New Thing #99: What's A Stevedore Again?

As you can tell by looking at the picture below, the top left (northwest, in crossword-speak) corner of my New York Times Sunday crossword is kind of a mess. I'm still not convinced the words I have in there are 100% correct.

One of the keys to that corner was 23-across: "Stevedore, at times."

And here's a common problem of mine when it comes to crosswords: sometimes, with the obscure words that pop up in the puzzles every so often, I forget what they mean shortly after completing the puzzle.

So today's New Thing - committing the word 'stevedore' to memory.


If you look at the picture of my attempt at the northwest corner, I have the structure of the correct answer for 23-across: L - - D - R. If I was guessing, which I didn't on this particular puzzle (and since I've now looked up an answer I've officially waved the white flag on this week's crossword. It's one of my quirks - no external help or you forfeit the crossword.), I would have guessed "Leader". But I would have guessed wrong.

Perhaps you knew this: Stevedore is a term for the loading or unloading of a ship. (Or the noun: the individual or firm responsible for same.) So, obviously, we're looking for "Loader" at 23-across.

This is one of those learning style things - I'm hoping that by writing about stevedore, I'll never again forget what it means...on the crossword-specific occasions I may ever come across the word again.

It worked when I wrote about the Scottish word "Tartle". (Which has yet to come into play as anything useful worth knowing.) And I'm sure this won't be the last new word I address with more than 260 New Things left to write about.

Maybe the next time it'll be a word that I can actually use in conversation.