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