First Names First
"Midrash" by George Barany (October 2012)

This puzzle was distributed at a social function held on Sunday October 14, 2012 for faculty, spouses, children, and special guests associated with my academic home, the U of M Chem. Dept. (34-Across).  The central conceit of the Sunday-size (21x21) puzzle is embodied in the proverb:  "Where there's a will (23-Across) there's a way (80-Across)."  The reception introduced our most recently hired faculty member, Assistant Professor William Pomerantz (113-Across), whose formal first name is shared with our Department Head Bill Tolman (55-Across) and a former faculty member Bill Lipscomb (97-Across) who went to Harvard and got a Nobel (102-Down) Prize in 1976 for work he did while he was still at Minnesota.  Note that Pomerantz goes by "Will," Tolman goes by "Bill," and Lipscomb, I think, went by "Bill" – but even if it were otherwise, I would still leave the puzzle as it is now.  Furthermore, I was able to work in the names of our two most recent senior hires, Laura Gagliardi (47-Down) and Theresa Reineke (15-Down), who amazingly have the same number of letters in their names.  Then, I noticed that THERESA (the name) is the first 7 letters of both 23-Across and 80-Across.  Finally, I noticed that our longest serving faculty member, Wayland Noland, who goes by "Way," supplies the last three letters of 80-Across.

As a bonus, I have it on good authority that the movie Casablanca (76-Down) played an important role in the courtship and subsequent happy marriage of two more of my faculty colleagues, Doreen and Ken Leopold.  Additionally, I worked in the first name of long-time, now retired departmental receptionist Kathy (64-Down) Ross, the fact that the first name of Chris (10-Across) occurs three times (Cramer, Douglas, Lundby) among the current faculty/staff, and the names or nationalities of several additional past or present colleagues (have fun finding these yourself).  Finally, as is typical of puzzles this size, certain words and phrases pop up, e.g., lead role (29-Across), bis (37-Across), ester (51-Across), meso (93-Across), air (95-Across), ions (105-Across), iodine (109-Across), precaution (3-Down), at. wt. (38-Down) , Urey (62-Down), ELISA (92-Down), and cyano (103-Down) that can be clued opportunistically to further the overall "chemistry" of the solving experience.

The photo on the main page for this puzzle is believed to have been taken in 1936. Fourth from the left in the front row is Lillian Cohen, for many years the only woman on the faculty. We have certainly come a long way!

If you want to tell others about this particular page, refer them to

Back to top

View My Stats