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This puzzle is part of the Puzzling Stack Exchange Advent Calendar 2023. The accepted answer to this question will be awarded a bounty worth 50 reputation.

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Lots of last minute flurry in the S household! I needed to come up with a Christmas-themed puzzle in a hurry. Fortunately, my ever-reliable spouse handed me a list labelled "last minute" and I was able to construct the following puzzle.

Divide into groups:-

ANDERLECHT BATMAN BOAT BRING BROWNING COUCH
DANVERS DOWN DREAMS HORSEHAIR HOT IMPERATOR
ISTANBUL LINGER NANTES NOW POLYFILL RWDM
SEED TRAIN UNION US VAN ZOMBIE

Do you think that they'll be pleased with this?

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1 Answer 1

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Oh dear, you're in trouble - and...

...you're going to go hungry.

The 'last minute' list you were handed probably said something like the following:

Turkey
Potatoes
Carrots
Brussels
Gravy
Stuffing
Cranberries
Some figgy pudding

Because...

...this is a shopping list for your family Christmas dinner!

You have constructed this puzzle by...

...creating a connecting wall with three items corresponding to each list entry:

Group 1: Cities in Turkey: BATMAN, ISTANBUL, VAN

Group 2: _____ Potatoes: COUCH Potatoes, HOT Potatoes, SEED Potatoes

Group 3: Carrot cultivars: DANVERS, IMPERATOR, NANTES

Group 4: Football teams from the Brussels region: ANDERLECHT, RWDM, UNION

Group 5: Gravy _____: BOAT, BROWNING, TRAIN

Group 6: Materials used for 'stuffing' soft furnishings or upholstery: DOWN, HORSEHAIR, POLYFILL

Group 7: Songs by The Cranberries: DREAMS, LINGER, ZOMBIE

Group 8: Words that precede 'some figgy pudding' in the Christmas carol, We Wish You A Merry Christmas: NOW BRING US (some figgy pudding)

Hopefully my message here has arrived to you in time to rectify your mistake. (Next time, follow Santa's example and check your lists twice...) Now go, go, go!

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  • $\begingroup$ Almost perfect. Try reordering the last group. $\endgroup$
    – Daniel S
    Dec 16, 2023 at 10:04
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    $\begingroup$ good work. i was convinced it was two in each group, given the title... checking it.. twice! great answer Stiv $\endgroup$
    – sean47
    Dec 16, 2023 at 10:05
  • $\begingroup$ @DanielS Ah, that was my other thought - should have gone with it from the start! Thanks for a nice morning mental runaround :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Dec 16, 2023 at 10:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Stiv ... and that's a wrap (as a minor note rot13(cbylsvyy vf hfrq gb fghss cvyybjf naq phqqyl gblf). Now, you must excuse me; I have an urgent errand... $\endgroup$
    – Daniel S
    Dec 16, 2023 at 11:20
  • $\begingroup$ @DanielS Oh, I hadn't come across that one before - will amend :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Dec 16, 2023 at 11:42

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