Grid Kid #59: “Leftover Thanksgiving Goodies”

Solve this rather challenging puzzle by Sam Ezersky before reading on.

Grid Kid

Leftover Thanksgiving Goodies

Theme: Four holiday dishes appear in the grid without clues, but are needed to complete nearby entries:

  • 21A: OH GOOD GRAVY – “Golly gee!”
  • 33A: AMERICAN PIE – 1999 film in which Stifler’s mom pours a glass of scotch and remarks, “Aged eighteen years… just the way I like it”
  • 44A: CAR STUFFING – Activity for many college students looking to get a ride home after a wild night
  • 58A: TALKS TURKEY – Gets down to business

This is a lovely theme. I’m not sure how these are literally leftovers — they’re left over without clues? — but it’s a great concept and I particularly like how all the theme entries are symmetrical, even though they don’t initially appear to be. That must have made this grid difficult to fill, so all the more impressive that the fill is clean (and with some zippy long stuff too, like SASHA GREY and COBB SALAD.

As you can see, I finished with multiple errors. I always want ECGS instead of EKGS for 1D: Pump readouts, briefly? and that left me with no chance on Frida KAHLO (whose name I barely remember) or SHAKA ZULU (never heard of him). And the west section was just plain tough for me — I couldn’t see WOODY (39A: Boner) or ZOMBIE (42A: Overtired worker, metaphorically) with what I had, and BLADDER WORT never occurred to me for 9D: Carnivorous plant found in lakes and streams. Nice to be stumped once in a while.

My favourite clues here are 46A: Big name in enamelware? for ORAL B and 36D “Guess again, Gorbachev” for NYET, but there’s a lot of good stuff. Also, Sam mentions the clue for SPAM FILTER (24D: They may be turned on by penis enlargement emails) as being particularly stretched in his blog post, but I thought it was pretty much spot-on.

Lots of fun — this is exactly the sort of challenge that I’m looking for in an indie crossword.

4 comments
    • Ben Johnston said:

      Oh, duh. Thanks.

      Like

  1. rabonour said:

    Was completely stumped on the theme until e.a. explained it. Puzzle was nice – parts stumped me, but it was not frustratingly hard at all. Love the cluing. I totally fell for the misdirect on “Nice man.” The ORAL-B clue was good. Loved seeing the XKCD shoutout.

    I will say that the themers are a mixed bag for me. AMERICAN PIE is great and TALKS TURKEY is good. “OH GOOD GRAVY” Googles significantly worse than “GOOD GRAVY” (without the OH), but I can let that slide for the sake of the grid. My problem is with “CAR STUFFING.” It brings up just 8,350 results, and besides one Urban Dictionary definition they all seem to refer to mid-century teenage hijinks rather than actual transportation.

    I don’t want to sound too negative, though – I thought this puzzle was great. Difficulty level was perfect, very little junk in the fill, and clever cluing. Last sentence of the writeup nails it.

    Like

    • rabonour said:

      Realized this is a Sam Ezersky puzzle – I’m still not sure CAR STUFFING is really a thing, but I suppose I should defer to him on college slang.

      Like

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