BuzzFeed Crossword – Friday 20 November 2015

THEMELESS 6” by Brendan Emmett Quigley

I know I’ve said it before but: Themeless Goodness; It’s Friday. Do it to it.

Fri 11 20

“Themeless 6”

Constuctor: Brendan Emmett Quigley

Theme: None

Ben: Increasingly I’m finding that I GOT NOTHIN’ to say about these themeless puzzles. I like them, they’re beautifully filled… but it’s hard to find a new way to say that every week.

Michael: I was like “O, great, an “OITNB” clue …” I do not watch (as I do not watch Every show people insist I *have* to watch). But PORNSTACHE is a term in common usage, and it’s great, so hurray. Pop-culturey without locking me out. I don’t mind that at all.

Ben: Here we have triple-stacks in every corner (10’s and 8’s), plus a few longer answers thrown in for good measure. The centre is a little tight with black squares, but I didn’t have any problem with the puzzle’s flow.

Ben: Really like the NW, with PORNSTACHE (1A: “Orange is the New Black” nickname based on some douchey facial hair) and ARE YOU COOL? (15A: “We’re not fighting, right?”) both being super-modern, and MARC ANTONY getting a nice modern clue (17A: Friends, Romans, countrymen, J-Lo if I had an extra H” speaker). No compromises on the crosses, either.

Michael: I can’t really make sense of that MARC ANTONY clue. Oh, wait, I realize I’ve confused the classical guy and the modern guy. It makes more sense now. I think of “ARE WE COOL?” as the much much more apt answer for [“We’re not fighting, right?”]. In fact, the best possible answer is “WE COOL?” ARE YOU COOL? is what you say to someone you think might be a narc. See “Dazed and Confused” if you don’t believe me.

Ben: SE isn’t quite as smooth — I don’t even know what city MOTT Street belongs to, and SPINEL is my SYNOD — it’s a real thing, but it seems like crutch fill to me. But the long answers are all nice.

Michael: I just stared at SPINEL like “… I hope that’s a thing.”

Ben: There isn’t much to complain about here for fill. ART BUYER (37D: One shopping at a gallery, say) seems contrived, and I could do without EEE, MEX, O NEG… that’s really about it. I think IMAC might be getting into the territory of crosswordese at this point — it always sounds dated when I come across it in a grid.

Ben: Favourite clue — 43D: Make someone feel better, perhaps by playing some Wii or XBox for CONSOLE. Also liked 13D: Lady with a personal trainer for PROTEGEE, if only because it comes at the answer from an unexpected direction.

Michael: Yes, those are both very good, esp. the CONSOLE clue. My favorite, most satisfying answer-getting experience was, weirdly, SO INCLINED (24A: Tending in such a direction). I couldn’t make sense of the clue very well, then couldn’t parse it from the SOIN- beginning. And then bam, it came to me, and seemed perfect—a common phrase I can’t remember having seen in crosswords before.

Ben: Days Without a Harry Potter Reference – 1. We do get, of all things, a Scooby-Doo reference with DAPHNE, clued to the live action movie from a few years ago.

Michael: I got a NANCI Griffith clue, so I’m good (54D: “Other Voices, Other Rooms” singer Griffith).


  1. I assume MOTT refers to the Manhattan street, though Canal strikes me as a more apt analogue to “Main”.


    • Bob Dively said:

      It’s been a long time since I lived in NYC, but Mott St was definitely Chinatown’s Main St then. Canal St was the mall.

      Side note: there are multiple Chinatowns in NYC. There’s the one everyone knows in Manhattan, but there are also big ones in Flushing (Queens) and Sunset Park (Brooklyn). Some smaller ones are starting in other parts of Brooklyn and Queens.


  2. Joe Pancake said:

    “ART BUYER (37D: One shopping at a gallery, say) seems contrived”

    I thought that too, but then I Googled it, and it looks like art buyer is a legit job title. There are people called art buyers whose entire job is to buy art for their clients.

    Anyway, very good puzzle overall. As discussed, the clue for AREYOUCOOL seems off, but other than that and some short dreck (EEE, in particular, I was surprised to see in a BEQ puzzle; seasoned constructors should delete that one from their word lists, mental, virtual, and otherwise, IMHO) it was a solid and fun solve.

    What’s the better way to clue ONEG — blood type or g-force? I’m leaning toward the latter.


  3. Bob Dively said:

    Fun puzzle. Loved CONSOLE, PORNSTACHE, and KEEP IT REAL. Also, COOTIES (8D: Controversial childhood vaccination subject) because I read the clue and mentally prepared myself to write a rant here and then was pleasantly surprised at being duped. Didn’t get the MARC ANTHONY J-Lo joke until I read the blog post.

    Never heard ARE YOU COOL; it’s always “are we cool?” or “we cool?”. See “Dazed and Confused” if you don’t believe Michael. Or just see “Dazed and Confused” period – it’s great.


  4. boisvert42 said:

    No one has brought up the “payed” thing?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Evan said:

      Whoa, I totally missed that. Good catch.


  5. zzedzed said:

    Surprised people haven’t heard of ART BUYERs before. I was more troubled by the too current clue for 1A. PORN STACHE was an insult at least as early as 1979, probably even earlier. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some 1950’s movie starring a milkman with a pornstache. So the OITNB clue was a big “huh?” A Burt Reynolds/Smokey and the Bandit clue would have been just as appropriate.


    • zzedzed said:

      The quintessential pornstache (other than those found in actual porn movies)


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