“BF IS MY BFF“ by Patrick Blindauer
Blue skies above, puzzle spoilers below. Solve the puzzle!
“BF Is My BFF”
Constructor: Patrick Blindauer
Theme: Two-word phrases with initials B.F.
- 17A: BUS FARE – *$2.75, in New York City, for the time being, please don’t raise it any more
- 21A: BRAIN FART – *”Senior moment”
- 59A: BLACK FLAG – *Influential ’80s punk band named for a symbol of anarchy
- 64A: BIRD FLU – *Illness that sounds like a statement about an animal and what that animal did
- 7D: BREAST FED – *Connected to a boob tube?
- 10D: BOBA FETT – *”Star Wars” bounty hunter
- 34D: BLOW FLIES – *Family of insects that can smell dead animals from up to a mile away… ew
- 39D: BAD FAITH – *Deceptive and manipulative motivation
Ben: Phrases that start with BF in honour of BuzzFeed. Yeah, okay. This theme does nothing for me, honestly. It’s barely a theme.
Michael: Oh …. BuzzFeed! HA ha. I did not get that. I was like “well … it’s *almost* BFF, but … it’s not, so … ???”
Lena: I took a trip over to the BuzzPuzz comments last week to see what representatives of the demographic these puzzle are targeted at had to say. It looks like if you ask them to do actual “puzzle work,” like find things hidden in an answer without circles, they get cranky.
Michael: I think you mean “I took a trip over to the BuzzPuzz comments last week to see what they said about our awesome BEER BELLY puzzle and Fuck Those Guys.”
Lena: Haha, not even just ours! The ITCH thing and the MIND ERASER thing were also particularly frustrating to them.
Ben: I guess it’s impressive that there are eight theme answers here. I think I’d be more impressed if the grid weren’t so segmented, and it didn’t produce fill that looked like this. III on top of ESE on top of STS? STR BWAY OSU RNS IDA USDA… this looks like an early-week NYT puzzle in spots.
Michael: Theme is slight, but I found the solving great fun. BLACK FLAG! This puzzle knows what I want to see. Also, I enjoyed the five-“I” string there between 62- and 63-Across. Wheeeee!
Ben: I did enjoy seeing LGBT (57D: Community that’s “the last great minority,” according to Candis Cayne), and the big corners are nice. Except for EBBETS Field, but I’ll chalk that up to a knowledge gap on my part.
Lena: My favorite was the BIRD FLU clue (64A: Illness that sounds like a statement about an animal and what that animal did). Also EVIAN (20A: Water brand whose name means “unsophisticated” when reversed, just saying) is pretty wonderful.
Ben: Some of the cluing is good here. 15A: “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin, for example (which was the song that inspired me to take piano lessons, FWIW) for RAG, 45A: First word my daughter will say, if she knows what’s good for her for DADA… I like the personal voice.
Lena: And what about that AFRO clue (54A: Hairstyle picked by Jimi Hendrix)? Nice.
Ben: I had major trouble parsing the clue for AGENT (9D: “The Matrix” bad guy Smith who does a really bad job of getting Neo auditions). The same thing is happening with OR B (37A: “Which of these two spheres do you choose, A ___?”). Those jokes feel a little half-baked to me, but your mileage may vary.
Lena: The ORB/OR B clue a good example of the weird kind of misdirection BuzzFeed puzzles tend to use– I call them Manic Pixie Dream Clues. Kind of endearing, kind of really annoying.
Ben: Days Without a Harry Potter Reference – 0 (1A: Similar to Dobby or Legolas). And by the way, is ELFISH really a word? Hmm… Google gives 413,000 results for it, so I guess so, but it gives 12,000,000 for ELVEN, which is the one I immediately thought of.
Lena: I had ELVISH. Dobby the Elf looks like Gollum and Yoda’s baby. That is all.
Ben: I’ll admit to smiling when I got 7D: Connected to a boob tube? (BREAST FED), but 7A: Over-the-shoulder boulder holder for BRA is pensionable.
Lena: I’ve heard new mothers joke about being “just a milk machine” and similar phrases while nursing, so maybe they’d get a chuckle out of [connected to a boob tube?]. But this is another example of how the overall tone of these puzzles makes it more of a nervous chuckle from me. A bunch of bros getting a laugh over the mechanics of breastfeeding is very different than a bunch of moms all going through the same thing, commiserating, etc.
Michael: Really put off by the way they handled the breast stuff, honestly. Crossing clues that resort to playground tee-hee slang? Nah. I did, however, like all the stuff about his wife and about babies (or KIDDOS!) because Patrick is like *this* close to becoming a father (seriously, tick tick, any day now, I think). I also liked BOBA FETT because “Star Wars,” or, to be more specific, because “Empire,” which I just rewatched this past weekend.
Lena: Well, I guess the insider knowledge behind the family/baby mini-theme (congrats, Patrick!) affects the tone in this case, but without it I still just hear bros joking about boobs. The “boulder holder” thing is… just no. That clue is never going to get laid.
Ben: I don’t know, maybe I’m just in a bad mood tonight. Did not enjoy this one.