It didn't appear that the Flash mode wasn't TTl, without the BL. That's what I meant by "it didn't work". Referring to setting the mode on the flash only and not setting Metering mode on the camera.
I thought they talked to each other (with the SB800) in the hot shoe. And that setting parameters on one or the other, limited parameters on the other. In other words, Matrix wouldn't be allowed when in TTl mode. And, correspondingly, TTl-bl wouldn't be allowed if camera metering were to set on Center or Spot.