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New York Times, Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Author:
Jeffrey Wechsler
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
187/17/19699/12/20180
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0145710
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1.581101
Jeffrey Wechsler

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 81, Blocks: 40 Missing: {BGJQX} This is puzzle # 11 for Mr. Wechsler. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeffrey Wechsler notes:
I've made a few tribute puzzles. Although I thought they would be straightforward to construct, I've learned that they come with certain ... read more

I've made a few tribute puzzles. Although I thought they would be straightforward to construct, I've learned that they come with certain specialized issues. First, is the honoree famous enough? Then, which day of the week will the birthday fall on? It is most practical for a simple New York Times weekday tribute to occur from Monday to Wednesday, to avoid the trickery of Thursday or (in general) the totally themeless format of Friday and Saturday.

For Orson Welles, the Wednesday placement allowed a middle-ground of construction. The theme answers are basic enough: film titles, a famous character, and Welles himself. To make things a bit more complex, I included seven theme entries and stacked three of them at the center. This also allowed for some open areas with long Downs in the NW and SE.

Jeff Chen notes:
Tribute puzzle, honoring the great ORSON WELLES, who would have been 100 years old … er, last week. What a shame to miss the actual day, ... read more

Tribute puzzle, honoring the great ORSON WELLES, who would have been 100 years old … er, last week. What a shame to miss the actual day, May 6th. Not sure what happened there.

Fortuitous that ORSON WELLES is the same length as his most famous movie, CITIZEN KANE. I can't say I enjoyed it when I saw it high school (what, no explosions or aliens?) but I can appreciate its place in cinematic history, as well as its masterful storytelling and acting.

Welles at the press conference after "The War of the Worlds." Awk-ward!

I haven't seen A TOUCH OF EVIL or THE THIRD MAN, but it was fun to read up on them. And although I've never heard THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (yay, aliens!) broadcast, seeing it in the grid makes me want to listen to it. Mind-boggling to think about the fake broadcast causing wide-spread panic.

The grid is expanded to 16 columns, in order to accommodate the central THE WAR OF. From a constructor's viewpoint, it's neat that Jeffrey made the mini-triple stack work. With four separate downs that need to be acceptable — HER, AWL, RAD, RRS — it's fortuitous to find this arrangement.

From a solver's standpoint though, having the lone HARRY LIME felt odd. Having a lone name thrown into a listing of movie titles felt inelegant. Not worth the extension to a 16 column grid, or the mini-triple stack, to my taste.

I did appreciate the effort Jeffrey went to in the upper right and lower left corners. I'm not sure I buy KITTENISH as a usable word, but LOSE HEART and EROTIC ART are very nice additions to the puzzle. PORC is an oddity, but it's easily inferable from the fair crossings.

Speaking of nice additions, tribute puzzles run the risk of reading like a Wikipedia entry. I would have loved some extra layer, like R O S E B U D spelled out in the shape of a sled, or some WAR OF THE WORLDS-themed ETS strewn about the grid.

Dang, I love me some aliens.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0513 ( 23,927 )
Across
1. ___-Seltzer : ALKA
5. School of thought : ISM
8. Custodial implement : MOP
11. Hither's partner : YON
14. "Whatcha ___?" : DOIN
15. Donna of Clinton's cabinet : SHALALA
17. Pastoral mother : EWE
18. Piedmont wine : ASTI
19. Directorial triumph for 61-Across : CITIZENKANE
21. Dearie : PET
22. Series of online comments : THREAD
23. Destroy, as paper documents : SHRED
24. Film featuring 61-Across : THETHIRDMAN
27. Crooner Williams : ANDY
28. Roman Stoic philosopher : SENECA
29. Hair-raising cry : EEK
31. Prehensile ___ : TAIL
32. 61-Across's role in 24-Across : HARRYLIME
38. Hosp. areas : ORS
39. With 43-Across, panic-inducing production of 61-Across : THEWAROF
41. Treasure lost on the Spanish Main : ORO
43. See 39-Across : THEWORLDS
45. Surmounting : ATOP
46. Friend of Eeyore : ROO
47. Akio who co-founded Sony : MORITA
49. Many a pilgrim to Mecca : SHIA
52. 1958 film by 61-Across : TOUCHOFEVIL
57. "___ luego" : HASTA
59. Figure in "The Exorcist" : PRIEST
60. Result of rapid service? : ACE
61. Noted director/actor born in May 1915 : ORSONWELLES
63. Greek vowels : ETAS
64. Kwik-E-Mart clerk : APU
65. Kind of strength related to stress : TENSILE
66. Alternative to boeuf or jambon : PORC
67. Caustic substance : LYE
68. Things checked by the T.S.A. : IDS
69. Nincompoop : ASS
70. Johnson of comedy : ARTE
Down
1. Accepts after a while : ADAPTSTO
2. Get discouraged : LOSEHEART
3. Coyly playful : KITTENISH
4. Singer DiFranco : ANI
5. Tourist island in the Gulf of Naples : ISCHIA
6. Bake, as a shelled egg : SHIRR
7. Out of moves, in chess : MATED
8. "Zoom-zoom" sloganeer : MAZDA
9. Corrida cry : OLE
10. They're often seen nesting in a kitchen : PANS
11. Pine (for) : YEARN
12. Had : OWNED
13. Like a have-not : NEEDY
16. Neeson of "Taken" : LIAM
20. Color whose name comes from Urdu : KHAKI
22. Marijuana psychoactive component, briefly : THC
25. Business card no. : TEL
26. Singer with the 2006 #1 hit "So Sick" : NEYO
30. Brownie : ELF
32. 2013 Spike Jonze film : HER
33. Leatherworking tool : AWL
34. Groovy, updated : RAD
35. Monopoly quartet: Abbr. : RRS
36. Speaker at many a corporate retreat : MOTIVATOR
37. What the original Kama Sutra lacked, surprisingly : EROTICART
39. Number of graduates in the first class at West Point (1802) : TWO
40. Knee-slapper : HOOT
42. Shimmer colorfully : OPALESCE
44. Muse for Keats : ERATO
45. "___ you with me?" : ARE
47. Bryophytic growths : MOSSES
48. ___-told : OFT
49. Sandbar : SHOAL
50. Monster of Greek myth : HARPY
51. It's debatable : ISSUE
53. Bids one club, say : OPENS
54. Web addresses, briefly : URLS
55. Eyelashes, scientifically : CILIA
56. Some fancy party wear : HEELS
58. Against : ANTI
62. Take for better or for worse, say : WED
63. Org. with monitors : EPA

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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