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Puzzle #13: Continental Divide

This puzzle was inspired by Joe Krozel’s NYT puz from 1/12/17, which had a line of black squares cutting the grid in half as well as 3 answers “hopping” over the divide. I wanted to do something more with the divide itself, and landing on the Continental Divide seemed to suggest that I use the names of the continents to accomplish this.

Easier said than done! Getting all 7 continents into the grid seemed too restrictive, but the use of EURASIA would bring down the number of theme answers down to 6. That’s when I noticed that NORTHAMERICA and SOUTHAMERICA could cross the divide at an E and and H, suggesting that the word EARTH might run along the divide and tie the whole thing together. I had to abandon standard symmetry to make ANTARCTICA/EURASIA work (and to leave poor Africa out until I found a spot for its abbreviated inclusion later on), and I needed more vertical space, as well, so I expanded the grid to 17 rows.

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