I looked at that panel as JMS saying that this Clark was smart
True. Though, I think the concept made more sense when JMS was talking (pre-story execution) about how Clark would have to make a decision whether to use his Kryptonian knowledge to become a famous scientist. The idea that he could solve that scientific problem so quickly without Kryptonian knowledge
just doesn't strike me as as realistic. Of course, that's assuming the ship hasn't
helped along Clark's education without his knowledge.