91-Year-Old Woman Fills Out Crossword — Turns Out It Was a $116k Piece of Art

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Not art.
Not art.Photo: Peter Dazeley

A 91-year-old woman recently did what any 91-year-old woman is wont to do when visiting an art museum in Germany: She came across a crossword puzzle and decided she would fill it out. But what this enterprising woman didn’t account for is the fact that the crossword puzzle she’d happened upon was actually a piece of art hanging in the museum. Uh oh.

A work by Danish artist Arthur Koepcke titled “Reading-Work-Pieces nos. 32-32 + 124,” which was on loan to the Nueus Museum in Nuremberg, features a small section with a crossword puzzle and a line that reads, “Insert Words Here.” The woman rightfully took that as an instructive and broke out a ballpoint pen to fill out the crossword on the piece of art worth $116,000.

The museum filed a criminal complaint for insurance purposes, but fully acknowledged it was a harmless mistake that could be fixed.