BuzzFeed Crossword – Monday 19 October 2015

ZZZ” by David Steinberg

Yeah, yeah it’s Monday– WAKE UP and solve the puzzle!

Buzzfeed solution 10 19


Constructor: David Steinberg

Theme: The puzzle is a literal Buzzfeed — all four theme answers are clued as “Buzz source”

  • 18A: BUMBLEBEE – Buzz source
  • 28A: GOSSIP WEBSITE – Buzz source
  • 44A: MORNING COFFEE – Buzz source
  • 57A: CELL PHONE – Buzz source


Ben: Nice simple theme to start the week. I like how both of the Monday puzzles so far have been very BuzzFeed-specific concepts (Disney princess quiz last week, a literal “buzz” feed here), and I wonder if that’ll continue.

Lena: I want to see tiny little animated gifs embedded in each square, flickering away like psychotic candles…

Michael: My first scrawled comments about this puzzle were: “LOVE—easy, basic, greatly entertaining.” The cluing is (mostly) on point today. That HEBREW clue made me legit LOL (6D: Language I “learned” for my bar mitzvah in the same way a dog learns to high-five). That’s how this whole “personal” style should go, imo.

Ben: One of the many small ways that pros like David Steinberg distinguish themselves is elegance and tightness in theme. Here, all four theme answers use a different meaning for “buzz” — at first I was disappointed by CELL PHONE being the last one, since it’s a relatively prosaic answer, but on consideration it’s the best bit of wordplay in the theme (phoning someone = giving them a buzz).

Lena: As a “vibrate only” person, I can’t remember the last time my phone made a sound other than “buzz” so I also thought BUMBLE BEE and CELL PHONE were too similar.

Michael: Because they’re the same *kind* of “buzz”? That never occurred to me. Interesting.

Ben: Not a ton of long stuff today, but it’s all clean and BRAINSTORM (3D: Session where an idea might strike like lightning!) is fun. Note the exclamation point there, by the way — I wonder if we’re going to see a stronger BuzzFeed voice on the early week puzzles. See also NHL (34A: Sports org. with so many pucks, can you believe it? Probably at least over 100) and ERIE (62A: Spoooooky Great Lake (if there was an extra E ha ha)).

Lena: I get a kick out of seeing how the crosswordese that inevitably makes its way into these puzzles is clued. When I filled in OATEN, for example, I hurried my eyeballs over to see how they jazzled that one up (32A: Like Cheerios, granola bars, and many other healthy things that taste to me like wood pulp). The day a Millennial (or anyone else for that matter) describes anything as OATEN, well… “Ugh, bro, the OATEN nature of this Kashi cereal is harshing my MORNING COFFEE buzz.”

Ben: I think I’m getting more used to the BuzzFeed style of cluing — I chuckled at a number of these. (Michael: me too)

Lena: Same. I laughed aloud (LA– shorter than LOL, wut wut) at 43A: Roll a dollar bill into a nose straw and suck some of that good good into your honker (SNORT). It was the “good good” that got me. Also, I was already feeling silly about drugs after I wanted to write HORSE in place of NURSE (24A: Cry from someone who needs more morphine, maybe). It’s heroin slang, but still.

Ben: Up to this point I’ve been on board with these puzzles’ taste in music, but we’re going to have to agree to disagree on 17A: Stop existing, as hopefully Macklemore’s career, which clues CEASE. “Thrift Shop” and “Downtown” are both great, and I can definitely see a place in my life for a goofy but technically excellent rap song every 8-10 months.

Michael: Without taking sides in #MackleGate, I will say that I don’t really groove on gratuitous meanness.

Ben: Interesting clue in 27D: Exam that Elle Woods gets a 179 (!!!) on — is that a good or a bad score for the LSAT? It’s been too long since I saw Legally Blonde.

Lena: It’s all but perfect! I had a neat little memory zap from 13D: Stand-up comedy needs? (FEET). It reminded me of an awesome story I heard a couple years ago about a professor who became a quadruple amputee and then a stand-up comedian.

Ben: Pop culture tracker: the ROBES of Harry Potter (1A), a spoiler ALERT for Breaking Bad (23A) and Jon SNOW from Game of Thrones (53D). Particularly like the clue on the second one — 23A: Spoiler ___ (disclaimer before telling someone that Walt kills Jesse then himself in the last episode of “Breaking Bad,” say). I wonder if that will fool anyone?

Ben: One last note — love the understated irony of the clue for SITH (53A: “Only the ___ deal in absolutes”), since the quote is itself an absolute.

Michael: I don’t watch “GOT” and don’t recognize “Star Wars” I-III as legit entities, so the SITH / SNOW crossing was easily the hardest (is that a paradox?) part of the grid for me. These were the clues I marked as “enjoyable”:

  • CREEP (42D: Act like a stalker of Thom Yorke of Radiohead)

  • FLAK (33A: Thing often caught by Miley for every choice) (just read article on Nicki Minaj and her whole “beef” with Miley, so … I don’t know what to say about that, but it def happened)
  • LSAT (as you’ve noted)
  • NHL (ditto)
  • HEBREW (see my comments above)

I wrote in ESAI for ESAU because of crossed crosswordese wires, no doubt (15A: Biblical figure known for constant drama with his twin brother Jacob). I also wrote in PUBE for LOBE (11D: One of the only parts of your body it’s totally cool to poke a metal pin through). I have no good excuse for that. A+ for clue on RURAL, which made me laugh with “30 Rock” memories (64A: “The ___ Juror” (tongue-twister of a fake movie title on “30 Rock”).

  1. another bad IDEA? rolling a dollar bill into a nose straw and sucking some of that good good into your honker… apparently recreational options on campus (affordable ones at that) have changed since the days of weed and mateus……



    • Lena Webb said:

      Had to look up Mateus and, damn– “a brand of medium-sweet frizzante rosé wine produced in Portugal.” Weed and that sounds like an average weekend at Webb U. I’m more into Basque frizzantes tho; medium-sweet is too sweet.


  2. Jimm said:

    I’m surprised nobody commented on the cluing for GAIETY (46D: Merriment not necessarily between two dudes, but could be). I’m ambivalent as to whether or not it was in playful/appropriate taste. Very buzzfeedy though…


    • rabonour said:

      I thought that was a funny play on the multiple meanings of “gay;” as a straight man I’m not qualified to say, but it doesn’t strike me as something that would be considered offensive.


      • Can’t speak for all gay people, but I sure liked it. What would even be offensive about it? It’s playing on two very common, very literal definitions of the word “gay.” Maybe I’d see something unsavory about it on a less-clearly gay-friendly venue than BuzzFeed, but as is it’s just a clue for a word that people don’t use much (“gaiety”) playing on one that people do (“gay”).


  3. My experience was similar to all of yours. Laugh-out-loud funny clues today for sure. I didn’t like the swipe at Macklemore and liked the swipe at Orson Welles’s weight even less, but it didn’t feel like either of those clues really hampered my enjoyment of the puzzle. I think the clue for GAIETY was my fave.


  4. Lena Webb said:

    What I liked about the GAIETY clue was that it had every opportunity to piss me off but didn’t, thanks to the necessary qualifier “not necessarily.”

    Also Michael must have the fine motor skills of a watchmaker to pierce his pubes. That’s edgy as hell.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bob Dively said:

    Once I got the buzz theme I immediately assumed that there would be an answer relating to a psychoactive substance and was surprised that it was so mundane and non-edgy as MORNING COFFEE. Where’s my wacky millennial free for all? Oh, but I kid the Buzzfeed. I liked this puzzle quite a bit. The themers were all good, and I particularly like the dual purpose buzzing of CELL PHONE.

    I didn’t find GAYIETY offensive at all because it didn’t feel at all malicious. Words are words; it’s the intention behind them that makes them offensive. The Orson Welles bit… mmm, wasn’t crazy about that one. Granted Welles was famously fat in his later years, but I think perhaps that still wasn’t the best choice.


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