As you probably figured out by now, this puzzle celebrates the birthday of one of my favorite people in the world, Alayne Laura Schroll (ALS). It was written in collaboration with Alayne's husband of 28 years, Russ Campbell (38-Down) (see photo below, on the left).
Alayne is currently on the Chemistry faculty at St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont, but way back in 1980, she was the very first graduate student to join me when I started my own independent academic career at the University of Minnesota Department of Chemistry. We published four papers together from her doctoral studies, but continue to collaborate to this day with a major J. Org. Chem. paper published last year, and several more in the pipeline.
Alayne is the oldest of three sisters. The two younger sisters are 1-Across [family practice M.D.] and 8- Across [high school special education teacher], and they have middle initials beginning with L. Since none of the three took their husbands' names upon marriage, they are all ALS (see photo below, on the right -- the order is Alayne, Aldebra, Allison). The two sisters, who live in adjacent towns called Chico and Paradise in northern California, were married on consecutive days in 2007 (5 years ago), June 30 and July 1, hence saving the brides' family a whole lot of money on transportation. The two daughters of Alayne and Russ are 21-Down [civil engineer who was academic All-American at Clarkson] and 36-Down [Dickinson College graduate with degree in environmental science; currently farmer and cheesemaker] (see photo on our main page).
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