Monday, July 9, 2018

"Furnish the Answers," by Paul Coulter

Constructor's Comments

Like my last Puzzle Society grid, this theme started in a very different direction.  Originally it featured slogans for furniture stores:  SOFA SO GOOD [Slogan for a furniture store specializing in high-quality settees], CHAIR LEADER [. . . specializing in seats], CHEST IN TIME [. . . specializing in layaway trunks], DIVAN RIGHT [. . . specializing in backless couches].  I think it's chuckle-worthy, especially the first, but no one wanted it.  So the theme morphed into verbs that could be furniture as nouns.  Of the final set, I think it's interesting that in Great Britain, "table a motion" means the opposite of how we use it in the United States.  The sense there is to "present the idea for discussion" rather than to stop discussion on it.

Editor's Comments

Paul found four fresh furniture phrases to build a puzzle around.  I like how each phrase is of the form "singular piece of furniture + a + last word"—this touch makes the theme feel consistent and smooth.  In the fill, Paul and I went back and forth a few times to make make sure the vocabulary was easy enough for a Monday.  Notice how Paul used a pair of "cheater squares" before BUSH/after SPED to make the fill easier.  That was a smart choice, since the upper and lower center areas are not only wide open (approximately 5x4) but also have several entries that cross multiple theme phrases.  There are many more possibilities for a down entry that crosses one theme phrase (like ???A) than for one that crosses two (like ???R?M).  By using cheater squares, Paul made sure he wouldn't be forced to use clunky entries in those areas.

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