Well, if you were feeling clueless at the point where you were stumped, then your post was actually quite accurate.
I liked MicahFFX's tactic. Generating clues from the grid state vaguely resembles what one has to do when generating one of these puzzles.
As to the senility ... a daily dose of these puzzles should keep everything working up there for a long time to come.
Looking forward to the next stumper. Especially
if you get that rare "Once in a blue moon ..." hint.