Vampire's bane / TUE 10-27-15 / Spider's hatching pouch / Hurrays for matadors

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Constructor: Kurt Mueller

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Vampire's banes... — bunch of stuff that kills vampires

Theme answers:
  • STAKE (through the) HEART 
Word of the Day: Sônia BRAGA (33D: Sonia of "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands") —
Sônia Maria Campos Braga (born 8 June 1950) is a Brazilian actress. Nominated for three Golden Globes and an Emmy Award, Braga is best known in the English-speaking world for her performances in Kiss of the Spider Woman, and Moon Over Parador. Her television credits include Sex and the City, Alias, American Family and The Cosby Show. (wikipedia)
• • •
This puzzle has one nice element—the STAKE through the HEART. It's also an anomalous element. The other themers are a rather contrived assortment, with adjectives and other words added to make the answers symmetrical. For instance, what other bible would it be besides "The holy" one? And I think crucifixes are much more common banes, actually. GARLIC is the bane, and the necklace is just one form in which people can wear it to protect *themselves*. It's more repellent than bane. And SILVER BULLET? No one associates that w/ vampires. That's werewolves all the way. I'm sure some list somewhere says "sure, those kill vampires too," but if you say "SILVER BULLET" the only thing people are going to think is "werewolves." Or Coors Light. Or Bob Seger. Or maybe Vampire Bob Seger. But not plain-old vampires.

So there's one clever bit, dead center (stake thru heart is also the primo A1 way to kill a vampire), and then there's ... the rest. And again, too much gucky fill. TO ALL ALII, A LIE, A DAB! U AR an EGGSAC AGER. I might've had some love for KGBSPY, but I just saw it. Where did I see it? I forget? Was it NYT? I do too many puzzles. Anyway, that's a decent answer. How do you not go with "Kiss of the Spider Woman" for the Sônia BRAGA clue in a monster-themed puzzle? Seems like a missed opportunity to creep things up. This grid is super-choppy. Lots of black squares, lots of short fill. This leads to very little interest outside the themers, though DIEHARD, BLOSSOM, and CHEERIO have a certain bounce. Lately we've been getting dusty fill and loose or low-bar themes. The cluing here is also super-straightforward. Boring. Hoping mid-/late-week puzzles pick it up some.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:03 AM  

I'd love to see the reference where Illya Kuryakin was a KGB SPY.

jae 12:03 AM  

Easy for me and boy was I ready for Sonia BRAGA.  

A Halloween puzzle that hints at Christmas with the DIEHARD answer.

Fun theme, not much dreck, liked it a lot more than Rex did.

Elaine2 12:20 AM  

Silver bullets are DEFINITELY for werewolves!

And I have NEVER seen a vampire movie where someone holds up a bible and not a cross...

Too bad -- it was a good idea, but not well done.

Mark Trevor Smith 12:25 AM  

Surprised to see this one called "medium." Seemed the easiest Tuesday in a long time.

dmw 12:34 AM  

Hmmm, my wife and I are starting a "Guess Rex" feature: on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the puzzle stinks in all respects to 5 being, well, the other end of the spectrum. So to start it off, we both thought Rex might like this one: a collection of themers, decent fill, medium for a Tuesday, and that cool middle stake through the heart (I confess I am a Dracula fan--read Bram Stoker's masterpiece at least three times cover to cover). So I predicted 4, she predicted 3, and I guess she wins. Of course a problem with our feature is putting a number on Rex's comments--Rex, and chance you want to help out here? No, didn't think so, oh well.

So we invite you all to play.

Tune in tomorrow.

chefwen 12:44 AM  

Another easy, slightly HO HUM early week puzzle. ALII over ALIa and A DAB over A tAd. That was about it for write overs. BRAGA showed up with crosses, the rest was a snap.

I think I will start sporting a GARLIC NECKLACE, I'm sure the aroma is more pleasant than most perfumes and colognes my nares are assaulted by.

Da Bears 12:48 AM  

Oh, Rex, he did it again. I kinda liked this puzzle, especially the stake through the heart. Not sure I agree with the Holy Bible quibble. There are other bibles. But the silver bullet thing seems to be a bit of a goof. Actually, I associate the Lone Ranger with silver bullets so the image of the Lone Ranger being a vampire killer is intriguing. As for the junk fill, I'm reminded what a muni bond banker once told me when some junk bonds were downgraded (yes, friends, there are various grades of junk bonds). "Junk is junk," he said. Fill is fill. Also, as a little fillip, the BAT in the SW corner is a nice touch with the CRUX in the NE corner.

Anonymous 2:43 AM  

Immediately upon completeingthis I had to check here to make sure I wasn't crazy for never having heard associated "silver bullet" with vampires. Glad to see I'm not losing it.

Speaking of silver bullets, if you're looking for an interesting Coors Light based drink I can't recommend the "Rocky Mountain Sunrise" enough. It's Coors Light with orange juice added to taste.

Jim Peredo 4:51 AM  

KGB SPY was 1A in Finn Vigeland's themeless Friday last week.

George Barany 6:22 AM  

The very first comment on yesterday's puzzle was from @jae, who wrote "confused Vega with Braga" ... and what do you know, today's puzzle has BRAGA!

I think it's quite extraordinary that @Kurt Mueller was able to find two theme entries that intersected STAKE going right down the middle, through the HEART. Then again, I know a lot more about garlic (see: than about vampires.

Lewis 6:47 AM  

@rex -- Quick internet search led to an interview with Anne Rice, who averred that silver bullets indeed kill werewolves but not vampires. Side note: Probably a typo, but in the interview Rice also noted that what certainly kills a vampire is a "steak through the heart".

I found the puzzle to be a cute jaunty pre-Halloween nibble, getting into the spirit of the holiday, and I enjoyed it. The fill seemed acceptable enough to support the theme. There was a mini-theme of words beginning with A (9). I loved the clue for VANE and liked the INI ending to magicians' names (I don't think I ever thought about that before). Besides, we have a HEART smack dab in the puzzle's heart, and a ROW in a row. The puzzle fell fast, and may all vampires do the same!

Bram Stoker 7:33 AM  

He can do all these things, yet he is not free. Nay; he is even more prisoner than the slave of the galley, than the madman in his cell. He cannot go where he lists; he who is not of nature has yet to obey some of nature’s laws—why we know not. He may not enter anywhere at the first, unless there be some one of the household who bid him to come; though afterwards he can come as he please. His power ceases, as does that of all evil things, at the coming of the day. Only at certain times can he have limited freedom. If he be not at the place whither he is bound, he can only change himself at noon or at exact sunrise or sunset. These things are we told, and in this record of ours we have proof by inference. Thus, whereas he can do as he will within his limit, when he have his earth-home, his coffin-home, his hell-home, the place unhallowed, as we saw when he went to the grave of the suicide at Whitby; still at other time he can only change when the time come. It is said, too, that he can only pass running water at the slack or the flood of the tide. Then there are things which so afflict him that he has no power, as the garlic that we know of; and as for things sacred, as this symbol, my crucifix, that was amongst us even now when we resolve, to them he is nothing, but in their presence he take his place far off and silent with respect. There are others, too, which I shall tell you of, lest in our seeking we may need them. The branch of wild rose on his coffin keep him that he move not from it; a sacred bullet fired into the coffin kill him so that he be true dead; and as for the stake through him, we know already of its peace; or the cut-off head that giveth rest. We have seen it with our eyes.


“My friends, we are going into a terrible danger, and we need arms of many kinds. Our enemy is not merely spiritual. Remember that he has the strength of twenty men, and that, though our necks or our windpipes are of the common kind—and therefore breakable or crushable—his are not amenable to mere strength. A stronger man, or a body of men more strong in all than him, can at certain times hold him; but they cannot hurt him as we can be hurt by him. We must, therefore, guard ourselves from his touch. Keep this near your heart”—as he spoke he lifted a little silver crucifix and held it out to me, I being nearest to him—“put these flowers round your neck”—here he handed to me a wreath of withered garlic blossoms—“for other enemies more mundane, this revolver and this knife; and for aid in all, these so small electric lamps, which you can fasten to your breast; and for all, and above all at the last, this, which we must not desecrate needless.” This was a portion of Sacred Wafer, which he put in an envelope and handed to me. Each of the others was similarly equipped.

Bram Stoker

Jeff Lewis 7:59 AM  

Don't most bibles say Holy Bible on them?

jberg 8:27 AM  

Like @DA BEARS, the Lone Ranger would be my first thought for SILVER BULLET. Is that a generational thing? (Don't call me a Golden AGER, though--what a loathesome term!)

I liked it OK, and liked it more after @George Barany pointed out that the STAKE crosses three other theme answers. On the other hand, it IRKed me that this Hallowe'en puzzle featured a quotation from a Christmas poem at 15A. I'm for keeping these holidays in their places. Sorry to be so TESTY.

chefbea 8:30 AM  

Fun easy puzzle. Made meatloaf last night with mashed potatoes not Bush's beans...guess you could call it a Cordon Bleu dinner

@JTHUrst from yesterday..E-mail me and I will be glad to send you the puzzle every day

Mohair Sam 8:30 AM  

Well the puzzle was lots of fun this medium Tuesday, but the grumbling about vampire vanquishment launched by @Rex has been even more enjoyable.

Have to love a vampire puzzle that drives a STAKE through its HEART smack dab in the middle. And I disagree with @Rex on his complaint about BIBLE, I'd argue that the full phrase THEHOLYBIBLE is commonly used.

I see that @Lewis went to none less than Anne Rice to argue against the SILVERBULLET, but then @Bram Stoker's ghost stepped into the fray and made the case for said talisman (along with GARLICNECKLACE). Yeah, I know, Bram didn't specify silver - but everybody knows things silver are anathema to vampires, so there's that - and who wants to pick nits with Stoker's ghost?

Please nobody reference Stephenie Meyer in this debate.

eveostay 8:52 AM  

Dammit, Parker, did you have to go and get Night Moves stuck in my head?

Also "bragas" means "panties" in Spanish. I'm guessing it's not the same in Portuguese, but I wonder if that has been an issue for Ms. Braga.

GILL I. 8:58 AM  

I thought this was enjoyable...
@Leapy -- you got your HEART...right in the middle.
So agree about SILVER BULLETs killing werewolves and such but I'm betting they also kill vampires - as long as it goes right through the HEART. The Lone Ranger was an avid user of the silver. Something to do with the moon I think.
@Lewis. Does that steak have to be medium rare in order to do the dastardly deed?
I think any BIBLE will do the trick. Vampires are really Easy to kill if you just use common sense. Nothing wrong with a GARLIC NECKLACE - they're on sale now at Target.
Fun puzzle Kurt Mueller. Got the imagination all fired up.

AliasZ 9:01 AM  

It's tough to kill a vampire. They DIE HARD.

Don't you hate it that, in the event of a home invasion during the impending vampire apocalypse -- when you would most need it, you never have a GARLIC NECKLACE or a wooden STAKE at hand? Yeah, me too.

So you reach for the next best thing: your flintlock pistol hanging on your wall for self protection of course, in which, if you remember correctly, you had one SILVER BULLET saved for many decades for just such an occasion. But then you panic because you remember selling the silver to a pawnshop so you can pay your mortgage during a challenging period in your life.

Then you scramble for THE HOLY BIBLE, hiding someplace on your bookshelves among hundreds of dusty old tomes you never read, perhaps between "Das Kapital" and "The Collected Speeches of Chairman Mao", only to realize that during that rough spell you pawned your Bible as well -- a large and heavy special edition, illuminated, leather bound, gold leaf embossed copy. You got a decent amount for it, too.

Now what do you do? Aha, DIRECT SUNLIGHT! Your only window faces the wall of a tall building across a narrow alley, and the only sunlight you ever see is reflected from a tiny bathroom window between 7:38 and 7:45 A.M. during the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. This being October 27 leaves you entirely unprotected.

Therefore you succumb to the tempting bite and learn to love the taste of blood. It's not too bad, if a little salty. Eventually you will get used to sleeping in coffins during the day and prowling the streets at night. You will live forever, or until someone drives a STAKE through your HEART -- whichever comes first.

Happy Tuesday!

Ludyjynn 9:06 AM  

In an early 2004 episode of "NCIS", on which David McCallum plays Dr. "Ducky" Mallard, when asked by an Agent, "What did Ducky look like when he was younger?", Gibbs responded, "Illya Kuryakin". There was also a publicity photo of him DRESSed as the SPY in one scene. Nice homage.

Likewise, in an early episode of "The Big Bang Theory", Raj suggested to Howard that they set up Sheldon with "that girl from "BLOSSOM"." Mayim Bialik, the actress and real-life neuroscientist, was later cast as Amy Farrah Fowler, who plays a neuroscientist on the sit- com and has recently re-negotiated her salary to $100,000. per half hour episode.

I became a fan of Sonia BRAGA after seeing the Robert Redford film, "The Milagro Beanfield War" from 1988. Got mixed reviews, but I recommend it. She never disappoints.

Liked the puzzle more than Rex. IMO, a smooth Tuesday. Thanks, @Bram Stoker, for your clarification of the clues. Thanks, KM and WS.

Lockwood 9:09 AM  

Illya Kuryakin was a partner of Napoleon Solo in the United Network Command for Law Enforcement (U.N.C.L.E.). The bad guys were from THRUSH. Not enough baby-boomers doing this puzzle!

Tita 9:14 AM  

Kept wondering how to get cross or crucifix to literally appear... Thought it brilliant when I figured it out. I mostly liked it, flew through it.
Know Sonja BRAGA because of that great movie...

Learned something mostly useless...IMDB has bios of fictional characters. First Anon made me curious...I had a crush on Ilya, so I had to know if it was true...
Lo and behold, there is an entire page on him... And at the very end, this... "In September 2013, a movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. began filming. The film will depict Solo and Kuryakin's first mission. Kuryakin is described as being a KGB agent."
I guess you and I are too old to connect him to the new movie...

How about some love for SNOOP crossing KGBSPY?

7D reminded me of the occasional bumper sticker I would see at old car meets... "Injection is nice but I'd rather be blown."

Thanks Mr. Mueller!

Steve Lockwood 9:16 AM  

Ilya Kuryakin was Napoleon Solo's partner in the United Network Command for Law Enforcement. (U.N.C.L.E.). The bad guys were from THRUSH. Not enough baby-boomers doing this puzzle!

chefbea 9:20 AM  

@ludyinn you must know that Amy and Sheldon have broken up!! Love that show

Prof. Gary Weissman 9:25 AM  

Silver bullet is simply wrong, and it's amazing that a puzzle with that error got through to see print in the NYT.

oldbizmark 9:49 AM  

isn't it INTER ALI[A]? I changed it to INTER ALII to make it BIBLE but I never heard of INTER ALII before...

Z 9:49 AM  

@Lewis - Wondering if that steak is wrapped in bacon. (BTW - yesterday was a great day in science illiteracy, I recommend the explainer if you think your BLT is a death sentence)

Are we really arguing about what kills a mythical being?

"Phil Jackson wrote the bible on the triangle offense." Granted, that bible might be "holy" in Chicago, but not in most of the world.

Carola 9:56 AM  

Loved it. Something about the vampire theme tickled me, and the STAKE through the HEART (at the heart of the puzzle with the intersecting words forming another bane, the cross -CRUX!) was just inspired. Witty and fun.

Re: various banes for vampires and werewolves - Glen Duncan's trilogy, beginning with The Last Werewolf will tell you all you need to know.

Leapfinger 9:58 AM  

@Lewis, you have to admit that, in general, driving a steak through any body's heart will severely compromise cardiac output. Arroz con steak.

@Da Bears, this has been a while in coming. Just because you're in disguise doesn't mean we don't recognize da guise from old venues. I look at your avatar and see Winston Churchill. Remember what DeadTreeSolver said about the 'writer's voice'.

Roo Monster 10:05 AM  

Hey All !
Fun Halloweeny TuesPuz. The STAKE through the HEART was the highlight, of course. Agree with the SILVER BULLET nay-sayers, however, @Bram Stoker seems to set it straight. (That's why I like to read the comments first before commenting myself, makes me seem like I actually know what I'm talking about!)

@AliasZ, awesome! Got a big laugh out of that. Also limed Rex's Vampire Bob Seger! Funny stuff.

Lots of blocks, 42, but puz was still good. Closed off NE and SW corners. Not too much dreck (looking at you, XED). EGG SAC seems like one of those words that are icky, like Juicy, or Moist. (That was to make Rex cringe!)

Enjoyable romp, off to watch Supernatural on TNT. Awesome show. Out here in Las Vegas, it's on weekdays starting at 9am with four episodes in a row!


thfenn 10:36 AM  

I liked it. Sure, silver bullets bring to mind the Lone Ranger, definitely for this golden ager to be, and werewolves, but somehow they're still in my pile of DOODADs you need to fight off bad stuff. The stake through the heart threw me as I was sure CROSS would be there somewhere and it took me a minute to rule that out. Enjoyed KGBSPY, DIEHARD, CHEERIO, SHRINE STEPS, INWARD, CRUX, and BLOSSOM - the puzzle had a little sweet a little sour, a little TESTY even. Even liked Man or Manhattan. Kiss of the spider woman would've been nice with Spider's hanging pouch, no doubt there, but I thought this puzzle was fun - nice way to start the day.

Leapfinger 10:37 AM  

@McGillicuddy, yes, that ticketed me too. You're all HEART!

@Alias, how does that succumbus have anything to do with all the vampire tips?

Sonia BRAGA's the Best! Won't list all her wonderful movies, but "Dona Flor's Two Husbands" kind of fits today's theme, with one husband being alive, one not. The ' nof' one wasn't a VAMPIRE; he just didn't believe in "till death do us part".

Enjoyed the solve, love love all the myth stakes under discussion, but it's some of the comments that make me Lestatic!!

Arroz con steak

Malsdemare 10:40 AM  

@Bram Stoker, thanks for the clarification. I really enjoyed the puzzle. Having never read Dracula, the potential errors, which aren't errors, didn't bother me. I really liked the STAKE through the heart. I was looking for some sort of cross.

Nice job, all.

Joseph Michael 10:58 AM  

Fun puzzle with a STAKE through it's HEART.

Besides rhat and SUNLIGHT, a vampire's main bane is a cross. Might have been some nice word play there, given that the puzzle has A CROSS section.

Another wordplay opportunity: FANGS (down) sinking literally into a THROAT (across).

I'm with Mr. Stoker on the uses of a BULLET. Just because it can kill a werewolf doesn't mean it can't kill a vampire, too.

Liked the clues for ITALIC and VANE and thought that DIE HARD was an excellent tie in to the theme.

mac 11:18 AM  

...and sacred bullet could have been made to fit.

I guess I don't know much about vampires, but I did look around for a cross or crucifix.

@GILL I.: that would have to be a solidly frozen steak!

Good Tuesday with plenty of theme answers, including the bat at 58D, and crux at 10A.

Masked and Anonymous 11:31 AM  

SILVERBULLET was probably added, to placate the gun lobby. But …
M&A Help Desk extensive research reveals that some cultures, like in the Balkans, do like to go with them bullets, more as a "just to be on the safe side" measure, in combo with other extermination methods.

Yer SILVER bullets do have some folklore loriness, too, tho: for 'killing werewolves, witches, and other monsters". Kinda like a catch-all remedy. The Lone Ranger was evidently unto somethin, there. Masked dudes are so often ahead of their time.

Halloweenie-ness Index is really jumping all over the place, so far this week, here at NYTPuz Central. Out of 10 being total spookfest schlockiness, we have:
SunPuz - 7. Halloween costumes. Okay, but lacks the edginess of a solid Hammer Films flick.
MonPuz - 2. San Francisco, Super Models, and Polar Bears. @009 went ahead and drove a stake thru it, just to make sure.
TuesPuz - 9. Vampire Defense System. Now we're talkin.

STAKE thru HEART was primo. Some cultures cut off the (alleged) vampire head and stick in between the buttocks, for the burial layout pose. That woulda been a heckuva extra to show somehow in this grid. Us solvers don't ask for much, huh, Mr. Mueller?

fave weeject & clue combo: {Vampire ___} = BAT.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

**Rorschach test gruntz**

Master Melvin 11:41 AM  

The title page of just about every copy of the King James Version that I have ever seen says it is "THE HOLY BIBLE". The outside cover may drop the definite article, but not the HOLY. Apart from any religious and spiritual value, it is a monument of English language and literature, which I think Rex teaches!

old timer 11:46 AM  

I liked it a lot, though it took a lot longer to solve than most Tuesday puzzles, since I remembered nothing about vampire-lore, other than STAKE through the HEART. And there's your Cross, hiding in plain sight! (Not all crosses are crucifix-shaped, you know).

"Et alia" = and other things

ET ALII = and other men or people.

Thanks from me, too, for @Bram Stoker's long and fascinating quotes.

Bob Kerfuffle 12:07 PM  

As I recall, a STAKE going through the HEART, crossing at the A, was the answer to a Matt Gaffney meta in a similarly-themed puzzle a while back. (Since my recollection is vague, both might have been embedded in longer words.)

(Typed 12:07 PM)

Hartley70 12:33 PM  

Loved it! Agree with what @MohairSam said earlier.

Who are all these pseudo-experts on vampire life and death? And that Anne Rice arriviste? Mr. Stoker has spoken. I'll never understand how the Lone Ranger got in here, but that dude just named his bullets after his horse.

Anon 12:03AM 1:20 PM  

@Tita - Thanks, I guess. I'm just not convinced that 50 years after the fact some random schmo gets to re-imagine the work of Ian Fleming with any credibility. I seem to recall a Sherlock Holmes movie from the '70s where Holmes was gay - these re-imaginings don't count in my book

Not as cross as Rex 1:38 PM  

My husband and I do something similar --we try to pick which clues/answers will ranked Rex the most. I suggest you change your scale from 1-5 to -1 - -5, ranging from Rex almost said something nice to Rex really, REALLY hated. Seems a bit more accurate.

Da Bears 1:44 PM  

@Leapy, I don't remember that. The last thing I recall DTS saying was, "Why John from Chicago felt obligated to post 17 times is beyond me. And he tiptoed dangerously close to an ad hominem attack on Martin." And I didn't even post the most. Her comment was like a stake through the heart. That was about the puzzle that was a mishmash. Rex came dangerously close to calling this puzzle a mishmash. Why do I have this feeling that Rex is an expert when it comes to banes of vampires?

PS. The avatar is the Cinnamon Bear, my favorite radio program between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Teedmn 1:51 PM  

I was worried when I saw how isolated the parts of the puzzle were but it was pretty easy so no problem in the end.

I used to like vampire stories before they became ubiquitous after The Twilight phenom became a thing (a bandwagon I did not jump on). It seems that every writer makes up their own rules on vampires (and why not?) so SILVER BULLET doesn't bother me - I've seen that one as a bane. I will agree on GARLIC NECKLACE as being more specific than it need be.

I looked INside during my self-examination, causing all kinds of havoc, black ink being one of the Banes of my existence.

Fun Tuesday with another Halloween-y theme. Thanks, KM.

Nancy 1:58 PM  

The playfulness of STAKE (through the) HEART made this puzzle for me. Like @Carola, @Hartley and others, I really enjoyed it. And thanks to you, too, @"Bram Stoker." Because I absolutely won't go near horror tales-- not in books, movies, plays, TV -- I had no idea how beautifully written "Dracula" was. All that gorgeous prose wasted on such an unpleasant, blood-sucky story. Too bad...but I've learned something I didn't know, at least.

Numinous 2:28 PM  

Holy Bible? Is there any other, @Rex? Assuredly. Lately, I've been watching Australian television shows via Hulu and on one in particular, they credit the author of thier Bible. A Show Bible or Story Bible is a document that lists details about the characters, settings and other elements of the series including world building and technology for shows like Game of Thrones and Star Trek.

The STAKE through the HEART filled itself in on the first pass for me. I was wondering how that was going to work out as a cross at 34A but the H of HIC and the E of ERN gave it away and, indeed, though it wasn't a crucifix, it was still a cross.

It seems to me that daylight, more than DIRECT SUNLIGHT is the bane. Otherwise there would be a lot vampires walking around under golf umberellas. We don't really get a lot of that in our neighborhood. While we're talking about vampire banes, lets not forget about Sookie Stackhouse. While she's not fatal particularly, she certainly manages to mess with their heads.

So I guess we're in for a weak (pun intended) of All Hallows Eve buildup. Let's hope it all improves.

kitshef 8:44 PM  

Sunday's Hallowe'en puz was awfiul. Today's Hallowe'en puz was maybe 1/2. step above awful. Methinks NYT needs to stay away from this theme. Last themer needs to be runningwatEr - it fits - not the just plain wrong SILVERBULLET.

Anonymous 7:33 AM  

Braga is just a comon last name in Portuguese.

spacecraft 10:46 AM  

The memorable Ilya was, of course, a double agent, only superficially a KGBSPY. Still, the clue's OK because, well, the KGB thought he was one! I was pleased to see McCallum get a second career with one of the best shows ever. I always liked him.

To the GRID. When I got to THEHOLY, I was positive the rest of it was CROSS. Although it makes perfect sense (as much sense as a myth can make!), I've never actually run across the BIBLE as a vampire bane. Oh well, messy five-letter writeover. And again, in the middle--just looking at the related central clues before filling anything in--I was sure it had to do with a CROSS.

What DOES make me cross is XED (short for--you guessed it--CROSSED!). XED is simply horrible. It should be CROSSED out of all future GRIDs. It doesn't even have Berry immunity; it's just. too. ugly. I'll flag it every time. And in such a pinched corner, totally unnecessary. C-.

Burma Shave 12:11 PM  


it IRKed the TART to pull it,
her USE of my DOODAD was liable


rondo 12:33 PM  

To tell you the truth, I’m tired of all the recent vampire and zombie and whatever creepy character stuff. Can’t keep up with what kills what or what may be their bane anymore; used to be the STAKE through the HEART and crosses and GARLIC and such for vampires and the SILVERBULLET for werewolves, when I was a kid. A simpler time, with the wolfbane.

And like @spacey, I thought for sure that cross-shaped cross in the HEART of the puz was going to be something to do with a cross, other than what crossed.

Today’s yeah baby Sonia BRAGA cold win my HEART.

Started with write-over pAce for 1d, quickly fixed and not much resistance thereafter. A bane of Syndi-land is Halloween after the fact.

rain forest 3:58 PM  

What about that TAU sitting there right next to the STAKE through the HEART? That is a Greek cross if ever there was one, and most Greek food I've had is (neck)laced with garlic. Further, if you took your SILVER BULLET and shot it at your BIBLE, it would be HOL(e)Y. Do that on a sunny day, and, per @M&A, there's yer rodeo.

Fun little puzzle.

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