0805-21 NY Times Crossword 5 Aug 21, Thursday

Constructed by: Adam Wagner
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill) Half and Half

Two themed answers are HYBRID CREATURES OF MYTH. Four themed answers make reference to the top or bottom halves of those creatures:
7D Hybrid creature of myth : MERMAID

  • 17A After the top half of a 7-Down, sophisticated lady : [WOMAN] OF THE WORLD
  • 30A Before the bottom half of a 7-Down, tipple and then some : DRINK LIKE A [FISH]
  • 42D Hybrid creature of myth : CENTAUR
  • 45A After the top half of a 42-Down, circles around the block? : [MAN]HOLE COVERS
  • 58A Before the bottom half of a 42-Down, keeps arguing after something has been decided : BEATS A DEAD [HORSE]
  • Bill’s time: 11m 23s

    Bill’s errors: 2

    • Ren (Ben)
    • HARIBO (Habibo)

    Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

    Across

    10 “Miss ___ Regrets,” jazz standard performed by Ethel Waters and Ella Fitzgerald : OTIS

    “Miss Otis Regrets” is a Cole Porter composition written in 1934 that is usually sung in a blues style. Porter wrote the song as a friendly bet. He had boasted that he could write a song about any subject, so the challenge from some friends was to create something using the next words they should hear. Porter and friends were at lunch in a restaurant, and they heard a waiter at an adjoining table say “Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today”. And that became a classic song …

    15 Grammy category : OPERA

    The first Grammy Awards ceremony was held in 1959 and focused on recognizing outstanding achievement in the recording industry. The idea of a Grammy Award came up when recording executives were working on the Hollywood Walk of Fame project in the fifties. These executives concluded that there were many people in the recording industry deserving of accolades but who would probably never make it to the Walk of Fame. As a result, they founded the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The Academy considered naming the award the “Eddies” after Thomas Edison, but then opted for “Grammy” after Edison’s invention: the gramophone.

    16 Sport shooting variety : TRAP
    27 Sport shooting variety : SKEET

    There are three types of competitive shotgun target shooting sports:

    • Skeet shooting
    • Trap shooting
    • Sporting clays

    19 Total War game company : SEGA

    Sega is a Japanese video game company headquartered in Tokyo. Sega actually started out in 1940 as Standard Games and was located in Honolulu, which at that time was a city in the US Territory of Hawaii. The owners moved the operation to Tokyo in 1951 and renamed the company to Service Games. The name “Sega” is a combination of the first two letters of the words “Se-rvice” and “Ga-mes”.

    21 Lead-in to care : MEDI-

    Medicare is a national medical insurance program administered by the US government. The term “Medicare” originally applied to a government program introduced in 1956 that provided coverage for families of those serving in the military. The current Medicare program was introduced by the Johnson administration in 1966, to provide health insurance to anyone aged 65 years or older.

    24 When the Lyrid meteor shower typically peaks : APRIL

    A meteoroid is a small rocky or metallic body travelling through space. Once in the atmosphere, the meteoroid is referred to as a “meteor” or “shooting star”. Almost all meteoroids burn up, but if one is large enough to survive and reach the ground then we call it a meteorite. The word “meteor” comes from the Greek “meteōros” meaning “high in the air”.

    26 Bucolic call : BAA!
    35D Bucolic beasts : EWES

    The word “bucolic”, meaning “rustic, rural”, comes to us from the Greek word “boukolos” meaning “cowherd”.

    33 Carrie in “Sex and the City” : BRADSHAW

    The HBO show “Sex and the City” is based on a book of the same name by Candace Bushnell. Bushnell created the book by compiling columns that she wrote for the “New York Observer”. The lead character Carrie Bradshaw is really Bushnell’s alter ego (note that the initials CB apply both to author and character).

    50 “Live well” sloganeer : GNC

    General Nutrition Centers (GNC) is a retailer of health and nutrition supplements based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company was founded in 1935 as a small health food store in downtown Pittsburgh. There are now about 5,000 stores in the US. The GNC slogan is “Live Well”.

    52 MC ___ of N.W.A : REN

    “MC Ren” is the stage name of rapper Lorenzo Patterson. The “Ren” in his stage name comes from the middle letters in his given name “Lorenzo”.

    55 Where you might search for a lead? : IMDB

    The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) website was launched in 1990, and is now owned by Amazon.com. It’s a great site for answering questions one has about movies and actors.

    62 Prerelease, in Silicon Valley : BETA

    In the world of software development, the first tested issue of a new program is usually called the alpha version. Expected to have a lot of bugs that need to be fixed, the alpha release is usually distributed to a small number of testers. After reported bugs have been eliminated, the refined version is called a beta and is released to a wider audience, but with the program clearly labeled as “beta”. The users generally check functionality and report further bugs that are encountered. The beta version feeds into a release candidate, the version that is tested just prior to the software being sold into the market, hopefully bug-free.

    63 Japanese automaker : ISUZU

    Isuzu is a Japanese auto manufacturer that is very successful in the medium and heavy truck market in particular. You’ll be seeing fewer and fewer Isuzu passenger cars on American roads though, as the company exited the US passenger car market in 2008.

    64 Isle known as “The Gathering Place” : OAHU

    Oahu has been called “The Gathering Place”, although the word “O’ahu” has no translation in Hawaiian. It seems that “O’ahu” is simply the name of the island. One story is that it is named after the son of the Polynesian navigator who first found the islands. The island is made up of two volcanoes, Wai’anae and Ko’olau, joined together by a broad valley, the O’ahu Plain.

    66 Throat malady, for short : STREP

    Streptococcus bacteria multiply and divide along a single axis so that they form linked chains. That behavior gives the genus of bacteria its name, as “streptos” is Greek for “easily twisted, like a chain”. I had to battle with streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat) twice in the past few years and it was not at all pleasant, I must say. Another species of streptococcus is responsible for that terrible “flesh-eating” infection that makes the news from time to time.

    Down

    1 Portrait seen on renminbi bank notes : MAO

    Even though we generally refer to the currency of China as the “yuan”, the yuan is actually the basic unit of the “renminbi”. This is analogous to “sterling” being the official currency of the UK, with the “pound” being the basic unit of sterling.

    6 Major talking point on CNBC, maybe : IPO

    An initial public offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).

    CNBC is a business news channel owned by NBC. Launched in 1989, CNBC was known as the Consumer News and Business Channel up until 1991.

    7 Hybrid creature of myth : MERMAID

    The mythological creatures named mermaids are usually depicted with the head and upper body of a human female, and with the tail of a fish. The term “mermaid” comes from the Old English “mere” meaning “sea, lake” and “maid” meaning “young woman”. The original mermaids were probably tail-less, with that “fishy” addition likely coming with comparison to classical sirens.

    8 City sieged by Joan of Arc : ORLEANS

    Joan of Arc (also “Jeanne d’Arc”, her birth name) led the French Army successfully into battle a number of times during the Hundred Years War with England. When she was eventually captured, Joan was tried in Rouen, the seat of the occupying English government in France at that time. There she was burned at the stake having been found guilty of heresy. In fact, after the fire died down, the executioner raked the coals to display the charred body, proving Joan had died, and then burned the corpse again, twice, so that relics could not be collected. The remaining ashes were then cast into the Seine River. Joan of Arc was canonized some 600 years later, in 1920, and is now one of the patron saints of France.

    9 Anti-D.U.I. org. : MADD

    Candace Lightner lost her 13-year-old child to a drink-driver in 1980. Soon after, Lightner formed the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

    10 “Fourth periods” in hockey, for short : OTS

    Overtime (OT)

    11 A host of answers? : TREBEK

    After the sad passing of host Alex Trebek in 2020, producers announced that the game show “Jeopardy!” would be fronted by a series of interim guest hosts. The list included “Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings, TV news anchor Katie Couric, NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers and “The Big Bang Theory” actress Mayim Bialik.

    13 Rival of Athens : SPARTA

    Sparta was a city-state in ancient Greece that was famous for her military might. Spartan children had a tough upbringing, and newborn babies were bathed in wine to see if the child was strong enough to survive. Every child was presented to a council of elders that decided if the baby was suitable for rearing. Those children deemed too puny were executed by tossing them into a chasm. We’ve been using the term “spartan” to describe something self-disciplined or austere since the 1600s.

    18 Sushi bar choice : EEL

    Anyone going to a sushi restaurant can order all types of raw fish (known collectively as “sashimi”). However, eel is always served cooked, and that’s because the blood of eels contains a protein that cramps muscles if eaten. If the heart muscle “cramps”, the result can be death. The protein is easily rendered harmless by applying heat, i.e. by cooking.

    22 Follower of Christmas or Easter : … ISLAND

    Christmas Island is an Australian territory located in the Indian Ocean. The island is so named because it was discovered by an English East India Company vessel on Christmas Day, in 1643.

    “Rapa Nui” is the Polynesian name for what we are more likely to call “Easter Island”. The European name was coined by the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who came across the island on Easter Sunday in the year 1722. Chilean-owned Easter Island is inhabited and is a location that is remarkably distant from neighboring civilization. The nearest inhabited island is Pitcairn Island, which is almost 1300 miles away.

    24 Son in “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” : ALEC

    The full name of Thomas Hardy’s 1891 novel is “Tess of the d’Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented”. When it was originally published, “Tess …” received very mixed reviews, largely because it addressed some difficult sexual themes including rape, and sexual double standards (attitudes towards men vs women). I suppose the most celebrated screen adaptation is Roman Polanski’s “Tess” released in 1979. Polanski apparently made “Tess” because his wife, Sharon Tate, gave him Hardy’s novel as her last act before she was murdered by the Manson family. There is a dedication at the beginning of the movie that just says “To Sharon”.

    26 It may be wireless : BRA

    The word “brassière” is French in origin, but it isn’t the word that the French use for a “bra”. In France, what we call a bra is known as a “soutien-gorge”, translating to “held under the neck”. The word “brassière” is indeed used in France but there it describes a baby’s undershirt, a lifebelt or a harness. “Brassière” comes from the Old French word for an “arm protector” in a military uniform (“bras” is the French for “arm”). Later “brassière” came to mean “breastplate” and from there the word was used for a type of woman’s corset. The word jumped into English around 1900.

    28 Green smoothie ingredient : KIWI

    What we call kiwifruit today (and sometimes just “kiwi”) used to be called a Chinese gooseberry. Marketing folks in the fifties decided to call it a “melonette”, and then New Zealand producers adopted the name “kiwifruit”.

    30 Liquid-Plumr alternative : DRANO

    To clean out drains we might buy Crystal Drano, which is sodium hydroxide (lye) mixed with sodium nitrate, sodium chloride (table salt) and aluminum. The contents of Drano work in concert to clear the clog. The lye reacts with any fats creating soap which may be enough to break up the clog. Also, the finely-divided aluminum reacts with the lye generating hydrogen gas that churns the mixture. Any hair or fibers are cut by the sharp edges of the nitrate and chloride crystals. Having said all that, I find that boiling water poured down the drain quite often does the job …

    33 Playwright Bertolt : BRECHT

    Bertolt Brecht was a poet and playwright from Augsburg in Germany. Brecht’s most famous work here in North America is probably “The Threepenny Opera”, which was a collaboration with Kurt Weill.

    42 Hybrid creature of myth : CENTAUR

    A centaur is a figure from Greek mythology. It is a creature with the upper body of a human and lower body of a horse.

    43 “Lord of the Rings” baddie : ORC

    According to Tolkien, Orcs are small humanoids that live in his fantasy world of Middle-earth (also called “Mordor”). They are very ugly and dirty, and are fond of eating human flesh.

    45 Gummy candy brand : HARIBO

    Haribo is a confectionary company based in Germany, in the city of Bonn. Founded by Johannes “Hans” Riegel, Sr. in 1920, the company name derives from the first two letters of the words “Hans”, “Riegel” and “Bonn”.

    51 Inits. in a.m. TV : GMA

    “Good Morning America” (GMA) is ABC’s morning show, and has been since 1975. There was even a spin-off show called “Good Afternoon America”, although that only lasted for a few months in 2012.

    54 They might be tied using a taiko musubi (“drum knot”) : OBIS

    The sash worn as part of traditional Japanese dress is known as an obi. The obi can be tied at the back in what is called a butterfly knot. The term “obi” is also used for the thick cotton belts that are an essential part of the outfits worn by practitioners of many martial arts. The color of the martial arts obi signifies the wearer’s skill level.

    57 Maneuverable, in nautical lingo : YAR

    I spent a lot of time in my youth on and around boats, and never came across the term “yar”. I do recall the term being used by the Katharine Hepburn character in the marvelous film “The Philadelphia Story”, but that’s about it. Hepburn used “yar” in the sense of a boat being very responsive and balanced.

    59 Philosopher Mo-___ : TZE

    Mozi (also “Mo-Tze”) was a Chinese philosopher whose positions were often in conflict with Confucianism.

    60 Sushi bar choice : AHI

    Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are usually marketed as “ahi”, the Hawaiian name. They are both big fish, with yellowfish tuna often weighing over 300 pounds, and bigeye tuna getting up to 400 pounds.

    Complete List of Clues/Answers

    Across

    1 Big, in adspeak : MEGA
    5 Game show shout-out : HI, MOM!
    10 “Miss ___ Regrets,” jazz standard performed by Ethel Waters and Ella Fitzgerald : OTIS
    14 Draft picks : ALES
    15 Grammy category : OPERA
    16 Sport shooting variety : TRAP
    17 After the top half of a 7-Down, sophisticated lady : [WOMAN] OF THE WORLD
    19 Total War game company : SEGA
    20 His murder elicited the first wail of mourning, in Islamic accounts : ABEL
    21 Lead-in to care : MEDI-
    23 Icy remark? : BRR!
    24 When the Lyrid meteor shower typically peaks : APRIL
    26 Bucolic call : BAA!
    27 Sport shooting variety : SKEET
    29 King of cubs : LION
    30 Before the bottom half of a 7-Down, tipple and then some : DRINK LIKE A [FISH]
    32 That, en España : ESO
    33 Carrie in “Sex and the City” : BRADSHAW
    34 Flash point? : CAMERA
    36 Savage : ANIMAL
    40 Stopped producing new leads, as an investigation : WENT COLD
    44 Apt rhyme for “lumberjacks” : AXE
    45 After the top half of a 42-Down, circles around the block? : [MAN]HOLE COVERS
    48 Leave out : OMIT
    49 Silly : APISH
    50 “Live well” sloganeer : GNC
    51 You can see right through it : GLASS
    52 MC ___ of N.W.A : REN
    53 Talk up : TOUT
    55 Where you might search for a lead? : IMDB
    56 Stained, in a way : INKY
    58 Before the bottom half of a 42-Down, keeps arguing after something has been decided : BEATS A DEAD [HORSE]
    62 Prerelease, in Silicon Valley : BETA
    63 Japanese automaker : ISUZU
    64 Isle known as “The Gathering Place” : OAHU
    65 Funk : ODOR
    66 Throat malady, for short : STREP
    67 Graph component : GRID

    Down

    1 Portrait seen on renminbi bank notes : MAO
    2 Pole worker : ELF
    3 “Cool it, lovebirds” : GET A ROOM
    4 Rubbish receptacle : ASH BIN
    5 Cry of pain … or laughter : HOWL
    6 Major talking point on CNBC, maybe : IPO
    7 Hybrid creature of myth : MERMAID
    8 City sieged by Joan of Arc : ORLEANS
    9 Anti-D.U.I. org. : MADD
    10 “Fourth periods” in hockey, for short : OTS
    11 A host of answers? : TREBEK
    12 “Seconded” : I AGREE
    13 Rival of Athens : SPARTA
    18 Sushi bar choice : EEL
    22 Follower of Christmas or Easter : … ISLAND
    24 Son in “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” : ALEC
    25 ___ Pizza (punny trattoria name) : PISA
    26 It may be wireless : BRA
    28 Green smoothie ingredient : KIWI
    30 Liquid-Plumr alternative : DRANO
    31 Some tribal leaders on “Game of Thrones” : KHALS
    33 Playwright Bertolt : BRECHT
    35 Bucolic beasts : EWES
    37 Certain protective parent, colloquially : MAMA BEAR
    38 Graph component : AXIS
    39 “Sounds like a plan” : LET’S
    41 Late-night interviewee, e.g. : TV GUEST
    42 Hybrid creature of myth : CENTAUR
    43 “Lord of the Rings” baddie : ORC
    45 Gummy candy brand : HARIBO
    46 Kicked things off : OPENED
    47 Connect with : LINK TO
    48 Hard one to teach, in a saying : OLD DOG
    51 Inits. in a.m. TV : GMA
    54 They might be tied using a taiko musubi (“drum knot”) : OBIS
    55 “Time ___!” : IS UP
    57 Maneuverable, in nautical lingo : YAR
    59 Philosopher Mo-___ : TZE
    60 Sushi bar choice : AHI
    61 Letdown at a fireworks show : DUD

    10 thoughts on “0805-21 NY Times Crossword 5 Aug 21, Thursday”

    1. Hi everyone! I work the syndicated puzzles so I’m ‘behind’ y’all but just wanted to say how much I love your comments, you regulars. Not competitive with your times but getting closer…

    2. 17:27, no errors. It’s interesting that “CHIMERA” has the same number of letters as both “MERMAID” and “CENTAUR”. And why would I point this out? Care to take a guess? … 😜

    3. 16:51. I read the theme incorrectly, but it’s not clear how much that hindered me. I eventually got it right and used it in the lower half of the grid.

      Same errors as Bill. HARIBO crossing REN is a bit much.

      Best –

    4. 26:22 Still have never seen an episode of Sex In The City, so thank you Down answers. Still not far enough removed from my daughter’s childhood to have forgotten “Haribo”. Gee, Nonny, why would you point that out? Hmmmmm…

      Welcome aboard Syndicated MN Mary, as long as I’m here to comment, your times will be safe! : – )

    5. 18:53 Got hung up in the top center and SW corner. At first I thought the code was half of CENT and then AUR or TAUR. But it didn’t make sense. Then I finally got 58 across and knew I needed to find a horse some where (My Kingdom for a HORSE) and that helped me crack the code and at least figure out the top center.

      45D – My go to snack for quick energy on the hiking trails is gummy worms. I buy them in the 2lb. bag by “Black Forest”. Took me a lot longer to come up with Haribo than it should have, being a gummy guy

      1. That’s because Black Forest gummis are delicious and Haribos are, let’s say, decidedly less so.

        (thinking back to high school 30 years ago when post lacrosse practice snack was always a Gatorade and 3 packs of Black Forest gummi bears–oh, to have a teenager’s metabolism…)

    6. No errors but I struggled with BRECHT KHALS and YAR.. they made wonder if they were right cuz I wasn’t sure INKY was “stained in a way” that gave me YAR??

    7. 20:31, no errors. Took a long time to switch from KALE to KIWI in 28D. Also leaned heavily toward CHIMERA, especially since MEDI was already filled in. Once MERMAID and KIWI popped into my head, things went quickly.

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