WSJ Contest — Friday, November 15, 2019

Grid: 9:23; Meta: immediately  


Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Out of the Elements”—Laura’s review

This week, we’re looking for a weather term. Where I live, we already have snow on the ground and lows in the teens. Let’s hope hope for nicer weather in this puzzle.

WSJ Contest - 11.15.19 - Solution

WSJ Contest – 11.15.19 – Solution


  • [17a: Feature of some steelmaking furnaces]: OPEN HEARTH
  • [28a: Social graces]: SAVOIR FAIRE
  • [45a: 1978 Gary Numan song]: JO THE WAITER
  • [59a: Role-playing game that takes place in the world of Terrania]: DEMON’S LAIR

Despite the presence of a couple of deep, deep cuts — a 1978 Gary Numan song and an RPG that’s been out of print for 15 years — this jumped right out at me. The last word of each themer is one of the classical elements plus an extra letter.


Those letters, taken out of the elements — hence the puzzle’s title — spell HAIL, which is a weather term, and our answer.

A few words about that Gary Numan song: it’s about a doomed gay affair, and inspired by William S. Burroughs’s novel Naked Lunch. Numan released it with his band Tubeway Army, on their self-titled debut album. If your main association with Gary Numan is the 1979 crossover hit “Cars,” then this earlier song is worth a listen.

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5 Responses to WSJ Contest — Friday, November 15, 2019

  1. Tyler Hinman says:

    You didn’t finish the puzzle! :-)

  2. pannonica says:

    However, if you like the song ‘Cars’ have a listen to this version:

    pannonica’s theorem: 95% of songs can be improved with the addition of steel drums and/or baritone saxophone. corollary: 95% of the remaining 5% cannot be improved upon at all.

  3. Nancy lobb says:

    Enjoyed this puzzle!

  4. sharkicicles says:

    You’re out of your element, Donny.

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