It's been a while since I was truly charmed by a crossword puzzle. I sat down with this and my beer while waiting for my lunch order and was surprised and proud to be able to plow through it in only about 20 minutes. Usually puzzles with a weird "schtick" like this befuddle me for a while, but I think with all the out-of-the-box thinking I'm having to do at work lately, I was in just the right frame of mind to be ready for this kind of curve ball.
I always am at a loss for what to draw in the squares when they correspond to a relatively complex theme like this. I was going to draw a jack-o-lantern, but my artistic skills are much too poor to draw something like that in such a tiny space.
I wish I had had a pencil, too... now my brain fade that caused me to write in "James" instead of "Jeane" Kirkpatrick is indelible. But hey, I had a good solve time regardless.