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Analysis | Solution to Evan Birnholz’s January 22 crossword, “Captain Obvious Goes to the Art Museum”


Here are a few crossword related announcements, one about other puzzles and one about mine:

1) First, the Boswords Winter Wondersolve is now open for registration. It’s a virtual puzzle tournament taking place on Sunday, February 5 from 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM Eastern Time. And if you’re an aspiring crossword builder who’s never had a New York Times themed crossword, you can submit one for consideration for the upcoming Boswords Spring Themeless League. There’s more information at that link above, but the Boswords team always does a great job.

2) Second, last week I said I fit in Sam Seder’s full name as an answer to my January 15 crossword. As a fan of “The Majority Report,” imagine how excited I was when I heard Sam and Emma Vigeland talk about it for a few minutes on their January 17 episode earlier this week! You can watch the clip here. Thanks so much to Sam and Emma and the Majority Report crew for the shout-out.

Captain Obvious got some art museum admission tickets this weekend, so here he’s literally misinterpreting art-related phrases:

  • 23A: [“___? Then it wasn’t photographed”] is NO LONGER IN PICTURE.
  • 37A: [“___? That’s when an artist is facing away from a drafting table”] is BACK TO THE DRAWING TABLE.
  • 56A: [“___? A celebrity painter must have used it”] is BRUSH WITH FAME.
  • 68A: [“___? That’s what holds a painting in your imagination”] is FRAMEWORK OF MIND.
  • 78A: [“___? That’s where scoundrels can view works of art”] is ROGUES’ GALLERY.
  • 96A: [“___? Then you’d be setting fire to that painting at 12 a.m.”] is BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL.
  • 116A: [“___? Then we won’t find any wall-mounted sculptures here”] is NO LIGHTS IN SIGHT.

I keep wondering if there is a storyline in these sentences. Perhaps the captain noticed that the subject of a famous artist was not photographed in the way he wanted, but now this substandard photo is on display in the museum for everyone to see… Gallery of villains. Who knows? His super strength takes expressions literally and does not save the day from evildoers and villains.

Some other answers and clues:

  • 21A: [Mann who wrote the theme song to the podcast “I Said No Gifts!”] is AIMEE Mann. My wife listens to the “I Said No Gifts!” podcasting all the time. It has a funny premise – Bridger Winegar invites friends and notable people for a casual chat, and although he tells them not to bring gifts, they always do, and the chat then turns to what the gift is for and what it does .
  • 47A: [Hades, for one] is GREEK GOD. It’s not exactly a reference to the video game “Hades” this time, but of course it came to mind when I wrote down the clue.
  • 83A: [J.R.R. Tolkien characters?] is PERIODSas in the periods between his initials.
  • 95A: [Subject of Botticelli’s map referenced in Dan Brown’s book “Inferno”] is HELL. The card apparently also appeared in one of the original editions of ‘The Divine Comedy’.
  • 14D: [11-time NBA all-star who was part of the Miami Heat’s Big Three with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade] is Chris Boss. One of my pet peeves is that when BOSH appears as an answer in other puzzles, editors almost always take it as a strange exclamation like “Poppycock!” and “Fiddlesticks!” It’s not that Chris Bosh hasn’t made an impact in the NBA. He’s a Hall of Famer. Anyway, I was happy to fit his full name into the grid.
  • 72D: [Guest-directed film featuring folk bands] is “A MIGHTY WIND.” The “Guest” in the clue refers to the director Christopher Guest.
  • 84D: [Common crossword cookie] is OREO and next to it on 85D: [Place providing pastrami] is DELI. An unexpected triple alliteration for both.
  • 89D: [Kitten Bowl names like Catrick Meowhomes and Joe Montuna, e.g.] is PUNS. I didn’t just make those names up. Here’s Catrick Meowhomes and here’s Joe Montuna. Just look at those cute little monsters.
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