ABOVE: The Scientist Staff

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Note: The answer grid will include every letter of the alphabet.

There is no gray literature now: Everything is a magnet for immediate attention and misunderstanding. An unbelievable, inaccurate study no longer has to linger in obscurity; it may bubble over into the public consciousness as soon as it appears online, and get passed around the internet like a lost kitten in a preschool.

James Heathers, chief scientific officer at Cipher Skin and self-described practitioner of what he calls “forensic peer review”—a careful accounting of publications in the scientific literature—writing recently in The Atlantic about the perils of the public’s acceptance of research results in the COVID-19 era (October 23)

1. ___ cell (think epidermis)
4. Sinewy-sounding molluscs
8. Moved through a membrane
9. Worry of stratospheric proportions?
10. Myrmecology focus
11. Tubes from pharynges
13. Agent that can carry DNA into a cell
14. Electromagnetism and gravity, for two
17. Scaly, as some epithelial cells
19. Diagnostic tool (hyph.)
22. Betelgeuse's constellation
23. Connected with an opening between vocal cords
24. Grow old; wither away
25. Botanical junctions


1. Anatomist Paul, eponym of a brain area
2. Of the body; physical
3. Zyzzyva's place on lists of beetles
4. Bell-shaped form of cnidarian
5. Arachnid with a stinging tail
6. Virus named for a Congolese river
7. Taxonomic level below genus
12. Insulin, estrogen, et al.
13. Resistant to flow, as lava
15. Artery on its way to your head
16. Tropical forest
18. Joining, as of gametes
20. Yellow spheroidal masses of stored food
21. Fluff—or like this grid entry

It’s the prerogative of elected governments to determine what goes on in their constituencies, and if science is part of that they should have a say. But politicians who are not trained in science should not meddle in our day-to-day business, or tell scientists what’s right or wrong.

Maria Leptin, new European Research Council president, speaking to Nature about how she’ll navigate the confluence of politics and science in her post atop the basic research funding agency (October 25)