Today's Guardian crossword was an absolute belter. It is always an utter delight to pit my wits against the 86-year old vicar, "Araucaria" whose range of knowledge is staggering and who has such a fine way of presenting a clue - you can tell he loves poetry.
Today's puzzle was built around the Mona Lisa - and the title of this post is one of the solutions. So, you either needed to know the work of the 19th century art critic Walter Pater, or you could solve a 39-letter anagram. Or you could get a bunch of other clues right, take a wild guess and check it on Google.
Anyway, I just thought this was just such an excellent description of the Mona Lisa - made me want to go and take a closer look. So I did - and so should you.
What a truly excellent painting ! It has been a cliche for centuries but it is an incandescent piece of work. Very complex and subtle. As Stanley Kubrick once said
“How could we possibly appreciate the Mona Lisa if Leonardo had written at the bottom of the canvas: 'The lady is smiling because she is hiding a secret from her lover.'"
Update : It looks like Option 3 : "get a bunch of other clues right, take a wild guess and check it on Google" was a very popular option. Over the weekend I've had over 200 hits on this post from puzzled Guardian crossword solvers. Doesn't sound like much, but it's a factor of ten more than my usual readership.
Note to Araucaria : I know this quotation is front-and-centre in your obviously well-thumbed 1936 copy of "The Oxford Book of Modern Verse 1892–1935" (editor : W.B Yeats), but it seems it was slightly on the obscure side for most Guardian-readers (myself included). It was a blindingly good clue though.