Ahead of the Curve

New York Times, Oct. 18

Talk about name-dropping.

The world’s most famous artists are symbolically hung throughout this sly puzzle, whose architect was able to cleverly mimic the structure of one of New York’s most iconic buildings.

The spiral shape was key to figuring out this puzzle's theme.
The spiral shape was key to figuring out this puzzle's theme.

THE SOLOMON R GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM (23- and 29-Across, “Holder of the works named in the italicized clues, celebrating its 50th anniversary on 10/21/09”) is known for its SPIRAL SHAPE (120 Across) — as is this puzzle, where the majority of black squares form a somewhat rigid but clearly identifiable swirl in the center. The italicized clues are pieces of artwork; the answers are their creators (e.g. 14 Down, “Seated Woman, Wiping Her Left Side” — DEGAS).

It wasn’t hard to figure the puzzle was all about the Guggenheim, though I have to admit I had no idea what the man’s first name was and needed the crossing answers to help me with the SOLOMON R part.

All in all, high marks for creativity. I also liked 8 Down, “Midori on ice” — ITO, for the figure skater — a much better clue than some O.J. reference to Judge Lance. And any puzzle that can fit FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT (43 Down and the museum’s architect), SISSY SPACEK (39 Down, “Player of one of the women in Robert Altman’s ‘3 Women'”), NATALIE WOOD (110 Across, “‘Rebel Without a Cause’ actress”) and Amelia EARHART (106 Across, “Subject of the Joni Mitchell song ‘Amelia'”) into a puzzle with CHAGALL (68 Across, “Green Violinist”), SEURAT (103 Across, “Peasant With Hoe”) and PICASSO (51 Down “Mandolin and Guitar”) is pretty cool in my book.

Happy birthday, Guggenheim.

Questions or comments? Twitter me @crosswordkathy

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