Thanksgiving may have occurred almost a month ago, but I can still dig this solve today, and you should too!
With final exams completed at last, ya boi is back on the blogging grind–and able to enjoy Chris King’s puzzles once again! It’s truly a bummer I never got around to solving this around the appropriate holiday time, but this construction is so masterfully executed that it can be appreciated at any point throughout the year…so who cares? Let’s see what we’ve got here:
Theme: Literally stuffing “chicken” things inside of “duck” things inside of “turkey” things, a la TURDUCKEN (!)
- 17A: [Withdraw / Goner / Abrupt way to quit] = CODEOUTADLD (chicken OUT, DE/AD duck, CO/LD turkey)
- 25A: [2000 claymation film / Marx Brothers film set in Freedonia / Ragtime dance] = TRSORUNUPOT (chicken RUN, duck SO/UP, turkey TR/OT)
- 35A: [Hybrid Thanksgiving dish…whose technique is represented by the long answers] = TURDUCKEN
- 52A: [Swampy-sounding Southern dish / Classic video game with a laughing dog / Mean business] = TAHUBOGNTLK (chicken BOG, duck HU/NT, TA/LK turkey)
- 59A: [Childhood malady / Barack Obama, starting in November 2016 / Bourbon brand] = WILAPOXMELD (chicken POX, LA/ME duck, WI/LD turkey)
Hoping that the color coding above sorted out any confusion, because I was having trouble putting the theme into exact words without writing a damn essay. Anyway, this is a solid set of theme content; it’s one thing to pursue a constructing gimmick, but the solver has to get something big out of it! For instance, I loved alighting on “Duck Hunt” and Wild Turkey, as well as learning about chicken bog, which I’d never heard of before the solve. It made the process of deciphering these theme answers lovely rather than tedious to this speed solver. Sure, it did bug me a bit that there was some inconsistency in whether the bird’s name preceded or followed the answer in question, but if this was for the sake of obtaining more colorful “bird” answers as a whole, then I shall say no more!
- I’ve been yakking about this theme here, but let’s go ahead and give the surrounding fill its credit too. OH GREAT, RIHANNA, LOW ROAD, and OBI-WAN are awesome. Also think the RGIII/MMM stack looks sick! However, I must say that I’d prefer STEEPEN/INDO over STEEPED/IDDO, and perhaps NBAsomething over NGAIO could work (haven’t looked into it)?
- A few clues today made me flat-out LOL: [Org. who really loves “Citizen Kane”] for AFI and [“Ode on a Grecian ___” (Keats poem about a coastal flier at the Aegean Sea)] for ERN. Beau-ti-ful.
- Let’s start a discussion: what are your thoughts on the “UH” and “UM” entries we’re seeing in more and more puzzles, both in the mainstream and indie world? Personally, I think they’re great…they seem in the language, and when not contrived, can spice up a puzzle and provide a flexible constructing crutch at the same time. In Chris’s grid, we have UH OK, which works well. As does UH NO, UM SURE, UH WHAT, UM YEAH and more. Now, UH WHERE? That’s a bit green paint-y…so let’s not overdo it. Otherwise, keep the UHs and UMs coming!
Grid Kid is OUT.