Learn one’s lessons quickly? [4]

We can debate the semantics of whether you actually “learn” anything if you CRAM for a test or if you’re just enabling yourself to get by on a difficult test, but I think we can all agree that this clue does a fine job of cluing the act itself.

  • Francis Heaney, The American Values Club Crossword, 6/14/17

Had problems with one’s delegation? [12]

Great answer, great misdirect in the clue, great all-around, and one of the reasons why the longer fill ends up feeling so much fresher–there’s far less chance it’s been used before. In this case, we’re talking not about the political noun, delegates, but of the way we delegate to others, as a verb. The ones who are worst at this have MICROMANAGED.

  • Francis Heaney, The American Values Club Crossword, 4/19/17

Trig, e.g., in Tottenham [5]

The location hints that we’re dealing with a bit of British slang; I’ve chosen this clue because perhaps if we all started referring to trig and the like as MATHS, more students would be down with it.

  • Brendan Emmett Quigley, The American Value Club Crossword, 4/5/17

Adjective for a space cadet [5]

The negative use of “space cadet” is increasingly antiquated, so I respect this puzzle for clinging on to it for dear life, reminding us that someone who is that ungrounded can also be referred to as DITSY. (A few points off, though, for using that less common variant of DITZY.)

  • Aimee Lucido, The American Values Club Crossword, 3/22/17

Wheel at many a gallery opening [4]

A bit of lateral thinking here. You first have to connect “opening” to some sort of party, and then use the “gallery” part to determine how classy that party is. Only then can you consider that “Wheel” might be referring to an edible item, in this case, a cheese wheel, specifically one made of BRIE.

  • Ben Tausig, The American Values Club Crossword, 3/15/17

Condensation indicator?: Abbr. [3]

We really take good old ETC for granted, don’t we, but if you think about it, is there any other word that so eloquently indicates that a thought has been condensed? “Abbr.,” which also appears in this clue, only manages to call out the shortening of a word. Having both at once is that extra level of detail that really makes a clue sing.

  • Patrick Blindauer, The American Values Club Crossword, 3/8/17

Field of study for a bridge maker? [12]

Perhaps you’re smart enough to realize that this clue isn’t talking about load-bearing bridges that span a gap. Maybe you’ve dismissed the popular card game. You’ve still got to actually know the medical term for what a dentist–that other sort of bridge maker–studies: PERIODONTICS. This one’s tricky (and satisfying) all the way down.

  • Francis Heaney, The American Values Club Crossword, 2/22/17