Professor’s pandemic pastime featured in New York Times

As the COVID-19 pandemic held us all in place for a bit, many took up new hobbies and renewed old ones to fill the time. Wheaton Professor of Psychology Michael Berg returned to a love he developed when he was an undergraduate: crossword puzzles. Only this time, he began creating his own, drawing on skills he learned from a puzzle construction course he took—29 years ago. He has become so good at it that several of his crossword puzzles have been published in The Boston Globe and The New York Times.

We asked him to create the puzzle below using Wheaton tidbits as the inspiration for the questions and answers. Test your skills.

See the answers to the puzzle below.


1. “B,” “D” or “EEE” on a shoebox

6. Touchdown, as a plane

10. Poses a question

14. Cherish, as your alma mater

15. Small matter in Introductory Physics

16. Wheaton’s “Taylor and ___” honors program

17. Wheaton performers who really “steel” the show?

19. “You’ve got to be joking!”

20. Swiss artist Paul

21. Actor Brynner

22. Pumpkin-like plant that can be made into an instrument

23. Wheaton performers whose humor can get really “cheeky”?

27. “Bravo!”

30. Star in Orion that anagrams to the offspring of a tiger and lion

31. Doughnut-shaped surface

32. Rains heavily

34. Fiscal executive: Abbr.

37. Make small talk

38. Got some Z’s

39. The “Big Easy,” in brief

40. Take more than one’s fair share

41. Separated

42. Indian spinach dish often served with paneer

43. Small bit of land in the sea

45. Birds associated with Poe

46. Wheaton group whose performers may also come together as one Trybe?

50. Culture’s beliefs and values, as you might discuss in an anthropology class

51. URL ending for many nonprofits

52. Island near Java

56. Healthy grain common in cereal and muffins

57. Wheaton performers who really click as a group?

60. Mosaic piece

61. A long time

62. 1/16 of a pound

63. “Do the Right Thing” pizzeria

64. Focal point in math or botany

65. Spring break and finals, for two


1. One way to get on base (101 times for Jenna Rocha!)

2. Pastoral poem

3. Top of the old observatory, architecturally

4. Auditioned (for)

5. Farm female

6. An easy two points, in Haas

7. Coral island

8. Oui’s opposite

9. Private online chats: Abbr.

10. Cozy corner

11. Wheaton’s first president and chapel namesake

12. Brand in the soup aisle

13. Mails

18. Connecticut town associated with a tick-borne illness

22. Jobs for a band

24. Tax agency

25. Blow, like a volcano

26. Gossip, in slang

27. Participate in ART 315 (making prints using a metal plate)

28. Neighborhood in Manhattan or London

29. Residence adjacent to Emerson Dining

32. Guy in Philosophy 101 every semester

33. “___ the land of the free…”

35. Caramel pudding dessert

36. Source of acorns for Wheaton’s squirrels

38. Blueprint detail

39. Good color to sport on Welcome to Wheaton day

41. Round at Wendell’s, say

42. Container for cooking

44. Tea accompaniments

45. Pasta topping

46. Things owed

47. Sunny gathering spaces like the first floor of Balfour-Hood

48. Scooter’s kin

49. Form of most essays

53. Top-notch

54. Good fortune

55. “Beware the ___ of March”

57. Catch some rays

58. In the past

59. Help for a stranded vehicle