BuzzFeed Crossword – Tuesday 13 October 2015

HE GIVES YOU THIS PUZZLE” by Jeffrey Harris

I can already tell I’m going to need more coffee for this process. Spoilers below — solve the puzzle first.

Buzzfeed solution 10 13

“He Gives You This Puzzle”

Constructor: Jeffrey Harris

Theme: Movies with cold-related titles — well-suited to NETFLIX AND CHILL.

  • 34A: NETFLIX AND CHILL – Transparently sexual Tinder come-on… where it would be fitting to watch the answers to the starred clues?
  • 17A: SNOWPIERCER – *2013 Chris Evans action movie that takes place entirely on a constantly moving train of apocalypse survivors
  • 22A: ICE AGE – *2002 animated movie dealing with themes of acorn addiction and the plight of the squirrel
  • 50A: FROZEN – *2013 Idina Menzel musical that’s the highest-grossing animated movie of all time, so more like “Let It Rain”
  • 54A: WINTER‘S BONE – *2010 Jennifer Lawrence drama where she plays a teenager who has to hunt to provide for her younger siblings, sound familiar?

Ben: So I liked this one a lot. It’s not complicated but it’s fun.

Lena: I agree! My hackles went down and I found it really enjoyable– a quick solve with tons of good fill. And the clues definitely seem to have struck a better balance between conversation and content this time.

Ben: Sure — you’ve got the Buzzfeed style showing up in some of the theme clues, or in 14A: Skewered Southeast Asian dish often served with peanut sauce and now I’m salivating (SATAY), but you’ve also got interesting facts like the Amazing RANDI at 48D (Magician whose foundation offers a million dollars to anyone who can prove they have psychic powers).

MichaelI am old and married so the NETFLIX AND CHILL meme / thingie / whatever passed me straight by. I had NETFLIX AND CH– and sincerely thought CHIPS. I know *I* would enjoy NETFLIX AND CHIPS.

Lena: I grinned when I filled in the first themer: SNOWPIERCER. I love that ridiculous movie to bits– it’s so, so bad.

MichaelYou are insane it is great

Lena: I KNOW Snowpiercer is great, man. Someone once told me I shouldn’t put it in one of my puzzles because it wasn’t mainstream enough– and would you look at it now. But, like, it is not a “great” movie.

MichaelLALALA

Ben: I’ve heard it’s really something. I’m actually 0-4 on having seen the themers, to be honest — not even FROZEN.

Lena: 3-4 for me (haven’t seen FROZEN either). Once I realized nothing weird was going on in the theme answers I could just relax and solve the puzzle left to right, smoothly moving down towards the central revealer.

Michael2-4 for me. Saw the grown-up movies, not the kiddie ones. Because, again, I am BuzzFeed’s dad.

Ben: This is really a pretty straightforward trick — common expression reparsed as literal instructions — but I think the modern phrase and cute theme clues elevate it.

Lena: Did you notice a typo in 33D: Stack at the beginning of a buffet (PLATE)?

Ben: Yeah, it should read “Part of a stack”. Looking over the rest of the clues, there’s not a lot here that sticks out one way or the other. Nothing super-clever, nothing super-blah. I kind of like LOSSES (43D: Number after the dash on a team’s record). And I’m not sure why LOS Angeles and NEW York (40A and 56A) are both clued as fun cities.

Lena: The BAT (55D:___ an eye) and EYE (57D: Bat an ___) thing, especially with one on top of the other, made my eye twitch a little. I’m okay with some repeating clue elements, but with the double arbitrary “(fun city)”s it felt like too much.

Ben: Oh wow, I didn’t even notice that while solving. Yeah, that’s too cute for my taste.

MichaelI love the middle finger quality of the BAT / EYE thing. Same way I did not mind *at all* the “BALANCE” dupe yesterday (it was the answer and was in the clue). I can see its being too cute for some, but it’s early-week, you want newbies to get toe-holds … I’m all for minor rule-nose-thumbing.

Lena: My top three favorite clue/fill combos this time were:

-YES (64A: Great response to “Can I have a million dollars?”) – Simple, funny. It takes three-letter fill and makes it fun.

PAW (7D: Command to a dog that ideally allows for an interspecies handshake) – When a no-frills answer and clue can come together to deliver an adorable visual, everybody wins.

SHRED (12D: Go crazy on that sick solo!!!!!) – Yes. This is the clue I want to see for SHRED.

Ben: I like SHRED too. I also enjoyed the clue on A TO Z (6D) referring to “Wannabe”. Normally I hate that fill, but that was a good way of salvaging it.

Lena: The resulting earworm wasn’t necessarily appreciated (fine, maybe it was a little…), but that the answer tumbled into my brain in song was definitely an improvement to how that fill has been clued in the past.

Ben: Conversely I did not enjoy CAMEL (23D: One or two humps and they’re done). A little too much for me.

Lena: I didn’t like the clue for AMP (29A: Energy drink that implies you are a guitar that needs to be louder).

MichaelAny time ESTELLE is not clued via a “Golden Girls” reference, I get upset (I’ve honestly never heard of whoever this ESTELLE is) (21A: Kanye’s 2009 “American Boy” collaborator).

What is KONAMI (27A: “Metal Gear Solid” and “Dance Dance Revolution” company)? KON-AMI? Obi Wan KON-AMI? Is that a known thing? I’d’ve gone with BON AMI there. Insert additional joke here about being in my mid-40s.

I think RAE Sremmurd was in the NYT this past week (in a clue for DUO … did I imagine that?) [ed: well, I imagined the NYT part; it was in WSJ, not NYT. h/t Erik Agard]. And now here they are today (20D: ___ Sremmurd (“No Flex Zone” rap group)). So they’re having a crossword moment. Look forward to seeing their whole insane name in the grid some day.

Ben: So on the whole, good theme and fill, clue voice is a work in progress but more good than bad.

15 comments
  1. e.a. said:

    liked this one! (this puzzle and also this excellent review.)

    btw, the rae sremm clue you saw was in the WSJ this past friday.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Evan said:

    Lena’s so right. “Snowpiercer” is all kinds of silly. That whole scene where the frozen axe gang does their little countdown to New Year’s before having a battle royale with Chris Evans and his friends? That made me crack up.

    Puzzle was good. Maybe a little odd to see some crossing fill answers longer than a couple themers, but the themers are starred and make a complete set, so there’s no real confusion there.

    Like

  3. Really really liked this one. Great clues/fill. Also predicted “Netflix and Chill” was going to hit in the first week.

    Buzzfeed, you had my curiosity but now you have my attention.

    Like

  4. An improvement over yesterday. Even if only because there wasn’t ‘chat-speak’ in non-chat related clues/answers.

    Like

  5. You don’t know Konami? They were responsible for such 1980s hits as Contra and Gradius, and the all-important Konami Code (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A) which would unlock all sorts of goodies.

    Like

    • therealrexparker said:

      I knew the 1980s. The 1980s was my friend. Everything after “1980s” in your comment, sir, is no 1980s. Gonna go listen to Pat Benatar now. Good day.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Contra was one of my best friends. NETFLIXANDCHILL is new to me; I had CHILI at first.

      Seems like 53A should start with “Answer to” [any of the starred clues]. The clues themselves aren’t TITLEs.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Bob Dively said:

    Totally amused by ESTELLE because I just cannot put that name on anyone other than Estelle Getty, so of course I am picturing her in full “Golden Girls” costume on stage vamping next to Kanye. Which would be amazing.

    By some stroke of luck, I have heard of NETFLIX AND CHILL despite being an oldster, so I filled that in with maybe 3 crosses.

    Like

  7. So two entries today where the clue and answer disagree in number (CAMEL and PLATE). I’m all for thumbing the nose at some rules, but I found that jarring.

    (I see that our bloggers have already chalked the latter up as a typo. I suppose that the camel’s “they” could also be a gender-neutral singular pronoun. Now I can’t decide whether I’m upset or not.)

    Like

  8. marysueh said:

    By this puzzle’s standards, I’m a geezer. I’ve heard of Tinder, but even though I chill with Netflix every night, the phrase NETFLIX AND CHILL is not in my lexicon. I haven’t seen a single movie used in the theme. Man, I’m boring myself with how out of touch I am. The shorter clues work best – and offer more challenge. I agree with Michael that the super easy clues (like BALANCE yesterday, and the BAT an EYE pair today) offer a foothold to true newbies. There is a place for that level of gimme in a clue, and maybe this is the place. But for veteran solvers that kind of cluing is too easy. The clue for 31A (NAACP) is still fresh from of the news enough to work well. And thank you for 9D JEREMIAH – I remember singing that song at top volume, back before Netflix was a twinkle in anyone’s batted eye, back when today’s geezers were young.

    Like

  9. Really liked this, definitely thought the tone of the clues was improved from yesterday. My friend actually pointed out to me that ICE AGE is not on Netflix, which is a tiny, tiny knock (though it appears it is part of Netflix’s DVD plan — probably not encompassed in the actual definition of NETFLIX AND CHILL!).

    Like

  10. I’d love to know if young people who haven’t really done crosswords much enjoy these puzzles. They seem like they would be pretty difficult for newbies but that might just be because I’m definitely not in the target demographic age-wise. Liked this puzzle a lot though. And a shout-out from 36D on Twitter is awesome. (Do the kids still say awesome?)

    Like

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