BuzzFeed Crossword – Wednesday 4 November 2015

TECHNOLOGY #TBT” by Jacob Stulberg

You know the drill: solve the puzzle first

Buzzfeed solution 11 04

“Technology #tbt”

Constructor: Jacob Stulberg

Theme: Morphemes that can precede “phone” must be reversed for theme answers to make sense.

  • 17A: CMEGAATCH (from CAGE MATCH) – Wrestling variant for Peter Parker in the 2002 “Spider-Man”
  • 28A: ROMAINTELETUCE (from ROMAINE LETTUCE) – Tall head rich in nutrients
  • 48A: TRISSMARTHANDY (from TRISTRAM SHANDY) – Title character in a bawdy British novel whose characters include Corporal Trim and Dr. Slop
  • 65A: FLIP PHONE – Fast-fading technology… or how to fix three of this puzzle’s answers?

Lena: Just Christmas colors today folks, I don’t have time for a thoughtful weigh-in so I will defer to these fine gentlemen:

Ben: Surprised this isn’t running on a Thursday, especially with the title. Having to transform semi-gibberish into comprehensible theme answers seems like a very Thursdayish theme. Usually not my favourite theme type, but I didn’t mind it here — at least 2 of the 3 are more or less recognizable (even after solving, CMEGAATCH doesn’t look like anything to me).

Michael: This was hard as hell because of the gibberish. Also, the theme seems oddly inconsistent. I mean … a FLIP PHONE *is* a TELEphone, and it’s kin to the SMARTphone, but it has zero relation to MEGAphone. I’d’ve preferred phones from different areas. HOMO-, for instance. MEGA just makes it weird, standing there all alone…

Ben: I thought this was fun. Hard, but fun — I forgot how to spell “Tristram Shandy”, which made the bottom half hard even once I skipped ahead and filled in the revealer.

Michael: This was my least favorite BZF puzzle to date. Something something Peter Parker … that resulted in a random-seeming letter string … that pretty much set the tone. This puzzle is a constructor’s bright idea—and it is bright—but the actual solving pleasure (during the actual time spent filling the grid) was very very low. The aha moment was interesting, but at that point I found the puzzle so annoying that I wasn’t happy. More like “…oh.”

Ben: We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one — I think it’s actually one of my favourites to date! Good clues, good fill. Once I figured out the theme, I enjoyed the fight of working out the theme answers. Love both long pieces of fill, too — COKE FUELED (11D: Like some long, crazy nights out) and OPENING DAY (29D: Yearly tradition involving diamonds across America).

Michael: Loved COKE-FUELED, did *not* love the cross-referenced 38D: Delivery method for being [COKE-FUELED] (NOSE), which is terribly terribly phrased. The grammar and diction there just hurt. Painful.

Ben: Enjoyed ORGASM (4D: It’s coming) — hm, maybe I should rephrase that — plus ESP TEST (44D: Event seen early in “Ghostbusters”) and NO SHOW (51D: Godot or Guffman, famously). Tricky clue on that one! (I don’t actually know the Guffman reference, though.) 63A: Rock without a label didn’t fool me, but I still like it as a clue for INDIE.

Michael: First, please go watch “Waiting for Guffman.” Second, I second your approval of the ORGASM clue.

Ben: Putting it on my list…

Ben: So is CMEGAATCH a dupe with CAGEY (32D: Sketchy)? It didn’t register for me while solving, but it jumps out looking at the finished grid.

Michael: I don’t think so. Or I do. I don’t know. I didn’t notice it because of overall frustration with other stuff. On the revealer, [Fast-fading technology], I had —-PHONE, and I honestly thought the answer to the revealer, was going to be TELEPHONE. Then CELLPHONE, though that didn’t really make sense. At one point I wondered if there was such a thing as a CLIP PHONE.

Ben: I’ve heard “Hamilton” is great (14A: Aaron played by Leslie Odom, Jr. in “Hamilton” – BURR)… have either of you seen it? Worth checking out?


  1. pblindauer said:

    I enjoyed it, even though the aha came very late for me. Did notice that TREE is in the grid/clues, and I loved the CANOE clue (among others).

    All the cocaine talk also reminded me of a Richard Pryor quote: “I’m not addicted to cocaine … I just like the way it smells.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bob Dively said:

    This was a very hard solve for me because I just didn’t get the theme and kept looking for the characters “phone” to be flipped in the theme answers. Even once I had the puzzle completed the themers still looked like gibberish to me until I noticed TELE inside of ROMAINTELETUCE.

    Major quibble with INDIE (63A: Rock without a label). Most all indie rock is on a label. It’s the *label* that’s indie, meaning not part of the Big 6/5/4 major labels. (Exceptions apply, of course, where the majors have bought/co-opted indie labels or where bands have started to self-publish via BandCamp or what have you.)

    Because it’s a Puzzfeed I was actually surprised that 9D: Goes down was RECEDES and not… something else. I’m a little confused by CAGEY as it’s clued (32D: Sketchy) because to me cagey means cautious or reticent while sketchy is potentially fraudulent or dishonest.


  3. zzedzed said:

    More with Ben here. Liked it. I got the “you’re finished” chime before I understood how the flipping happened, so I was staring cross-eyed at gibberish for a few beats before it came into focus.


  4. rabonour said:

    This one slayed me. I got the theme quick and almost all the fill, but had a few problems, mostly relating to not getting TRISTRAM SHANDY or ORGASM. I agree that this is the kind of theme that is impressive on paper, but not actually that much fun to solve.

    Fill was a mixed bag. COKE-FUELED is great. But things started bad when I looked at 1D: “Like the first thing you learn.” I knew what they meant, but ABCS just doesn’t work grammatically. I’d love to see Caleb get RID OF AS YET, but it’s not egregiously terrible. I liked 33D because E-MAG is one of my absolutely least favorite pieces of crosswordese, but now that they’ve done that clue once I never want to see that answer again.

    This is maybe like a B- for me by BZF standards? Not my least favorite, but not great.


    • rabonour said:

      Oh, and it’s pretty impossible to actually go see Hamilton, but definitely check out the cast album. The music is absolutely spectacular.


  5. Finn said:

    Hamilton is out of this world. As Ben Brantley wrote in his NYT review, worth mortaging your home or giving up your first child.

    This was probably the least BuzzFeed-y puzzle yet—still liked it, just think it will definitely be hard to appeal to an audience not already acquainted with crosswords. NW corner was really difficult, too.


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