“TECHNOLOGY #TBT” by Jacob Stulberg
You know the drill: solve the puzzle first
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?