As a detective, my first instinct was to break down the clue into its individual components and create a mental map. The phrase ‘not look fresh‘ indicated to me that the answer was likely to be a word that described something that had lost its crispness or vigor. The phrase ‘in a way‘ indicated that it was not going to be a direct or obvious synonym for ‘not look fresh.’ This led me to consider the possibility of an alternative interpretation. ‘In a way‘ could also mean that the word was related to something that wasn’t physically fresh. As I pondered this, I remembered that one definition of the word ‘sag‘ means to droop or lose firmness. This definition fit perfectly with the first part of the clue. The word ‘sag‘ also had a second definition that made sense in the context of a crossword puzzle – it is a three-letter word that requires only two letters to complete. This insight allowed me to confidently fill in the crossword with the answer ‘SAG.’ Thus, detective work requires razor-sharp and lateral thinking skills, and the ability to connect seemingly unrelated concepts in creative ways.