Answers to That Tricky April Fool’s Day Puzzle

Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge MA

First, a couple of stories:  Years ago, our family visited the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.  Originally located in what had been the beloved illustrator’s home, a successful fundraising campaign made it possible for the museum to move to a larger space on the outskirts of the city.

I have always loved Rockwell’s depiction of life in America.  I hadn’t known, though, until our visit about some of the warm symbolism in his art.

Remember the famous Four Freedoms paintings, created in 1943 for the Saturday Evening Post?  The Four Freedoms theme was derived from the 1941 State of the Union Address by United States President Franklin Roosevelt delivered on January 6, 1941.

One of the series is “Freedom of Speech”—and Rockwell paints a man speaking in a town hall meeting.  You may not have noticed this—but Rockwell imagines the man’s ear as unusually large, emphasizing the importance of listening.

Another famous painting is “The Problem We All Live With”.  In this work, Rockwell cast a light on the civil rights movement—depicting Ruby Bridges, the young girl who integrated the New Orleans school system in 1960.  Dressed entirely in white against the backdrop of a graffiti-covered wall, Ruby was escorted to school by federal marshalls.   Protestors have thrown tomatoes at the little girl; but Rockwell softens the story with a bit of romance by painting his own and his beloved wife’s initials, carved into the wall.

And now, the answers to that April Fool’s Day puzzle.  Did you find all 56 of the “mistakes” in Norman Rockwell’s 1948 cover for the Saturday Evening Post?  I’ll bet you didn’t—some are so obscure, or so stuck in time that modern-day readers might not notice.

Anyway, I promised I’d give you the answers. Have a fun-filled day!

1) Two different moldings on the cupboard,

2) Woodpecker head on crane’s body,

3) The coffeepot’s spout is upside down,

4) Barbed wire instead of clothesline,

5) Insignia is on the back of fireman’s helmet instead of the front,

6) Green and red lights reversed on ship’s lantern,

7) Beast crouched on upper shelf,

8) Cup not hanging by handle,

9) Electric bulbs growing on plant,

10) The girl’s head on sculptural bust,

11) Rat’s tail on chipmunk,

12) Pen with pencil eraser,

13) Top of brass vase suspended,

14) Face in clock,

15) Candle where kerosene lamp should be,

16) Sampler dated 1216,

17) Winter seen through left window, Summer through right,

18) Antique dealer’s head on dolls,

19) Nine branches on traditional seven-branch candelabrum,

20) Girl’s hair in pigtail on one side, loose on the other,

21) Titles on books vertical instead of horizontal,

22) Girl’s sweater buttoned the wrong way,

23) Mouthpiece on both ends of phone,

24) Phone not connected,

25) Goat’s head with deer’s antlers,

26) No shelf under books,

27) Lace cuff on man’s shirt,

28) Five fingers and thumb on girl’s hand,

29) Gun barrel in wrong place,

30) Saddle on animal,

31) Potted plant on lit stove,

32) Girl’s purse is a book,

33) Only half a strap on girl’s purse,

34) Skunk in girl’s arms,

35) Seagull with crane’s legs,

36) Stovepipe missing,

37) Mona Lisa has halo,

38) Mona Lisa facing wrong way,

39) Abraham Lincoln with General Grant’s military coat,

40) Stove has “April Fool” on it,

41) Hoofs instead of feet on doll,

42) Little girl sitting on nothing,

43) Rogers group is combination of soldier from Our Hero and girl from “Blushing Bride,”

44) Brass kettle has two spouts,

45) Spur on antique dealer’s shoe,

46) Mouse and ground mole conferring,

47) Ground mole’s tracks in wooden floor,

48) Dog’s head on cat’s body,

49) Raccoon’s tail on cat’s body,

50) Ball fringe standing straight up at angle,

51) Stove is missing one leg,

52) Two kinds of floor,

53) Signature reversed,

54) Last name spelled wrong,

55) Flowers growing in floor,

56) Girl’s shoes & socks don’t match.


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