“THEMELESS 7” by Doug Peterson
Snap out of that stuffing stupor, solvers and solve this puzzle
Constructor: Doug Peterson
Ben: A lot of the BuzzFeed themeless puzzles have been flashy in some way, with unusual layouts or meaty corner stacks. This one has some of that — one central 15, a pair triple 8’s and double 9’s — but it’s mostly just a solid, cleanly filled puzzle. Very pleasant solve for me.
Lena: I am such a puzzle slob! I really PIG IT when it comes to tidying up all my printed puzzles– even though I have a clipboard I jettison all the completed crosswords onto the table. So I’m pawing through a pile to find Doug’s– got it.
Lena: This is the first puzzle we did on our Stand-and-Solve “Big Grid!” Brayden and I have DESK JOBS (1A: Positions that are hard on the ass?) and also spend a bunch of time hunched over puzzles, leading to the condition known as “puzzbod.” So we solve like the big-leaguers– standing up final three-style. It’s the nerdiest thing I’ve been excited about in a while. Anyway, this puzzle didn’t have us on our feet for very long; it was definitely a fast, fun solve.
Ben: As a 15-letter entry, WEDDING REGISTRY is a little meh for me. But I do like the way it crosses BRO (35D: Privilege abuser, often) at the centre. Also, fair play: the BZF puzzles have been better with tone lately (though there are still some kinks).
Lena: Yes, I see that they resisted the urge to TEABAG us using the mild clue (19D: Sack filled with leaves)– it’s almost sullen-sounding like “fine we won’t.” I thought the clues in this one were great; lots of goodies. I particularly enjoyed (59A: It goes well with some bow ties and may stain others) for MARINARA and the coupling of BRATZ (50D: Dolls to buy for your daughter if Barbie just isn’t quite sexualized enough) and IMAGE (52A: Body ___ (perception skewed by 50-Down, maybe)).
Ben: Really like the clues on JOE PESCI (5D: Actor who if he asked me “Whattya mean I’m funny?” I would respond, “Like in ‘Home Alone’”) and MEL (19A: B or C of the Spice Girls). Oh, and IT’S (30A: Word that many people botch the apostrophe placement on). And PHONE TAG (62A: String of missed connections). I should stop before I list half the puzzle.
Ben: Plenty of material for you, Lena — STOLI (3D: Spirit of Russia) and RUM (56A: Dark ‘n’ Stormy ingredient). I still think you and Michael should drunk-blog one of these puzzles at some point.
Lena: Maybe I’m drunk-blogging right now! Nah, I gotta ease on down after these past few Days of Decadence here in ‘murica. We should have to make and drink the last 2 drinks that appeared in recent puzzles or something– I know there’s a sweet drinking game somewhere in here. Do you think we’ll be mean drunks or overly-affectionate drunks?
Ben: Favourite entry by a country mile is T-SWIZZLE (64A: Pop star’s rapper alter ego with the line “I’m like 8 foot 4 / Blonde hair to the floor”).
Ben: Days Without a Harry Potter Reference – 3. Is that a record? I feel like we should probably retire this bit if the counter gets to 5.
Lena: Yeah I think 5 is good. I mean, if they’re not going to put the work in… but in the meantime, everybody should watch Wizard People, Dear Reader dooo iiittttt