Saturday, December 26, 2020

Today’s Saturday Stumper

Stan Newman, the Newsday puzzle editor, is on vacation until January 2. Today’s Saturday Stumper, by Doug Peterson, is an update of a Stumper published in 2010. It’s surprising/not surprising how dated some of the clues feel ten years after. Take 8-D, seven letters, “Audiophile’s purchase.” Well, yes, but where? Or 11-D, eight letters, “It weighs less than one ounce.” Should that be weighed? Or 21-D, four letters, “Product once pitched by Garfield.” Easily guessable, but there’s no reason that anyone in 2020 (except Jim Davis) should be expected to remember it. Or 66-A, nine letters, “Erstwhile airline.” Erstwhile indeed. I’m not disrespecting the puzzle; I’m just observing that the recent past often feels much more dated than older pasts.

Some clue-and-answer pairs I admire:

3-D, ten letters, “Flip one.” I immediately thought of “the bird.”

17-A, nine letters, “Unwanted overhang.” I immediately thought of gutters.

20-A, nine letters, “‘The Clue in the Crossword Cipher’ solver.” Could be fun to seek out.

32-D, five letters, “Crud!” An exclamation that calls for a revival. I’m surprised to see that crud is an old, old word. My guess would have been that it’s a recent euphemism for crap.

40-D, four letters, “Element of change.” What’s “change”?

49-A, five letters, “Pickup provider.” I’m surprised to see that it’s still around.

57-A, five letters, “‘Darn it, dude!’” Suddenly I’m back in high school, or on a basketball court after school. The answer fits, but no one would have been saying “darn.”

64-A, nine letters, “Some of them are overlaid.” And coming soon to my part of Illinois.

No spoilers: the answers are in the comments.

comments: 4

Michael Leddy said...



NERTS. CENT. (“Don’t forget your change.”) NODOZ.

AWMAN. (As in “Aw, man, don’t be a bringdown!”)


joecab said...

I couldn't bring myself to put in CDRACKS the first time because a) I wasn't expecting a plural, and b) I *really* wasn't expecting such a dated entry. Now that you tell me it's essentially a rerun (how did you know?) it makes sense.

Michael Leddy said...

There’s a message on the landing page (?) for the puzzle: “Newman is on vacation through Jan. 2, 2021. Puzzles published during this time first appeared in 2010 and were recently updated by Newman.”

joecab said...

Ahhh. I download it automatically on my iPad so I wouldn't see anything like that.