Saturday, August 24, 2019

Today’s Saturday Stumper

Today’s Newsday Saturday Stumper, by Bruce Sutphin and Erik Agard, seems to me best characterized by a word I saw in another recent crossword: UNFUN. Not because it took me an hour and four minutes to finish, but because too many clues seemed strained or dubious in their attempts to be stumpy or clever. For instance, 10-Down, four letters, “Upper-level arrangement.” Or 17-A, six letters, “How some ice cream is made.” Or 22-D, five letters, “Heavy lifting?” Or 52-D, “Roast beef.” Or 61-A, eight letters, “V sign in a selection process.” No, no, no, no, and no.

Not everything here was a no. Three clues I especially liked: 13-D, nine letters, “Proposal phrase.” 29-D, nine letters, “One not called.” 36-D, eight letters, “Smooth pass.” Even this last one though feels a bit strained.

No spoilers: the answers, and the explanations for my no votes, are in the comments.


10:55 a.m.: I tried to come up with plausible alternative clues:

10-D: “Head arrangement.” Or, “It’s offered at a head shop.”

17-A: “A typo, believe it or not.”

22-D: “It starts as a sneeze.” Yes, I’m trying for stumpy.

52-D: “Youthful offense.”

61-A: “Rock hater.” Or, “Snippy sort.”

I wouldn’t claim that these clues are particularly good, but I think they’re better than the ones that came with the puzzle.

comments: 4

Michael Leddy said...


COIF: the human body does not have upper and lower levels.

RIPPLY: A Google search for “ice cream” ripply” returns “Did you mean: ‘ice cream’ ripple. Ripply is a strange way to describe ice cream or how it’s made. (How is fudge made? Chewy?) When ripple and ripley are excluded from a search, pages with crossword solutions are the first results for “ice cream” ripply.

SNEER: I’m guessing that “Heavy lifting?” is meant to describe the way a heavy might use facial muscles to lift the corners of the mouth when sneering.

DISS: It’s more commonly DIS. But a comment made at a roast would not be a “beef”; it would be a joking insult. I have a beef with this clue.

SCISSORS: I’m trying to imagine what “selection process” goes with a V sign for scissors. I’m guessing that it might be rock-paper-scissors, but that’s a game, not a selection process, unless you’re playing to decide whether to buy ripply ice cream or plain vanilla. But also: scissors aren’t the V sign. It’s the V sign that signifies scissors.

shallnot said...

Using RIPPLY for RIPPLE in this case is kind of like saying that TESTY could be used for "more like a test".

shallnot said...

Seconds after I clicked ‘Publish You Comment’ it struck me: logically the answer to “how some ice cream is made” should not be RIPPLY but RIPPLED.


Michael Leddy said...

Yes, though even RIPPLED feels like a stretch to me. I’m going to sit down later and try to come up with better clues for these words. I don’t know what to do with RIPPLY. “A typo, believe it or not”?