Wall Street Journal Crossword Review : “e-Mobility” (2017-09-07)

WSJ-20170907-e-Mobility

Constructed By: Mark MacLachan
Edited By: Mike Shenk
Source: Play Online. PUZ File here.
Theme: E Mobility
For all the theme answers, an initial E is moved two characters ahead in the phrase to make what we have today.

  • 18-A. [Banana without a peel?] – BARE FRUIT (bear fruit)
  • 23-A. [Croquet and badminton?] – TAME SPORTS (team sports)
  • 55-A. [Salon request for My Little Pony?] – MANE STREAK (mean streak)
  • 60-A. [Despise greetings from the queen?] – HATE WAVES (heat waves)
  • 5-D. [Challenge St. Nick to go down a chimney?] – DARE SANTA (dear Santa)
  • 34-D. [Perform some pruning?] – PARE TREES (pear trees)

Glenn’s Time: 39 minutes (paper).
Glenn’s Errors: 2. (very dumb ones)

(Quality) Rating: 3.5 stars/5 stars.
Review:
The Wall Street Journal has offered puzzles six days a week since late 2015, progressing in difficulty from Monday to Thursday, a meta puzzle on Friday, and then a 21×21 on Saturday. There is a typically level degree of difficulty for each day, with a few occasional interesting surprises. This makes it an excellent puzzle set to consider doing if you are looking for something that will occasionally get beyond the typical USA Today or Los Angeles Times puzzle.

This provides a good typical example of a Thursday puzzle. We have the potential of a tricker theme on this day along with harder clues and we get that here, mostly. In this one, we have six theme entries where the first E is moved ahead 2 characters. The theme entries are very consistent, although lacking in the supposed hillarity that ensues by these entries. The fill is mostly good here with a distinctly small amount of junk in the fill, but a little questionable in spots. Overall, there is very little that is confusing once revealed. A decent solve.

Unfamiliar/Interesting Stuff To Me:

6-A. [Plays in the street] – BUSKED. A primarily British term.

30-A [Big pistachio producer] – IRAN. Who would really know this, other than to play Hangman with the crosses?

35-A [Like some larcenies] – PETIT. A perfectly cromulent word, though I definitely wanted PETTY here initially. Didn’t you?

1-D [Orders at the diner] – HAS. Perhaps the most questionable entry of the grid. For the point of ordering, ASK would be more fitting. To actually have something would be to actually eat whatever it is.

12-D [Gillian Jacob’s “Community” character] – BRITTA. I happened to watch the show and remember enough to get this one (she’s the blonde headed one). But as with a lot of grids (especially NYT), the pop culture can have a way of getting too specific on a lot of clues, and if you never watched the show, it’s inevitably a crosser.

Until next time (very soon!).

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