The eight key answers were the longest answers in the grid, except for 19 and 70 Across, which were mentioned in the instructions. The key answers were RISKING ALL, TOUR, CORPORATE ETHICS, BOOK MAKER, MATCH BOOK, HYBRID GENERATOR, SANG and BLUISH GREY. In order, these answers contain the words SKIN, OUR, TEETH, MATCH, MAKER, BRIDGE, SAN and LUIS/REY. These are the key words in "The Skin of Our Teeth," "The Match Maker" and "The Bridge of San Luis Rey," which are all famous works by writer Thornton Wilder, who is the "man of letters" mentioned in the puzzle's title. His most famous work, however, was the answer to the central, shaded clue, "Our Town," which was clued generically as "Tucson, for example."
This puzzle was originally published on March 7 and was used in a contest at the Tucson Festival of Books.