39A: Squarest of the 50 states (WYOMING) is the theme here. Does that mean simply in terms of geometry, or is there a snipe in there? Regardless, it's pretty clever to find four well known attractions or sights in the state, each of which is 11 letters long. And the four are placed to create a square in the middle of which is the state's name. Very nice.
It's odd also to see OLDFAITHFUL so soon after the Sunday, August 21 puzzle featured it geysering up through Yellowstone. I personally have never set foot in Wyoming, for no particular reason, so I have never visited any of these sites. DEVILSTOWER of course was the site of Close Encounters of the Third Kind's ET landing. Do you remember Richard Dreyfuss turning his mashed potatoes into a model of the butte?
In other news, the fill is reasonably good. Any mention of a SAMOSA and IMOKAY with that. I smiled at MANSMAN. Count me out for ECOLI though.
1A: Apple computers (IMACS) gets a C for average. I also put it in as my first confident answer.
And that's about that... Except, I learn that Mr. Steinberg actually placed the theme answers in geographically appropriate parts of the grid as well! That is a nice touch.
I thought that this ran a little tougher than an average Monday, until, that is, I saw Colum's time. Sue asked that I print this out for her; we'll see what happens. Maybe she'll comment within the next few days. Anyway, I, of course, wanted to fit "Yellowstone" in where WYOMING goes after entering OLDFAITHFUL, but after DEVILSTOWER went in, WYOMING quickly followed. I, also, haven't yet visited the state, but it's on the list. C is a little high, IMO, for IMACS, but that's not my call. Not much else of note, except it's always nice to see MOE, and no one likes a SWARM of gnats. BTW, I listen to the old radio show FORTLARAMIE, starring Raymond Burr, on Sirius on occasion.
I really enjoyed this one. And that was even before I learned of the geographic correctness! Very impressive.