I think a large part of the confusion is that CISC often means accumulator architectures (x86, z80, etc) vs RISC which means general purpose register (ppc, sparc, arm, etc) In between you have variable width RISC like thumb2.
As an occasional assembly programmer (PowerPC currently) I far prefer these RISC instructions. With x86 (12+ years ago) I would spend far more instructions juggling values into the appropriate registers, then doing the math, then juggling the results out so that more math could be done. With RISC, especially with 32 GPRs, that juggling is near eliminated to the prologue/epilogue. I hear x86 kept taking on more instructions and that AMD64 made it a more GPR like environment.