HOW SWEET IT IS!
Happy Sunday, Readers! It's me, Horace, back to work after two excellent weeks of reviews from Frannie and Colum. Thanks, you two! :)
Today's theme-dense puzzle seems well-timed, with Halloween right around the corner. Sixteen individual candy names, arranged in neatly ordered CANDYSTRIPEs, run through the grid. I don't eat candy all that much anymore, but when I did, BOTTLECAPS, SPREE, MOUNDS, and CRUNCH were definite first-stringers. And I also enjoyed Hershey's KISSES, but they were never anything I bought myself, for some reason. Maybe because the bags were always more expensive than a single bar. NERDS, WHOPPERS, and MILKYWAY were good second choices, SNICKERS, RUNTS, and SUGARDADDY were ok, and I'm not sure I've ever even had AIRHEADS or a PAYDAY. HOTTAMALES were boring, and PEEPS were never under consideration. So there you have it. I welcome your comments and/or thanks for finally sorting out the proper candy hierarchy.
So the Downs are good. There, we also find ICECREAM (and the associated DREYER and UDDER), the amusing GRAPEAPE (Large, purple Hanna-Barbera character), good words like DELINEATE (Sketch out) and TORRID (Steamy), and lots of French - ONZE, OUI, ETRE, and CINE.
The Acrosses, on the other hand, are where we find the torn candy wrappers. In one particularly messy pile we find MCIII (Year of the final flight of the Concordes), ULNAR (Relating to a certain arm bone), and the crosswordese-y MASSE (Billiards maneuver). Other sticky bits included ANDUP, ENOTE, ISON, OMS, HORSY, and ACI. Not a total DISASTER, but enough to be noticeable.
But let's end with a couple good clues. I thought "Provide an address" was good for ORATE, "What many a navel-gazer gazes at" was amusing for INNIE, and "Something set by the stove" was a nice misdirection for OVENTIMER.
In the end, this was all about theme, and if that's all we consider, it worked well.