:37, 1.11, 79%, Medium-Challenging

Chad&Pete 10:14 PM  

This guy^. The new king of crossworld

Bird 10:19 PM  

@Z - I'm always looking for the bright side. So if the Bosox take the series I'll say, "At least it was an AL East team."

mora 4:48 AM  

my story goes to everyone out there that are in the same situation that i have also being through and how i was saved. I was rejected by my boyfriend after 6 years of dating just because another girl had a spell on him,he left me to suffer not thinking about how i will feel after many years we shear together,on day i was reading through the web,i saw a post on a blog on how this spell caster Therapist Oniha on this Email have help a man to get back his girlfriend,i gave him a reply to his email and he told me that a girl had a spell on my boyfriend,he told me that he will help me and after 3days that i will have my boyfriend back,i believed in him because i have no where to turn to for help and did everything he told me to do,today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to win lovers back. because i am now happy with my boyfriend planning for marriage,you can contact him for help and get your problem solved just like he has done to save my happy relationship life.

mora 5:33 AM  

my story goes to everyone out there that are in the same situation that i have also being through and how i was saved. I was rejected by my boyfriend after 6 years of dating just because another girl had a spell on him,he left me to suffer not thinking about how i will feel after many years we shear together,on day i was reading through the web,i saw a post on a blog on how this spell caster Therapist Oniha on this Email have help a man to get back his girlfriend,i gave him a reply to his email and he told me that a girl had a spell on my boyfriend,he told me that he will help me and after 3days that i will have my boyfriend back,i believed in him because i have no where to turn to for help and did everything he told me to do,today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to win lovers back. because i am now happy with my boyfriend planning for marriage,you can contact him for help and get your problem solved just like he has done to save my happy relationship life.

naomi 4:44 PM  

Ravens do not say CAW, they say CROAK. It's the easiest way to tell a raven from a crow.

But am I the world's only crossover between crossword puzzlers and birders?

Unknown 5:17 PM  

I and my husband have been having a lot of problem living together, he will always not make me happy because he have fallen in love with another lady outside our relationship, i tried my best to make sure that my husband leave this woman but the more i talk to him the more he makes me feel sad, so my marriage is now leading to divorce because he no longer gives me attention. so with all this pain and agony, i decided to contact this spell caster to see if things can work out between me and my husband again. the spell caster told me what i will do to get my husband back, so he told me that he was going to make all things normal back. he did the spell on my husband and after 5 days my husband changed completely he even apologize with the way he treated me that he was not him self, i really thank this priest his name is Dr HOODOO he have bring back my husband back to me i want you all to contact him who are having any problem related to marriage issue and relationship problem he will solve it for you. his email

Unknown 7:11 AM  

After years in marriage with my hubby and our 2 kids, my husband started

going out with other ladies and showed me

cold love, on several occasions he threatens to divorce me if I dare

question him about his affair with other

ladies, I was totally devastated and confused until a old friend of mine

told me about a spell caster on the

internet Dr. eho who help people with the relationship and marriage problem

by the powers of love spells, at first

I doubted if such thing ever exists but decided to give it a try, when I

contact him, he helped me cast a spell

and within 48hours my husband came back to me and started apologizing, now

he has stopped going out with ladies

and he his with me for good and for real. Contact this great spell caster

for your relationship or marriage

problem at Goodluck

spacecraft 11:58 AM  

And how could we have a Halloween without our resident spellcasters? (Answer: VER-RY easily.)

@lms: Loved your story about the Hooters waitress. Reminds me of the blond joke about getting a coffee with prizes printed on the cups in a deli, and expecting to get an RV when the cup read "WIN A BAGEL."

I have heard of SWEDISHFISH; used to sell 'em in the convenience store. HOTTAMALES, OTOH, was a total huh? for me--as a candy. I was second-guessing myself all the way through this solve, because that themer just did not go with the others. Even after discovering the real point behind the "dinner" of the clue (which, I admit, I had to come here to unearth), HOTTAMALES just didn't feel right.

JELLY qualifies BEANS as a candy, when they otherwise would not be.
Ditto SWEDISH-->FISH, CANDY-->CORN and TOOTSIE-->ROLL. But HOT does nothing to change TAMALES from a dinner food to a candy. It just. doesn't. work.

Agree that REESES, while my favorite of all these edibles, should have a companion "piece" in the NE.

Despite the defects, I liked the chunkiness of the fill. Throwing together four triple-stacked sevens is always a neat "trick," and the use of the Z is a real "treat," both ways.

Lucky that I moved to Vegas, where CARLSJR holds sway. They run some of the sexiest ads on TV.

DMG 1:19 PM  

A cute puzzle, slightly out of date for those of us in Syndiland, but there's nothing new about that. Daughter used to work after- school hours at CARLSJR, so that was a gimme, even though I was surprised that we got a west coast reference as opposed to,some little town in New England. Natick, anyone?

Now, back to thinking about Christmas, which will be duly celebrated in Syndiland somewhere around Groundhog Day! Ah well........

Anonymous 1:30 PM  

Don't get it: Jet - Ebon? Any help Syndifriends...

- - Robert

Solving in Seattle 2:00 PM  

@Anon/Robert, Jet = EBON, crosswordese poetic for "black."

Solving in Seattle 2:19 PM  

Loved @LMS's Hooters story, and @Spacy's, too. I'll never see another Winnebago w/o thinking "win a bagel."
A friend took his nurses and staff out for Christmas dinner a few years ago. He told the waiter he would "like the Chilean Sea Bass." His attractive blonde receptionist admitted she had never tried that combination before.

Joel, I liked your puzzle. Nice Halloween offering. I thought we were dealing with a complex rebus when I had SW-DISHFISH. SWorD DISH FISH? I've never heard of SWEDISH FISH before. But I trusted my crosses after getting RYEBREAD.

Only wrinkled nose was for the food plurals in the NE.

Just what would the NYTCW do without Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute?

Whoever offered the mental image of Bella ABZUG in a GSTRING, I'll hate you forever.

Capcha: acidies. Answer to the crossword clue "a group of lower pH liquidies."

Ginger 3:04 PM  

CARLSJRs has a delicious heart attack menu, with scrumptiously astronomical calorie counts. If I were a cardiac doc I'd buy stock.

Learned some new words today. TAHINI, RISSOLE, SWEDISH FISH, HOT TAMALES (as a candy) and the Salt-N-Pepa song, made for a tough solve. Was helped by BORODIN (love the melodic Polovtsian dances).

One should never shop when hungry, or after solving today's fun Fagliano! Thanks Joel.

Dirigonzo 3:34 PM  

I briefly entertained the possibility of a DNF with the same WOEs as @Ginger, but I didn't know BORODIN and needed a lucky guess at the cross with TAHINI.

Has anybody mentioned the most delectable dish served up in the grid, a big platter of STEAMER(s) - add some melted butter and I'm in food heaven.

Does one have to be old to be SPRY, I wonder?

@Retired_Chemist wrote: "Stopped buying Halloween candy years ago because we knew we would end up eating every piece." That's exactly why I DO buy them, and I just finished a pack of Whoppers as I read the comments.

Anonymous 8:13 PM  

I don't get ONZE for Dix + 1. Help.

Solving in Seattle 8:34 PM  

@Anon, ONZE is eleven in whatever language Dix is ten.

Dirigonzo 8:49 PM  

@SiS - that would be French. I believe (thank you Mrs. Baker).

Solving in Seattle 8:58 PM  

@Diri, I'm also guessing Mrs. Baker was your high school French teacher.

BTW, we had two trick or treaters this year (up from one last year) and we got to eat the leftover Reese's Peanut Butter Cups all by ourselves.

Did you like @Retired Chemist living on 45 acres behind an 8' fence? Wondering if it's electric, too? You'd have to be a Navy SEAL to trick or treat at his place.

cb77305 2:46 AM  

@SiS - Anon here in Burien - and thanks all for the update on ONZE being French. We (wife and I) do the syndicated puzzles in the SeaTimes - both the NYT and the Wayne Robert Williams below the fold. We always start Sunday with Merl Reagle then move to the NYT.

Solving in Seattle 3:45 PM  

@cb77305 in Burien, nice to hear from you. I don't know if you visit this blog much, but the folks who solve from syndication (6 weeks after the NYT publishes) are called Syndies and the couple dozen (?) or so regulars are a great group from all over the US and Canada. You and your wife are very welcome to join us on a regular basis.

Go Hawks!

Anonymous 3:41 PM  

I am Mrs Samantha, Truthfully i was tested HIV + positive last 3years. I keep on managing the drugs i usually purchase from the health care agency to keep me healthy and strengthen, i tried all i can too make this disease leave me alone, but unfortunately, it keep on eating up my life, this is what i caused myself for allowing my fiance make sex to me unsecured without protection, although i never knew he is HIV positive. So last few 4days i came in contact with a lively article on the internet on how this powerful spell caster get her well and healed. So as a patient i knew this will took my life 1 day, and i need to live with other friends and relatives too. So i copied out the Dr Kuq ya the spell caster email address:, and I mailed him immediately. In a little while he mail me back that i was welcome to his temple home were-by all what i seek for are granted. I was please at that time. And i continue with him, he took some few details from me and told me that he shall get back to me as soon as he is through with my work after sending him money to get the materials needed to get the spell casted without asking for his own money that will be doing the work. I did all he asked me to do and i was very happy that he promised that i will be cured of my HIV after this spell has been casted as said by the oracle. So Yesterday, as i was just coming from my friends house, Dr Kuq ya called me to go for checkup in the hospital and see his marvelous work that it is now HIV negative, i was very glad to hear that from him, so i quickly rush down to the nearest hospital to found out, only to hear from my hospital doctor called James Ron that i am now HIV negative. I jump up at him with the test note, he ask me how does it happen and i recide to him all i went through with Dr Kuq ya. I am now glad, so i am a gentle type of person that need to share this testimonies to everyone who seek for healing, because once you get calm and quiet, so the disease get to finish your life off. So i will advice you contact him today for your healing at the following email: .


I always get to see a lot of comment and article about this particular spell caster Kuq ya i mean his name is in every web site and blog that talks about how to mend a broken relationship and he his a spell caster there are lot and lot of testimony about him on the internet on how he saved a lot of broken relationship and help people get together with the once they love and a lot of other things about relationship and to crown it all he doesn't even ask that he should be paid for his services that was rendered all he ask for is for you to provide the material that he going to use to cast the spell and for you to believe cos at the end of it all our believe have a a great roll to play. I am, i think i will say i am the skeptical person on earth when it comes to all this spell stuff. I mean i believe in science cos all it facts has being proven to be true but when it comes to all this spell story i promise you it so hard to even think that this kind thing can happen.But even so you can't believe all this things when you have never tried it before and don't even know if you will be wasting your time on this kind of thing. I was faced with this kind of situation because i made a lot of wrong choices in my relationship which i am not so proud of and all my action cost me a lot in my relationship i mean it tore my relationship with the man i love and with all those article online about Kuq ya spells i was in a state of confusion. I knew there was still life in our relationship but my husband was to heart broken to want to try and fix our problem he felt betrayed by me and my actions. I knew that if i didn't do anything to try and fix this or make him see i am sorry this love will turn into hate and i will loss everything forever because as day went by he became cold toward me. It will be so easy to say he did not deserve to be with a person like me but deep down i loved him and what i did will always hunt me for the rest of my life. I was not sure of how i was going to get him to see as this angle just as how it use to be and i know after all i did it will be fair for him to see me as trash but still i regret all i did. I don't know but i became desperate and i contact this Kuq ya to seek help. I know what most reader are thinking, that this is another spam article. I once thought the same any time i came across article like this but after my experience with Kuq ya it will be fair for me to say he is a real spell caster. You may also think that using a spell on the one you love is like making him act against his own will but if it appears to be so Kuq ya will not do the spell because he only does spell when he have seen and know that you too belong together. In my case it was so my man really loved me. Kuq ya did a spell to make him see me as he use to the spell made him love me even more. And you know just as all other person said he didn't even ask for money from me all he asked was for me to get some items and send them over to him but because i am a working class woman who doesn't have the time to look for rear materials i sent him the money to get the things and cast the spell. When my husband walked in the house and just held me tight choking me in the process i remember his heart was running fast and he just kissed me so passionately i knew that whatever Kuq ya did, It worked and it was so strong. What more can i ask from them my man holding me in his arm and happy that i am in his arm. I will live his email address for those who may feel they need his help no saying you are going to need his help but still if you want to contact him use this email { } he does not have a website tell everyone about him is all he asked me for. Amber


Hi! You guys cast a Retrieve A Lover Spell for me back in February. And I'd like to thank you for it. My ex and I have been back together for a month now. And it's been even better than before. I think this time it's forever. We've been talking of moving in together, and maybe getting married in the future. Things between us are great. I thank you for helping to bring him back to me. After our time apart, we've learned to appreciate each other more, and not take anything for granted. Thank you. Dr Kuq Ya after trying and falling through other spell casters and witch doctors i had lost hope , but i thank your God for giving me the ability to find you to solve my problems i now can't imagine that my business is doing better than i thought and i will always live to praise you, Francis limoux from south Africa.Contact Dr Kuq Ya on this email address: you will be glad you did..

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