W E D N E S D A Y   September 8, 2010
Mangesh Sakharam Ghogre

Theme: Now I know my ABCs …. — Theme answers are familiar phrases that begin with the letters A through G.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Elite socialite (A-LISTER).
  • 22A: Place for a finance major (B-SCHOOL).
  • 27A: Delivery method (C-SECTION).
  • 37A: Planned attack times (D-DAYS).
  • 48A: Online investing (E-TRADING).
  • 54A: Camera lens ratio (F-NUMBER).
  • 56A: Bare wear (G-STRING).
This is an awesome idea for a theme. It's too bad D-DAY is so short that it had to be arbitrarily pluralized. I also don't think I've ever heard the phrase F-NUMBER but I'm guessing it's familiar to real photographers (whatever that means). I also wish the outliers LSAT and UCAL (16A: Atty.-to-be's challenge / 63A: Sch. with Riverside and Irvine campuses) hadn't been included. It's much more elegant when none of the non-theme answers fit the theme. But, I want to repeat, I think this is a great idea for a theme and the way the theme answers are laid out in the grid is pretty cool.

The only places I got tripped up were on a couple of the names:
  • 1D: Kate of "We Are Marshall" (MARA). Never heard of her.
  • 43D: Hall of Fame NFL coach Ewbank (WEEB). Or him.
  • 46D: Shakers founder (ANN LEE). This name was back in the cobwebs somewhere, but I needed almost all the crosses for it to emerge.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 17A: Indian princess (RANI).
  • 18A: Flightless birds (RHEAS).
  • 36A: Pound of poetry (EZRA).
  • 50A: Bambi's aunt (ENA).
  • 2D: Airline to Ben-Gurion (EL AL).
  • 6D: German coal valley (RUHR).
  • 7D: Riviera season (ÉTÉ).
  • 13D: Inscribed slabs (STELES).
  • 39D: Jackie's "O" (ARI).
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Everything Else — 1A: Bit of cat chat (MEOW); 5A: Phobia (DREAD); 10A: Cell signal strength indicators (BARS); 14A: __ mater (ALMA); 15A: Unconventional (OUTRE); 19A: Where some descents start (ACME); 24A: Dick and Harry's leader? (TOM); 25A: __ name: computer ID (USER); 26A: "__ size fits all" (ONE); 31A: Russian coins (RUBLES); 33A: Grinders (HEROS); 34A: 1960s Canadian prime minister Pearson (LESTER); 38A: Middle __ (EAST); 42A: Ironic tales' tails (TWISTS); 44A: Sharapova of tennis (MARIA); 45A: Low parts (BASSES); 51A: "Baseball Tonight" channel (ESPN); 53A: Like some stocks, for short (OTC); 60A: Wasatch Mountains ski resort (ALTA); 61A: Body-care brand named from the Latin for "snow-white" (NIVEA); 64A: Soup vegetable (LEEK); 65A: Stunning weapon (TASER); 66A: Tableland (MESA); 67A: __ majesty (LESE); 68A: Like some bars (SMOKY); 69A: Pitt in films (BRAD); 3D: Prefix with bus (OMNI); 4D: Oxford vests (WAISTCOATS); 5D: Moola (DO-RE-MI); 8D: Emirate natives, mostly (ARABS); 9D: Menu heading (DESSERTS); 10D: Not at all scintillating (BLAH); 11D: Comparable to a cucumber (AS COOL); 12D: Punk rock icon Joey (RAMONE); 21D: Young 'uns (TOTS); 23D: Rock's M*ouml;tley __ (CRÜE); 25D: Yet to be had (UNEATEN); 27D: Revolutionary Guevara (CHE); 28D: "Oh yeah? __ who?" (SEZ); 29D: Misjudge (ERR); 30D: Auto pioneer (OLDS); 32D: Bit of a fairy tale trail (BREAD CRUMB); 35D: Process: Abbr. (SYST.); 37D: Begs to differ (DISSENTS); 40D: Sloth, for one (SIN); 41D: Price indicator (TAG); 44D: Dillon of "There's Something About Mary" (MATT); 45D: Happen to (BEFALL); 47D: Pan-fries (SAUTES); 49D: Prayer beads (ROSARY); 52D: Trojan War king (PRIAM); 55D: Brand (MAKE); 56D: Computer nerd (GEEK); 57D: "Happy birthday" writer, perhaps (ICER); 58D: Org. that reaches for the stars? (NASA); 59D: "I'm __ it's over" (GLAD); 62D: Brandy letters (VSO).


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Sfingi said...

I had to Google for this. Sports killed me for the first time in a while: WEEB and ALTA. I also Googled for LESTER Pearson, Canadian PM. Seems rather important, Nobel Peace Prize and all.

ALso, for the first time in a while, I never got the theme. Too hung up on the sports stuff.

I would have clued the cucumber clue as "with 'as'": AS COOL as.
Speaking of veggies, had bEan for a while before LEEK. Misspelled NIVEA, since I wanted neve in it for snow. Had AtMi (as in music) before ACME (as in obviously).

Never heard of MARA. Too young.

@John - I guess they mean DOugh RE MI, but I've never heard it said, either.

I'm GLAD it's over.

Burner10 said...

Fun for me too - new word LESE majesty.
Recently googled for 100 different names for money - and used DOREMI (kinda funny play on dough and me) - so that was in my mind.

PuzzleGirl said...

@JNH: I'm pretty much done with the dirty old man videos/pics/comments. Here's a tip for embedding YouTube videos: If the video's tags include "hot" "sexy" "upskirt" and "downblouse" and/or the very first comment on the video is "I wanna nail her from behind," I would prefer not to have a link to that video from this blog. It's really not that difficult if you think about it.

Sidnee said...

D-day is not just D-Day, June 6, 1944. It is the day, usually unspecified, set for the beginning of a planned attack. Hence, any day of special significance, as one marking an important event or goal. Pluralization need not be considered arbitrary. IMHO.

*David* said...

I was pretty ho-hum about the puzzle. The one thing that I can say positive was that I did like the fill mix. Too often its the same hackneyed phrases getting repeated over and over, here we had some nice mix of trivia which is what I want in xwords.

Joon said...

UCAL is pretty terrible, mostly because nobody ever ever says that. but i didn't think it or LSAT detracted from the theme, because the theme answers were all hyphenated letter+word phrases. i guess if the answer had been U-CAL it might have been worse, but in order for that to be the case, something called U-CAL would first have to exist, which it doesn't.

anyway, loved the theme. i think D-DAYS was plural not because D-DAY was too short, but because it needed to be an odd length to be the central answer in the grid.

Eric said...

Cute theme, though B SCHOOL seems forced.

Do any (ex?)-military folks know whether they still use D-DAY and H-Hour? Or did the famous one for Overlord knock the terms out of common usage?

My only problem was in SW, with the ANN LEE / ALTA natick. Had to Google the former.

LESTER Pearson was a gimme (go figure!).

Doug P said...

I'm not familiar with Kate MARA either, but I've heard of her sister, Rooney Mara. She's going to play the lead in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" & I predict she's going to be all over crossword grids before you know it. We constructors needed a good MARA!

Fun theme today. Two thumbs up!

Rex Parker said...

Thought UCAL was part of theme and was impressed that there were going to be that many entries ...

B SCHOOL is completely in-the-language (at least on campuses).


Anonymous said...

Since Kate MARA is the granddaughter or something of Wellington Mara, famously the onetime owner of the NY Giants, why not go that way?

Is Rooney Mara the spawn of some offsprings of Art Rooney & Wellington Mara?

CrazyCat said...

I agree with @Joon about UCAL. The University of California campuses are called UCs. UC Berkeley is called "CAL." It was the flagship campus. All the others are UC whatever - LA, Riverside, Irvine, Davis, San Diego, Merced, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and San Francisco.
I had to google LESTER, never heard of Kate MARA or WEEB. LESE majesty and PRIAM are my words of the day. My other minor nit to pick is F NUMBER. Isn't "F stop" the term that is used?

SethG said...

Rooney Mara actually is the spawn of some offsprings of Art Rooney & Wellington Mara.

F-NUMBER is the one that sounded off to me, too, but it googles well. And when I googled it I remembered seeing the results before, so I'm guessing I did the same thing for some other puzzle.

C said...

Didn't grasp the theme until I came here. More my issue as I have been doing a lot of themeless puzzles lately so probably wasn't paying attention to a theme. Enjoyable Wednesday puzzle.

One nit (by no means hindering my puzzle enjoyment today):

UCAL is borderline random letters as clued, IMO. I've never encountered this phrase outside of cross word puzzles. I graduated from two UC schools so I have had plenty of opportunities to run into UCAL. Too bad the metric prefixes don't have a prefix that starts with U then we could fix this answer with a unit of energy clue.

Anonymous said...

This puzzle was STUPID. I hope I don't have to see Mangesh's name on a puzzle EVER again.

Anon 9:59 said...

@SethG - Thanks for the update. If I weren't old, poor, and fifteen other kinds of repulsive, I'd date her just for the tickets.

Anonymous said...

fave clue: do-re-mi -- which is exactly how it should be written in a sentence using it to refer to dough (money)

Rube said...

Got the theme about half way thru and let it speed up the solve by putting some of the letters in areas where I had not started. Had writeovers at RANa/RANI and MArk/MAKE.

I've seen RANA clued as Indian royalty umpteen times in xwords and I always though of it as female, (with the "a" ending). Just now found that Rana is a variant of Raja.

Re f-number. As correctly clued, the f-number is a numerical ratio. Without the gory details, you may think of f-stops as specific f-numbers, e.g. f/1.4, f/5.6, etc.

My guess is that someone here got fixated on the GSTRING answer. For shame.


This was a nice Wednesday puzzle that starts out easy on the top and progresses to somewhat difficult on the bottom.

I’m always impressed by any puzzle that has 7 theme words, but then to see 8 and 10 letter fill words… well now that’s awesome!

When a puzzle teaches me something I don’t know, it usually gets good grades from me. Today I learned the etymology of the skin-care brand name, NIVEA and the name of a punk rocker (Joey RAMONE)… now that made my day!

I liked a couple of clues:
“Comparable to a cucumber” (AS COOL)
“Happy birthday writer, perhaps” (ICER)

I still don’t understand why 5D “Moola” equates to DO RE MI.

Got WEEB (whoever!) from crosses and then said, “that can’t really be someone’s name”. Guess it is.

When I took that recent trip to Arizona and Utah there were constant DISSENTS regarding the MESA. Nobody could tell me whether the formation we were seeing was a BUTTE, or a MESA, or a PLATEAU… no clear distinctions.

Well it looks like another beautiful day here in Chicagoland… hope y’all have a lovely day where you are!


An amazing tennis player, MARIA Sherapova... read her life story: What she accomplished in just six years in the WTA and her work in Chernobyl.

John Wolfenden said...

I almost never have to Google anything on a Wednesday, but the SW corner wouldn't budge. Should've gotten FNUMBER but not WEEB.

Never heard anyone say BSCHOOL but I guess I can accept that one.

I can't decide if I love or hate "Comparable to a cucumber" for AS COOL. Seems like it should be COOL AS, but you have to give him points for originality.

wilsch said...

Excellent, unique theme. I didn't get it until I read the commentary.
FNUMBER is usually referred to as f-stop - the lens aperture, which used to be set manually; it still is sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Out here on the Left Coast - UCI = UC Irvine and UCR = UC Riverside. They are collectively part of the UC system.

Didn't get the Moola = DoReMi clue either.

Pretty good puzzle over all.

John Wolfenden said...

I remember a Pogues song called "Billy's Bones" that used DO-RE-MI with a different meaning:

"And he took him down from six foot to five foot three
Then he hit him fair and square in the do-re-mi
That copper won't be having any family"

Sfingi said...

@Sidknee - I was wondering about that. Thanks for the expl.
And, don't we always think of D-DAY as almost holy?

@Joon, @CrazyCat, @C - and I was wondering about that. As a Northeasterner, I never know what to expect from the other coast. I've met many people who say they went to Riverside or Davis or whatever, and it's pretty much meaningless.

@Wolfenden - my point exactly, on cucumber, early today.

Don't know any MARAs.

What did ?x#^ write this AM? I was 2nd in and missed it, though I know I read it. It must have been a dicey download, and I must be a numbskull, today.

This camera stuff is complicated. Never messed with photography until it was on my cell phone! Now, even a dog can take a photo.
My husband once won a Kodak prize, and my son developed his own in a dark room he created as a kid.

@Anon1115 - Shaddup and don't come back ever again.

Sidnee said...

Yes, Sfingi, it was the YouTube link that was objectable.

DataGeek said...

Really? DoReMi equals money? I'm OLD, and I've never, ever heard that. Got it due to crosses, but had to come here to understand it. Huh.

CrazyCat said...

@Sfingi: When I moved out here (SoCal) from back east 18 years ago, I had no understanding of the California system of public higher education. There are two systems of four year and graduate universities. The University of California system has 10 campuses and accepts 12.5% of the state's top high school grads. UC Berkeley (Cal) was founded in 1868 and is the most selective of the campuses. My son graduated from Cal. UCLA, founded around 1920, is almost as selective. The rest of the campuses are newer. The newest is UC Merced which just graduated it's first class in 2009. My favorite campus is UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) where there are ocean views from the dorm rooms.

The California State University system has 23 campuses including the two Cal Polys (SLO and Pomona). They admit 33.3% of the top high school grads in the state. Cal Poly, Pomona is not to be confused with Pomona College in Claremont (Rex Parker's ALMA mater).

USC, University of Southern California, is a private University.

Anonymous said...

I vaguely remembered hearing someone singing something about "if you haven't got the do-re-mi" (my dad?) and just googled the term. Walter Huston (John Huston's dad) was in vaudeville before he became a stage actor and his signature song was "If You Haven't Got the Do-Re-Mi" sung in top hat and tails.