hi, everybody! this week marks the 77th episode of matt gaffney's weekly crossword contest. this week's puzzle, "Middle of Somewhere," had a really cool theme. let's have a look:
the gimmick here is that each of the four answers is the name of a country (germany, samoa, chile, or romania) with the word OF stuck into the middle. hence the title, "middle of somewhere." to find the contest answer, a familiar thanksgiving food, we take a look at the two-part central instructions: STUFF A NATIONAL / BIRD THE SAME WAY. despite my missteps (true confession: my first thought was, "is NOFENE the name of a thanksgiving food?"), the answer came to me reasonably quickly once i started going through birds and thanksgiving foods: TOFURKEY, of course, the tofu version of turkey that some vegetarians have for thanksgiving. i've never had it. one year some friends and i were going to get turducken, but ... we didn't. that's actually the saddest thanksgiving story i have. maybe i'll share it another time.
i looked somewhat askance at "national bird," because as much as ben franklin wanted otherwise, the turkey is not the national bird of this or any other nation. (it's only native to the USA and mexico, so the options are somewhat limited). but of course, the theme is OF in country names, and indeed TURKEY is both a nation and a bird. are there any other birds that are also countries?
odds and ends from the fill:
that's all from me. have a happy thanksgiving, everybody.
November 24, 2009