BuzzFeed Crossword – Tuesday 15 December 2015

DOUBLE DOUBLE” by Max Sherer

STP (Solve The Puzzle)

Tue 12 15

Double Double

Constructor: Max Sherer

Theme: Alliterative two-word phrases.

  • 17A: DROPS DEAD – *Suddenly loses consciousness forever
  • 26A: OLIVE OIL – *Delicious dip for pre-dinner bread
  • 32A: USED UP – *Depleted, like Sandra Bullock’s oxygen at the end of “Gravity”
  • 44A: BIG BOI – *The shorter Outkast member, ironically
  • 47A: LIFE LINE – *Outside help on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”
  • 61A: EAGLE EYED – *Like the American sniper in “American Sniper”

Ben: As much as I appreciate the Tim Hortons shout-out, this theme doesn’t do it for me. It’s very simple, and theme phrases just aren’t that colourful. Nothing really wrong with them, just nothing special either.

Lena: The first letter of each word also spells out “double” heading down the grid but, yeah… the luster is lacking. I’ve said it before, but the BZF demographic seems allergic to figuring things out– maybe it has something to do with TLDR (1D: Acronym for our generation’s horribly short attention span), idk.

Ben: I’m not crazy about 6-letter theme answers. Even with the asterisks marking them, I didn’t even notice USED UP was part of the theme until I went back to list the answers.

Lena: Yup, I completely missed USED UP; partially because I was remembering how little I enjoyed “Gravity.” It’s like 1.5 hours of panicky spacesuit breathing. And unrealistic astronaut underwear.

Ben: The four 8-letter Downs are nice — MADE LOVE (8D: Bumped uglies, more romantically) is probably the strongest entry in the puzzle, in fact. IMPOUNDS is a little dry but I did enjoy the clue 4D: Takes away your car after you double-parked it in a “No Parking” zone next to a fire hydrant.

Lena: I really liked 35D: Steel___ (product sheared from a robo-sheep) for WOOL. I love imagining those sheep! I think that’s my favorite. I didn’t understand why it’s surprising where RENO is located (20A: Casino city west of L.A., surprisingly) but OLSO (29D: City on a fjord [not] shockingly) is no biggie.

Ben: Grid is all right. SRA DETOO SWE DEE RES ETS — enough to notice, but not bad. A little crosswordese in KOLA (unless those nuts are just super-common in the US and I’m out of the loop).

Lena: I’ve never seen a KOLA nut in person– they’re just where cola products come from. If I ever see one I will take a Crosswordese Selfie with it.

Ben: The clue on IRIS is apt (36D: Goo Goo Dolls song that you probably know from the way John Rzeznik snarls “But you don’t even know who I am”) — I didn’t even know that was the title of the song, but the chorus is indelibly etched on my brain.

Lena: Haha, oh man I hate that song. I hate it so much that I’m pretty sure that’s not actually a lyric in the song… Know thine enemy?

Ben: God, I’m gritting my teeth just looking at the clue for THEIR. I can’t even bring myself to type it out!

Lena: <pats shoulder> there their they’re…

Ben: Days Without a Harry Potter Reference – 11. Michael’s going to get back from vacation and wonder what the hell happened.

Lena: Looks to me like they’re focusing on keeping the OGLE and E COLI streak going.

Ben: I hope I’m not coming across too negative on this one, but I just don’t have any strong opinions about it. I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it… it was fine.

Lena: I think you’re on point– it was nice to be able to solve it easily while sick and miserable, heading to work on a 7:45am train; it’s basically the puzzle I needed this morning. No codeine in the cough syrup but soothing nonetheless.

  1. zzedzed said:

    The DOUBLE DOUBLE is a nice touch. As for the RENO clue, that LA is on the coast makes thinking that there is a city west of it (more like NNW, really) is surprising. Quick, which is further east, Detroit or Atlanta? Or my favorite, which state is westernmost? Easternmost?


  2. Max Sherer said:

    Thanks for the review!

    I originally meant for this to be a contest puzzle. “The meta answer is a basketball term.” The BuzzFeed submission guidelines said that contest puzzles were welcome, so, I thought of this one as a nice little meta-puzzle. While I am disappointed it did not remain in that form, I understand the decision. Paolo Pasco’s RIDESHARE puzzle (which I loved) got HELL because “soviet” was “misspelled.” The Buzzfeed audience is different from every other major crossword audience. And that’s fine.

    As you said. “The BZF demographic seems allergic to figuring things out.” I agree. A meta-puzzle would be a horrible idea, now that puzzles have been published and the audience has been fleshed out. So, my puzzle lost the best part about it, imo. The part of trying to figure out the answer. But I understand the decision, and I would’ve done the same thing. I hope you agree how much better the puzzle would’ve been had it been a contest puzzle.

    Oh, and by PURE coincidence, today is my 18th birthday!! I’m sure Caleb had no idea.


    • Lena Webb said:

      Happy 18th, Max!! Don’t spend all your BuzzCash on E-CIGS!

      Thanks for commenting– I do love hearing from the constructors. See, as metas go, I’d think your proposed contest puzzle would be pretty gentle on solvers, and satisfying for folks that are maybe new to metas (I am *terrible* at metas). Oh the wells.

      So, wait, when does John Rzeznik snarl that line in IRIS?! It’s just “I just want you to know who I aaaam” I thought. And I am NOT going to listen to it to find out. There’s some other Goo Goo Dolls song about names… I think it’s called “Name.”


      • Max Sherer said:

        I’m glad you loving hearing from constructors, because I love commenting!

        I agree with your assessment of the proposed meta, for the most part. It would be gentle for most part, but I still think it would be a significant challenge for most of the BZF demographic, since they are not used to such a conceit.

        The IRIS clue I submitted had nothing to do with this song; I had no idea what the song was even called! Also, the SOD clue was nowhere near what I wrote. My clues were duller, so I don’t know if the trade-off was worth it. It’s not place to judge, since Caleb has done amazing stuff with my first puzzles, giving it clues I hadn’t dreamed of. He’s better than I am.

        And umm…. why did you capitalize E-CIGS? I don’t think that’s in my puzzle 🙂


      • Lena Webb said:

        Oh I just typically put crosswordese in caps, and this is outside-of-the-post communication now 🙂


  3. Bob Dively said:

    DNFed on the cross of WWI (34A “Sucker Punch” setting briefly) and IRIS (36D Goo Goo Dolls song that you probably know from the way John Rzeznik snarls “But you don’t even know who I am”). I did see “Sucker Punch”, but I have almost no memory of it and none at all of it being set in WWI. I don’t even know who John Rzeznik is for real, and I studiously avoided the Goo Goo Dolls back when they were popular so had no clue on IRIS.

    Was momentarily irritated by the clue for TLDR (1D: Acronym for our generation’s horribly short attention spans). I guess the antecedent of “our” is millennials? But I’m not in that generation, so the first person pronoun felt a tiny bit exclusive to me.

    I don’t get the clue for SOD (41A: Green stuff that legal to smoke and also cover your lawn with). Is “sod” slang for weed? Loved the clues for OMAN (52A: Middle Eastern country that sounds disappointing, dude?) and WOOL (35D: Steel ____ (product sheared from robo-sheep). (Do androids dream of robo-sheep?)


    • Lena Webb said:

      I also didn’t understand the SOD clue, but then rationalized “well, I guess nobody is going to arrest you if you want to smoke SOD…” so it’s legal to smoke, just… nobody would ever do that. I hope.

      I also also don’t like the “we”/”our” stuff with the millennial references; it happened in my and Michael’s puzzle and it’s like welp, nope, “we” the constructors are not.


  4. This one was alright. Agree with Bob about the SOD clue, but also liked 35D.

    For OMAN, it’s pronounced OMON really, so throwing some Jamaican reference in there I feel like would have been more Buzzfeed-y.

    I also totally missed the theme and think it would have clicked had I seen the actual title. I solve on the Web App and wish that Buzzfeed would just title the Puzzles on the site how the constructors have titled them, instead of the current Buzzfeed-esque-trying-to-be-clickbaity approach. Or at least put the Puzzle Title somewhere obvious after you click through, shouldn’t have to open the PDF just to be sure I didn’t miss anything on the Web App!


    • Max Sherer said:

      “For OMAN, it’s pronounced OMON really, so throwing some Jamaican reference in there I feel like would have been more Buzzfeed-y.” -Looks like we have a Quibbler-In-Training! 🙂

      Also, I didn’t exactly choose a title for my puzzle, but as I’ve said before, this puzzle was supposed to be different, so I don’t know if other constructors have chosen their titles.


      • I loved the clue, just thought that might make it funnier. Not actually clever enough to come up with a suggestion of course.

        Welp, here I thought the title was part and parcel of construction. Shows how much I know.

        Looking forward to seeing more from ya!

        Liked by 1 person

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