It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker. Please consider supporting our site by purchasing an account.

New York Times, Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Author: David J. Kahn
Editor: Will Shortz
David J. Kahn
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1793/15/19946/3/20185
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4451222571326
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.5514190

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {FJQZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 175 for Mr. Kahn. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David J. Kahn notes: When I read about the sale of the painting a few weeks ago, I saw right away the nice crossing of the painting's name and artist. ... more
David J. Kahn notes:

When I read about the sale of the painting a few weeks ago, I saw right away the nice crossing of the painting's name and artist. (Unfortunately, that's the way you think after you've been writing puzzles for a while!) I still wasn't sure I wanted to write an art-related puzzle because I didn't know how many solvers would be interested. But I found some interesting, fun facts about the painting and, even better, was able to get them to interlock with everything else. So the puzzle sort of tells a little story.

Obviously, the price paid for the painting was astounding (the buyer is anonymous) and it was fascinating to read about how it was marketed to get such a high price.

News flash: The buyer of "Salvator Mundi" is Prince Bader, a Saudi royal. (Pretty interesting that a Muslim would buy a portrait of Christ, who's not considered a savior in the Muslim world.) The buyer apparently is strapped for cash so after a $100 mil down payment, the rest will be paid over six months to the painting's previous owner, a Russian billionaire.

Jeff Chen notes: Huh! SALVATOR MUNDI, selling for $450.3 million last month, a new record. You know what makes me the most curious? The $0.3 million. ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Huh! SALVATOR MUNDI, selling for $450.3 million last month, a new record. You know what makes me the most curious? The $0.3 million. Other bidders had no problem gathering $450 M, but that last $0.3 M was the deal breaker? There's gotta be a great story behind that!

Nice that the puzzle came out in a timely fashion. I did a double-take on the clue — is it possible that the painting sold less than a month ago? Pretty cool to memorialize such a record-breaking event so quickly (considering that puzzle queue times between acceptance and printing usually are three months to well over a year!).

Fortuitous, that interlock of LEONARDO DA VINCI and SALVATOR MUNDI. Every once in a while, the crossword gods shine down on you.

Such big interlock does constrain the puzzle mightily though, forcing further interlock if you want to incorporate other long themers. David did great with OLD MASTER crossing through SALVATOR MUNDI — perfectly apt for LEONARDO.

But RESTORING ("restoration" sounds better, yeah?) felt like an afterthought; something that would more fit the grid interlock than fit "interesting to a solver." Maybe if the clue had told a nutsy story behind the RESTORING of the painting …

Because of that, the puzzle theme felt thin, more akin to a front-page blurb than a meaty story. Would have been great to get another interesting piece of trivia about the painting itself.

Oh right, there was CHRISTIE, which felt like it ought to be CHRISTIES, and CHARLES I, one of the many people who owned the painting at one time. These were too peripheral to the painting to make me remember that they were themers. Again, casualties of the central interlock.

I would have preferred unlinking LEONARDO DA VINCI and SALVATOR MUNDI so that more interesting themers could be used.

Pretty good grid execution, what with some nice bonuses in X RATED / O HENRY (Xs and Os!), and just a bit of DTS, APR, the odd IN A NET. Not easy to do with so much interlock. And I enjoyed learning about that painting — embarrassed not to have heard of it before!

JimH notes: Mr. Kahn memorialized another artworld controversy back in 2008.
1
S
2
O
3
X
4
D
5
I
6
L
7
L
8
H
9
A
10
R
11
P
12
O
13
N
14
C
H
R
15
I
S
T
I
E
16
A
M
E
L
I
A
17
R
E
A
C
T
S
T
O
18
N
O
S
A
L
T
19
A
N
T
E
20
Y
E
N
21
S
22
S
T
Y
23
P
R
E
S
24
S
25
A
P
26
R
27
O
D
28
A
29
Y
30
S
Y
D
31
E
32
M
33
B
R
Y
O
34
R
E
N
E
35
O
R
E
A
D
36
O
37
P
I
A
T
E
38
S
39
A
L
V
A
T
O
40
R
M
U
N
D
I
41
G
O
L
D
E
N
42
D
O
I
N
G
43
A
D
A
M
44
I
45
N
A
N
E
T
46
T
47
U
48
B
49
L
A
N
A
50
T
O
V
51
S
52
H
I
N
E
53
A
S
54
K
55
W
I
56
S
57
E
58
U
T
E
S
59
H
60
A
L
T
E
61
D
62
N
O
V
63
E
L
L
A
S
64
A
R
D
E
N
T
65
C
H
A
R
L
E
S
I
66
S
T
A
R
T
S
67
I
O
N
A
68
D
Y
E
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1212 ( 24,871 )
Across Down
1. Either of the World Series winners of 2004 and '05 : SOX
4. Pickle variety : DILL
8. Talk about ad nauseam : HARPON
14. James ___, founder of the auction house that sold 38-Across : CHRISTIE
16. First name in solo flying : AMELIA
17. Gets excited about, e.g. : REACTSTO
18. Dietetic restriction : NOSALT
19. Pot thickener? : ANTE
20. Desires : YENS
22. Mucky mess : STY
23. Basketball tactic : PRESS
25. Jazz Appreciation Mo. : APR
27. Anita of jazz : ODAY
30. Cartoonist Hoff of The New Yorker : SYD
31. Beginning stage : EMBRYO
34. Painter Magritte : RENE
35. Mountain nymph : OREAD
36. Morphine, e.g. : OPIATE
38. Renaissance painting that was sold in November 2017 for a record $450.3 million : SALVATORMUNDI
41. ___ retriever : GOLDEN
42. "Nothing ___" (slangy refusal) : DOING
43. First name? : ADAM
44. How some fish are caught : INANET
46. Clunky boat : TUB
49. Actress Turner : LANA
50. "Mazel ___!" : TOV
51. Excel : SHINE
53. Make a request : ASK
55. Sagacious : WISE
58. Some Shoshonean speakers : UTES
59. Shut down : HALTED
62. 100-page stories, say : NOVELLAS
64. Passionate : ARDENT
65. English king who once owned 38-Across : CHARLESI
66. Some may be flying : STARTS
67. College in Westchester County, N.Y. : IONA
68. Colorant : DYE
1. Leftovers : SCRAPS
2. Author known for twist endings : OHENRY
3. Pornographic : XRATED
4. Observance that begins in March: Abbr. : DST
5. Teeny, for short : ITSY
6. Lo-cal : LITE
7. Creator of 38-Across : LEONARDODAVINCI
8. First name in Solo flying? : HAN
9. Author Oz : AMOS
10. Eliminating the effects of wear and tear on, as was done to 38-Across : RESTORING
11. Lie on one's back and not move, maybe : PLAYDEAD
12. 38-Across, for one : OIL
13. Met rival from D.C. : NAT
15. Finishes, as a cake : ICES
21. Someone with intelligence? : SPY
24. Do military duty : SERVE
26. Pad sharer : ROOMIE
28. Not with : ANTI
29. "___-haw!" : YEE
32. Make a declaration with a straight face : MEANIT
33. Vampire ___ : BAT
35. 7-Down, for one : OLDMASTER
37. Boats propelled by poles : PUNTS
38. Mixer at a party : SODA
39. "M*A*S*H" actor : ALANALDA
40. "Grant" biographer Chernow : RON
41. Gadot of "Justice League" : GAL
45. Word said before "then," oxymoronically : NOW
46. Like a dame or earl : TITLED
47. On pins and needles : UNEASY
48. Blues great Smith : BESSIE
52. Main part of a ship : HULL
54. Superman without a cape : KENT
56. Gallery district in Manhattan : SOHO
57. Former senator Bayh : EVAN
59. Is provided with : HAS
60. Work of ___ (38-Across, e.g.) : ART
61. Sot's problem : DTS
63. The Renaissance, e.g. : ERA

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?