Tourist island in Gulf of Naples / WED 5-13-15 / Marijuana psychoactive component / Donna of Clinton's cabinet / Piedmont wine / Akio who co-founded Sony / Alternative to boeuf or jambon / Bake as shelled egg / Eyelashes scientifically / zoom zoom sloganeer

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Constructor: Jeffrey Wechsler

Relative difficulty: Easy



THEME: ORSON WELLES (61A: Noted director/actor born in May 1915) — his name is in the puzzle and then the names of some of his movies / roles / radio shows are also in the puzzle the end.

Theme answers:
  • 19A: Directorial triumph for 61-Across (CITIZEN KANE)
  • 24A: Film featuring 61-Across (THE THIRD MAN)
  • 32A: 61-Across's role in 24-Across (HARRY LIME)
  • 39A: With 43-Across, panic inducing production of 61-Across (THE WAR OF / THE WORLDS)
  • 52A: 1958 film by 61-Across (TOUCH OF EVIL)
Word of the Day: ISCHIA (5D: Tourist island in the Gulf of Naples) —
noun
plural noun: ischia
  1. the curved bone forming the base of each half of the pelvis.
Ischia (Italian pronunciation: [ˈiskja]) is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It lies at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, about 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the city of Naples. It is the largest of the Phlegrean Islands. Roughly trapezoidal, it measures approximately 10 km (6 miles) east to west and 7 km (4 miles) north to south and has about 34 km (21 miles) of coastline and a surface area of 46.3 square kilometres (17.9 sq mi). It is almost entirely mountainous, the highest peak being Mount Epomeo at 788 metres (2,585 feet). The island has a population of over 60,000 people. Ischia is the name of the main comune of the island. The other comuni of the island are Barano d'IschiaCasamicciola TermeForioLacco Ameno and Serrara FontanaThe main industry is tourism, centering on thermal spas that cater mostly to European (especially German) and Asian tourists eager to enjoy the fruits of the island's natural volcanic activity, its hot springs, and its volcanic mud. (wikipedia) 
• • •

Had a rotten day yesterday and so went out and drank and had woodfire oven pizza at this new place called Citrea—spring onion pizza! Astonishingly good, especially for this area. Anyway, I came home and found out, after about five pages of Far From the Madding Crowd, that there was no way I was staying awake past 9pm (!?), and since the puzzle comes out at 10pm … here I am at 6:30am, doing the write-up. Rested and ready! … and disappointed. First, the puzzle was easy if you've been paying attention to the news or use social media at all. ORSON WELLES's 100th birthday was actually a few days ago, so the world gave me a big Heads-Up on this one. Do the puzzle on the right day or don't do the puzzle. Come on. But the (much) bigger issue is how dull and uninspired the concept is. I'm astonished that the NYT is even doing these exceeding straightforward "tribute" puzzles anymore. Just putting a person's name in a puzzle and adding a bunch of movies he made, or starred in, or songs he sang, or books he wrote, doesn't feel like a tribute. It feels like "Today, we've actually Lowered the bar for puzzle standards, just so we could boringly list an arbitrary number of The Honored Person's works." The layering of THE WAR OF over THE WORLDS was pretty nifty. Else, blah. He deserved more than this.


This puzzle is 81 words. Why is this puzzle 81 words? Oh, it's 16 wide, I see. That makes sense now. Let's see, what to say … I do like KITTENISH. Not much else in the "Like" column, though (except the WELLES movies, of course—"THE THIRD MAN" is one of my favorites). Fill is probably average (with some THC baked in). When the lead answer (1A) is ALKA, well, that is not promising, but things improved slightly from there. I'm guessing many of you still don't know who NEYO is. Hell, I had to stop and flip through my mental rolodex of still-alive four-letter singers until he popped up, as the song title in the clue is meaningless to me. ISCHIA seems like a profound outlier today. Never heard of it. Turns out it's pretty damn small. But it's bigger than adjacent CAPRI, which I *have* heard of. Also bigger than adjacent PROCIDA, which I haven't. So ISCHIA (5D: Tourist island in the Gulf of Naples) made me laugh with its desperate exoticness. So at least I laughed. Once. SHA LA LA (la).


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]

87 comments:

The Russian Judge 7:31 AM  

This was an odd puzzle. Mostly Monday easy to compensate for some relatively obscure theme material, and a lot of pretty bad fill. The theme was dense and interesting. 7.4 from the russian judge.

Kris in ABCA 7:35 AM  

Harder than usual for me since I did not know The Third Man, Harry Lime, or A Touch of Evil. But all gettable from crosses. I wanted Citizen Kane for 52A.

Z 7:36 AM  

Start with PORC ARTE, end up DOIN' ALKA. Maybe if the PORC ARTE hadn't been EROTIC ART my story would be different.

Loren Muse Smith 7:37 AM  

Rex - I agree that this tribute puzzle lacks the wordplay I look forward to. What’s more, this topic is way out of my wheelhouse, but I’m happy to see the titles and names so that, again, I can tuck them away and whip them out at some later point in order to sound like I’m more cultured than I am. @Clark - I never saw the movie, so CITIZEN “Cain” or “Kain” could’ve worked for me, too.

Again, Rex - Your parsing of SHA LA LA is great. I wish I'd seen that!

"Knoll" first. Then "sholl." Heck - a SHOAL is a water-knoll, right?

The hardest answer for me to fill in was PORC because in my small little French-major world, “jambon” is PORC and hence I wasn’t thinking of it as an alternative.

It always feels like ERATO is related to EROTIC to me. (So does “Eroica,” but I guess that’s kind of a Cockney hero relative?)

Also – I don’t run around with a chip on my shoulder about such things, but I think I’d be kind of miffed if my husband said, “Hey, PET. You’re looking quite KITTENISH today. Why don’t you SHIRR fire me some eggs?”

ANTI as a word has been around for a while, but now we have ISM – another guy who’s thrown off the chains of suffixdom. Kinda tough to use in a sentence, though, huh?

“Seneca’s off-putting erotic art piece, Harpy in Heels and Khaki, resulted in an ism schism.”

One day maybe we’ll see ismism or maybe antipostismationgate.

@Roo, @Nancy from yesterday – a preposition is something I'm happy to end a sentence with.

Rex Porker 7:49 AM  

Another day, another chance to express my displeasure with a crossword puzzle. I don't really say WHY i don't like tribute puzzles. I just don't like them. But then again, I really don't like any themes, so there's that.
What is odd is that today I focused on that, and the puzzle being a couple days off from Welles's actual birthday, but I gave the fill an absolutely glowing (**for me**) "probably average."
I failed to acknowledge the difficulty of the dense theme, but I also failed to list the truly horrendous fill that the theme required: ALKA, ISM, YON, DOIN, EEK, ORS (in a puzzle wtih ORSON as a theme), ORO, ROO, ETAS, APU, ANI, TEL, OLE, RRS.
Today would have been a great day to point out the frequent problem that a dense, complex theme leads to compromised fill. Instead, I chose to extend my childish spat with all things NYT Crossword.

NCA President 7:51 AM  

What else would a tribute puzzle do but remind us of some of the work of the person being remembered? It's just a bit of nostalgia here and there to say, "hey, remember this person?" If it weren't for this puzzle, Rex might not have fondly remembered "The Third Man" as his favorite movie and provided a link to it. Mission accomplished. ORSONWELLES fondly remembered. What's wrong with that? Too straight ahead? Is the conceit any more old and tired than going nuts with puns?

For whatever it's worth, I learned a couple of things about Welles and I might even go back a re-watch The Third Man.

My nits aren't with the theme though. ISCHIA, NEYO (crossing HARRYLIME), and "Bryophitic growths" are all outliers that you'd find in a harder-than-normal Friday puzzle. Bryophitic doesn't even exist...but bryophYtic does. WTH? Spelling error aside, I had MaSSES at first which messed up the film TOUCHOFEVIL of which I've never heard either.

So this puzzle was challenging. But I'm a fan of Welles so it wasn't all that bad.

I also have a hard time with APU...I can never remember if it's APU or AbU...I have 50/50 chance, but I always seem to overthink it and then get it wrong.

MORITA seemed to be clued gratuitously difficult too. Upon further review and appeal, I think this puzzle tried too hard overall.

Rique V 7:52 AM  

Orson Welles was born in May 2015?

Your foaming rants would carry more weight if your posts were error-free...

NCA President 7:58 AM  

I just noticed that in the NYT applet and on AcrossLite "Bryophitic" is spelled wrong, but on the xwordinfo site, in the solved grid, it has been corrected.

I don't remember the last time I've seen a spelling error in an NYT puzzle.

joho 8:06 AM  

As tribute puzzles go I thought this was very well done. And ORSONWELLES is certainly worthy of being featured in a NYT crossword puzzle.

Now I'm wondering if ORSONWELLES did crosswords. But what I really want to know is where is Rosebud?

Anonymous 8:10 AM  

I must be dense this AM but I don't understand ACE as the answer to "Result of rapid service?". I got it from fill but I keep staring at it for the revelation.

NCA President 8:16 AM  

Anonymous 8:10AM: Think tennis service...

Anonymous 8:16 AM  

Anon @ 0810: A fast serve in tennis might lead to an ACE.

dk 8:17 AM  

🌕🌕 (2 mOOns)

Not my Xanadu. Easy peasy for a Wednesday. Like Loren and my other blog-buds I expect more on Wednesday.

joho, Marion Davies could tell you where Rosebud is… in fact were she not dead she could point to it.

All of my PORCing aside this one brought back fond memories of my various Wells experiences. Like watching a Touch of Evil at an old drive-in in the middle of Maine with a few friends and a lot of THC… wine from ASTI may have been involved

Hartley70 8:20 AM  

@Anon, think tennis.

George Barany 8:20 AM  

To @Anonymous 8:10 am, the ACE clue refers to the game of tennis.

To @Jeffrey Wechsler, it was great to meet you and talk shop at the ACPT. Being able to stack three theme entries the way you did in the middle of the puzzle is quite a feat.

To @Rex, thanks for the clip from "The Third Man" ... absolutely classic.

chefbea 8:27 AM  

Tough Tuesday since I don't know all of Orson Welles movies

Never heard of Neyo??? Pots before pans

The Meless 8:34 AM  

Porker you nailed it today. When was the last time Rex said, "Wow, what a great theme?"

Hartley70 8:37 AM  

Rex is just wrong IMHO. The theme may have been on the easy side, but The Amazing Welles deserves a tribute theme, and TOUCHOFEVIL and HARRYLIME will provide a stumble to non-film buffs. There have to be as many film buffs as there are baseball fanatics in the world! And the babes among us may not be overly familiar with his work or his antics.

I don't think NEYO is obscure, and there were more interesting entries than I've come to expect on Wednesday such as SHIA, EROTICART, yes ALKA, SHALALA, OPALESCE. This may have deserved an easy difficulty level, but it kept my interest throughout. Winner!

Hartley70 8:40 AM  

@Swee'bea, it's Wednesday, love, but I love your pots comment.

jae 8:45 AM  

Yes, easy but that's the problem with tribute puzzles.  That said, I thought this was a fine.   Some nice long downs, lotsa theme answers, easy on the dreck, liked it.

It took me a while (years?) but I finally realized that PORC on Vietnamese menus was not spelled wrong. 

I still think Scarlet Johansson deserved an Oscar nod.

Almost DNF again. I had OPUL... for 42d but I'd made that error before and caught it this time.

RAD2626 8:50 AM  

Rex has expressed his displeasure with tribute themes before. I like them but as has been pointed out by others, including his anti-hero, it really does force some ugly fill. But to see THE THIRD MAN, and HARRY LIME recognized, not to mention WELLES and his two most famous accomplishments, was worth it.

There is a great THIRD MAN tour in Vienna that goes into the sewer, shows you the phone booth and goes by all the famous landmarks. It is a hoot. The guide also points out all of the mistakes in the movie including a London double-decker bus in the background of a scene since many of the sewer scenes were filmed there. And you can still ride the Ferris wheel which is spectacular. Great movie; great tribute, meh fill.

Mohair Sam 8:58 AM  

"The Third Man" may be my favorite movie, watched it for what seems like the 50th time a week or two ago. Hence this puzzle played easy. Would have liked it even more if "Holly Martin" had been an answer. What a neat name for a male character.

Big thanks to @Rex for posting the "cuckoo clock" speech, classic scene in a classic film. I've read that the chronic party boy Welles was unprepared for that scene, showed on the set late, and ad-libbed his way through it - the scene that probably nailed him the Oscar that year.

Agree totally with @NCA President - What's wrong with tribute puzzles? I always enjoy them. And what more can a tribute puzzle do? This was a fine and fitting tribute to a great actor/director.

As for the Rosebud thing - In an ancient SNL skit John Belushi informs us that Citizen Kane actually said "Roast Beef" as he died.

mathguy 9:00 AM  

Liked it a lot. I've read a lot about Orson Welles over the years and was happy to be reminded of his accomplishments. Loved his voice. I've watched Touch of Evil a couple of times, but its charm escapes me.

pmdm or anon 8:58 9:03 AM  

What a dreary write-up. Why does the NYT run tribute puzzles? Because many people, myself included like them. The purpose the the NYT puzzles is not to limit the puzzles to satisfy the preferences of one person. So get over it, please.

Some tribute puzzles cannot be run on the exact day of the tribute because of the impossibility of adjusting the puzzle to the difficulty level of the day. Isn't that obvious? Is that a good reason not to run the puzzle at all?

I not particularly grouchy this morning (really), but I am upset over the cluing for 7D. If my knowledge of chess is correct, mating an opponent does not occur when the opponent is out of moves. A mate occurs when whatever move the opponent makes, you can capture his king in your next move. If your opponent has no moves and is not in check, the game ends in a draw (technically called a stalemate). There's a big difference between being mated and stalemated (1/2 point). The clue should have read "Out of safe moves, in chess." Once again, by trying to be cute, a clue is technically wrong. Unless my knowledge of chess is faulty,

quilter1 9:04 AM  

A Touch of Evil was a genuinely scary film. I liked this, probably because I know Welles' work and enjoyed recalling it. Easy, except for the island, which I had to get from crosses, also the singer.

Ludyjynn 9:05 AM  

Fastest Wed. ever because this one was so in my wheelhouse. Hi, @hartley70! Not a social media maven, I was unaware until this puzz. of the centennial b-day of Mr. WELLES. Where the hell does the time go?! If anyone deserves a tribute, it is he. Sorry, Rex.

Some beautiful, well-clued long Downs in the SE corner at 36, 37 and 42. I love the sound of the word OPALESCE, don't you?

Found it intriguing to have 'prehensile' and TENSILE in the same grid. Expect @EVIL to weigh in today.

@dk, speaking of drive-in movies, you don't want to know what I was busy doing there while the PRIEST in "The Exorcist" was on-screen. The activity is actually included as an answer in this puzz. Where's Waldo?

Thanks, JW and WS. OLE by me.

Nancy 9:10 AM  

Any puzzle that begins with _____-Seltzer at 1A already has me yawning -- almost before I pick up my pen. Nor did it get harder. In the immortal acronym coined by someone on this blog, I
DNB. (Did not begin, for those of you who missed the post.) But I came here for a different reason.

Buoyed by my scintillating exchange with the grammar nazi yesterday evening (as I so often am), I want to let him?/her? and all the rest of you prose stylists here know that William Zinsser just died at the ripe old age of 92. His obit is in today's NY Times, front page. Bill was one of the great prose stylists of his time and, in one of my jobs, I had the dubious pleasure of having my copy edited by him. I found him singularly charmless -- crusty, exacting and curmudgeonly -- but I could not help but admire the way he wrote. His prose just sang. For those who are interested, check out his various obits and then see if you can find his deathless essay on why travel writing tends to be so awful. As difficult as he was as a person, he was a real original and a terrific writer.



Arlene 9:16 AM  

I don't know movies, so have been watching old films on the TCM cable station. I just saw Citizen Kane last week, along with commentary about it.
I also don't know singers - so only got NEYO from the crosses.
A pleasant diversion for Wednesday.

RnRGhost57 9:16 AM  

@Nancy, thanks for the nod to Zinsser, a gifted stylist indeed.

grammar nazi 9:21 AM  

@Nancy,
Thanks for pointing me to the obituary of Mr. Zinsser. What a life he had. It sounds like you were lucky to know him.

mac 9:22 AM  

I have no problem with tribute puzzles, but this one was very tough for me. When you don't know Harry Lime off IME, The War of the Worlds doesn't come to you immediately, maybe because you have RIOT instead of HOOT, you are in big trouble.

@loren: same issue with porc.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

Huh. NEYO is actually Ne-Yo. You learn something every year.

Roo Monster 9:48 AM  

Hey All !
Interesting grid, had to be 16 across to get the 8 letter THE WAR OF in the center. Good way of getting the whole movie in as that's 8 letters, and THE WORLDS is 9. Big ole open corners in NW and SE. As opposed to some, I like when 1A is a gimmie. Gets me in a good solving rhythm.

Tribute puzs are fine by mr, this one real good with 7 themers. Hard to cram that many in and end up with not-too-much-drackness. Especially with those open corners.

Learning that TWO people graduated from the first class at West Point was a HOOT! Heard of NEYO, don't listen to his music. SHIA as a non-LeBouf clue. Had all for OFT as only writeover. Agree (this time) with @Rex as this puz was easy.

@Ludy, was what you were doing at that drive-in have to do with OLE ? :-)

HASTA
RooMonster
DarrinV

Charles Flaster 9:56 AM  

Four writeovers and not catching one led to a DNF for this medium puzzle.
48D--OFT for all
51D--ESSAY for iSSue
22A--THREAD for stREAm
10D-- did not catch PANS for cANS

I enjoy tribute puzzles for their "aha" value. This one gave me HARRY LIME.
Liked cluing for MOTIVATOR and TENSILE.
CrosswordEASE--APU, IDS, OLE and EWE.
Any puzzle with ANDY, ARTE and LIAM is right in my wheelhouse.
Also like Rex's SHA LA LA.
Thanks JW

chefbea 9:57 AM  

@Hartley sorry - I meant Wednesday. Thanks for calling me Swee'

Whirred Whacks 10:14 AM  

Liked this Orson Welles tribute. Agree with @NCA Prez and disagree with Rex.

Welles certainly had an interesting life -- right down to his Paul Masson commercials in the 1970s: "We will sell no wine before its time." LINK.

@Nancy @Leapfinger
Thanks for the lavish praise for my William Carlos Williams knockoff poem on Sunday. (A tribute to Mort Drucker.)

Anonymous 10:15 AM  



@Mr. Monster --

Are you Eeyore's friend?

;-)

John V 10:25 AM  

DNF. Never heard of Harry Lime; TOUCH OF EVIL would not come. MORITA not in my lexicon. Thought the crosses in the South were not particularly helpful. Guess I liked EROTICART.

Not finishing a Wednesday leaves me grumpy.

AliasZ 10:26 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jberg 10:29 AM  

Fun, but awfully easy, if you knew anything about Welles. I think his actual birthday was last Wednesday, so the difficulty level can't be the reason for running the puzzle on a different day.

That said, I liked the theme a lot, as well as KITTENISH.

But the great thing about it, as a meta-feature, is we now have had SHIRR twice in a week with completely (I guess) different meanings. Gotta love that.

Thomaso808 10:34 AM  

@Roo - right on comments on the structure of the puz, the theme density, and the easy 1A. I really liked this one. A dense theme and the fill was not strained.

@Rex Porker's list of "truly horrendous fill"? Sorry, I don't agree. ETAS was the only one that made me grimace.

A quick solve for the most part. THEWAROF THEWORLDS was a gimme that led to ORSONWELLES as a gimme. The rest of the theme words needed some help from crosses.

One challenge was ISCHIA beside SHIRR crossing SHALALA. None were really known to me, so the SH across was blank. Somewhere out of the depths I pulled up SHALALA. SHIRR was a cloth folding thing just a couple of weeks ago, right? Now it's an egg baking thing?

I never heard of a Brownie as an ELF, so side by side with the unknown NEYO, crossed by the equally unknown HARRYLIME, it presented another potential pitfall. I lucked out with likely guesses, looked each up afterwards, and learned something. Now I have to watch THETHIRDMAN.

Another oddity was the SE stack of ETAS, PORC, and ARTE. Each just looks like it's somehow missing a letter (FETAS, PORCH, ARTIE?). ARTE was actually my entry into that corner, only because I actually remember him from Laugh-in 40+ years ago. Very interesting..., but not funny.

AliasZ 10:36 AM  


A tribute puzzle one week after the honoree's 100th birthday? Will must have fallen asleep.

I am perfectly fine with tribute puzzles as long as s/he is larger than life. And ORSON WELLES is nothing if not larger than life. Figuratively and literally. I never forget being in Las Vegas in the early 1980's and watching prerecorded video messages on the hotel's closed-circuit TV channel about wine and gambling. I was struck by his obesity, the sadness of it all, and the unfortunate circumstances that forced such a formidable talent to earn a living in such a tawdry medium. Or as one of Dean Martin's roast guests. Or as a Paul Masson spokesman.

Be that as it may, he is certainly worthy of a tribute. And as tribute puzzles go, this one was OK. All were solid themers representing four of the most iconic of Welles' oeuvre. What I always considered his best movie however, was "Chimes at Midnight" (1965) in which he becomes Falstaff, the similarly larger-than-life character in five Shakespeare plays. I saw the movie as a teenager in Europe and never forgot it.

Who can forget the three-and-a-half-minute single-take opening of TOUCH OF EVIL? His "cuckoo clock" line spoken as HARRY LIME was worth the price of admission. By the way, that line was a Welles ad-lib, Graham Greene did not write it. Welles attributed it to an old Hungarian play, but we'll never know.

I may have mentioned this here before, but there is a serious editing mishap in THE THIRD MAN, at the end of the chase scene in Vienna's sewer system. As the wounded Lime gets cornered on top of the steel ladder leading to the street, you can see the fully extended fingers of both his hands through the drain cover slots creepily wiggling against the Vienna night at street level, then immediately cutting to a shot below, showing him still clutching a pistol in his right hand. I wonder if anyone else ever noticed the error.

Oh the puzzle. I liked KITTENISH, give or take an ish, and loved OPALESCE. Great to see another Italian island besides Capri. THREAD and SHRED next to it made me smile as I was contemplating the TENSILE strength of a prehensile TAIL. EROTI-CART must be one of those mobile conveyances from which they serve tea, sell books, apples or in this case, erotica. I hadn't realized the Clinton cabinet had someone named SHALALA. Never heard of her. She must have worked with Dorothy Doodah and Betty Beebop. When I saw NAYO I wanted to finish it with "Naylight come and me wan' go home."

So did I like this puzzle? I SHIRR did, except for one thing. How many threes are too many? 28. That is what cramming seven themers into a 15x16 will do to your grid.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:39 AM  

OK puzzle; very easy themers, but such nice eight and nine letter Downs.

Hand up for ALL/OFT.

Can't pass up an excuse to post a link to my favorite piece of zither music, the Third Man Theme, here in a scratchy recording by the composer.

dick swart 10:47 AM  

I was not moving quickly starting at the top so I skippd to the bottom where Orson Welles was immediately visible (hard to miss in his later years. Remember his pants with the 20" zipper?).

I rode the ferris wheel in the Prater a year ago jn a reminiscence of the coo-coo clock.

It is interesting to see that the city was still in ruins in 1948 when the film was shot but that some of the park buildings were unharmed and obviously working.

"I will sell no wine before its time".

dick swart 10:53 AM  

@alias z

"Who can forget the three-and-a-half-minute single-take opening of TOUCH OF EVIL? "

Not me! And in the Director's Cut, the music the studio pi in to punch up the opening has been replaced with the livel sounds of the market place and its' vendors as the camera takes its' stroll.

Joseph Michael 10:54 AM  

Nice tribute to a great American artist. Seven solid themers, three stacked in the middle, compensate for the occasional poor fill.

Agree with @joho that a nod to ROSEBUD would have been the icing on the cake.

Like the subliminal theme of "lose heART," "erotic ART," and "ARTe Johnson."

Also like OPALESCE, a truly luxurious word. All in all, a pleasurable Wednesday.





Thomaso808 10:57 AM  

@LMS, what a great link to send us to!

DOOK DOIN 11:01 AM  

Is DOIN a DOOK? Just askin...

John Child 11:04 AM  

A nice version of the tribute puzzle. Easy or hard depending on how much you remembered about the subject. Three-quarters easy here.

Last Wednesday, the actual anniversary, we had the Joe Krozel puzzle with the four seasons. Why? I had always understood the rule to be that a tribute runs on or before...

I'm hoping for s little higher degree of difficulty tomorrow.

Mohair Sam 11:08 AM  

@Bob kerfuffle - Thanks for the link. - It lead to the "Zorba" theme too. Great stuff.

GILL I. 11:24 AM  

I rather enjoyed this puzzle. Orson Welles was magical to me. He loved Europe more than Hollywood and spent a lot of time in Spain. I met him briefly (just a smile and a nod) back in the late 60's. I think he was working on his Don Quijote movie. Anyway, a dear friend of my mother's rented his villa outside of Madrid. I think he lived there sans a wife at the time because the house was very masculine. He loved bullfighting and he had some wonderful posters hanging on these large towering stucco walls. The kitchen was magnificent.
Speaking of Rosebud, I heard tell it was in reference to Marion Davies's EROTIC OPALESCE MOP...
True to his style, he and is wife's ashes were tossed down a well in Ronda on the property of the famous bullfighter, Ordonez.
I love any tribute to a larger than life person who can make frozen peas something to salivate over in the supermarket.
@NCA...I looked up Bryophitic because I had never heard the word before. I kept typing it in that way and Google would only let me use it the way you pointed out. I'm always loath to point out a typo because I'm sure someone will tell me to use a Webster's to check it out.
@Loren....PORC is ham! But of the pork chop variety rather than the Hillshire farm variety.
Thank you Jeffrey Wechsler. I enoyed this ALKA and all....

Z 11:33 AM  

@John Child - I was thinking that the birthday must have been on Friday or Saturday, justifying the tribute on a different day. Same day of the week, but one week late, seems like a snafu that ought to have been avoided.

@pmdm - I don't think your knowledge of chess is wrong, but I do think you are over-thinking the clue. If you are in MATE you are out of moves. I say this as someone whose initial reaction was exactly the same as yours.

As for tribute puzzles, they aren't my thing but I get that others enjoy them. Still, it seems as though more can be done than just a list of some works. What would Gorski do? What would Berry do? What would ACME do?

Z 11:38 AM  

Re: Bryophitic, I found this regarding the video game Final Fantasy:
"Bryophitic Boulder Tincture
[Inventory]
A magical elixir containing ergon might extracted from the Bryophitic Boulder in Yorcia Weald. Temporarily increases chance of countering."
I'm pretty sure Tom Brady is to blame.

Roo Monster 11:40 AM  

@Anony, 10:15, Of course, I'm a friend to everyone in the Hundred Acre Woods!

@AliasZ, yes, high three count. 28, same as yesterday. I commented about that yesterday, was going to let it go today, but since you brought it up... it's high. :-)

EEK! My PET ASS stood ATOP HER EROTIC ART and cried, "NEYO". It lead to THE WAR OF THE WORLDS! :-P

RooMonster

Campesite 11:56 AM  

My Lunches with Orson
Peter Biskind edits a series of taped conversations between the great director and his young friend and fellow director Henry Jaglom. Fun read.

Sven 12:17 PM  

@pmdm @z to make a correction about the rules of chess ... kings don’t get “captured” — they die on the chess board. And there is no speculating about possible “next moves” after a checkmate — it’s over. The word “Checkmate” evolved approximately from the idea: “king dead”. When you are mated your king is attacked (or “in check”) and cannot get out of it.

But you’re correct that the clue “when you’re out of moves” defines a stalemate: a position in which the player whose turn it is to move has no legal move and his king is not in check. That’s a draw. Once mated you’re not “out of moves” you’re done.

Lewis 12:22 PM  

@lms -- "antipostismationgate" is priceless!
@rex -- You criticized this genre of tribute but gave no alternative to how to honor WELLES in a cw. Any suggestions???

A few parts fought me, but most of the areas were Tuesday-easy. I would have liked some more clever cluing, as we should get on Wednesday. My imagination was not appreciative of that ASS crossing CILIA and MOSSES.

Minitheme: ALKA, SHALALA, SENECA, MORITA, SHIA, HASTA, ISCHIA, CILIA, MAZDA, EPA.

Lewis 12:38 PM  

Factoid: ORSON WELLES has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one (Hollywood Blvd.) for his contribution to radio, and the other (Vine St.) for his work in film.

Quotoid: "On my tombstone, I want written: 'He never did 'Love Boat!'" -- ORSON WELLES

Masked and AnonymoUUs 12:46 PM  

@63 - real sorry about yer rotten day. Glad it ended with a primo pizza.

I reckon a tribute to a filmmaker would be kinda odd, if it didn't mention some of his films. And any puz with a film-related theme is always welcome, for me. So, okay by me. Fun learnin about ISCHIA and NEYO, too. And "bryophytic". OPALESCE and KHAKI are creamy fill. Nice central quad stack of weejects, anchorin the phenomenal abutment of three themers.

Personal low points:
* CITIZENKANE. Never understood why this is considered such a monumental flick. Seemed mighty lukewarm, to me. He served me that wine before its time. Just didn't get it. Liked THETHIRDMAN flick mucho better.
* MOTIVATOR. Our company hired this motivational speaker dude one time, and we each had to attend a series of seminars led by him. I don't think I asked him very good questions or ever came up with many of the answers he was lookin for. He eventually pretty much stopped callin on me. I aimed to please, but the whole thing was sorta like solvin a puz.

rosebuds,

M&A

**gruntz**

NeilD 1:01 PM  

I hope one day, SHA LA LA LA is clued as "lead-in to 'don't be shy, go on and kiss the girl'"

wreck 1:26 PM  

Mork calling Orson, Mork calling Orson!

This was still medium-challenging for a Wednesday despite knowing what I thought was quite a bit about Welles. Another acclaimed film was "The Magnificent Ambersons, but wasn't" mentioned and I did not remember "Harry Lime."


wreck 1:28 PM  

Awaiting wrath of grammar nazi for typo.

Carola 1:31 PM  

I thought it was a fine tribute puzzle (not intended as damning with faint praise). I especially liked CITIZEN KANE mirroring ORSON WELLES, since he both directed the movie and played the character. And I liked the idea of a KITTENISH MOTIVATOR.

How we happen to know things.... I learned ISCHIA from reading Elsa Morante's novel Arturo's Island, set on the neighboring Procida.

@loren - Don't feel bad about your "sholl." My first stab at 2D was LOoSEHope. Sheesh! :)

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

Should have been a Monday puzzle. Always liked Welles so a theme here not a problem in itself. What may be a problem is that Welles is only an actor in The Third Man. The brilliance of that film lies with its director, Carol Reed, whom the puzzle should have at least given a nod to. A certain zither melody now runs through my head....

Z 4:01 PM  

@Sven - Neither @pmdm nor I said the king was ever captured. @pmdm wrote, "A mate occurs when whatever move the opponent makes, you can capture his king in your next move." And please have fun drawing a distinction between "out of moves" and "done," because it seems reasonably synonymous to say, "I'm checkmated," "I have no moves," or "I'm out of moves." That the clue makes chess players think "stalemate" first is not proof that it is wrong. Some might even suggest that this makes the clue better because it is not so straightforward.

Ludyjynn 5:02 PM  

@Roo, the word/activity in question has been much debated in another context by a few commenters here today. Hope that helps!

Sven 5:19 PM  

@Z ... that's chop logic, I ain't falling for it.

DebinSac 6:35 PM  

To Masked... At 12:46 p.m. I once asked my friend's daughter, who studied film at NYU, the same question: what was so great about Citizen Kane? I did not see it until I was fifty-something, on TV, but could not see what was so groundbreaking about it. And she said that the things Welles did in that movie (both how he told the story and how he photographed it) were new and innovative when he did them and influenced everyone who came after. Ahhhh....enlightenment. I do have to watch it again at some point, with a more informed eye!

Anonymous 6:52 PM  

I have not seen Harry Lime in quite some time. I try to clean out the fridge at least once a week.

Nancy 7:01 PM  

@lms -- Love your grammar link, with which I heartily concur. (Now THERE, you see, not ending a sentence with a preposition actually works.) But so often it doesn't work and your link provides a terrific set of examples. For anyone who missed it (as I did earlier today), the post was at 7:37 a.m.

M and Also 7:20 PM  

@DebinSac: Thanx for the info about Citizen Kane.
CK got lotsa critical acclaim, but kinda flopped at the box office. It did get nominated for 9 Oscars, but only won one, for Best Screenplay. For years CK was considered the best film of all time, recently beaten out now by "Vertigo" and "Sharknado"...

M&A

Calvin Klein 8:31 PM  

@M&A: I had no idea that I was that famous!

Teedmn 8:40 PM  

Took me a little longer than an average Wednesday since I am not up on all things ORSON WELLES, even after reading a long piece about him in the New Yorker some time in the last couple of years. No TENSILE strength left in the old memory neurons.

Accidentally made no mistakes - I was sure the SHALALA/ISCHIA would be a Natick but guessed right. Thanks, Jeffrey Wechsler, for the puzzle.

Z 9:46 PM  

@Sven - I didn't recognize the term so I looked it up. I don't think it means what you think it means. Based on what the all-knowing Google says, the term seems more aptly applied to your posts; "draw unnecessary distinctions" was exactly what I think you were doing. Thanks for the term though, lots of "the clue is wrong" shouts use "chop logic."

crossvine 11:01 PM  

This comment is late so no one will likely read it. But often end up doing the puzzle a day after it comes out. Anyhow, my all-time favorite movie is The Third Man. But it hardly gets proper recognition. I love everything about it. It's better than Citizen Kane--more suspense, more surprises. So happy to do this puzzle and go back to the streets of Vienna in my mind. Also happy to learn there's a Third Man tour in Vienna. Must put that on my list.

kitshef 11:45 PM  

Odd puzzle. I should have liked it, as I did get little reminder thrills from the chosen movies. But overall I thought it was not much fun.

Also, it should have been hard. I mean, having neighboring downs of THC/ISCHIA/SHIRR, crossing bits of SHALALA and SENECA is brutal. Also there are these tiny connections between areas of the puzzle, which normally adds to the difficulty. And then there's NEYO. But nevertheless, finished with about normal time and effort for a Wednesday. Helped to have only one over-write, LOSTfaith before LOSTHEART.

Bryphytes was correct in the paper edition (or the one I receive, anyway), and a gimme, as neither hornworts nor liverworts would fit.

Aketi 4:40 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle, I clicked on your link while the dh wad loading uo a movie on the conputer and he immediately piped up with, "Are you listening to the zither music from The Third Man.?" He's great at movie trivia, but never does crosswords.

mellisa lopez 10:21 PM  

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mellisa lopez 7:14 AM  

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Burma Shave 8:34 AM  

ERATO MATED

If the PRIEST ADAPTSTO this ISSUE, he’s sure to LOSEHEART,
with just a TOUCHOFEVIL, THEWORLDS full of EROTICART.

--- ARTE “ACE” SHALALA

rondo 9:55 AM  

What’s wrong with a tribute puzzle? I thought it was put together quite well. I SHIRR didn’t think it was ISCHIA at all. OFL is being a bit HARPY.

No hint of a yeah baby today, but as a MOTIVATOR we got us some EROTICART. Maybe Ann-Margaret was KITTENISH?

And we have OLE again (my clue is “Sven pal”) and the four corner letters spell out OLE’s wife LENA. If you don’t know those jokes, you’re probably not from MN.

Compared to yesterday this was pretty darn good, IMHO

1701 right on the money!!

spacecraft 11:45 AM  

This puzzle was like a pinata. Hit it once in the right spot--and it spills its guts. That spot was the Z of MAZDA. Directorial triumph with a Z? Duh. Presently all the theme answers were in (except TOUCHOFEVIL; forgot about that one), and I was left with the OFT-unpleasant task of filling in the fill.

Yes, there are some entries better SHREDded: THC PORC URLS and NEYO--characterized as "still alive" yet I never heard of [insert correct pronoun here]. But the theme density here is remarkable, and I didn't find nearly as much junk as I expected to. Plusses include the kittenish KITTENISH and KHAKI ("What are you wearing, 'Jake from State Farm?'")

I always loved the Third Man Theme, a marvelous mood-setting piece that's just one more example of Welles' genius. Tribute puzzles are fine, with the caveat that often much of the theme is a giveaway as soon as the figure is identified. Just make sure that the honoree is tribute-worthy. In today's case, that's a no-brainer affirmative. A-.

DMG 2:22 PM  

Finished with a ? by ISCHIA, but it turned out to be a real,place! So figured I had actually aced this neat puzzle with its happy memories of WELLES works. Ah, but I smiled too soon. @NCA Pres reminded me of my own ABU/APU insecurity. SoI checked, and sure enough I used the wrong one. Foiled once again by the Simpsons! Much watch that show someday! Off to,the County Fair for a corn dog and some lemonade!

1726 -can't compete with @rondo!

rain forest 2:29 PM  

Clinton had a cabinet functionary named SHALALA? Sounds more like a Dubya appointment to me.
Just wondering if it is necessary to have a tribute puzzle on the birthday of the tributee? Give tribute whenever you are moved to do so. Certainly, ORSON WELLES deserves tribute, Paul Masson not withstanding.

This one is one of the better tribute puzzles I've done, and I think that including "Rosebud" wouldn't have added to an already dense theme. I found it medium as I wondered "ISCHIA HARPY or an ASS?"

I think if you are out of moves in chess, you are either checkMATED, or staleMATED. When I play, I'm always the former.

Good puzzle. SHALALA? Doobie Doo.
15309 I didn't ask for the last two numbers.

DMG 2:43 PM  

@rain forest: 15309 sounds like a win eR to me. You'll have to,flip @rondo for the prize!

Justa check this time!

rain forest 4:43 PM  

D'oh! Of course it is. Can't add.

leftcoastTAM 8:52 PM  

I like it that I can save the time it takes go through the real-timers' posts and instead go fairly quickly to the tail-end syndilanders' and get much of the same wittiness and feedback. (I'm thinking particularly of Burma Shave, rondo, spacecraft, DMG, and rain forest. If there is another regular, please speak up.) Good group.

As for the puzzle today, I liked the Orson Welles theme and, once revealed, it made the rest of it fairly easy--except for ISCHIA and SHIRR, which made ISM hard to see.

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