by Andrew Marc Greene
Problem: Christmas Town/​Halloween Town

Answers can be paired up such that, in each pair, the shorter answer is the longer answer with one letter removed, essentially subtracting the shorter answer from the longer answer.

Repeating this process by subtracting the clue number of the shorter answer from the clue number of the longer answer gives a unique integer between 1 and 44 for each pair.

Ordering the orthographic differences by the numerical differences yields the clue phrase KING STORY ADAPTED AS A FILM IN TWO THOUSAND MINUS SIX which clues RITA HAYWORTH AND SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, the Stephen King novella which was the basis for the 1994 hit movie The Shawshank Redemption.

1DEALDistribute cards
3NAVEPart of a church along the main axis
4CHINGI ____ (Chinese text used for divination)
5RISEAngelou’s “Still I ____”
6ARGOTVocabulary particular to a certain group
7RAINFall from the clouds
8ASTRAYOff the path
9COEDOpen to all students, in a way
10LORETraditional tales of a culture
11GRAINSomething seen in old photographs
12BOONAsked-for favor
13LORNEGreene of Galactica
14RAVEGive an enthusiastic review
15SMILECandid Camera imperative
19CATIONAn atom, after losing an electron
20CODEDRepresented numerically, perhaps
21ARESGreek god of war
23RUEKick oneself for
24STRINGOne of four on a violin
25INDEED“Yes, certainly!”
26CAGEComposer of 4'33"
27NAIVEInexperienced and easily taken advantage of
29PEALComplete permutation of a set of bells
30RINSEStep before “repeat”
31CLOTDangerous blockage
32CAPTIONSomething many people read in The New Yorker
34SWAMWhat Gertrude Ederle famously did
35SPAINThe Prado’s country
36SIMILEIt’s like a metaphor
37PEARLSomething dived for
38ASHTRAYSomething needed where smoking is permitted
39IDEALFlawless, utopian
40KICK“I get no ____ from champagne”
41FARESWhat Charlie Cards are used to pay for
42FORGEPlace for an anvil
43MARGOTActress Kidder
44FAWKESGuy you may want to remember, remember
45METAWhat the answer to this puzzle will be used in
46REINEquestrian control line
47IDESMid-month to Brutus
48EROICASymphony originally dedicated to Napoleon
49RAVENPoe’s avian interlocutor
50FONDGently affectionate towards (with “of”)
51ATBASHCipher supposedly used in the Book of Jeremiah
52PRIMProper to the nth degree
53IDESTThat is (2 wds.)
54BOSONParticle exempt from the Pauli Exclusion Principle
55STORINGSetting aside for later
56SCOTOne from Inverness
57MACHEponymous unit of speed
58SHREDProtect against prying eyes, as an old tax return
59DUCTPassageway for a tear or for air
60SUMERThe ur-civilization, or the Ur civilization
61DANEHamlet, for one
62CADGESponge off a friend
63EASTCardinal point
64LOGEPlace with good, but not great, seats
65SATEMeet completely, as an appetite
66SKATEEmulate Brinker
67METALIron Maiden genre
68SHAREDSplit with others
69INDEXEDEasily searched, e.g. by having thumb tabs
70PRISMPolyhedron that might produce a spectrum
72YEASTNeed for beer
73ASCOTNeckwear named for a racetrack
74EROTICAArousing presentations
75DANTEInferno creator
76FORAGESeek food in various places
77SWAMIHindu religious leader
78DUCATWhat Polonius was dead for?
79KNICKNew York basketballer
80LODGEPlace where skiers stay
81HARDGiven a high number by Mohs
83SUMMERÉté, ici
84IVESFamous insurance agent Charles
85MACHOAggressively adopting certain sexist stereotypes
86IVIESBrown et al.
87RESINVarnish ingredient
88HOARDCollect obsessively

Pairs, in order of difference:

DifferenceLonger clueShorter clueLonger wordShorter wordLetter
1Emulate BrinkerMeet completely, as an appetiteSKATESATEK
2Brown et al.Famous insurance agent CharlesIVIESIVESI
3Greene of GalacticaTraditional tales of a cultureLORNELOREN
4Something seen in old photographsFall from the cloudsGRAINRAING
5SubterfugeKick oneself forRUSERUES
6That is (2 wds.)Mid-month to BrutusIDESTIDEST
7Collect obsessivelyGiven a high number by MohsHOARDHARDO
8Something dived forComplete permutation of a set of bellsPEARLPEALR
9Need for beerCardinal pointYEASTEASTY
10Split with othersProtect against prying eyes, as an old tax returnSHAREDSHREDA
11Represented numerically, perhapsOpen to all students, in a wayCODEDCOEDD
12SoreI ____ (Chinese text used for divination)ACHINGCHINGA
13Something many people read in The New YorkerAn atom, after losing an electronCAPTIONCATIONP
14Inferno creatorHamlet, for oneDANTEDANET
16Place where skiers stayPlace with good, but not great, seatsLODGELOGED
17Neckwear named for a racetrackOne from InvernessASCOTSCOTA
18Polyhedron that might produce a spectrumProper to the nth degreePRISMPRIMS
19What Polonius was dead for?Passageway for a tear or for airDUCATDUCTA
20What Charlie Cards are used to pay forGreek god of warFARESARESF
21It’s like a metaphorCandid Camera imperativeSIMILESMILEI
22Iron Maiden genreWhat the answer to this puzzle will be used inMETALMETAL
23Été, iciThe ur-civilization, or the Ur civilizationSUMMERSUMERM
24Inexperienced and easily taken advantage ofPart of a church along the main axisNAIVENAVEI
25Step before “repeat”Angelou’s “Still I ____”RINSERISEN
26Arousing presentationsSymphony originally dedicated to NapoleonEROTICAEROICAT
27Guy you may want to remember, rememberForgeriesFAWKESFAKESW
28Aggressively adopting certain sexist stereotypesEponymous unit of speedMACHOMACHO
29Cipher supposedly used in the Book of JeremiahEmbarrassATBASHABASHT
30Something needed where smoking is permittedOff the pathASHTRAYASTRAYH
31Setting aside for laterOne of four on a violinSTORINGSTRINGO
32DiscoveredGently affectionate towards (with “of”)FOUNDFONDU
33The Prado’s countryAgonySPAINPAINS
34Seek food in various placesPlace for an anvilFORAGEFORGEA
35Poe’s avian interlocutorGive an enthusiastic reviewRAVENRAVEN
36Sponge off a friendComposer of 4'33"CADGECAGED
37Actress KidderVocabulary particular to a certain groupMARGOTARGOTM
38Flawless, utopianDistribute cardsIDEALDEALI
39New York basketballer“I get no ____ from champagne”KNICKKICKN
40InfluenceDangerous blockageCLOUTCLOTU
41Varnish ingredientEquestrian control lineRESINREINS
42Particle exempt from the Pauli Exclusion PrincipleAsked-for favorBOSONBOONS
43Hindu religious leaderWhat Gertrude Ederle famously didSWAMISWAMI
44Easily searched, e.g. by having thumb tabs“Yes, certainly!”INDEXEDINDEEDX