I’m not a great one for the visual arts. I’m very much in the ‘I know what I like’ category, though with several volumes on Klee and a catalogue raisonné of Stanley Spencer, I suppose I don’t fall into the group usually associated with that view. It was pleasing to come across some Caro and Kapoor and Kiefer in SF MOMA the other week.
All quite modern too. The older stuff doesn’t resonate in quite the same way. But Bosch is endlessly fascinating. There’s also a puzzle element, I think – so much activity, so much to squirrel out – what is the message? So I noticed the quincentenary, and decided to do something about it. One consequence was the use of his birthplace in the Independent daily a few months ago – how else would you get the chance to use an enumeration of (1-13)?
A tripartite work such as The Garden of Earthly Delights (and I noted that GARDENOF and DELIGHTS were the same length with a fair bit of glee…and didn’t those unchecked letters fall out nicely?) immediately suggests a similar structure in the grid. Heaven on the left is easy enough – entries can move heavenward, and I made one of them PARADISE just to make sure. I’m not quite sure where the idea for Hell came from – probably just musing around the various synonyms, and noting the flexibility of DIS as a prefix.
The middle section is less focused and contains far more potential material. The issue in fact is how to boil it down. I happened to read a critique that pointed out that only one of the figures in the central panel was clothed (down at the bottom right), so the idea of removing some outer integument was born and STRIPPED would do to indicate it. What else were they up to? ‘Cavorting’ was my first thought, adjusted to CAPERING just to make it eight letters again.
I had some qualms about the central section being very hard to fill. You had two unknown methods of entry, one of which would turn out to be jumbles, straddling three unclued entries. That put a lot of weight on solving the across entries, which were turning out to be not the most familiar words. I mean, I knew there was a Casimir effect, but I could have watched it for hours and been none the wiser (although given it’s a thing in quantum electrodynamics, visibility might not be its main feature); the monarchs with the same name were tempting as they offered the chance to use ‘Jagiellonian’, which doesn’t come around every day. But he did feel a bit of a stumbling block in that corner, and with neither long across entry being familiar…well…
But the editorial team gave it a middling ranking. However, I’m writing this in advance of any blog or comments thereon, so we shall see.