Matt here filling in for joon, who’s skydiving in either Slovenia or Slovakia this week (he told me but I always get those two mixed up).
Looking for a six-letter adjective you might apply to some contest crosswords last week. The three long theme entries each began with a verb whose “I” becomes an A and then a U in the past and past perfect tenses:
RING THE DOORBELL
SING LIKE A CANARY
SPRING FOR DINNER
RING/RANG/RUNG the doorbell also works, as do SING/SANG/SUNG like a canary and SPRING/SPRANG/SPRUNG for dinner. They down clues work as well there, with SWIM/DRINK/BEGIN becoming SWAM/SWUM/DRANK/DRUNK/BEGAN/BEGUN in the same way. Not that these down clues had Hit…Set…Let… verbs which are usable for any of the three relevant tenses.
That puts the letters IAU in mind, and six clues contain those three letters consecutively in each of their six possible permutations. In grid order, those spell contest answer QUAINT, which uses those same three vowels consecutively.