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The Food Almanac: Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Food Almanac: Thursday, October 31, 2013

All Hallows Eve, the night before All Saints Day. An old, old holiday that dates back to the pagan Celts, perhaps before the time of Christ. The food connections now mostly involve candy, but. .

The largest group of current New Orleans restaurant customers are from the first generation never really forced to grow up--the Baby Boomers. We didn't get over Halloween, and so many of us go out in search of some pleasure to replace the bag of candy we still, down deep inside, feel should be coming our way today. That puts us in restaurants. It started last Friday, where at Galatoire's the downstairs dining room was filled with people in semi-costumes. A group of women will hold their annual Witches' Dinner tonight at Clancy's. Things would really be bad if they didn't. And many restaurants have special menus, decorations, and other fun. It's an interesting and unique night for dining out.

Today's Flavor
Today allegedly is National Candy Apple Day. But they tell kids not to eat candy apples they find in their trick-or-treat bags. Just as well. What a perverse thing to do to the perfection that is an apple.

One a more interesting note, today is National Quail Day. Quail is a dark-meat bird, easily raised on farms, and not particularly expensive. The birds are so little and cute and have such a gourmet reputation that most chefs get pretentious in preparing them--not always to good effect. But the pinnacle of quail cookery is simple: debone the bodies, butterfly them, season them well, and just grill them over an open fire.

But what we usually get instead is quail stuffed with something. This allows the quail to look like it actually has a substantial enough torso that perhaps a restaurant can get away with serving just one quail as an entree. But one quail is nothing but an appetizer, no matter what you do to it. Especially since the food value of eating a quail may be exceeded by the amount of work required to eat it.

The stuffing can be good, but not usually. That's because it usually involves seafood. I may be off your beam on this, but I believe that seafood and poultry do not go together well. The effect is particularly distressing in the case of a seafood-stuffed quail, because there's not enough of either seafood or quail to make a statement without the other getting in the way.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that quail are better cooked and served unstuffed, two at a time. The best quail chef in New Orleans--Pat Gallagher of Gallagher's Grill in Covington--has always served them that way.

Gourmet Gazetteer
Pumpkin Center is an unincorporated community in Southeast Louisiana. A small agricultural nexus, it has become a suburb of Hammond, eight miles east. Aside from the presence of Pumpkin Center Road, it's hard to tell where the place starts and stops. Pumpkin Center indeed grew pumpkins a hundred or more years ago, but it also grew just about everything else. The nearest restaurant of note is Catfish Charlie's, three miles east. All you can eat!

Edible Dictionary
butternut squash, n.--A native American squash related to pumpkins and acorn squashes, the butternut squash is more famous for its color (often used to describe a shade of yellowish brown) than for it's flavor. It's a big squash; one of them can make a side dish for a family of six. It's usually baked, and its meat scraped out and served in a semi-puree, like mashed potatoes, usually with some aromatic spices like nutmeg. It's also used to make soups, with a little cream, and sometimes seafood. Fall is the season for them.

Deft Dining Rule #10
When entertaining visitors from out of town who have never or rarely been to your city, always take them to a restaurant with which you're familiar. Better still, to a restaurant where you are known. It will be a better evening than one even in a much better restaurant about which you know nothing.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:
The most essential use for expensive kitchen shears will not be revealed until the first time you try to butterfly quail.

Food In Science
Carl Von Voit was born on this date in 1831. His life work was determining how the body uses food, and how certain foods have particular effects on the metabolism. He would have been the first to be able to write nutritional analyses on the sides of food packages.

Roots Of Our Food Culture
The Louisiana Purchase was ratified by Congress today, the United States doubled in size, and New Orleans became an American city. Whew. If that hadn't happened, we wouldn't have had had FEMA to help us after the hurricane. And we wouldn't have that buffet restaurant in Metairie called the Louisiana Purchase.

Music To Eat Wherever You Want By
This is the birthday (1944) of Texas writer, musician, comedian and counter-culture hero Kinky Friedman. He had a minor hit in the early 1970s with We Reserve The Right To Refuse Service To You. It begins with his exclusion from a lunch counter, and gets increasingly irreverent and political. It has elements of a protest song, but with humor. The lyrics are here.

Beverages In War (Sounds Like)
Today in 1917 the Battle of Beersheba was fought in what is now Israel, but then was part of the Ottoman Empire. A brigade of Australian horsemen conducted what is considered the last successful cavalry charge in world warfare history against the Ottomans, in the middle of World War I.

Food Namesakes
The comedy actor John Candy was born today in 1950. The rap singer Vanilla Ice (who has gone back to his great real name, Rob Van Winkle) began life in 1968 on this date. Actress and blues singer Ethel Waters was born today in 1896. American balloonist Charles LeRoux was stirred up into life today in 1856.

Words To Eat By
"A pasty costly-made,
Where quail and pigeon, lark and leveret lay,
Like fossils of the rock, with golden yolks
Imbedded and injellied."--Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Words To Drink By
If all be true that I do think,
There are five reasons we should drink;
Good wine—a friend—or being dry—
Or lest we should be by and by—
Or any other reason why.
--John Sirmond, French writer of the 1600s.

The almanac

Today is Thursday, Oct. 31, the 304th day of 2013 with 61 to follow.

The moon is waning. The morning stars are Jupiter and Mars. The evening stars are Mercury, Neptune, Saturn, Uranus and Venus.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Scorpio. They include Dutch painter Jan Vermeer in 1632 English poet John Keats in 1795 Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low in 1860 Gen. Chiang Kai-shek, the first leader of Nationalist China, in 1887 actor/singer Ethel Waters in 1896 actors Dale Evans in 1912, Barbara Bel Geddes in 1922 and Lee Grant in 1927 (age 86) British jockey and writer Dick Francis in 1920 astronaut Michael Collins in 1930 (age 83) former TV news anchorman Dan Rather in 1931 (age 82) actor/director Michael Landon in 1936 folk singer/songwriter Tom Paxton in 1937 (age 76) actors David Ogden Stiers in 1942 (age 71), Brian Doyle-Murray in 1945 (age 68), Stephen Rea in 1946 (age 67), Deidre Hall in 1947 (age 66) and John Candy in 1950 Belgian politician and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Olympic gold medal marathon runner Frank Shorter, both in 1947 (age 66) broadcaster Jane Pauley in 1950 (age 63) actors Ken Wahl in 1954 (age 59), Brian Stokes Mitchell in 1957 (age 56) and Rob Schneider in 1963 (age 50) New Zealand director and producer Peter Jackson in 1961 (age 52) and rapper Vanilla Ice, born Robert Matthew Van Winkle, in 1967 (age 46).

In 1517, Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation by nailing a proclamation to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany.

In 1864, Nevada was admitted to the United States as the 36th state.

In 1926, magician, illusionist and escape artist Harry Houdini died of peritonitis in a Detroit hospital following a blow to the abdomen.

In 1931, with the Great Depression in full swing, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that 827 banks had failed during the previous two months.

In 1941, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota -- consisting of the sculpted heads of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt -- was completed.

In 1968, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson announced a halt to the bombing of North Vietnam.

In 1984, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by Sikh guards. Her son, Rajiv, succeeded her.

In 1985, salvage divers located the remains of the booty-laden pirate ship Whydah, which sank Feb. 17, 1717, off Cape Cod, Mass.

In 1992, more than 300 people were killed in renewed fighting as Angola slid back into civil war.

In 2001, U.S.-led forces resumed airstrikes in Afghanistan, hitting Taliban positions in the northern part of the country and outside the capital, Kabul. The Taliban said 1,500 people were killed.

In 2004, Iranian lawmakers chanted, "Death to America!" after a unanimous vote to allow their government to resume uranium enrichment activities.

In 2005, Samuel Alito, a 55-year-old conservative federal appeals judge, was nominated by U.S. President George W. Bush to the U.S. Supreme Court to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor.

In 2008, U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus took over as head of the Central Command, in charge of military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iran and other countries.

In 2010, Brazilians elected Dilma Rousseff as their first woman president. The former energy minister and choice of outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva defeated Jose Serra in a runoff with 56 percent of the vote.

In 2011, UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, approved the Palestinians' bid for full membership in the United Nations by a 107-14 vote despite a United States threat to cut off funding. The U.N. Security Council put off a final vote on the matter.

In 2012, the Syrian Network for Human Rights in London said 421 people, including 39 children, died during a four-day United Nations-backed truce in Syria.

A thought for the day: "Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip." -- Winston Churchill

Children's Services @ Allentown Public Library

Boo! Happy Halloween to those of you who celebrate it!

This week’s storytime theme is something that babies will enjoy – being NOISY & QUIET! The babies can learn a lot from this theme – how to be NOISY (most babies don’t need to learn this, they are great at it on their own!) and QUIET, following directions (“Can you be NOISY?”), opposites , and vocabulary (how many different ways can you say NOISY? Loud? Booming? Big? Explosive?). Plus, we can just have fun making different noises!

Our books this week include:

Tick tock, tick tock
I’m a little cockoo clock.
Tick tock, tick tock,
It’s one o’clock!

Tick tock, tick tock,
I’m a little cuckoo clock.
Tick tock, tick tock,
It’s two o’clock!
Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

Flannelboard Rhyme – Popcorn

Five little kernels, sizzling in the pot.
All of the sudden, one went POP!

Nursery Rhyme – Hickory Dickory Dock

Hickory dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down,
Hickory dickory dock.

We will also get another chance to explore the sensory bottles this week. As your baby plays with the bottle, point out if the bottle is NOISY or QUIET.

17 Crock Pot Vegetarian Chili Recipes (+ 5 Bonus Meaty Chili Recipes for the Carnivores)

Subscribe and get Turkey Schmurkey, my plant-based holiday eCookbook, for FREE!

Chili – with its endless variations and, more often than not, the inclusion of protein-rich beans – lends itself perfectly to vegetarian diets. And the Crock Pot is the perfect place to brew up a warm, hearty vat of chili. And so I thought, hey! I should do a round-up of slow cooker vegetarian chili recipes!

Interestingly, vegetarian chili recipes made in the Crock Pot were a little hard to find. This surprised me. Maybe it’s just my obsession with both things that made me think that, surely, a gazillion other vegetarians out there are obsessing over – and creating – similar chili recipes. Not necessarily so. Or maybe I’m just a sucky detective.

But! After some poking around, I found a pretty great selection of Crock Pot vegetarian chili recipes – and, of course, I had to share a few of my own favorites. I think they’ll keep my Crock Pot on the counter all winter long.

(I’ve added a few meaty recipes at the end to show the carnivores some love).

The Gun Report: October 31, 2013

Pamoa2553/Wikimedia Commons Upper Station Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.

The police chief in Sanford, Fla., where George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year, is set to unveil rules stressing that volunteers are not to carry guns or follow suspects. In a community meeting next week, Police Chief Cecil Smith, who took over the department in April and quickly and suspended the neighborhood watch program, will emphasize that members are to call police when they see a suspicious person or activity. Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder in July.

On Tuesday, Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, made an impassioned plea before a congressional committee to amend “stand your ground” self-defense laws. The laws, which exist in some form in 30 states, allow a person to use deadly force in self-defense when they feel threatened with bodily harm. Fulton argued that such laws �rtainly did not work” in her case.

“The person that shot and killed my son is walking the streets today,” she said. “We need to do something about this law when our kids cannot feel safe in our own community.”

But Senators Ted Cruz and Louis Gohmert strenuously objected. “The idea that states are less intelligent or less able to discern their citizens’ needs is a mistake of federal proportions,” Gohmert said.

A 2-year-old girl was shot at an apartment building in Bangor, Maine, Wednesday afternoon. A neighbor believes the shooting was accidental, and that the gun went off when it hit the floor. The child’s family was home at the time.

Three children𠅊ges 3, 5 and 7—were shot while sleeping in their home in Jackson, Miss., early Wednesday. Someone in a vehicle opened fire on their home just after midnight. Investigators are trying to identify the target of the shooting.

An 11-year-old boy was shot in the shoulder in southwest Atlanta, Ga., Wednesday night. His brother carried him a few houses down the street to their home, where a family member called 911. Investigators believe the child was struck as two groups of people exchanged gunfire in the street. No one is in custody.

A 13-year-old girl was wounded when a bullet came through her bedroom wall in St. Petersburg, Fla., Tuesday afternoon. Police said a firearm accidentally discharged when her 14-year-old cousin was trying to unload it in a bathroom. Detectives are trying to identify who provided the boy with the firearm, which has not been located.

A 14-year-old boy was shot in the chest and arm in the Knoxville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pa., Tuesday evening. The victim and several of his friends were sitting on a porch when someone came out from between two homes and began shooting. Police said the victim is not cooperating.

A 16-year-old boy was shot in the chest and critically injured and a man was shot in the back in the Sixth Ward of New Orleans, La., Wednesday night. Police haven’t announced a suspect or a motive.

A 16-year-old student at Woodrow Wilson High school in Dallas, Tex., was shot and wounded in a park near the campus Tuesday afternoon. Emilio Tovar, 19, who graduated from the school two years ago, walked into a police station and surrendered. He claimed friends on Facebook framed him.

A 16-year-old boy was shot and wounded while walking with his friends in north St. Louis, Mo., Tuesday night. Someone took out a gun and began firing at the group. The victim tried to run away but realized he had been shot in the back. An investigation is ongoing.

A teenage boy, thought to be 15 or 16, was shot at an apartment complex in Arlington, Tex., early Wednesday. Upon being shot, the victim tried to break into the front door of a nearby supermarket. He was found in the supermarket’s parking lot. No word on possible suspects.

A junior high school student shot and wounded himself in the bathroom of his school in Smithville, Tex., Wednesday morning. The school was placed on a brief lockdown.

A young girl entered the office at Charleston Elementary School in Los Banos, Calif., Wednesday morningਊnd reported to a school administrator that her father had been shot. The victim was found lying on the ground across the street. Authorities learned that someone had driven the victim and his daughter to the campus after he was shot at his home. No motive has been revealed.

24-year-old Kelsie McDonald was killed in a domestic shooting at her home in Pike County, Ind., late Tuesday. 32-year-old Christopher Morton was found in the kitchen with a handgun in one hand and a beer can in the other. He was arrested for murder.

A 25-year-old woman was shot twice and wounded while walking down a street in north Philadelphia, Pa., Tuesday night. Police didn’t reveal suspects or a motive.

Three people were shot in east Palo Alto, Calif., Tuesday night. Police are asking anyone with information to contact them.

A 19-year-old man was shot in the leg in Wilmington, N.C., Wednesday night. Police are searching for a suspect.

A 20-year-old woman was shot in the chest and critically injured in the Fountain Park neighborhood of St. Louis, Mo., early Wednesday. Police said someone opened fire on a group of people sitting outside. No word on a suspect.

21-year-old Solomon Ancrum was found shot to death in his car in Mount Pleasant, S.C., Wednesday morning. Deputies are looking for three suspects.

An 18-year-old man was shot and critically injured in south Philadelphia, Pa., Wednesday night. No word on what led to the shooting. There have been no arrests.

45-year-old Darren “Jerome” Nelson was shot and critically injured at the Union Gospel Mission in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle, Wash., Wednesday morning. Lunch service was set to begin in the shelter’s community room when an argument broke out between two men, possibly when one of them bumped the other. The suspect, 82-year-old Roger Mize, took out a gun and shot the victim twice before shelter staff stepped in. He was arrested.

Shootings on the South and West sides of Chicago, Ill., injured three men Tuesday night. In the Chatham neighborhood, a 57-year-old man was shot in the finger when someone opened fire from a vehicle. A few hours earlier, a 52-year-old man was shot in the West Town neighborhood, and two hours before that, someone shot a 21-year-old man in the the elbow in the Rosemoor neighborhood.

A 47-year-old woman was shot in the stomach and seriously wounded when she struggled with an armed man who broke into her home in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, Ill., Wednesday night. The suspect fled, and when the woman chased after him, she saw a second intruder run out the front door. Police are investigating.

An armed intruder was shot when the intended victim opened fire in Orange County, Fla., early Wednesday. Two men and a woman invaded an apartment at about 3:35 a.m., and a resident shot one of the men. Police caught the intruders, who were armed with a shotgun and a handgun, before they could leave the parking lot.

Dillon Morgan, 18, was shot in the head and critically injured in River Ridge, La., Tuesday evening. The victim was able to identify Demond Stewart, 21, as the gunman. Stewart was arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder. He told investigators the shooting stemmed from a drug deal.

Dior T. Cheney, 23, was fatally shot in the head when the car he was driving came under heavy fire in Columbus, Ga., Tuesday night. 32-year-old Dashawn Porter, who was with the victim, was treated for a gunshot wound. Investigators are searching for leads.

A man and his son were wounded in a gang-related road-rage shooting in the Oakwood neighborhood of Venice, Calif., Tuesday night. The victim, who is in his 50s, was riding his motorcycle when he was cut off by five suspected gang members, who then followed him home, where the confrontation continued. The man’s son, who is in his 20s, came outside to aid his father he was possibly armed. One of the gang members opened fire. There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.

A man was shot multiple times at the Happy Shopper in Hampton, Va., Wednesday afternoon. The motive is unknown.

23-year-old Dominick Floyd was shot and killed in an armed robbery at New York Fried Chicken in Grand Rapids, Mich., early Thursday. Another man, 20, who police believe is the suspect, was shot and turned himself in at the hospital.

A man in his 30s was shot in the leg while standing on a sidewalk in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco, Calif., Tuesday night. The suspect then ran to a car and fled.

A 22-year-old man was shot in the stomach while approaching his apartment west of the Galleria area of Houston, Tex., early Wednesday. Two men jumped the victim and tried to take his money, and when he fought back, the robbers opened fire. The suspects fled.

57-year-old Alvin Moore was shot and killed in his apartment in Las Vegas, Nev., Tuesday night. Witnesses saw two men leaving the scene.

Charles Newell, 39, was shot in the arm and wounded on a street corner in Anderson, S.C., Wednesday night. He was found unresponsive at the scene but revived by emergency medical technicians. Police do not yet have any suspects.

According to Slate’s gun-death tracker, an estimated 10,022 people have died as a result of gun violence in America since the Newtown massacre on December 14, 2012.

CrossFit Rockwall

Find what you did last week on October 24, 2013.

3 rounds for time of:
400 meter run
100 foot Waiter Walk, LH
5 Deadlift (140 / 90 kg)
100 foot Waiter Walk, RH

Level 2 : 3 rounds for time of:
400 meter run
100 foot Waiter Walk, LH
5 Deadlift (110 / 65 kg)
100 foot Waiter Walk, RH
Level 1 : 3 rounds for time of:
400 meter run
100 foot Waiter Walk, LH
5 Deadlift (80 / 45 kg)
100 foot Waiter Walk, RH

Post load on the lift and time on the WOD to comments.

It's Halloween! Show up to class in costume for a treat!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 | Permalink


Junior CrossFit Class - 5 pm
Teen CrossFit Class - 6 pm

Rx - 1x1 (90%)
- 10x1 (80%)
L2 - 6x1 (80%)
L1 - 5 x 2 reps

Find what you did last week on October 24, 2013.

3 rounds for time of:
400 meter run
100 foot Waiter Walk, LH
5 Deadlift (140 / 90 kg)
100 foot Waiter Walk, RH

Bits and Pieces

What have you guys been up to this week?

I have been reading a lot lately. In the last couple months, I’ve zipped through Shantaram, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Husband’s Secret, and I’ve just started The Thirteenth Tale. Cryptonomicon and Allegiant are on the docket (because somehow I missed the fact that the third in the series Divergent came out last week–did you know that, Ty?!)

In other news, I finally watched Young Frankenstein with Dave the other night. No one could have played the title character but Gene Wilder. I really liked the movie, but I missed hearing some of the songs I saw in the musical just last week.

Besides reading and TV-watching, I’m still trying to get into the groove at work. When I arrived yesterday morning to start my day, I was greeted by a deer.

Instead of running away after she saw me, she started coming closer.

I think maybe I really am the incarnation of Snow White.

Unfortunately, I had to get to work, so I waved farewell, and she trotted off into the forest after one last look goodbye.

Since we did so much cooking last weekend, I haven’t really felt like cooking this week. (Frankly, because I don’t want to do dishes). We ate leftovers a couple days, but I decided I had to make BLT’s with the last heirloom tomato from the farmer’s market.

I’m not a big mayo fan, so I started my sandwich with toasted wheat bread and spicy guacamole.

The only thing that made my BLT more perfect was the addition of pickles.

I finished my meal with a few pieces of leftover Halloween candy. I’m glad I got to dress up and go trick-or-treating with Aurelia and Emily last weekend, because otherwise Halloween would have gone by unnoticed.

Redemptive Soul Thursday, October 31, 2013

Over the past four decades we’ve seen the dismantlement of our schools, neighborhoods and families in our cities. Loss of income and lack of commitment from government and business, has contributed to these conditions. We have to band together and protect, provide, share, feed and care for each other. Most of all we must love. We need to be proactive in rebuilding and re-spiriting our cities. People must rise and take charge of their daily personal lives, community and city. We must value every life in our communities and demonstrate love by investing in ourselves and change the underdeveloped behavior that contributes to the social mayhem in neighborhoods. Develop liberated peace zones, which breeds hope in people! Restore the neighbor back to the hood. People survive in hoods through underdeveloped behavior, but people live in neighborhoods through love and care. Bridge the gap between hope and desperation. Not a time for acrimony but harmony. Not a time for discord but for direction.

A Sharpe Outlook: Best Practices For Success

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A Sharpe Outlook uses unique and holistic methods to educate, inform and empower you to be your best self. Our weekly discussions are informative and the valuable resource materials and toolkits can give leaders the valuable information necessary to achieve sustainable business enterprises, develop independence, improve economies and strengthen cash flow, which fosters new business and enables private sector companies to flourish.

Dear Friend,

This year Democracy Now! is celebrating our 25th anniversary—that's 25 years of bringing you fearless, independent reporting. Since our very first broadcast in 1996, Democracy Now! has refused to take government or corporate funding, because nothing is more important to us than our editorial independence. But that means we rely on you, our audience, for support. Please donate today in honor of our 25th anniversary and help us stay on air for another 25 years. We can't do our work without you. Right now, a generous donor will even DOUBLE your gift, which means it’ll go twice as far! This is a challenging time for us all, but if you're able to make a donation, please do so today. Thank you and remember, wearing a mask is an act of love.
-Amy Goodman

New York Times, Thursday, October 31, 2013

As a magician, I am once again pleased to add a little bit of illusion to the New York Times crossword puzzle.

The "trick" answer was difficult to place. It had to be in the SE corner or resting on top of a horizontal row of black squares. This is because the answer couldn't start down answers.

I enjoyed coming up with down clues in the SE corner that were slightly misleading, hopefully yielded confusion for CAP vs. GOWN, THE vs. CAFE, SNOW vs SLEET, SPA vs BATH, perhaps even EUGENE vs SEATTLE.

The most challenging aspect of the puzzle was finding four Halloween creatures that were the same word-length. I was afforded a little flexibility with VAMPIRE and DRACULA being both seven letters long. At one point I had SPECTER but nixed it because I thought one could argue that a specter/ghost also wouldn't have a reflection.

Eventually, I stumbled upon the Universal Monsters characters and felt like the crossword gods were blessing me. All hail the crossword gods!

Hope you enjoyed the puzzle and Happy Halloween!

This is probably my favorite daily puzzle of the week. The trick at 65A is downright mean!

I haven't been this impressed by a puzzle in quite a while. Such a fun solve the trick of DRACULA not having a reflection completely mystifying until the very end. I love it when someone breaks the rules of crosswords. David did a masterful job of lulling us to sleep by having us fill in the three mirrored entries and then hits us with the killer finale.

Sometimes people ask me which is more important, the idea or the execution. Well, I had a similar idea a while back, but I had envisioned it with the ENTIRE grid being mirror symmetrical, with only VAMPIRE not showing up. When I tried to put it together, I became something of a Dr. Frankenstein, breaking all sorts of rules broken (in unholy ways). Both David's idea and his execution were better than mine, so what can I do but give a standing ovation to the master?

The people in this coffee shop are staring at me now.

A side note about David: he's actually a magician! And not only a great magician, but one who works his magic with crosswords and Scrabble. He recently worked on "Now You See Me" and has developed a signature trick involving crosswords. The guy's skills are mind-boggling. I actually said "no @#$!& way!" after seeing his work.

It's a shame that the paper solve is so different than electronic solves today. Often times we rebellious constructors find ways to break the classical xw conventions, causing all sort of issues for the paper solve and/or the electronic. The paper version is usually so much more flexible because the newspaper doesn't complain if one writes outside the grid, intentionally doesn't fill in a square, or even draws a picture in one or more squares. But Across Lite and other platforms often get cranky and complain.

As we go forward, more and more people will be solving on computers and tablets, so I hope the NYT and other outlets find ways to evolve. Hopefully soon, I'll be doing a review of software and hardware packages that might be able to tackle the ever-expanding imaginations of constructors.

Couldn't be happier about the puzzle today. Bravo!

Puzzles with blanks in the solution are very rare. The only Shortz-era precedent is this 2006 puzzle by Pete Muller. Charles Deber had a similar idea exactly 25 years ago in this 1988 crossword edited by Eugene Maleska.

Watch the video: Food n Friends. 24-25112018. Trailer (November 2021).