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Act I, Scene 1

Compression Fracture


Early Hint - It would be best to start on the ribs, as there are compression fractures that need repairing in the vertebral columns.
Late Hint - What is the clue phrase asking for after we reconstruct our compression fractures?

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(Note: the story is not part of the puzzle)

“You have such tremendous potential, you really do. But what I just can’t quite get my head around is why you’re trying to squander it! I mean, you could do so well just by…”

Jared glanced out the window. Or, rather, he glanced at it. Closed to keep the heat in. Double glazed, like his eyes. Locked. Bolted. Barred. No escape.

“...if you could just start to apply yourself some more, you could achieve so much…”

It was a typical Melbourne day outside. Plumes of ash grey concealing slivers of azure. The sombre sky permanently threatening to erupt into a rolling thunderstorm. There would be no silver linings today.

“...look at your colleagues and look at what they are doing! Set yourself a goal! Set yourself something to aim for…”

He fixed his gaze back at the Dean. She was a stern-looking individual with a no-nonsense demeanour, and she cut an imposing figure even while casually leaning back on the edge of her desk. And she was more animated than usual — almost cartoonish in her hand gestures, golden wedding band dancing in the cold, harsh, fluorescent light of her spaciously bare office. Was that ring always there, Jared wondered.

“ are about to enter a rigorous profession that demands ambition and dedication and excellence. You simply just can’t *coast* your way through...”

Eye contact, he suddenly remembered. With panic, he broke his fascination with the Dean’s orchestral hand movements and tracked back up to her face. But not at her eyes — never at her eyes, it would be too intense and too confrontational that way. No, right in that sweet spot between the brow ridges. To give him the plausible deniability of listening with intent, without the actual intent.

Right there.


Passive active listening, he smiled.

“For goodness sake, Jared, do you think this is funny?”

Jared frowned. She had stopped speaking. Something was wrong. And in a moment of utter confusion, he smiled again.

A ripple of thunder broke outside. It was going to rain.

The Dean sighed, ruing the sudden and unexpected demise of yet another one of her motivational pep talks.

“This is the third time this semester, Jared. I don’t want to see you in my office, in this context, again. Get out.”

And out of the office came a man with the obstinacy of rebar concrete. Unbroken. Undefeated. Unchanged. Or so he thought.

“I guess I probably shouldn’t go watch the game tonight”, murmured Jared to himself.

(To be continued...)


09:59 a.m. 26 Jun: ERRATUM: On the website, the first group of dashes at the bottom should have 3 dashes and not 2. This has been fixed. The PDF did not contain this error.

There is a fracture. I need to fix it.

  1. Doctor caller
  2. Score that estimates stroke risk in patients with atrial fibrillation
  3. Trauma scissors (sing.)
  4. Fibula's partner -in-crime
  5. 1/24, 1/7, 1/52, 1/12, ??? (abbr.)
  6. CT number (abbr.)
  7. e.g. Fleet or Microlax
  8. May be confused with left
  9. Fracture healing; strike caller
  10. Transfusion fluid
  11. Electrolyte mediated by Vertebral Column 1 (chemical symbol)
  12. Felt sore
  13. Sense affected by CN I lesion
  14. Disease characterised by boutonnière and swan neck deformities (abbr.)
  15. Suffix used to indicate someone's age (abbr.)
  16. Abbr. route of administration commonly mistaken for sublingual due to sloppy handwriting
  17. First-line management for bedwetting
  18. In _____ (unborn)
  19. Type of joint, classically the elbow or the knee
  20. The first appearance of the symptoms of an illness
  21. Low point, typically used in the context of neutropenia in chemotherapy
  22. Latin for eyes
  23. Rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, vastus medialis (abbr.)
  24. Type of ink stain used to confirm Cryptococcus spp. morphology
  25. Pacific island nation and subject of the Medevac law
  26. Between the abstract and methods of most scientific research papers (abbr.)
  27. Ankle bones
  28. Terminally ill
  29. C1
  30. A lymphocyte that has not yet been activated to respond to an antigen
Vertebral Columns
  1. The hormone that primarily regulates Rib 14 levels via its actions on bone, kidney, and gut
  2. The act of replantation — i.e. the procedure that involves the restoration of a partially or fully amputated body part (e.g. finger, hand, or toe)
  3. The syndrome characterised by the 'red flag' signs of saddle anaesthesia and decreased anal tone
  4. The only fibrous joint that is not found in the head
  5. The partial dislocation of a joint
  6. One of the first-line medications used in the pharmacological management of osteoporosis

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