Monday, August 31, 2020

Monday, August 31, 2020, Anne Marie Crinnion


Always nice to see a debut puzzle on a Monday. Welcome to the club, Ms. Crinnion! A well constructed Monday puzzle is a challenge, so I hear. The theme has to be reasonably straightforward, and there can't be too much obscure trivia. With all that taken into account, I have to give our newb high marks.

The theme is well represented by the revealer at 64A: What you might do to pass on an Interstate ... or a phonetic hint to the starts of 18-, 28- and 50-Across (CHANGELANES). The concept here is you take a synonym for "lane" and use the homonym as the start of innocent-seeming phrases or names. Thus, "road" becomes RODESHOTGUN, "alley" becomes ALYRAISMAN, and "way" becomes WHEYPOWDER. I suspect it would be hard to find other examples of this trick.

Along with the first theme answer, which is driving related, I think MERGE counts as bonus theme material. I briefly had sUrGE at 68A: Sudden thrust forward (LUNGE), which probably came to mind because of the rest of the automotive answers.

I'd also like to take a moment to recognize Ms. Raiman for her excellent activism with regards to abuse and mistreatment of our young female athletes in this country. That such awful things happen to this extremely vulnerable group or people is yet one more stain on our standing as a supposed leader on human rights around the globe.


But let's get back to something a little lighter. Did you know that INDONESIA consists of over 17,000 islands making up 735,000 square miles? Now, Australia is 2.9 million square miles, and since it is officially part of the continent of Oceania, isn't it the largest "island nation?" I'll take debate on this question in the comments below.

I'll just take a moment to recognize OPULENT and BLOODYMARY as fine answers, and then acknowledge a small bit of hurt on reading 51D: Doctor, ideally (HEALER). There is so much more to being a physician than just "healing" people, folks! 

TIL tomorrow...

- Colum


  1. 4:27

    I would argue that Australia is the continent, and Oceania is a region, thus siding with Mr. Shortz & Co. 2-1.

    I'm glad you explained the theme, because I did not come up with it on my own before heading off to work. Yes, I go to work sometimes now.

    WHEYPOWDER is a bit of a stretch, no? But I suppose no more a stretch than someone who has "lain in state." Huh? Huh?!

  2. 6:20
    I agree about Australia as the continent, or at least that's what I learned in school. And having visited Indonesia, I knew of that number of individual islands, and that over 9,000 (or so) are uninhabited, if I remember correctly. We didn't visit any of the uninhabited ones, and only two of the other (Bali and Sulawesi). Nice theme, and excellent debut. I, like Horace, didn't know the theme until reading Colum's review. Not a stellar time for me for a Monday, but I'll take it.