“DROP A BEAT” by Alex Eaton-Salners
Drop A Beat
Constructor: Alex Eaton-Salners
Theme: Rapper names with one letter dropped
- 16A: PUBIC ENEMY – Rap group that dropped “Don’t Believe the Hype (That I Have Crabs)”?
- 21A: KID CUD – Hip-hop artist who dropped “Pursuit of Happiness (And Regurgitated Food That I Can Keep Chewing On)”?
- 24A: FIFTY ENT – Gangsta rapper who dropped “Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (To Storm Isengard)”?
- 48A: YOUNG HUG – Weirdo Atlanta rapper who dropped “Best Friend (Who Wraps His Arms Around Me)”?
- 50A: ICE CUB – N.W.A. rapper who dropped “It Was A Good Day (To Adopt a Baby Bear)”?
- 55A: HOUSE OF PAN – Hip-hop group that dropped “Jump Around (The Kitchen)”?
Ben: Back when the BuzzFeed crossword started up last year, we were hoping for a hiphop-themed puzzle. Lo, our wish is granted! I thought this was pretty good, especially with the title providing a musical justification for dropping a letter from each rapper or group. Great clues, too.
Max: I had some trouble with this one. A lot of trouble. It’s mostly me, though. These are all famous rappers, but I didn’t know all of them. But also the clue for PUBIC ENEMY (16A:Rap group that dropped “Don’t Believe The Hype (That I Have Crabs) is a little off. To me, it seems to be referring to both parts of PUBIC ENEMY, where later clues don’t. So that threw me. Had no idea who KID CUDI (21A: Hip-hop artist who dropped “The Pursuit Of Happiness (And Regurgitated Food I Keep Chewing On) was, so that’s a problem.
Lena: PUBIC ENEMY is also the title of a Tribe Called Quest song warning of the dangers of STDs– they were making this puzzle back in ‘90. I enjoyed this theme quite a bit– appropriately easy surrounding fill, and for me an easy time with the theme.
Ben: I kind of wanted the missing letters to spell something, but all you get is LICTEI. That’s an anagram for ELICIT, but there’s no obvious hiphop connection there. I’ve been doing too many meta puzzles lately, I guess.
Max: Yeah, that probably would’ve been a little much for the BZF demographic to get. The theme is nice, even though it’s not exactly consistent (the drop happens on the first word only once).
Lena: I’ve done similar searches, Ben– it’s those Fireballs!
Ben: PRINCETON is a nice piece of long fill, especially with the funny clue 4D: Ivy League university that sounds like a town where preppy boys are raised. I’m not quite as taken by ATONES FOR, but overall the fill is pretty clean… with the notable exception of OLIO, which is clued as 40A: A little bit of this, a little bit of that — I think you’re crazy if you expect an audience of non-crossword enthusiasts to know that word.
Max: Yeah, the fill was pretty good, except I was mildly irked by the appearance of NAS and MOS in the fill. Too many rappers for my taste.
Lena: I feel like that breaks some kind of rule that I don’t really care about– like, not having non-theme words/things outside of the theme. I know in some cases it’s pretty vital, but with this one I didn’t mind the extra rappers.
Ben: Best clues are 39A: Understood, as the acronym for a popular HBO fantasy show (GOT — “Game of Thrones”, as if you need to be told), 42A: PBJ alternative (in that it’s the only other sandwich that uses an acronym) (BLT — even thinking of eating these two at the same time made me gag a little) and 49D: Its bottom might be your last chance to score (NINTH). There’s a lot of good stuff today, though.
Lena: Since Ben just listed the clues I also found most fun/interesting, I don’t really have anything to add. Overall I thought the cluing was kind of on the dull side– mostly straight-forward with the occasional lengthy BuzzFeed parenthetical.
Ben: Good stuff across the board, and I think the theme is clued in such a way so that all the answers are inferrable even if you don’t know the names (though I think all of these except KID CUDI and maybe YOUNG THUG are household names).
Max: Pretty solid puzzle. 4/5 stars for me. maXWORD out!