Robert_Charlton - 8:30 am on Oct 14, 2013 (gmt 0)
viral - Sorry for the edit, but we can't post search specifics. I hope my paraphrase roughly describes what you're seeing. To add to what you noted, though, the results are highly localized.
For my location, I'm seeing roughly what you're seeing, as I live on a small island. The results change significantly by location, though. If I change my default location to larger nearby cities, the results shape up considerably... and in fact are roughly what one would expect. If I change to smaller communities, they get worse.
The algo appears to be straining to satisfy the query in slots allotted for localization, and in some cases the results are clearly an attempt to deal with multiple meanings of the term on one page. My guess is that Google is trying out not only new disambiguation routines, but also that it might be testing different localized serp formats, as it did when they first introduced Place pages to the front page... though "formats" might be an oversimplification, as I'm seeing quite a bit of variation in the serps pattern.
Where I live, I'm seeing #4 news - 5,6,7,8 localized - and then some in depth articles at the end of the page. Also, I note, that if I add the community name, results start getting spammy, with localized doorway pages... telling me just how sparse the term is for small locations.
This isn't confined, I should add, to just the keyword you're thinking about. In small towns, the results are extremely thin. What the search suggests, I think, is that Hummingbird might be favoring local, at least initially, more than prior algos. This might also be the reason that a lot of Yelp pages are showing up for some queries.
How would you characterize your location?