Wall Street Journal Crossword Review : “Literary Surroundings” (2017-09-09)

Constructed By: Roger & Kathy Wienberg
Edited By: Mike Shenk
Source: Play Online. PUZ File here.
Theme: Book Ends
For all the starred (*) theme answers, as indicated in 102-A, BOOK can precede or follow each half of the answer.

  • 27-A. [Golf ball striker] – CLUB FACE (Book Club and Facebook)
  • 29-A. [Magazine lead] – COVER STORY (Book Cover and Story Book)
  • 42-A. [Galaxy, e.g.] – SMART PHONE (Book Smart and Phone Book)
  • 45-A. [Task for TSA agents] – BAG CHECK (Book Bag and Check Book)
  • 63-A. [Envelope inscription] – RETURN ADDRESS (Book Return and Address Book)
  • 83-A. [Good sport’s forte] – FAIR PLAY (Book Fair and Play Book)
  • 85-A. [Wimbledon highlight] – TITLE MATCH (Book Title and Match Book)
  • 100-A. [“And that’s that”] – CASE CLOSED (Book Case and Closed Book)

Glenn’s Time: 41 minutes (paper).
Glenn’s Errors: 0.

(Quality) Rating: 2.5 stars/5 stars.
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 Saturday 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 theme entries which are compound words. Each part can be taken to mean another thing with the addition of BOOK to either the beginning or end. The theme entries are very consistent, although lacking in flair. The fill is mostly good here, but pedestrian. There is a distinctly small amount of junk in the fill as usually expected for 21×21 grids, but a little questionable in spots. Given that 21×21 grids can be a slog to solve in a lot of ways by themselves, this one leaves little incentive to solve it, although the lower difficulty of this one compensates for any potential boredom.

Unfamiliar/Interesting Stuff To Me:

19-A. [Projecting bay window] – ORIEL. New to me.

33-A. [Filbert trees] – HAZELS. A filbert is the nut produced by certain kinds of hazel trees.

52-A. [Hebrew for “to the skies”] – EL AL. Most of us know this as the Israeli airline. This was painted on the plane that took the first Israeli president somewhere, and was considered the inaugural flight. The word means upwards (towards up).

82-A. [Fray] – SET-TO. The word means a brief or sharp fight or argument.

90-A. [Chef’s topper] – TOQUE. A toque is a hat with either a narrow brim or none at all.

87-D. [Pieces for coloraturas] – ARIOSOS. Coloratura (literally Italian for “coloring”) is a word used to describe elaborate melody in vocal singing. Arioso is a vocal piece that occurs in an opera.

Until next time, whenever that happens!


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