T Campbell's Mind

Well, that was a surprise! Today’s LA Times featured a theme that was a little “familiar” to me just as I finished and sent off Horror Crosswords to the publisher. Not that I think he got the idea from me: I didn’t announce it until recently, and papers can take months to run the submissions they approve.

It’s a study in contrasts: Gareth Bain’s puzzle is for the newspaper audience, and so it only gently ticks off the names of a few horror movies that you might be familiar with, even if they’re only titles that make you turn away from the theater with a shudder. The rest of the puzzle is totally breakfast-test-worthy, and even the long entries containing the horror films are funny (PSYCHOBABBLE, JAWS OF LIFE) or friendly (CARRIE FISHER, SAW EYE TO EYE WITH). Me, I’m trying to use my series to indulge my more unsettling side, all the way through. What’s hiding in those boxes is not for Sunday brunch.

Gareth’s reviewers may quibble with his definition of a horror film, but I’m kicking myself for not giving special preference to JAWS in my own grid. It’s so Scrabbly, and ORCA (that Jaws rip-off) has such common letters and useful vowel distribution! They would’ve fit perfectly symmetrically in that grid that looks like a piranha face! Rats.