It's not even Hallowe'en and we're starting in on the spooky stuff! I enjoy this time of year, and it's not because of the already opened bags of candy on our counter. Nobody's been eating those. Nope. Not a soul.
Today's puzzle takes as its theme the GRAVEYARDSHIFT, and interprets it literally by shifting the letters RIP along from left to right as the puzzle moves down. Did we need the grayed in squares to point out the theme? I'd love to try one of these puzzles without the unsubtle hinting and see if I have enough nuance to figure it out on my own.
Meanwhile, the theme answers hide the RIP well, in my opinion, except for the amusing GIVEARIP, which wins just on its own. SUNRIPEN is nice because of the image, the Proustian taste sensation it summons forth, and because the RIP is pronounced differently.
I enjoyed STYLIZED (although I'm not sure I accept SEEPY as the price). Also GOFLYAKITE is excellent. We should have more of these phrases in puzzles. There must be a MYRIAD of them to draw from!
My favorite clue today came at 44D: Like ghosts and goblins? (PLURAL). Bonus theme material 'lert! (Along with BOO.)