BuzzFeed Crossword – Wednesday 14 October 2015

PICK ME UP” by Sam Trabucco

Go on, click it. You know you want to read more — but don’t spoil it for yourself, solve the puzzle first.

Buzzfeed solution 10 14

“Pick Me Up”

Constructor: Sam Trabucco

Theme: Each corner contains one size of STARBUCKS coffee (TALL, VENTI, GRANDE, TRENTA)

  • 36A: STARBUCKS – Multibillion-dollar corporation with four size options all hidden in this grid
  • 24A / 49A: A CORNER AT A TIME – With 49-Across, how 36-Across is taking over America and also this puzzle

 

Lena: Disney! Netflix! Starbucks! Certainly lots of brand recognition going on in these first few puzzles. Yesterday was more about memes/movies, but Disney princesses and Starbucks cups feel more commercial. I’m personally looking forward to themes with a little more *puzzling* involved, and not just for my own enjoyment– I want to believe that the core BuzzFeed demographic will still have fun parsing some clever (and hip, always hip) wordplay. Betcha I’ll get my wish.

Ben: I think I’m still enjoying the novelty of so much pop culture showing up in grids — I’m used to doing the NYT, which for all the things it does well, doesn’t put as high an emphasis on freshness as I’d like.

Ben: That said, I have literally never heard of A CORNER AT A TIME, so even when I worked out what the slogan had to be, it didn’t get me the central STARBUCKS answer.

Michael: Ditto. I had to google “A CORNER / AT A TIME” to see if it was a pre-existing expression. If I google [“a corner at a time” starbucks”] I get 8 hits. That’s eight (8). E-I-G-H-T. That’s not the greatest total to get, answer validity-wise. This puzzle works very well conceptually (i.e. the idea of Starbucks seeming like they’re on every corner, esp. in NYC, is very much out there), but the revealer feels forced.

Lena: The “Starbucks on every corner” thing combined with the placement of the circled answers is awfully cute, and the clues (like yesterday’s) are more clever and succinct. (64A: Be so inclined?) => TILT wasn’t a showy clue, but it felt good to answer.

Ben: Yeah, I liked that one. Wordplay is my sweet spot for crossword clues, so stuff like SEMI (30A: It happens right before a formal to make it more casual) and SHED (65A: Building that a bunch of tools live in) are both welcome.

Michael: That is possibly the best ÊTRE clue ever (10A: Ah, “to be” in Paris…). Don’t know if it’s original, but it’s great. Made me think ÊTRE was OK fill.

Lena: I’m really liking the conversational answers alongside their clues. STEP OFF (34D: “Get da fuq up out my face!!!”) and HELLA (66A: Like, so freakin’ much brah) and OOPS (33A: “My b!”). I’m a sucker for phrase substitutions or whatever the technical crossword term is (THROW ME A BONE, guys, “drop some science!”).

Ben: Yeah, I think those are just called “phrase substitutions” 🙂

Lena: YOLO clue made me LOL IRL (22A: “About to shotgun this tube of cookie dough and binge-watch ‘Breaking Bad’ backwards so it seems like Walt gets lame #___”). Neat to see a hashtag clued this way!

Ben: I really like how the BuzzFeed puzzle has been taking advantage of the longer cluing opportunities — two or three per puzzle is about right. See also 19D: “Lost colony” of North Carolina which was settled in 1585, but in 1590 there was no trace of any of the 118 humans except the word “CROATOAN” carved onto a post and still no one knows what the f happened there (gasp)

Lena: I fumbled my order in the NE because I didn’t remember the TRENTA drink volume option (basically like in real life when I go into a Starbucks and ask for “uhhhh, a medium?” <cue barista death stare>). Then I didn’t get RON ARTEST, and put in ERA instead of EST (10D: Ballpark fig.). Tricky! The corner did “Not let [me] sit with [it]!!!” I was SHUNned.

Michael: Never heard of TRENTA. Ever. Not on menus where I’ve been. Are they on menus at all, or is this like the “Animal Style” of coffee? (that’s an In ‘N’ Out reference, Shake Shackers).

Ben: I got my ass kicked in that corner. Took me forever to parse 32D: “Rafa” smokin’ fast ones on the court as Rafael NADAL, never heard of RON ARTEST or TRENTA, didn’t know RSA, somehow forgot Obi-Wan KENOBI’s last name and was like “why is it -OBI? Is it backward?”… took me a while to dig my way out.

Ben: A little more crosswordese than previous days: ETRE, RSA, ACTE, STD, DSL, STA, EST, ARG… this is the first BuzzFeed puzzle that’s had enough to actually register for me while I solved.

Michael: I literally LOL’d at ACTE (39A: Entr’___), which has never happened. I was like “Dude, what are *you* doing here?” That is a total narc answer! ACTE is the narc. “Hey there, kids, this rave party is neato. Do you enjoy rap music?” etc. ACTE is your grandpa at your bachelorette party.

Lena: Oh, I also had a NYT PTSD moment when I misparsed A CORNER as ACORNER and frantically checked the clue to make sure it wasn’t “squirrel in autumn, say.”

Lena: The DAWSONS clue (47A: “___ Creek” (TV show that had me like, “I don’t want to wait for my life to be ovahhhh either!”)) made me laugh because I type-sing song lyrics all the time.

Lena: It’s weird– as often as I say “don’t blow your load” in casual conversation, I didn’t love seeing LOADS in this context (58A: Units of, uh, “genetic material”). <insert animated gif of Clarice Starling’s unfortunate interaction with Multiple Miggs in “Silence of the Lambs” …aaaand NETFLIX AND CHILL anyone?>

Lena: Oh god, I actually found that animated gif.

Ben: Please do not insert it. (Michael: THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!)

Michael: All semen jokes are going to go over poorly with me. Can’t stand ‘em.. NUT. LOAD. JIZZ. Etc. Pass. Hard pass. Penises are AOK, semen, *pass*! Just a personal ‘breakfast test’ thing, I think. I’ll take PUBES over semen. I’ll take DIARRHEA over semen. I just will. (I’m learning a lot about myself just typing this)

Ben: I also found that clue to be a little too much. Same with STD clued as 57D: Mean thing to give to a lover: Abbr. But if a few borderline clues are the trade-off for wonderful bits like 43A: Didn’t question one bit, as America to everything Taylor Swift does (ATE UP) and 46A: Listen to, as America to everything Taylor Swift asks of us (OBEY), I’m prepared to make that trade.

Lena: Oh yeah! I forgot how much I liked ENSURE (4D: Make certain, as that by drinking a shake an adult will get all their essential nutrients). It made me remember all those OLD commercials with the OLD folks cheersing with the stuff: “To your health! — No, to ours.” Take that BuzzFeed, your puzzle made me think of OLD things!

8 comments
  1. austinburns said:

    weird that the puzzle on the buzzfeed site doesn’t include the circles in the corners, but the .pdf and .puz versions do.

    anyway, i liked it! clue for SHED was the standout for me.

    Like

  2. Sam Trabucco said:

    Thanks for the feedback! Yeah, the corners were tricky/constrained, so there’s more dreck than I’d like, but I’m definitely pleased with how the final grid ended up.

    Like

  3. jess said:

    Pretty sweet little puzzle! A couple of editing issues though (Noah Cyrus is a GIRL and thus Miley’s SISTER), or the wording on that ENSURE clue, but otherwise I think the cluing was mostly great. Already an improvement in just these three days. Way to work HELLA and EPICFAILS in there.

    Like

  4. Yea, finished this thing without the circled letters on their website as well. Got everything except the northwest corner so went hunting for Starbucks sizes, and filled in Grande on my own which led to completion.

    Without the bubbling I thought it was SHOT (Starting at 29), TALL, GRANDE, and VENTI. Forgot there’s even a size above that. I wonder if SHOT was cut out because it’s not technically a size like the others?

    Like

  5. rabonour said:

    They’re definitely still working on the voice. Day 1 was way too loose, while today was probably too tight in places (though I might just feel that because of the crosswordese). I’ve mostly dug all three puzzles so far, though. The pop culture references are refreshing, and in general I’d say that when the puzzles stumble, it’s at least in interesting ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Andy said:

    There’s a semi-dupe with the clue for 35A [“My b!”] and 31D, MY BAD. Like y’all, I was surprised at how much crosswordese (especially ACTE) made it into this one. Also, is this the first time the puzzle has contained cross-referenced clues? I was surprised that “across” and “down” were lowercase, and I feel like I would’ve noticed it had it come up earlier.

    Like

  7. Bob Dively said:

    Bumbled about until I figured out A CORNER AT A TIME. I get it, but it’s not a phrase that comes immediately to mind with STARBUCKS. I did enjoy the Starbucks sizes-in-the-corners thing, even though I don’t know what they are because I find Starbucks coffee not great and avoid it.

    Loved the cluing for ETRE. A little less fond of the same for LOADS, not because I’m offended but just because it seems to be trying way too hard to be edgy.

    As the self-appointed Quibbler-In-Chief, I’m grumbly about the cluing for RON ARTEST because he changed his legal name to Metta World Peace, so I kinda want some Metta-RON balance.

    BTW, Metta World Peace doesn’t have quite the same flair as one of my favorite pro ballers from the 70s & 80s: Lloyd B. Free, who changed his name to World B. Free and played for years with an astonishing receding hairline afro.

    Like

  8. r.alphbunker said:

    Finished without errors or cheating in 22 minutes. Here some new stuff that I learned.
    puzzlecrowd.com/puzzlereportbuzzfeedwed.html

    Like

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