insights puzzle

Quanta’s Science and Math Crossword Puzzle

This holiday season, catch up on science and math news while solving our year-end crossword.
Crossword puzzle illustration

Olena Shmahalo/Quanta Magazine

There is no new Insights puzzle this month, but I come bearing a holiday gift — a special crossword puzzle for all readers of Quanta Magazine.

This crossword is my homage to the wonderful writers and editors who have made Quanta the excellent scientific newsmagazine that it is. It is an honor and privilege to be associated with a publication that combines in-depth erudition with the ability to clearly explain complex subjects. Many of the clues refer to Quanta articles published this year.

Some of the clues are straightforward, but many conform to the style employed in cryptic crosswords, where every clue is itself a puzzle. This Wikipedia entry explains how cryptic clues work. They make heavy use of wordplay such as anagramming and double meaning, and they leave no doubt about the correctness of the answer, because they point to it in multiple ways. As for the straightforward clues, many of them refer to scientific facts that appeared in Quanta articles this year. The name of the author is mentioned in the body of the clue or in parentheses at the end. The number of letters in the target word or phrase is also given in parentheses to make your task a little easier. Answers with multiple words are denoted by the number of letters in each word, separated by commas. Note that not all of the clues are about science. One concerns a new Broadway musical.

To find the correct words or phrases, I recommend reading or revisiting some of the fascinating articles that Quanta has published this year. Reading the magazine frequently makes me feel that I have a front-row seat in the dynamic process of the advancement of knowledge in so many scientific disciplines. It was fun to mine them for this puzzle.

Please feel free to discuss the clues in the comments section below, but no spoilers! Comments containing answers will not be published. We will publish the answers on January 5.

Happy holidays and best wishes to all. I hope you enjoy this crossword. We’ll be back with a new Insights puzzle next month.

Download the crossword as a PDF to print or as a *.puz file to play in the Across Lite app. The answers are available here as a PDF.

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