“OH BABY” by Katelin Anderbery
Like a phoenix the buzzles rise again. Solve here and read on
Constructor: Katelin Anderbery
Theme: Celebrity baby names.
- 18A: BLUE CARTER – *Beyonce and Jay Z (Ivy is her middle name, right?)
- 23A: APPLE MARTIN – *Chris and Gwyneth
- 37A: SAINT WEST – *Kim and Kanye
- 53A: REIGN DISICK – *Scott and Kourtney
- 59A: SURI CRUISE – *Tom and Katie
Ben: I think this is one where I’m just not in the puzzle’s demographic. I don’t like straight list themes that much, and from my perspective this is hopelessly thin. Celebrities name their kids weird things. And…?
Michael: Oof. Monday? I can’t tell you how little I care about / pay attention to celebrity “news.” Maybe this is supposed to hit the BZF demographic, but it’s too hard for those who aren’t already good solvers, honestly. I don’t know who this is for. Seriously REIGN DISICK is completely gibberish to me. First I’m seeing it. I also failed, in that I had DNA / NODI, until I tracked the error down. 😦
Lena: Yeah, not in my wheelhouse. Like, imagine the pitcher turning away from me and throwing the ball.
Michael: There’s not even a gimmick here. Just … names that are … UNUSUAL. 😦 😦
Ben: The only one of these I knew was SURI CRUISE. Also, poor form running NORI (38D: Nickname for 37-Across’s big sister) through the middle two themers — between that and Ndamukong SUH and a tough clue for POI (43A: Purple Polynesian fare made from corm (no, that’s not a typo)), I had to cheat to fill in the middle. I probably could have worked it out if I beat my head against it long enough, but it didn’t seem worth it.
Michael: Puzzle is really Trying Too Hard (TTH™) to be hip, which apparently means knowing ephemeral pop culture. I have no problem with a dash of this stuff in my grid, but it’s everywhere. Everywhere. Ugh. I knew SUH, but don’t consider it good (see also NUG, EFFS).
Lena: I DNF thanks to NORA and SUH. I also got boned by 25D: Reacting to by turning red (RUSTING) but was mainly disappointed in myself on that one; I had RASHING. POI is my favorite crossword mush.
Michael: It’s NORI. See, even now, with the grid in front of you, your brain refuses to accept it’s a valid answer (as clued). RUSTING was so hard. I had -USTING and had no idea. These are supposed to be graded easy (M) medium hard/ themeless (F). But no.
Ben: Never heard of NUG (52A: Small weed unit). Fill is otherwise fine, although the long stuff didn’t do it for me today. RETROSPECT (31D: Look back at it?) is cute, but the suffix on HOPELESSLY seems arbitrary. BRIEFLY, UTTERED, FEEDING, UNUSUAL — all fine words, none of them that sizzly.
Lena: A NUG is a small chunk/bud of weed, an easy-to-part-with amount that you may gift a friend. A DANK NUG (7) is a particularly resinous and pungent chunk of weed. My birthday is in March.
Michael: Ooh, drugs! How young! (side-eye) This puzzle makes me feel bad for youth. Behold your puzzles, kids! Feels like a narc made this puzzle. “Hey there, fellow young people. Do you like celebrity babies and sex slang and doing the drugs? I know, right? It’s … amazeballs?”
Ben: I did like the cluing. 1A: Game that accurately predicted that I would become an inventor, marry Frankie Muniz, and live in a mansion in Antarctica with our seven kids (MASH) is lovely, and 35D: Correct answer to any favor I ask of anyone (YES) and 40D: Put on, as some gay apparel (DON) also made me laugh.
Lena: I let loose a big old science nerd “HAH!” on the train when I saw 49A: Molecules that always come with GUAC (RNA). Somebody give this clue a Nobel. Guacamole is great, and I worked in a lab that studied how aberrantly-spliced (fucked up) RNA gets metabolized (pwnd) in cells; Happy Lena Clue Time (HLCT).
Michael: I admit it’s good. But crossing it with NORI (infinite ughs) made it impossible for me.
Ben: I didn’t really like this, but not every puzzle has to be made for me. If you’re into celebrities, this was probably a treat.