BuzzFeed Crossword – Friday 11 December 2015

THEMELESS 9” by Max Sherer

Thank F it’s Friday, amiright? Get up on this here themeless and careen towards your weekend

Fri 12 11

Themeless 9

Constructor: Max Sherer

Theme: None

Ben: Interesting grid layout. Central staircase triple-stack, open corners in the NW and SE, some long stuff in the other two. The downside is that it’s very segmented, with those nice open corners basically serving as separate puzzles. I didn’t get stuck, but I’m usually not wild about that much segmentation. Always tradeoffs with this stuff — the segmentation allows for clean fill, with only minor RTE TAPA ANA RXS type stuff.

Lena: Oh, I got stuck alright. When I lifted it off the printer this morning I saw it and said outloud, to my cat, “uh oh, mini puzzles.” I think the “spiral staircase” is neat looking though, I just got stuck (LIKE HARRY POTTER), in the little closet under the stairs. I didn’t pay attention to the tense and put ASSAYS instead of ASSESS (56A: Give a test to, in a way). MICROPENIS was so weird to me that I couldn’t see it and had trouble getting out of the SE. Is MICROPENIS a thing? Seems kinda made up to me. “Chad totally has a MICROPENIS.” <Googles> Oh god it’s real. Thanks, Wikipedia…

Ben: Actually, now that I’m looking closely, most of the worst fill is in those little stacks of 3-letter entries in the NE and SW.

Lena: You want those slender stacks, you have to be prepared for a smattering of potentially unsavory fill.

Ben: I like that stack in the middle, with FROZEN PIZZA being my favourite entry (34A: Pie with frosting?) — that’s the sort of legitimately tough clue that BuzzFeed doesn’t do very often.

Lena: My favorite stair step is I HAVE A POINT due to its misdirecting clue (33A: “You gotta gimmie that”) and its conversational tone. Overall I have a fondness for this puzzle, largely due to the cluing. (15A: Bring back Walt Disney, say) for THAW was certainly creative, and (33D: Provide with many channels?) for IRRIGATE was another rewarding toughie.

Ben: Other lovely clues include 1A: Beer brand Marlon Brando was really craving in “A Streetcar Named Desire” (STELLA!!!), 40A: Movie whose sequel is its title’s plural (ALIEN), and 38D: What people are actually complimenting when they say “You have beautiful eyes” (IRISES).

Lena: No joke, just last night my friend said “I don’t understand why STELLA Artois didn’t make use of ‘Streetcar’!” Crosswords are awesome.

Ben: On the other hand — 11A: Result of eating raw meat, maybe? (Sorry!!!!) for STD. What the fuck. That’s just disgusting. Also made me a lot less favourably inclined to the jokey tone on 45A: Teenie weenie? when I uncovered MICROPENIS a few minutes later.

Lena: Yeaaaah, if you feel the need to apologize for a clue in the clue maybe reconsider the clue. The more I think about MICROPENIS the worse I feel. It’s a medical condition, an unfortunate abnormality, that significantly impacts one’s life– mentally and physically– and I just can’t get down with a jokey clue about something like that.

Ben: Days Without a Harry Potter Reference: 9. Let’s end with this lovely quote about ART27A: Its purpose is “washing the dust of daily life off our souls,” according to Picasso. I usually use BOOZE for that, but well said.


  1. rabonour said:

    Mixed bag. I liked the clue on THAW a lot. STELLA is cute. But TAPA singular is horrendous, and “They usually encircle castles” for MOAT is an unfortunate error unless I’m missing something. This was good-not-great minus the few outliers.


    • Lena Webb said:

      Re: TAPA, through being a huge Sherry nerd I learned that “tapas” comes from Spanish folks placing a piece of ham over their Sherry glasses to keep the flies out, acting as a “top” or “tapa.” Then, of course, you’d eat the ham and need another tapa!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bob Dively said:

      I likewise just took MOAT to be simple grammatical number agreement error.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bob Dively said:

    I went awry immediately on this one by entering STEADY instead of STASIS (1D: State without much change), so the NW was a struggle. As was the SE, which was eventually salvaged for me by the lovely and talented TERI (43A: Garr who played Inga in “Young Frankenstein”).

    Some amusements: FROZEN PIZZA (34A: Pie with frosting?) was certainly the highlight for me, and I liked the homographic pun in AMAZON (27D: With 28-Down, flower that holds more water than the next seven combined). MICROPENIS is a word, but seems awfully schoolboy giggly here. I was a little disappointed when I realized that was the puzzles titular genitalia.

    Do Not Want: REROSE (50: Forced your fellow poker players to go higher). No one “she rose the bet”; they say “she raised”. ESE (54A: Suffix denoting a dialect). What comes immediately to mind when someone says, “Name some language-y stuff that ends in ‘ese'”? Let’s see, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Vietnamese… So a big no on this clue.

    –your Quibbler-in-Chief


  3. Max Sherer said:

    “MICROPENIS was so weird to me that I couldn’t see it” -I think that happens a lot with micropenises.

    But, seriously, though, thanks so much for the review. A lot of my clues were changed (with good reason), since I hand;t seen any of the puzzles before this one was submitted.

    I love reading your constructive criticism of my debut, and promise you that you will ASSESS another one of mine shortly!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Joe Pancake said:

    “The more I think about MICROPENIS the worse I feel. It’s a medical condition, an unfortunate abnormality, that significantly impacts one’s life– mentally and physically– and I just can’t get down with a jokey clue about something like that.”

    My thoughts exactly. I had never heard the term before, and then when I Googled it, I read a story about a guy who has it, and it made me find the jokey clue — really its inclusion in the puzzle, in general — a little distasteful. But, to be fair, the guy in the story joked about it himself, and I do think there is humor in just about everything, so, I dunno, I guess it’s okay.


  5. Evan said:

    For what it’s worth, MICROPENIS is also a card in the original set of Cards Against Humanity, and would probably elicit at least a few titters the next time you play it. But then, there are far worse cards in that set, and it’s a game that advertises up-front that it’s for horrible people, so……


  6. zzedzed said:

    MICROPENIS sounds more like a frat boy jibe than a medical condition, which is what I suspect was the intent. Especially as it parallels START SMALL.

    Easyish, with no real hang ups. Do not like REROSE, it would be re-raised. I don’t know why anyone would ever have one TAPA, but that is the singular so no issue with it here.


    • Max Sherer said:

      That was the intent. I prefer 0 TAPAs!


  7. erinium said:

    The clue for MOAT is plural [They usually encircle castles]. I still got the answer easily, but these errors should not be getting through.

    Almost everything I’d say about MICROPENIS has already been said. A baby born with one has to go through an endocrine evaluation and a genetic evaluation, and the family has to deal with all the questions and follow up care and how to help the child deal with it.


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