Classic 1955 Jules Dassin heist film / MON 8-5-13 / Understood to radioer / Band with 1983 hit Owner of Lonely Heart / Song syllables in title of 1964 hit / Apt pig latin for trash
Monday, August 5, 2013
Constructor: Alan Arbesfeld
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (*for a Monday*, he said, prophylactically)
THEME: Celestial stuff, I guess — theme answers end in GALAXY and parts thereof:
- 17A: Randy Travis or Travis Tritt (COUNTRY STAR)
- 24A: Minivan since the mid-'90s (FORD GALAXY)
- 34A: Drummer for the Who (KEITH MOON) — Weird coincidence: I listened to Side A of "Who's Next" not 20 minutes ago.
- 49A: Arizona N.B.A.'er (PHOENIX SUN)
- 57A: Clark Kent and Lois Lane's paper (DAILY PLANET)
Word of the Day: "RIFIFI" (18D: Classic 1955 Jules Dassin heist film) —
Rififi (French: Du rififi chez les hommes)† is a 1955 French crime film adaptation of Auguste Le Breton's novel of the same name. Directed by American filmmaker Jules Dassin, the film stars Jean Servais as the aging gangster Tony le Stéphanois, Carl Möhner as Jo le Suédois, Robert Manuel as Mario Farrati, and Jules Dassin as César le Milanais. The foursome band together to commit an almost impossible theft, the burglary of an exclusive jewelry shop on the Rue de Rivoli. The centerpiece of the film is an intricate half hour heist scene depicting the crime in detail, shot in near silence, without dialogue or music. The fictional burglary has been mimicked by criminals in actual crimes around the world.After he was blacklisted from Hollywood, Dassin found work in France where he was asked to direct Rififi. Despite his distaste for parts of the original novel, Dassin agreed to direct the film. He shot Rififi while working with a low budget, without a star cast, and with the production staff working for low wages.Upon the initial release of the film, it received positive reactions from audiences and critics in France, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The film earned Dassin the award for Best Director at the 1955 Cannes Film Festival. Rififi was nominated by the National Board of Review for Best Foreign Film. Rififi was re-released theatrically in 2000 and is still highly acclaimed by modern film critics as one of the greatest works in French film noir. (wikipedia)
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RIFIFI," and *only* because I know "RIFIFI." That seems like a real proper noun dividing line—you know it or you don't, and on a Monday, your time is going to skew significantly if you fall into the latter category. Everything else seems pretty over-the-plate, just tougher than normal to pick up in the corners because of the plethora of longish answers. I'm indifferent to this theme. The grid is kind of nice. Wide-open beats choppy and full of crosswordese any day. I could (really really) do with never (ever ever) seeing ONEACAT or ONEOCAT or any of its constituent parts ever (ever ever) again. Ever. Especially the parts. OCAT = as ugly as fill gets (25D: One-___ (old ball game)). But aside from SSS and KER, I don't see much else that warrants shaking my fist at. Long Downs add nice color to the grid, especially in the SW. So ... a weirdly structured but mostly enjoyable puzzle.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld