Saturday, January 24, 2015

Newsday’s Saturday Stumper

Several months ago I cancelled my subscription to the New York Times crossword. It wasn’t the ludicrousness of 46-Down, “Cool jazz pioneer” that finally got to me: it was the increasingly forced cleverness of the puzzles. I know that the Times is the gold standard of crosswords. But Will Shortz’s sense of what’s amusing and fun is not exactly mine.

I now do the Times crossword in syndication for free, often though not daily. My new daily crossword, also free, is Stan Newman’s Newsday crossword. The Sunday through Friday puzzles are good ones, always with a theme, always with nice touches of wit in the clueing. Saturday’s puzzle, the Saturday Stumper, is a themeless killer, generally far more difficult than the Times Saturday puzzle. I’ve been able to complete just one Saturday Newsday without having to reveal one or more words. A sample clue, from today’s puzzle by Brad Wilber: 36-Down, eight letters, “What you might do for your own sake.” The answer, which I’m happy to have figured out: HOMEBREW. There’s a nice sense of proportion between clue and answer: the out-of-the-way answer justifies the clue’s wit. You’ll have to highlight to see the answer, which I won’t give away.

[Brad Wilber, the constructor of today’s Newsday puzzle, co-constructed the puzzle that made me a little crazy. I suspect though that “Cool jazz pioneer,” which seems to derive from a Times obit, was Shortz’s clue.]

comments: 8

Geo-B said...

I will iterate, however, that Will Shortz graduated from Indiana University with a degree in enigmatology, a major of his own devising, a signal event in higher education.

Michael Leddy said...

Yes, and more power to him. His knowledge of puzzling is vast.

The Crow said...

Wilbur's clue was ricely punny.

Michael Leddy said...

+!!

The Crow said...

Did I bomb with that?

Anonymous said...

Nary a cross word goes by when one is tangled in a shorts' obit around old times.

Michael Leddy said...

Martha, your puns are far from brutal. I was trying to do the silly “+1.” I didn’t see that I ended up typing two exclamation points.

Anon., I appreciate your flurry. It made me neither cross nor down.

P.S.: I almost missed the one on “obit.”

Anonymous said...

Just obit oven....as the Ochs-Sulzerberganians are growing Slim...