BuzzFeed Crossword – Thursday 17 December 2015

Try Not To Slap This Condescending Puzzle” by BEQ

That’s right, I was too lazy to type out his whole name. Wanna know what it is? Solve the puzzle and voila.

Thu 12 17

Try Not To Slap This Condescending Puzzle

Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley

Theme: All the clues in the puzzle are written in a condescending way.

  • 17A: PATRONIZE – Treat condescendingly, like the clues in this puzzle
  • 25A: SHUT THE HELL UP – “Put a sock in it, I’m spreading wisdom here, people”
  • 41A: CHAUVINIST PIG – One who talks like he’s obviously superior but he’s actually just privileged
  • 55A: MANSPLAIN – 17-Across like a 41-Across

Ben: This is great, and it’s also the sort of thing you could only do in a format like BuzzFeed where clue length isn’t an issue.

Lena: It’s an issue for anyone who prints and solves on paper because I only had Down clues up until 47… but overall this was great and so funny and, well, I read it as a stab at how BuzzFeed has been pandering to ALL solvers before I got to the revealer. Having a puzzle that addresses both BuzzPuzzplaining and MAINSPLAINing is fine with me.

Michael: Loved the concept, and most of the clues, though some were bizarre … I don’t think of MANSPLAINing as descending so far as to explain what a “tube” is, or what “autumn” is … maybe that was part of the hyperbole of it all? But it conflicted with the more spot-on MANSPLAINing of, say, the clue on LOVETT (46A: Julia Roberts’s ex Lyle, he’s a country singer).

Lena: I think it’s legit to inform someone that Lyle LOVETT is a country singer, especially these days (even though I think it’s a shallow classification of him as an artist because he’s got some deep shit rocking in his first 3 albums). I think where MANSPLAINing truly shines is in those little completely obvious ways like “tube”splaining.

Ben: I almost wish there weren’t any theme answers, and that the whole thing was just presented straight-faced. But MANSPLAIN is probably a good entry to include. CHAUVINIST PIG does feel kind of dated to me.

Michael: CHAUVINIST PIG felt like an outlier, not because it’s dated, but because it’s more frankly bigoted than the soft bigotry of MANSPLAINing. Also, CHAUVINIST PIG has to do with an entire belief system premised on women’s inferiority to me, whereas this puzzle and MANSPLAINing are just about a certain sexist / condescending way of *talking*.

Ben: It’s almost pointless to pick out favourite clues, because of the gag. But a few of the highlights for me are 33A: Gun org. full of people who *get* me (NRA), 44A: TV show that’s not nearly as good as a real show like “The Wire” because it takes place in a high school and is a musical (GLEE), and 59A: Barley grain pasta, it’s good with kale (ORZO). Man, I just want to punch this speaker in the face.

Lena: Agreed– every clue is part of the joke. This doesn’t make for the best review fodder, but it was a joy in the solving. If any clue were to fulfill the prophecy of e-slapdom, it’s the TIPS clue (37D: Things I give 10% for, no matter what (I had to work for my money)). That sentiment is real, pervasive, and horrible.

Ben: Pretty clean. L-DOPA is a real thing, I MAY is a standalone phrase, ASTER is a little crosswordy but not bad. I had a little trouble with PHALLI (24D: Dicks (it’s the formal word, so you may not know it yet)) because I thought it was spelled PHALII for some reason.

Lena: Soooo if ERITU wasn’t clued as (54A: “Un Ballo in Maschera” song that means “it was you” if you spoke in it…” [UGH DONE TYPING]) would it be “clean?” Nuh uh. I also don’t understand why a commonplace flower/roadside “weed”, the purple ASTER, gets such crossword hate but whatevs.

Ben: Okay, one more — 22D: Borscht base (borscht is a delicious soup I know how to cook) for BEETS. I think the “delicious” is the funniest part.


  1. zzedzed said:

    Yeah, not so much. Neat idea, but much like real condescension, I quickly tired of it and ignored most of the clues. I can imagine it was fun to write the clues, but I stopped being amused about three clues in.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joe Pancake said:

      I was in-between on this one. It’s a very clever idea, and I found it legitimately funny at first, but the joke did get old by the end. Reading the best clues after the fact makes me laugh (that tip one is indeed great), but the solve itself was a bit on the tedious side.


    • rabonour said:

      Cosign. I hated this. It was a total chore to finish. Love the idea of mansplaining clues (and I think CHAUVINIST PIG is great fill even if it isn’t perfect for the theme), but this just got so tedious so quickly.

      In retrospect I’m realizing the solving experience was meant to mirror how tiresome it is to be mainsplained to. And to be fair, in that respect it succeeded marvelously. So this one wins as metacommentary but loses at being a puzzle that I enjoyed as I was doing it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Don’t listen to the haters, BEQ. I, for one, thought this was very amusing.


    • zzedzed said:

      “Haters?” I think Joe Pancake and I are more in the “didn’t love” range than the “hated” range.


  3. Bob Dively said:

    I really struggled with this one because I found the cluing so distracting. In retrospect, the grid is nice, and I liked the themers, particularly 2014’s word of the year, the wonderfully precise MANSPLAIN. Art and literature that’s highly meta gives me all sort of problems because I wind up thinking more about the creator’s process than the actual thing I’m taking in. Which is why I could never finish “Mulligan’s Stew” (anyone?). These clues were no exception, and after realizing what was going on, I ended up finishing the puzzle by trying to read only the first parts of the clues.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Russ said:

    The last time BEQ did a Buzzfeed puzzle, there were some comments that it felt more Quigley (new adjective!) than puzzfeed. I wonder if this one was a response to that? I think it was very clever how he managed to embrace the puzzfeed format and feel while commenting on the fact that he was doing that and still not resorting to pandering to a more youthful audience with Harry Potter and Taylor Swift references and the like.


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