Skip to main content


Sharpen your pencils for "Alma Matters"


"I honestly don't remember how the idea came to us," said Michelle Sweetser '99, when asked about the origin of the popular word puzzles that appear from time to time in Alma Matters, the Class of 1999 newsletter she edits. "Take a Break II" is just one example of the newsletter's Dartmouth-themed crosswords, anagrams, word hunts and other amusements. Sweetser collaborates with classmate Jeff Fine on Alma Matters' editorial content as well as its puzzles. "I knew we needed something visual and we wanted to grab people's interest," she said, describing how she and Fine revived the publication after a two-year publishing hiatus. Now an archivist at Marquette University, Sweetser majored in anthropology as an undergraduate and did her graduate work at the University of Michigan.

Fine, a revenue analyst for the online travel agency, Orbitz, majored in mathematics at Dartmouth and pursued graduate studies at Northwestern. With modesty and restraint, he admitted that the Class of '99 newsletter might not have the corner on Dartmouth lore word puzzlers but then mused, "What could we dowith the royalties?"

"We thought the puzzles would be really interesting in 10 or 15 years," said Sweetser.  "The answers come easily right after you graduate but then you start to forget and it's good to remind people of those 'remember whens.'"

The Dartmouth Life editorial board took a crack at "Take a Break II." We blush to say that we were stumped by 18 across. See how far you get and, if you're into creating crosswords, cryptics, anagrams or other brain teasers on Dartmouth themes, send them to us at

We'll publish some of the tougher ones in future issues, or post them to the Dartmouth Life website.


Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 5/30/08