Monday, 3 October 2016

Seaborg in the Times Crossword

Yesterday, the Times Crossword featured the clue "Old US scientist bags ore for breaking down (7)". Seasoned solvers of cryptic crosswords will spot that "bags ore" has 7 letters, and that "for breaking down" could reasonably indicate that one should make an anagram from the 7 letters.  That leaves the rest of the clue "Old US scientist" as the definition.  The answer is Seaborg

Now, I wouldn't necessarily have thought that Glenn Seaborg was famous enough to feature in a crossword, but with this kind of clue where you have a shortish anagram to work with, it's often the case that you (or at least I) figure out a plausible answer then have to look up to check if you are right.  Seaborg was a nuclear physicist or nuclear chemist (them being really the same thing) who worked at University of California, Berkeley, where he was famous for research into making transuranium elements -- those elements heavier than Uranium which are not found in primordial matter, and need to be synthesised in the lab.  Element number 106 was named after him, as seaborgium.