BuzzFeed Crossword – Friday 12 February 2016

THEMELESS 15” by Neville Fogarty & Doug Peterson

Solve it like it’s hot — and I can’t recommend signing up for the BuzzFeed Puzzle newletter enough; do that like it’s hot too

Fri 2 12

Themeless 15

Constructors: Neville Fogarty & Doug Peterson

Theme: None

Ben: Loved loved loved this. Everything from CHARIZARD (1A: Fictional dragon that’s known to be the product of evolution) right down to PALEO DIET (60A: Regimen that requires early meals?) and GLAM BANDS. Tremendous, start to finish.

Lena: I just finished this puzzle with my commuter pal– skillful combo of train solving and walk solving (I even put my coffee cup on my clipboard like a tiny desk)– and we had a blast (and didn’t fall or run into anyone), like you said, from start to finish.

Max: I accidentally got an earlier version of this puzzle, so I saw CHARIZARD as 1A before closing the version. Still like the answer though, and it crosses ZOLOFT(6D: Antidepressant that has commercials featuring a bouncy blob). Also this puzzle appears to be a pangram, and achieves this without having to “hide” the scrabbly letters.

Ben: Actually, one thing I’d never heard of — CHIQUITITA (48A: ABBA song whose title translates to “little girl,” not “little banana company”). Easily worked out nonetheless.

Lena: Something tells me that CHIQUITITA would be the first thing Michael fills in– he’s probably a huge ABBA guy. My problem was with CHARIZARD, but my problem was my co-solvers delight and she got it pretty fast (I had -LIZARD). The only iota of Pokemon knowledge I have comes from watching stoned people play Super Smash Bros.  Actually, come to think of it, I think you can play as a CHARIZARD… whatevs, the real take home here is that 50% of women age 30-35 know what a CHARIZARD is.

Ben: What’s the worst fill here, AGAR/RHEAS? I’ll make that trade for my daily science dose of HALOGEN (2D: Element in the penultimate column of the periodic table) and my daily stupid cartoon dose of ATOM ANT (3D: Superhero/bug who’d shout, “Up and at ‘em!”).

Lena: My least favorite fill is MDL (55A: Super Bowl ___ (game that will be played in the year 3516, we assume)). I cannot stress enough how much I hate Roman numeral answers. HATE. Fireball puzzles are notorious for having the bitch-assiest Roman numeral content you can find; in this week’s, for example, we have [562% of L, quintupled]– well screw you too, buddy! The MDL clue here may be more jocular but still a pain in the ass.

Ben: Really like how open this entire puzzle is. No places where a solver could realistically get stuck. Lovely corners, multiple entries to every section, even a few Scrabble letters smoothly worked in.

Max: And like you said, it’s sooooooo smooth. AGAR/RHEAS is the worst of it, but those are real things. And so is everything else. AGAR does get my SEOTD unfortch, but it’s still awesome.

Ben: The clue 30A: Rickman who played Professor Snape, who responds to “After all this time?” with “Always” 😥  for ALAN reminds me that I want at least one Harry Potter themed puzzle out of BuzzFeed at some point. Also, that’s a callback to Wednesday, isn’t it?

Max: Alan Rickman probably got a lot of callbacks. *Actor-joke-self-five*

Ben: This is the kind of puzzle where because I don’t have anything bad to say about it, at some point I just start reading off clues I like. So I’ll limit myself to a single pairing — GRANDE (20A: Ariana ___ (fake Starbucks order)) and MOCHA (41A: Ariana ___ (Starbucks order that’s not only fake, but doesn’t make sense as a pun!)). I LOL’ed.

Lena: The ZOLOFT commercial with the sad oval was a favorite of mine and, I shit you not, my ovoid white eraser is named… ZOLOFT. Also a neat little pairing with MISERABLE (57A: Depressed and then some). I’m huge fan of 29A: asdfghjkl;’___ (ENTER)– I see that it’s just the middle row of a keyboard, but it could also be interpreted as sending a Keyboard Spasm which can convey combinations of OMG WTF SRSLY LOL TMI in a simple burst of mostly middle-row characters.

Ben: Can we just make Caleb start running freestyles three times a week, please?

Lena: That would be so lit.

Max: That would be awesome, themed is so hard sometimes to make. Well, my earlier version really affected by solve since the clues are all different, but it gets a 4.3/5 from me. maXWORD out!

  1. agreed on roman numeral clues, especially when they are math-fucked all to hell (see: fireball).

    Liked by 2 people

  2. erinium said:

    The CHARIZARD / ZOLOFT crossing speaks to my soul. I was thinking about the bouncing blob last night for some reason but wasn’t sure if it was for Zoloft, since it’s now generic. Thank you for this wonderful puzzle.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Joe Pancake said:

    Hmm… I seem to be on a different wave length than our valiant bloggers this week. I liked this one fine, but thought it was about average for a BZF themeless (which is still admirable work, mind you). I probably would have liked it better if CHARIZARD and CHIQUITITA hadn’t been completely unknown to me. When two of the puzzle’s marquee answers do nothing for you, it definitely detracts from the fun.

    But I definitely agree that BZF should run more themelesses. More often than not, their Friday puzzle is more fun for me than the NYT’s. Today was no exception.


  4. Neville said:

    This grid isn’t pangrammatic, as there’s no X. I can’t & won’t speak for Doug, but I’m happy to fall short of a pangram, especially if the last letter would have to be unnaturally forced into position.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. xworddoug said:

    Neville & I are on the same page, pangramwise. One of my favorite stats from xwordinfo: Patrick Berry has constructed 208 NY Times puzzles, and none of them are pangrams.

    Liked by 1 person

    • aries said:

      I think Patrick goes out of his way to not do pangrams. Take for instance the 5/19/12 puzzle, which had every letter in the grid except E, the most common letter in the English language. Really snubbing the nose to the very idea of a pangram – I love it.

      Liked by 3 people

      • It’s not often that I can immediately remember a four year old puzzle but I remember that one.


    • Lena Webb said:

      OMG lol!!


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