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New York Times, Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Author:
Jeffrey Wechsler
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
197/17/19693/13/20190
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0146710
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.571201
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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