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‘Buffy’: Crossword Commentary

Hints and commentary on tricky clues and the puzzle’s theme and comments from the constructor


Play this week’s crossword here.

Difficulty Level: 2/5


Welcome to the Buffyverse. This puzzle debut for Contributing Constructors Emily Della Pietra and Kevin Yeung had us reaching back to the classic vampire-slaying franchise “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and we’re sure it’ll have you doing the same. It’s also a great way to check whether quarantine has turned you into a vampire yet — if you feel sick when you’re filling in the themers, make an appointment at McCosh as soon as you can!

Read on below for help with tricky clues, thoughts from the constructors, and the answer key.

Tricky Clues

15A: Is this a dare? I’ll take Della Pietra and Yeung up on it. Next Wednesday, listen for me shouting “I DID IT!” at 5:01pm on the third floor of Firestone (which in my opinion is the best floor because it’s where the philosophy stacks are).

28A: Co-Head Puzzles Editor Gabe Robare, who is also in my HUM 218: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Western Culture II: History, Philosophy, and Religion precept, will understand why I would have clued this answer, MOIRA, as one of the three Greek fates. I will begrudgingly admit, though, that the constructors’ pop culture reference is probably more relevant.

32A: Oberon and Titania are fairies from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” but the answer here is the more archaic-sounding FAE.


62A: I had never heard a Tetris block called a “tetromino” before. The “tetromino” that most looks like a right angle, though, is the “L” shape, or, spelled out, the ELL.

9D: When I read the clue for this one, I felt very validated for enrolling in German 101 next semester. Since I don’t know any German yet, I had to look this one up: the answer is NIE. Thanks in advance to the constructors for helping me study my vocabulary several months in advance.

23D: This clue is making me very self-conscious about the fact that during this semester I have watched NO TV…I guess going to Princeton is more similar to sitting in a corner than I would have thought.

35D: This answer must have stumped some of you...yeah, it’s a difficult puzzle, it surely MUSTA!

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55D: This word is not a hip new term for the blue milk at Disneyland’s Star Wars-themed land (if it catches on, remember that The Daily Princetonian is where you saw it first). Instead, to BILK, as the clue says, is to cheat or defraud someone.

58D: A timely clue as the end of the semester approaches, “Dep.” refers to the “Departures” screen at an airport, while its partner “Arrivals” is shortened to ARR.

Today’s Theme

Della Pietra and Yeung have pulled today’s theme straight out of the supernatural world, with four vampire-related theme answers and the Buffy revealer right in the middle. The theme is tight since, as we all learned when we were kids (or at least I did), there are only so many ways to kill or hurt a vampire. The Princeton trivia is a nice touch, with I DID IT, PTL, and OLD Nassau.

Constructor Notes

First, we just want to say thank you to Co-Head Puzzles Editors Gabe Robare and Owen Travis, without whom the creation of this puzzle would not have been possible. As avid fans of The New York Times crossword, it was so fun to be able to finally try our hands at constructing one ourselves. Solving puzzles was one of the reasons we became friends, and it’s been so special to continue this tradition even from afar during the pandemic. Our theme comes from Emily’s recent obsession and binge watch of Buffy the Vampire Slayer — which she recommends to all the readers out there — that has surprisingly yielded something productive after all. Despite the epicness of Buffy, it was really gratifying to get to include some of our shared interests like “Schitt’s Creek,” Dua Lipa, Harry Potter, “Game of Thrones,” and the word tchotchke (and haberdashery, says Kevin). We can’t wait to develop our cruciverbalism skills further and hopefully work on submitting a puzzle to the Times this summer. Hope you enjoyed it!

Still need help? See below for the answer key.

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