“THEMELESS 12” by Mary Lou Guizzo
Hunker down and solve this Friday Freestyle!
Constructor: Mary Lou Guizzo
Lena: HI MAX! WHAT COLOR DO YOU WANNA BE????
Max: My color options are limited…
Lena: Purple is good– I thought this puzzle was pretty good too. The grid is nice and tall with those vertical marquees, and the two longer answers, SITTING DUCK and MUDWRESTLER— both fun, fillwise– intersect both of them.
Max: It took me 15:21 to do this, which is average for me. From a constructor’s standpoint, it’s a nice “max-word” puzzle. Hehe. 11 “?” clues, which seems a bit high.
Lena: I have seen zero “Twilight” so I was personally disappointed that one of the marquees, ROBERT PATTINSON (8D: He sucked in the “Twilight movies) was devoted to the full name of one of the actors– the clue is cute though. BITE ME is sassy and fun enough on its own, so its clue, [Frequent request to 8-Down], didn’t do it for me. Also, 8-Down is the actor’s name– do people ask ROBERT PATTINSON to BITE them IRL?
Max: I completely disagree with your assessment of ROBERT PATTINSON-That marquee was my favorite. And I HATE vampire movies. I think they all suck IMO. And wouldn’t it be HILARIOUS if people did say that to RPatt?
Lena: I’m looking at a picture of the guy right now and with those kinda stoned/drunk-lookin’ big brown eyes I bet ladies probably do. Too GQ for me tho.
Max: My biggest pet peeve was INTEL OPERATIONS (5D: Spooky activities?). I don’t understand the clue. Is “intel” spooky? The phrase itself also seems off. Do people say “I’m going on an intel operation?”
Lena: Yeah, “spook” is slang for “spy” as far as I know.
Max: Huh, ok. Never heard of it.
Lena: Honestly I’m not too wild about either marquee– I prefer the second-longests. Did you understand how a POP UP is a [Window of opportunity (to get rich quick or increase the size of your member, usually?]. It took me forever to realize it was referring to a POP UP ad– nice clue.
Max: Eventually, really liked the clue! ENEMA/REWET on the other hand… ENEMA is one of those shitty things that is impossible to make clean…. sorta like an ENEMA…..
Lena: Haha, plus the grammar seems wrong. [Cleaning the basement, medically]– “cleaning” is a verb, but an ENEMA is a noun… “Something you use to clean the basement,” maybe?
Max: Is it? Maybe “cleaning the basement” is a slang term in the medical-world <googles> NOPE! You’re right.
Max: So I got stuck with EYEROLLING (11D: “Oh brother,” response). Funny story: the first themeless I ever made (it’s really dull) had the word EYEROLL. I clued it as something akin to “Teenager’s reaction to an order,” and my test-solver got stumped. So now I got a taste of my own medicine.
Lena: I like yours better. This one also seems awkward to me– like, I don’t keep rolling my eyes, it’s a one-time thing. My “Oh brother” would be accompanied by a single, devastating, eyeroll.
Max: Yes! it needs an “e.g.” But like, I couldn’t “see” EYEROLLING even with ?YEROLLING in place. Embarrassing. The last two things I filled in was the T and E of RATED E (8A: For gamers of any age). TAT (10D: Skin-ny pic?) was also intractable for me.
Lena: Oh! I have never heard of NOMOPHOBIA (27D: Fear of not having a cell)! Like, NO’ MO’ PHO’(ne)? Or is it what happens to prisoners when they are released? <googles> Oooh, the former is correct.
Max: Yeah, there’s a Wikipedia page, so it’s a legit phrase. But I had never heard of it either, so it was a jumble of letters before the PHOBIA. The clue for SAME (37A: My response whenever someone brags about something) is great, but it took me a little bit.
Lena: Let’s see… I really liked the clue for DEMO (12D: Pitch in music?)– I’m a sucker for classic misdirection.
Max: If so, then you must’ve loooooooved the East-center. 4 “?” in a tight area. And of course, the word I screw up on in there is TESTER (24D:Best job in an ice cream company). I had TASTER, which made ELKS (30A: Big bucks?) impossible.
Lena: Yup I did, and same re: TASTER/TESTER. But that KANYE clue is wonderful (31D: West of Atlanta?)!
Max: My other problems included ROUX/RAGU (2D: Meaty pasta sauce) and my inability to spell SCORSESE (62A: He directed the documentary “Italianamerican” featuring his parents)
Lena: Come on, Max, everyone knows that a ROUX is some flour/water amalgam that thickens soups. EVERYONE. Haha oops it’s flour and *fat* my b.
Max: Shaddup! I’ve only ever seen it in a Steinberg puzzle, and in my iPhone game “4 Letters” (Great game! My high-score is 517!)
Lena: I think I saw you tweet about it– I’ll give it a try. As for the puzzle, I had a lot of fun solving it– long fill = fun, clues = fun– 4/5.
Max: Lots of common letters here. Only 3 K’s to represent the Scrabble crowd. 3.8/5 for me. maXWORD out!