“FRIDAY FREESTYLE 2” by Finn Vigeland
Constructor: Finn Vigeland
Ben: I’ve generally enjoyed the BuzzFeed puzzles a lot so far, but even if they were total garbage, these themelesses would justify the outlet’s existence. This is great.
Lena: SPLOOSH. (“Sploosh” is basically the lady equivalent of “getting/having a boner or hard-on for,” say, awesome puzzles, etc)
Ben: Uh. Thanks for that.
Michael: Ew(w). I remain against all ejaculate-related clues/answers (see A NUT, which is the only thing about this puzzle I didn’t Love)
Lena: What, no one’s an “Archer” fan? Boo. Anyway, sorry for the discomfiting… I guess I just *really* liked this puzzle!
Ben: I honestly don’t understand how it’s possible to get this much good stuff into a puzzle. The triple-stack of 11’s is the showpiece with its appropriate pairing of SWIPES RIGHT (33A: Uses one’s digits to try to get another’s digits) and SLEPT AROUND (37A: Eschewed monogamy), but there’s a lot of good stuff here.
Michael: That stagger-stack is both Buzzfeedy *and* technically impressive. When I finished it I stopped to admire it and thought, “well, that’s gonna be hard to live up to.”
Ben: Check out the corners here — wide open, and not filled with garbage, either. KGB SPY (1A: Cold War Bond enemy), D-LISTERS (38D: Celebs highly unlikely to get you in the VIP line), GAY SCENE (59A: Lay of the land when it comes to queer-friendly bars and people), LADY DI (43D: Nickname in an ‘81 royal wedding)… damn.
Michael: I knew it would be good when I couldn’t really make NW work, and then I finally parsed KGBSPY, and went “oh … yeah … that’s good.” I somehow liked the parallelism (at least in my mind) of KOSHER (1D: With 41-Across, place you can’t buy a bagel on a Saturday) and the clue on BLUE LAWS (3D: Regulations against Sunday liquor sales, etc.).
Lena: Same for me with KGBSPY– Peter B has inspired in me a love of consonants all in a row. I can sniff them out pretty well these days, and I don’t let those scary tandems throw me off anymore.
Ben: I guess there is a little crosswordese — BHT (which I’d never heard of), IN OT, YGOR, COL, S’IL, SEP… pretty reasonable considering all the good stuff here. Side note: is A NUT (55D: Bust ___ (ejaculate)) crosswordese? It’s a partial, but it’s not like we’ve seen it in other outlets. Also maybe a little crude for my taste. I’m fine with BAD SEX (65A: Reason you might not get a fourth date) though.
Lena: What’s the worst about “bust A NUT” is that it makes me remember Michael’s acceptable bodily fluids breakdown re: LOADS last week! Not a huge fan of the phrase myself, but I do like the technical biological term paired with the totally slanged out synonym. I put “perineum, colloquially” for TAINT in a puzzle– the first puzzle I made, I think.
Ben: Oh, I did just notice BRANG (30D: Took along (with), ungrammatically). That’s not great, even with the wink-and-a-nod clue.
Michael: Didn’t mind that too much. Just grateful not to see another ORANG.
Ben: The trade-off for the fun long stuff and wide-open spaces is that the NE and SW corners are badly sectioned off from the rest of the grid. The NE chunk in particular worked me over. Had never heard of ST THOMAS (7A: Island home to Blackbeard’s castle), couldn’t parse FIRE LANE (16A: Path restricted for safety), and PRESENTS (18A: Dancer’s cargo?) is just plain devious. If I hadn’t remembered that HESSE was the 10D: “Siddhartha” novelist, I’d have had a real problem.
Lena: Oh yeah, PRESENTS! When I got that I practically threw my clipboard down and did an endzone dance. I also really liked SAUNAS (17A: Place for sweaters with no shirts?). Yeah basically you guys covered all the goodies! Great puzzle– a total romp.
Ben: Also tough: the DE JURE (25A: Latin phrase that can be turned into its opposite by changing the second word to “facto”) / JITNEY (26D: Line to the Hamptons) crossing, which I had to guess on. This was the hardest BZF puzzle yet for me.
Michael: Felt easy, but none of the BZFs have been too challenging, so I dunno. I do know that I taught Petrarch just a couple weeks back, and I didn’t know he was the first to use the SESTET (14D: Verse form first used by Petrarch). That seems … odd. Do they mean “as a subsection of a sonnet”? P.S. I wrote SONNET in that space. P.P.S. I semi-harshed on INOT in another puzzle today, so I’m semi-harshing on it here. Let that last statement stand for the semi-harshing (32A: How some NFL games are won).
Ben: I teach this stuff too, but I can never keep my SESTETs straight from my SESTINAS, SONNETS and CINQUAINS. Someday I will memorize all of them, and then I will be a poetry-crossword-solving machine.
Ben: Final thought — LIL’ KIM (28D: Her 2014 diss track (versus Nicki Minaj) went, “Am I trippin’ or did this ho just say my name? / Queen of rap? Fuck outta here”) has me eagerly anticipating a rap-themed puzzle. I want MOMENT 4 LIFE crossed with DECEMBER 4TH. (Actually that’s a good idea. Okay, nobody steal that…)
Lena: I once got stoned and tried to fit all the members of the Wu-Tang Clan into a 15×15 for, like, way too long. My high idea began with the thought “OLD DIRTY BASTARD IS FIFTEEN LETTERS” but nay, ‘tis OL DIRTY BASTARD. Great story, right? Right.