Nina Rulon-Miller’s Monday, 12/9/13 crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

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December 9, 2013 by manvspuzzle

Theme: CHAIR.  In a “word that can follow…”-style.  That is, CHAIR can follow the ends of the 5 long theme entries.

Theme entries:

  • 16A — Coerce: STRONGARM
  • 29A — Civic group with more than 45,000 affiliates: LIONS CLUB
  • 36A — Like some broadcast frequencies : ULTRA HIGH
  • 47A — Illicit Prohibition-era establishment: SPEAKEASY
  • 61A — Where lifeboats are generally stored: UPPER DECK
  • 64A — Head, as a committee … or a word that can follow the ends of 16-, 29-, 36-, 47- and 61-Across: CHAIR
The New York Times

The New York Times


Without knowing for sure, I’m anticipating that this puzzle is going to be put through the ringer today.  This is an old-school theme, one that most cutting-edge solvers will likely find trite and boring.  Actually, I’m anticipating that some of the cool kids will come down hard on the editor for this.  We’ll see.

Personally, the theme was no issue for me.  My issues were all with the fill.  I was totally hung up at the crossing of VSOP and PIU, and again at USN/NEBULAE/ELBE, all of which seem very non-Monday to me.  I blame myself for the latter, but I *still* have no idea what VSOP is.  Just looked it up — umm, ok, I still don’t really know what it is, but it has something to do with brandy.  Fine.  I’m still a little thrown off by having a dnf on a Monday.  Ahh, well.

So, yeah, this theme is a little old-school.  But let us not forget our old-school solvers, who probably experienced sharp brain pains recently when they were confronted with HARAJUKU GIRLS and SIMON LE BON.  Give the poor people a straightforward CHAIR theme, for crying out loud!

I feel that I must address PEN NIB.  Seems a little redundant.  It’s like saying “shoe sole” or “tree leaf.”  Not technically wrong, but kind of already implicit in the word itself.  But whatever.  I see that it’s been done once before, in 2006, by this guy.  He seems like a straight shooter, so I guess I’ll let it slide.

All in all, not my favorite Monday, but fun nonetheless.


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