BuzzFeed Crossword – Friday 16 October 2015

FRIDAY FREESTYLE 1” by Paolo Pasco

Don’t spoil this fine Friday for yourself– solve! this! puzzle! And when you’re done with that, as a bonus treat, solve this extremely indie puzzle Paolo made for the L’il High Five project

Buzzfeed solution 10 16

Themeless 1

Constructor: Paolo Pasco

Theme: None

Ben: The first themeless BuzzFeed puzzle, and what a beauty it is.

Lena: I just love themeless puzzles. The whole theme-y week I’m furtively glancing over my solving shoulder, on the paranoid lookout for patterns, rebuses, hidden this-and-that– but come Friday and Saturday I know I can just cruise through a beautiful grid containing big old spans of wonderful words and phrases.

Michael: This is a debut? Caleb, man, you better lock this shit down. Exclusive contract or something. I was mad *my* BZF themeless didn’t come out first, you know, but I defer to this. It’s really, really good.

Ben: I don’t really have much to say about this grid beyond just marveling at it. It’s got tons of nice fill, wide-open corners in the NW and SE, lovely triple-stacks of 9’s, and the whole thing is completely modern and fresh.

Lena: I consider this to be a very friendly themeless grid. It’s inviting. It’s a feelgood grid. It is Friday, after all.

Ben: One of my all-time favourite movies is MEAN GIRLS (18A: Movie that made “trying to make ‘fetch’ happen” happen), so I’d be happy to see that entry even without the great clue. To get that in a stack with TEAM JACOB (6A: Faction for Twihards who prefer Black dudes) and INDIEGOGO (16A: Website where “Let’s build a Goddamn Tesla Museum” was funded) with JEGGINGS running through it… let’s just say this puzzle hits my themeless sweet spot.

Michael: MEAN GIRLS was a nice fat gimme for, well, lots of people, but especially maybe possibly people who don’t normally do crosswords all the time. All the youth-y stuff, the cluing voice / Pokemon / whatever, today, didn’t bug me. It was all so gettable, and the grid overall was just so lovely. And FIRE WATER, man (4D: Order with an intimidating proof). I was like “Dang, what? I don’t get … oh. Oh, yeah. Wow. Good one.”

Lena: I accidentally bought JEGGINGS once (spoiler alert: they’re really, really comfy). Yeah, there was nothing not culturally up-to-date in the NE stack. And the two phrase substitutions in the SW stack were great. With all the insane shit going on in the world I CANT EVEN has become an exclamatory staple, and 64A: (“Slow down there, Eager McBeaver”) easily translated to NOT SO FAST.

Ben: (And hey, our first Twilight reference!)

Michael: “Twihard” should be *in* the damn grid.

Ben: Here’s the secret to cross-cluing (is that the word for that?) answers in a way that doesn’t annoy me: hilarious editorial voice — LOVE POEM (19A: Mine to my second-grade crush began, “Becky you are so nice / I want to hug”) and HEARTBREAK (41A: What I felt after I gave Becky my 19-Across and she said no hugging because I’m bad at gym) is great.

Michael: See, I loved this. Caleb has talked (just today, in a radio interview we did) about the wanting the cluing to have a more personal, warm voice, and this little bit of puppy love just nailed it, imo.

Lena: TOTES ADORBS (11)

Ben: This actually played reasonably hard for me (by BuzzFeed standards — all of this week’s puzzles have been in the Tue-Wed NYT range IMO), because the first answer I filled in was GRIPS instead of GAFFS and that screwed me up in the NW for a bit. And then I managed to get free of that and promptly ran into the DAA- of DA ALI G SHOW at 34A. Finally just shrugged my shoulders and worked my way up through CHRIS PRATT (29D: Star of “Jurassic World,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and America’s moist dreams).

Ben: (By the way, I was taught in school to put commas outside the quotation marks, so it always weirds me out when I see it inside. You Americans are crazy…)

Lena: You do you, Ben!

Michael: Go back to Canadia! (note: I also stared at “DAA-” going “???”)

Ben: Also complicating the NW was K.T. OSLIN, by far the most obscure thing in the grid for me — had to get her name completely from crosses. Let me just look her up and… oh, she’s a country singer. Well, that explains it. She does sound crossworthy from her Wikipedia entry, though, so fair enough.

Lena: I couldn’t get GOALS from (1D: #squad ___) at all. And I also had no idea who Ms. OSLIN is. Didn’t like the clue for GAFFS at all (1A: Does some job or other on a movie set (full disclosure, I have no idea what this actually means, but I think it involves tape). I’m not a fan having the first clue imply that even the constructor/editor doesn’t know what the answer means. I know it’s trying to be silly but, again, I feel like it’s trying a little too hard.

Ben: The fill is super-clean here. What’s the worst I can find… ARCO, ODED, BOS, MIN, AVE if you’re picky… COATI, BVD and YALIE aren’t exciting, but they’re real things… MAV is a common abbreviation for the Dallas Mavericks… I guess YETIS is iffy, but the clue (47A: Abominable snowmen (for the sake of this puzzle imagine there are more than one)) acknowledges it, so I’ll give it a pass. Yeah, I think that’s it. Impressive.

Lena: If you think about it biologically, there has to be more than one YETI.

Ben: If I keep talking about this puzzle, it’s just going to degenerate into me listing clues I like, so I’ll just end with my favourite one: 4D: Order with an intimidating proof for FIRE WATER. I love clues that take me a few seconds to parse correctly even after I fill in the correct answer.

Lena: Along the same lines as the ERGO clue from yesterday (“So if my logic is correct and I’m super pretentious…”), I enjoyed ENTER clued as (63A: “Come in,” if you’re a super-dramatic movie villain”). I like it when I can hear tone-of-voice in answers.

Ben: Great end to a strong week of puzzles.

Lena: Concurred.

Michael: Cosigned. That’s the “concurred” of this modern world, or so I hear.

10 comments
  1. Bob Dively said:

    I loved the hell out of this puzzle. Even though I’m an old and some of the clues looked like gibberish to me I actually knew enough of the kidspeak to get through. Hell, I actually wrote in GOALS right out of the gate. Look how hip Daddy is, kids! Fist knocks!

    Loved SEPIA TONE, JEGGINGS, I CAN’T EVEN… heck, I loved it all.

    +1 for SPIRO Agnew who was the Veep when I was a baby. My parents discovered I’d giggle like a crazy person when they said his name.

    –your Quibbler-in-Chief, who can’t quibble at all today

    Like

  2. Best puzzle of the week. Crammed full of good stuff. Really, really fun!

    Like

    • Oh, I do want to add that I’m a little surprised about all the love for FIREWATER. I felt kind of icky about that particular entry. Is that word ever used in any context besides Native Americans and alcoholism?

      Like

      • therealrexparker said:

        I never thought of it, so … maybe? It’s a good/fair question. I think I was reacting to smartness of cluing. I never thought about context.

        Like

  3. marysueh said:

    This was a fun one! ICANTEVEN is wonderful, as is MEANGIRLS. My biggest struggle was DAALIGSHOW. I’ve never seen (heard?) of it and was suspicious of the double AA. The down answers seemed correct, giving me hope.

    I also had a dumb mistake with ASTIN rather than the correct ASTON – making the across word read LIVEPOEM rather than LOVEPOEM. Using mental gymnastics I imagined the poem being presented orally (rather than written on paper), making its performance ‘LIVE’. Obviously that didn’t work.

    Overall it was a cleverly written puzzle with fresh entries, and I suspect it will have broad appeal.

    Like

    • glasser said:

      That one had KICKSTARTER, this one has INDIEGOGO!

      Like

  4. Stellar stuff. Great first week–here’s to many more!

    Like

  5. rabonour said:

    This puzzle was great, but “rares” is a garbage answer that just appeared in the Times recently and should never appear in any puzzle ever again.

    Like

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