Gene Weingarten's May 20th chat had some comments about a 'comics' clue to the Post Hunt.
Arlington: G-Dub. How in THE hell can anyone claim that the "Comics" clue was hard? The comedians made it obvious what the topic was, Liz and Ginger walking around with the comics pages made it obvious where to look (not to mention that everyone was reading the Comics section) and the numbers weren't terribly hard to find. What was hard about it?
(Every other clue was @#$! impossible, btw.)
washingtonpost.com: And yet there were people who -- when offered a Comics section -- declined, saying "I have one at home."
Gene Weingarten: Heh heh.
As Tom said yesterday, the monitors at the fortune cookie site watched several times as small children were tugging at parents' clothing saying, "It tastes like coconut!" and the parents said, "Ssh. We're trying to solve the puzzle."
Consiracy Theories: It's bad enough that clueless Post readers may be misled by the clues planted in the magazine and comics, but what about the rest of the country? Is there an army of folks coming up with diabolical explanations for the numbers appearing in the three comics? Or do they get an explanation somewhere somehow (without stumbling on the Post)?
Gene Weingarten: Yeah, I owe a great thank you to Stephan Pastis, Jef Mallett, and Berkeley Breathed. They were great sports about it. I'm sure they're getting dozens of letters from elsewhere in the country asking, yknow, what that "nine" was about.
Opus Hunt: Gene,
A friend was telling me about Hunt (she went, I couldn't) and when I looked at the Opus strip, the first thing I thought of when she pointed it out was Al Hirschfeld. Did Breathed do that on purpose? And were the other numbers in the strip used as decoys?
Gene Weingarten: Yep, it was an homage to Hirschfeld, I believe. "Nine" was done exactly the way Hirschfeld did "Nina."
The other numbers were coincidence! He wasn't trying to be deceptive.
...with some debate over that...
Washington, D.C.: Did you notice that both Breathed and Mallet hid other numerals in their strips? The s in the title "OPUS" was a 5. In Frazz, the word "school" had both a 5 instead of an s, and an 8 instead of the two o's. The second occurrence of that word didn't have the 5, but it did have the 8. So we weren't sure which hidden numbers to use, until we finally noticed the "nine" on the doctor's coat, and decided to use the spelled-out numbers "six," "eight," and "nine," and ignore the hidden numerals 5, 8, 8 and 5.
Gene Weingarten: I disagree about the S being a 5.
But we noticed the "oo" looking like an eight. We noticed this at the very last minute. It turns out that is simply how Patty Mallett (who inks Jef's art) makes a double o! If the hidden number had been anything but eight, we'd a been scrood!
This is all nonsensical, until you go to the Post website. This video explains that Weingarten's friends Stephan (Pearls Before Swine), Berkeley (Opus) Breathed and Jeff (Frazz) Mallett snuck in clues for the Post Hunt.