Saturday, November 14, 2020

Today’s Saturday Stumper

I don’t track a “best time” for doing the Newsday  Saturday Stumper. All I care about is whether I can do the puzzle. But I know that whatever my best time might be, it wasn’t for this Greg Johnson puzzle, one of the most difficult Stumpers I’ve done. Fifty minutes’ worth of difficult. Holy moly.

I had to travel all the way to the bottom right corner to find a way in, with 58-A, three letters, “Pilot’s paperwork,” and 59-D, three letters, “’50s USAF coinage.” Those two gave me 61-A, seven letters, “‘Pictures deface walls ___ than they decorate them’”: Frank Lloyd Wright.” That Frank Lloyd Wright. Sheesh, what a grouch.

I looked again at 11-D, three letters, “Letters often near ‘fax,’” and took a guess at 14-D, nine letters, “Sub-Saharan menace.” And that answer gave me 38-A, four letters, “Year-end number.” Ah, that answer again, which shows up more often in crosswords than in life. I’ll take it. I had a hunch at 35-A, four letters, “Spanish surname related to ‘Roderick.’” And things continued, hit and miss.

My final answer: 1-D, five letters, “Oxens’ humped cousins.” What?

Some clue-and-answer pairs I especially liked:

4-D, six letters, “Glue-bound product.” The answer more often refers to something else these days.

8-A, seven letters, “Ready to crush the curve.” Nerdy me, I was thinking of someone all set for a final exam.

12-D, nine letters, “‘Colorful’ Federal Reserve report.” Never heard of it.

30-D, nine letters, “Lights used in navigation.” HIGHBEAMS? No.

53-A, four letters, “Name on many posters with McDormand and Buscemi.” I insist that this clue is an instance of misdirection, not a gimme.

60-A, seven letters, “Swell place.” I like the dowdy swell, as in “Gee, you’re swell,” even if it tricked me.

No spoilers: the answers are in the comments.

comments: 3

Michael Leddy said...



TABLET. Remember writing tablets? Found, say,
in a grandparent’s kitchen drawer with a couple
of pencils and Bic pens.


COEN. Notice how the clue works: actor, actor.
So I thought MACY.

OPENSEA. Sea, you’re swell.

shallnot said...

“Ready to crush the curve.”

Shouldn’t that be ‘a curve’? Surely there will be more than one thrown that at bat or even on the day?

Michael Leddy said...

I think you’re right. Though you could think of it as a kind of pitch: “He’s having problems throwing the curve today” — more than a single pitch. Changing to “a” would still have the baseball/test ambiguity, don’t you think?