When the Lyrid meteor shower typically peaks / THURS 8-4-2021 / Son in "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" / Portrait seen on renminbi bank notes

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Constructor: ADAM WAGNER

Relative difficulty: HARD

THEME: MYTHICAL CREATURES — The "components" of two mythical creatures serve as words in idioms

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

(When the Lyrid meteor shower usually peaks) —
The April Lyrids are a meteor shower lasting from April 16 to April 26 each year. The radiant of the meteor shower is located in the constellation Lyra, near its brightest star, Vega. The peak of the shower is typically around April 22 each year. (Wiki)
• • •

Good morning, folks! Malaika here, back for round 2 of blogging. (But after this, I'm done-- you'll have some other guests.)  I solved this puzzle while listening to "Silver Springs" on loop. I listened to it about four times, which means this puzzle took me about twenty minutes.

It took me a bit to understand what was happening because I mistakenly thought that the two central down entries were one fourteen-letter creature. (No reason for that except maybe the cocktail that I had with dinner.) (Grapefruit juice, lemon juice, arak, and mint, wildly tasty, thanks for asking.) Once I finally got it, my big question was Why. I actually jumped to the lower left to see if there was a revealer. But nope! No reasoning at all!

These are certainly not the only mythological creatures that are half/half, and not even the only ones that are half animal and half human! I fear that the rationale here is constructor-based. As in, "Oh hey! These are two mythical creatures! They both have seven letters! There's no other connection at all, but I can't get this detail out of my head, so I am going to build an entire puzzle around it!" (By the way, I think it's fine to go ahead and build that puzzle, and then it's up to The Times to say "Sorry babe, that's not tight enough for us.") Is a mermaid canonically half-fish? Or just half- ...sea creature? Also, you could argue that a centaur is front/back more than it is top/bottom, so even the phrasing of that triplet of clues didn't totally land for me. The gender thing was super weird as well. A mermaid has her merman counterparts (I'm not going to delve too deep into the gender binary right now!!), but are centaurs all men?? Surely not, and yet that's what the clues would have us believe. I'm not going to do any Googling on this by the way, for fear of what I may discover.
Sound off in the comments!
I actually don't solve Sundays, because I'm not a masochist, but I wonder if this would have made more sense in a Sunday puzzle, with a bunch more creatures (faun! Griffin!) sprinkled around the grid. I get that crossing the theme answers with the creatures is a Big Fancy Architectural Feat, but it didn't add much to my experience, personally.

LOTS of double clues in this one. We had Sushi bar choice for EEL and AHI. Then Graph component for GRID and AXIS. And Bucolic call / Bucolic beasts for BAA and EWES. I think that double clues are the least exciting way to make a clue clever. It's sort of like, "Hmm. I couldn't come up with a good question-mark clue. I couldn't come up with some evocative imagery. There is nothing historically interesting about this. What else can I do... oh! I guess I'll do a repeat clue. That'll add a little zest." And I guess it does add a little zest, but just a little.

Also, I guess I'll call out that this is the second day in a row with a "Game of Thrones" reference. Yesterday's didn't need it (IRON can be clued a zillion different ways), but KHALS is a word that only exists in the "Game of Thrones" universe, to my knowledge. I'll rarely complain about "Game of Thrones" in a puzzle, because they're always easy gets for me, but I acknowledge that fantasy stuff is super tough if you didn't happen to consume that piece of media, because the letter-order isn't necessarily inferable. (At least they didn't put him in there, I guess.) I learned the words "orc" and "ent" exclusively from solving crosswords.

  • All this talk about horses reminded me of a fact I learned last week, which is that all horses have the same birthday. Can you believe it??? Add that to your calendar: August 1. Horse Day.
  • Draft picks for ALES is a lovely clue
  • Pole worker for ELF as well
  • A host of answers? for TREBEK as well
  • Perhaps it is shallow to comment that this is a really pretty grid layout, but here I am. Commenting that this is a really pretty grid layout. I love those chains of diagonal blocks.
Signed, Malaika "7x7 overlord" Handa

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:58 AM  

The best aspect of this puzzle is the section of “Constructor Notes” at the end of Deb Amlen’s “Wordplay” column, where this constructor (Adam Wagner) explains how his mother got him interested in crosswords. A terrific story on many levels.

jae 1:27 AM  

Medium. This wasn’t that tough but I needed to pause and visualize the
mythical creatures to sort out the theme answers. Clever and fun, liked it.

HARIBO was a WOE so I’m glad I saw “Straight Outta Compton” a few years back.

Anonymous 1:36 AM  

HARIBO + REN + YAR + KHALS = FAIL in my book. Plus we get animal abuse, sexism, and a bizarre regionalism. "Honey, it's trash day, could you take the ASHBIN to the curb?" said no American ever. Blech.

egsforbreakfast 1:38 AM  

Nice theme. I knew early on that 30A had to be DRINKLIKEA fish, so I eventually sussed out the conceit. Very cool theme!

Unknown 2:05 AM  

I loved this puzzle! I thought it really easy for a Thursday, except 'YAR'. Especially loved (man)HOLECOVERS and its clue. Thanks, Adam!

okanaganer 2:48 AM  

The theme is a bit awkward, but I think I like it. Initially I had MOO for 26A "Bucolic call", which meant 7 Down just had to be UNICORN. But no.

But a very bad crossing threw me into the gutter of finishing with an error. HARIBO crossing REN. I had never heard of either, and I went thru about 20 different random letters until miraculously R did the trick. Just a colossal Natick! Very bad. badbadbad.

4 more days until D-Day. D means maybe death, or decision, or de-subscribe; dunno. I sure hope they change their mind.

Frantic Sloth 2:49 AM  

It took me a blip, but once I figured out the gimmick I really enjoyed this theme. Seems like it would have been quite a feat of constructioneering, too, what with everything crossing everything and everything. Then there's the whole top to bottom themer placement coinciding with the creature parts.

Various and sundries:

I can't tell you the imagery that a "pole worker" ELF conjures up in my brain. Suffice it to say that 'North' has nothing to do with it.

Do we have ASHBINS in this country? That smacks of Brit-speak to me, but it could be regional I suppose. Started with ASHcan, and though I don't ever say that, I know it's a thing.

Had the K of KIWI and went with Kale (yummy!) first, but something told me LaKE was wrong - Carrie BRADSHAW took care of that.

Really wanted "helicopter mom" for 37D but they didn't give me enough squares.

Is it me or are those HARIBO commercials strong competition for LiMu Emu and Doug as worst ad on TV these days? Is there a Clio for that??

I always hear/say/read "Time's UP". "Time ISUP" is P.U.

Quite a few dupe clues:
Sushi bar choice
Graph component
Bucolic call/beasts
Then there's the hybrids.
I'm not sure how I feel about these types of clues, so it will have to be a mood thing. These didn't bother me.

The best Thursdee in a while, so I enjoyed it. Impressive construction and solving pleasure go a long way to quelling Sloth Rage - and not a moment too soon! Thank you, Mr. Wagner!


chefwen 2:52 AM  

Bet I wasn’t the only one who had Kale first at 28D, KIWI sounds much tastier.

Really enjoyed this one. Puzzle partner got 7 and 42D, making a lot easier than the direction I was heading.

Had the most difficulty in the SW corner. 45A had me thinking about driving around the block, nope not going anywhere. HARIBO finally popped into my head and Banda Bing, we were done.

Fun Thursday.

Loren Muse Smith 5:01 AM  

Jeez Louise, this was hard. I kept considering only the letters of the hybrid creatures, so for 17A, I was trying to figure in the letters MER. Oops. (Man) HOLE COVERS finally led the way to victory.

I actually get a kick out of double clues. @Frantic Sloth and Malaika – y’all forgot to add “Sport shooting variety” to the double clue list.

I keep a jar of HARIBO gummy bears in the fridge ‘cause I like them really hard and chewy. They have to be HARIBO; the copycats just don’t put up much of a tooth fight. So that was a gimme.

Add me to the kale-before-KIWI group. A much happier smoothie, amirite?

Also - “itsa” before PISA and “hype” before TOUT.

@Frantic – thanks for the startling image of a stripper ELF. Also – my first thought was not “helicopter mom: but rather “hover mother.”

I have moved to NC to live with my aging mom (avatar), and we’re watching The Bachelorette together. When there’s a kiss, we both cringe; I hide the screen with the remote, and Mom looks down. Can’t there be some rule that the kisses be the chaste, Hallmark movie kisses? GET A ROOM, indeed. (I chose this picture of Mom even though her eyes are closed because she would like how her hair looks over her ears. She’s always asking me to check that it’s not sticking out. So when she dons/removes her mask, having navigated her glasses and hearing aids, I’m called to jump into action. My takeaway is that even well into my eighties, it’s still gonna be all about the hair.)

I’ll be teaching at an alternative high school in Charlotte, one where kids who’ve been expelled are sent. It’s my understanding that about 80% of my students will be gang members. These are my peeps – they just don’t know it yet. Or maybe not - watch for me in the headlines. I’m learning to play tennis at a club with a group of women who seem to be pretty conservative. Their reaction to my job is always confused horror. One of them took me aside and hissed the admonishment to be very, very careful, as they’re retaliating against us right now because of BLM. I swear. She said this. Sigh.

RK from Switzerland 5:07 AM  

I was going to comment, but you covered all of my points - thanks.

TTrimble 5:43 AM  

Slow and sluggish. I stupidly was trying to break the theme hybrid names into two parts (e.g., CEN+TAUR), before the muddle cleared.

I guess I'll start with stuff I liked: TREBEK, GET A ROOM, BRECHT, ORLEANS. Sly cluing for BRA, ALES, and IMDB. Stuff not really in my lexicon: KHALS, REN (I mean that REN, not the Stimpy or Kylo kind), APISH (nothing else seemed to fit), MAMA BEAR as clued (I too would've liked Helicopter Mom).

I expect I would find Sex and the City terribly dated if I were to watch it again. The fate of any series that strives to be hip and of the moment.

Thanks to @Frantic Sloth for explaining ELF. @FS: I tolerate the HARIBO commercials much, much better than Doug -- I can't even look at him. I have a hard time with commercials generally: I'm not good at ignoring them.

Yeah, ASHBIN. What everyone else said.

Everytime I see MADD, I think of the joke group my brother told me about. DAMM: Drunks Against Mad Mothers. Yes, I know: not PC at all. Drunk driving is a serious problem. Still, it makes me laugh.

Better take my leave soon. yd pg -4: I was too busy to let this take up my time. One of the 4-letters was slightly exotic.

Have a good day, y'all.

Conrad 5:49 AM  

@Malaika: Good question. Part of the purpose of jeans (or any lower body covering) is modesty. But I have no idea where a centaur's genitalia are located. I guess that would determine how a centaur would wear jeans.

@LMS: Best of luck to you in your new pursuits. You are a far better human being than I.

I thought today's puzzle was on the easy side for a Thursday ... until it wasn't. After several attempts and consultations with Sergey and Larry (all my initial guesses were right), I tracked down my mistake at the last pre-DNF second: I fell into the "Draft picks" trap at 14A, because baseball teams draft AcES. Yes, EcF made no sense for 2D "Pole worker", but I figured it was a new acronym for a utility worker: Electrical connection Fixer.

smalltowndoc 6:14 AM  

Clever theme. But offset by, in my opinion, the worst Natick in NYTXW history: REN + HARIBO (at least in the top ten).

Anonymous 6:23 AM  

I enjoy clues that are variants of each other, but duplicated clues that are exactly the same just show how imprecise, and therefore unguessable, some clues can be.

Anonymous 6:31 AM  

HARIBO crossing REN? Never heard of either and it could have been any consonant.

OffTheGrid 6:48 AM  

I solve on the format that's part of my NYT e-subscription, using my laptop. Today, I saw "Friday August 5" at the head of the puzzle. Well, that's happened before so I proceeded. Turns out I solved a themeless by Brendan Emmett Quigley. As I solved I realized it was themeless which is not unheard of on a Thursday. I didn't know it wasn't really today's puzzle until I came to the blog. If this BEQ does appear tomorrow, tighten your seatbelt.

Anonymous 6:55 AM  

What is IMDB? Thanks, Jim

Lewis 7:02 AM  

Why did I adore this? Let me count the ways.
• I love puzzles that are hard but solvable with persistence, and this was for me.
• The hard part not only came from an elusive theme, but from the non-theme milieu: Things I didn’t know, such as YAR and KHALS, vague clues all over the place, and tricky clues. So the entire puzzle – not just the theme part – was a puzzle.
• There were just enough gimmes for me to keep me motivated and filling things in bit by bit.
• A bit by bit solve rather than a splash fill or head-against-the-wall-never-going-to-get-anywhere frustration fest.
• A lovely “Oh I get it” at grokking the theme.
• HOLE COVERS as “circles around the block”.
• Sufficient wordplay in the clues to satisfy my wordplay love, but a non-wordplay theme that made the whole puzzle feel fresh.
• The conundrum of the “top-half” and “bottom-half” clues for the pair of seven-letter answers, that is, how can a seven-letter answer have a top and bottom half? This felt terrific when I finally cracked it.

This puzzle hit wonderful buttons and made for a very satisfying solve. You said it was a bear to make, Adam. Thank you for sticking with it!

Jim Finder 7:05 AM  

D-Day? What?

Raven Starkly 7:07 AM  

Haribo macht Kinder froh und Erwachsene ebenso Is a jingle that I picked up as an Air Force brat in Germany so that was easy for me. Translates to Haribo makes kids happy and adults also. At the time (70s), gummy bears were not available in the USA. I’m not sure how y’all knew that brand.

I was looking for human/horse and human/fish so human hole cover and human of the world — the gender thing held me up for a second.

I liked that this Thursday didn’t have Rebus but I had Dr(ai)no for awhile thinking there MUST be a rebus.

100% had kale was so confident with that because we juice it every day.

Small Town Blogger 7:15 AM  

Internet Movie Database

pabloinnh 7:27 AM  

Good thing I've sung "Miss OTIS Regrets", which got me started in the NE. Down the climbing wall where I landed in the SE with DUD, the D of which had me wondering how BEATSADEADHORSE was going to end with a D, but after some further solving the trick was revealed, which I found wicked clever and totally amusing.

Had an initial E for a three-letter bucolic animal and wondered if an ELK was somehow pastoral. That one got sorted out, although WENTCOLD sounds a little contrived to me. See also APISH for "silly". Hadn't heard of a HARIBO candy bar, but our German teacher used to give the bears away as prizes. I was more of a York mini mint myself.

Anyone remember when it was suggested that MANHOLECOVERS be called "personholecovers"? Never knew if someone was serious about that, or just being difficult.

Very nice Thursday indeed, AW. Awesome Work, and thanks for the fun.

VDM 7:30 AM  

Anonymous 6:55. IMDB IS Internet Movie DataBase

I only know the word YAR from the poolside scene in “ The Philadelphia Story”. I guess that explains why IMDB was a gimme.

kitshef 7:31 AM  

A puzzle of high highs and low lows. Loved the clue for ISLAND, and that for ABEL. And the theme … what an original idea!! Also liked the bonus animal content: BEAR, LION, BAA, APISH, EWES, EEL, HOWL, OLD DOG, KIWI, MAMA BEAR, AHI, and of course ANIMAL.

But … KHALS does not belong in any grid, ever. GMA shouldn’t cross IMDB. HARIBO crossing REN was a bad idea. And don’t get me started on Time IS UP

Ω 7:40 AM  

Now I’m wondering what Mrs. Claus did before she was Mrs. Claus. Thanks @Frantic Sloth and @LorenMuseSmith. (And, no, I won’t go there and ruin everyone’s childhood)

I dunno. Something just didn’t gel (jell?) today. All the pieces are interesting enough, but together I didn’t really enjoy this solve. Part of it is those theme clues, too wordy and convoluted. And I look at the finished grid and there are all these fill-in-the-blank clues for theme answers (_____ OF THE WORLD, DRINK LIKE A ______). And like Malaika I sit here and wonder why these two creatures, and the more I think about it the more it calls attention to how much NYTX mythology is limited to either modern (GoT, LotR) or Greek and Roman with the occasional Norse thrown in (although half the time that’s MCU). No Wendigo or Thunderbird to be found. No Ranginui and Papatūānuku. No Quetzalcoatl. Would a puzzle theme centered around Maori creation myths ever be considered by the NYTX? Somehow I doubt it. Anywho, that’s not a criticism of this puzzle but you deliver a puzzle that doesn’t quite work and the musing begins.

Repeated Clues, feature or a bug? @Anon6:23 writes just show how imprecise, and therefore unguessable, some clues can be as if that’s a bad thing. To me, that is the precise justification for the dupe clues, the imprecision of language. It is the imprecision of words that allows for wordplay. What kind of “pole” are we talking about Santa? That’s only funny and risqué because language is imprecise. So, @Anon6:23’s words move me towards the “feature” side of the equation.

kitshef 7:41 AM  

@Conrad 5:49 - If John Varley is to be believed (in Titan), centaurs have two sets of genitalia, one associated with the rear legs and one with the front legs. And they can be male/male, male/female, female/male, or female/female. And if that is the case, then it would be Malaika's middle image, with the MEGA-jeans.

amyyanni 7:43 AM  

What @VDM wrote. As for me, may get Internet today. Eventually, hope to get settled enough to experience a boring day of retirement. (Today is last day on the payroll: been running out vacation time.)

Unknown 7:44 AM  

@anonymous 6:55
IMDB is Internet Movie Data Base.
Very useful for getting cast information for movies and TV shows

I had a Natick in SW with YAr /ODOr -- did not get "Funk"

Frantic Sloth 7:48 AM  

@Loren Your mom is adorable! Tennis club denizens (tennizens?), not so much. Your refrigerator gummies remind me of Jujubes! No idea how the movie-going kid I was kept all of her teeth. Ju be careful out there with those things. Good luck with the new job and life in NC. Wonderful to have you back! 🥰

@TTrimble 543am I'm thinking if PPP had a spirit ANIMAL, it would be "Sex and the City".

@Z 740am And thanks for that imagery. 🤯
Also, I'm too dumb for your mythology alternatives, so simmer down and stop filling the Xworld ether with that stuff!

Anonymous 7:49 AM  

Internet Movie Database

Mikey from El Prado 7:49 AM  

I really enjoyed this one. Woman/man, fish/mammal. Theme phrases were excellent. Mythical to historical to geographical… ORLEANS to SPARTA. I love sushi.

Kale became KIWI.
Ashcan became ASHBIN

YAR was new to me.

Only one nit, and the usual from me…. Another damn GOT clue! Other than that, well done!

Ω 7:56 AM  

ASH BIN evokes either a coal furnace or a fireplace, so maybe more dated than regional or Brit speak. Maybe? M-W doesn’t have an entry for it, so maybe it is BritSpeak. I wish they would learn English over there.

@pabloinnh - I think “maintenance hole cover” is the term.

MC REN or REN and Stimpy, both pretty dated 1990’s references.There is also the slangy REN Faire. Maybe it is time to take REN out of your wordlists, constructors, or give it “only use when desperate and the crossing words are really cool” status. Nothing in that corner seems worth giving us REN.

Johnny Mic 7:56 AM  

I second KALE (and KIWI as a tastier smoothie choice)

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

A mermaid is a woman/fish (specifically a fish). A centaur is a man/horse. The binary counterparts are merman and centauress or centauride. Rodin made a sculpture titled "The Centauress," which itself was a hybrid created from two other sculptures. The puzzle includes the most common versions of those two hybrid creatures, a she/her and a he/him.

Okoume 8:15 AM  

Those high schoolers aren't going to know what hit em! They are so lucky to have you and I know you'll have them under your spell of charm in no time. Good luck with the start of the school year!!

mmorgan 8:29 AM  

As I said last night, I was going to force myself to solve this on the NYT app, but I decided to allow myself the pleasure of enjoying these last few precious days (pace Maxwell Anderson) of solving with AcrossLite. I’m glad I did.

@GILL I., I hope you saw my comments from late last night.

@Z, do you know if we can still use PuzzAzz for the NYTXW after the dreaded Aug. 10 Day of Doom?

Joe R. 8:29 AM  

In Greek myth, centaur referred only to the males. Centaurides (commonly centauresses in English) were the females. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centaurides

Yes, I was annoyed by that too, but had a vague idea that Greek centaurs were all male, so I looked it up and learned something new. Most of the centaurs/centauresses we meet in Greek myth are male, but there are one or two females in there.

bocamp 8:33 AM  

Thx, Adam; cleverly themed puz! :)

Good to see you again, Malaika. :)

Med unsolve.

Dnfed at REN / HARIBO; it'll be a challenge to remember those two. :(

Nevertheless, enjoyed the adventure, as always. :)

Had kale before KIWI.

TRAP vs SKEET shooting. During high school years, worked the TRAP house, as well as the scoring chair at the local gun club.

yd 0

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Paul 8:34 AM  

I liked the way the puzzle worked on a meta-level in that there was balance between the theme answers helping with the theme-references no answers and vice-versa.

HARIBO crossing REN got me as well. Maybe it’s an NYT thing to assume the solver can just run the alphabet on one square until the congratulations, you ran the alphabet and solved the puzzle message appears. But being a purest I went through each letter carefully considering whether any presented a convincing case for one or the other clue - a decidedly unrewarding process, so no thanks for leaving that in the puzzle.

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

@Raven Starkly, HARIBO is a commonly distributed brand of gummies in the US now, I see them in the supermarket checkout line with all the other candy. The American translation of the slogan is "Kids and grown-ups love it so, the happy world of Haribo"

Ray Yuen 8:52 AM  

The sexism in the themers is one thing: the blatant sexist term "manhole" no longer has a place in media. Even "mama bear." Are mamas the only parents cabable of being protective? Really?

Keep this sexism shit going and I'll cancel my subscription soon. There are way too many good puzzles out there to keep playing with this garbage.

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

Malaika has it exactly right that we solvers can tell that this was a difficult puzzle to construct, but that's not the same thing as saying that it's a great puzzle to solve. The pieces just didn't come together in a satisfying way for me.

Nancy 9:03 AM  

You want the quintessential Natick? I'll give you the quintessential Natick. "MC___ of N.W.A" crossing "gummy candy brand." I left it blank. I didn't even bother to run the alphabet. What good would that have done? Nor have I bothered to look at the solution given here to see what the letter is. Who cares? In my inimitable way, I have pronounced this puzzle "Solved!"

And let's not forget the LOTR and the GOT clues. KHALS???!!! Who in the world are they? Why not KHANS like a normal "tribal leader"? Will we ever be free of these better-get-ready-to-deal-with-them-every-single-day clue sources? Ever?

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did I like the play? Take away the maddening pop culture references, and I thought this puzzle, theme-wise, was quite clever and imaginative. And the clues for BRA, TREBEK and BRR were great.

Son Volt 9:12 AM  

Not sure about this one. I liked the idea but as others have said - it was disjoint and clunky to work thru. So much trivia in all the wrong places. Probably the only New Yorker who’s never seen Sex in the City and no fan of BRECHT but do know DJ REN. YAR may be on my Mt. Rushmore of three letter fill.

More potential than result - but it kept me Thursday interested.

pmdm 9:13 AM  

While I found the puzzle quite tough, for some reason I enjoyed struggling through it. I guess something about the theme hit me positively.

I sometimes muse about the comments concerning those who criticize the pointed comments of Mike Sharp. It seems that some believe there is no point to complaining about what a person includes i their blog. One justification would be that some believe the critical remarks aimed at Mr. Sharp may be taken to heart and soften his comments. Regardless on where you stand on the subject, that is for me a valid justification for the reaction some of the write-ups result in. I may or may not believe they are effective, but I do believe they are justifiable. It is fine to disagree and state one's disagreement, but attempts at censorship seem to me alien to this blog.

I will try not to repeat this in the future, but I suspect I may be goaded into reiterating my thoughts by the thought police in the future.

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

Re YAR - "Philadelphia Story" as mentioned above. Also "Failure to Launch" which coincidentally starred Sarah Jessica Parker aka Carrie [33A] BRADSHAW. Also "The Tempest" -

The best news is, that we have safely found
Our king and company; the next, our ship--
Which, but three glasses since, we gave out split--
Is tight and yare and bravely rigg'd as when
We first put out to sea.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

I confidently put in CHIMERA at 7D, which I confirmed with MEDI(care), so that threw me off for a while. CENTAUR is a very familiar word to me, but I had trouble finding it for some reason—it was on the tip of my tongue for several minutes before it clicked. Once it did, a lot fell into place. The toughest cross for me was "Philosopher Mo-" and 54D, the clue about the "drum knot." Wasn't familiar with either. A little fiddling around and ISUZU finally came into view, and I finished. Took me about 40 minutes.


Keith D 9:36 AM  

So… Z would like to see Ranginui and Papatūānuku, etc. in a grid. Meanwhile, several commentators objected to ASHBINS (which was totally inferrable as well). Got it.

Nice puzzle again today. I don’t understand Malaika’s objection to the theme because there were only 2 of these mythical creatures. So what?

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

@Son Volt- You may be the only female New Yorker who’s never watched Sex and the City but I’m pretty sure the vast majority of men have never seen it .

Unknown 9:39 AM  

@ Z I'm not sure that Maori creation myths are really going to make for better NYT puzzles. For the New Zealand papers, sure.

To LMS, so nice that you are helping out your mom. Kudos to you! Having lived in NC for a few years, it is a very very conservative state. Don't let the funky coffeehouses in Durham fool you.

I always find Thursdays to be the toughest day of the week, but was glad to suss this one out. I enjoyed the challenge of the theme. If I had one small nit, it strikes me that a reference to MCREN is pretty esoteric. And if you look at the lyrics of "Final Frontier," you'll wonder why we're honoring this guy in a puz. Like I say, that was my only nit. (I don't mind rap stars in general, & I even knew who MCREN was from my days of listening to Straight Outta Compton, but still . . . .)

mathgent 9:40 AM  

According to one of the comments, HARIBO advertises on TV, but I've not noticed. So I too landed in Natick. I've got some good company. Meet me in the town saloon and I'll buy you all a drink.

I liked the theme and had a good time solving.

I also liked Malaika's comments. Like me, she doesn't do the Sunday. The juice isn't worth the squeeze.

When I had YA? for 57D, YAR looked right. I guess that it's been in the puzzle before. And then "Funk" is ODOR? That whole corner stinks.

Nancy 9:45 AM  

Like others here, I, too, landlubber that I am*, knew YAR only from "The Philadelphia Story" and perhaps even more from the musical based on it, "High Society".

@Joaquin -- Thanks for the heads-up on Adam Wagner's Constructor Notes. I looked them up and they're delightful.

*Actually, I love being on the water in just about any kind of boat/ship where I can sit comfortably and not have to kneel. Or bend. Or scrunch down. My landlubberiness is due to lack of opportunity rather than preference. If I'd met, say, Ted Turner at a young age, my life could have been quite different. (Though I always would have insisted on coming back to shore frequently to play tennis.)

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

For those of you who didn’t know the word yar, watch Katharine Hepburn say it about a boat in The Philadelphia Story. You’ll never forget it.

KnittyContessa 9:51 AM  

I loved this puzzle! At first, I too thought I had to use the letters MER/MAID and CEN/TAUR. Once I figured it out I smiled and flew through the rest. Except for HARIBO/REN. ugh. I'm embarrassed to admit I thought N.W.A. was a sports organization.

And yes, please stop the GOT clues. Bad enough I have to know ORC.

@Anonymous 9:15 The only reason I know the word YAR is from The Philadelphia Story and I always hear Katherine Hepburn's voice in my head when I encounter it.

jberg 9:53 AM  


And to my ear it's "ASH caN" and "dust BIN," but what do I know?

Gotta run...

JD 9:58 AM  

I knew a Centaur. He was a real stud. Heard he married a Mermaid and they had a baby. I don't what the baby was but it sounded fishy to me.

This was interesting. Started with WO The World. Squinted at Maw currency and wondered if someone in ELO was a Pole Worker. My 60 watt aha moment was that I'm an idiot. How did I not know Renminbi? It strikes me the same way Haribo does. One can't be Chinese, the other can't be German. But there they are. Don't care for Gummis, my favorite food groups are crispy and salty.

Of The World, Hole Covers, and Beats A Dead. Not exactly poetry, almost intimidating. But working on a theme I actually understood without having to read about it was nice. Hockey fans call overtime(s) OTS. Wonder what they use in other sports?

Really liked, "His murder elicited the first wail of mourning, in Islamic accounts." Maybe one of my favorite clues ever.

@TTrimble, I worked with a geologist who said that PETA stood for People Eating Tasty Animals. During the Earth First bumper sticker days he liked to say, "We'll mine the other planets later."

@Mathgent, The juice isn't worth the squeeze. Har!

RooMonster 10:05 AM  

Hey All !
Neat. WOMAN mythical creature with a MAN mythical creature. Yes, those are two things people still call themselves (WOMAN and MAN, not mythical creatures) amongst the 267 other classifications. Call me a bad person if you'd like after that sentence. 😋

HARIBO known from those funny commercials where full grown adults are sitting around with kids voices dubbed in to what they are saying. Couch potatoism pays off some time!

Had puz 100% correct, but mistyped an M for the N of LINKTO, but mistypes don't count for me as DNFs if I knew what I really wanted. 😁 Even though the NYT App has it as a Blue complete instead of a Gold complete. But I have no streaks to break regardless.

I feel bad for the .puz solvers, but it doesn't affect me, as I use the NYT App. In case you cared.

Sad I knew BRADSHAW as clued, never watched that show, but somehow ingrained in the brain. How about "Ex-Steelers quarterback"? Of course, I'm a Steelers fan, so there's that.

ANIMAL in grid, but no HUMAN. And no cross reference to it. Haven't read the comments, but I know some don't like cross-referencing. Certainly Rex would've called this puz a name of some sort. Har. Even our guest blogger didn't like it. But she didn't like it in a nice way.

Don't want to BEAT A DEAD HORSE, so my time IS UP.

One F

Carola 10:11 AM  

I liked the brain-twisting aspect of the theme, with "top" and "bottom" referring not to the parts of the compound words in the grid but to the being itself: I got the idea with WOMAN but then by the time I got to the second creature, I'd forgotten how it worked and tried to make something out of "CENT" rather than "man," even with "but AUR isn't a word" in the back of my mind (such as it is). I also liked the elegant balance of the theme answers, with the creature parts properly at the beginning and end of their phrases. Otherwise: yes to Kale; learned HARIBO 50 years ago as a foreign exchange student in Germany. From Wikipedia: "Haribo is a German confectionery company founded by Hans Riegel Sr. It began in Kessenich, Bonn. The name 'Haribo' is an acronym formed from Hans Riegel Bonn. The company created the first gummy candy in 1922 in the form of little gummy bears called Gummibärchen."

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

There's a very good reason Greek and Roman mythology dominate he Times puzzle. They were a critical, sometimes central part of western art literature and even thought.
The rest of the world's mythology?? Pftt.
It wont take you more than twenty minutes to read, but if you need to understand why that is the case, read the first chapter of The Greek Way. It's called East and West and Hamilton beautifully and convincingly illustrates the point.
I just re-read it; it's spectacular. And free. Just google The Greek Way by Edith Hamilton.
There's a good a reason the Greeks gave us Democracy and Roman roads are use to this day. Aztec, Maori, Toltec roads and forms of government? No thanks.

Anonymous 10:18 AM  

Copy and paste a 20-second clip of Hepburn at her best -


John T. Vian 10:20 AM  

It was an excellent puzzle with great "aha" moments. Nothing to bitch about from this guy...

Paul & Kathy 10:21 AM  

I didn't think it was quite that hard. 14 minute completion time.

In other news, I am never going to forget Silver Springs, because that song was released the week after I somewhat heartlessly kicked a girlfriend to the curb to start dating the woman I ended up marrying. I felt guilty.

Anonymous 10:30 AM  

Wrong! You're just too young to know that Ashbins/Ashkins were in use in the days of coal furnaces.

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

anonymous 8:13
Yep. And it's beautiful. You can see it in the main gallery of the Rodin museum in Philly. It's an underrated gem of a place.

Joseph Michael 10:48 AM  

A MERMAID and a CENTAUR walk into a bar and…no, never mind. Just remembered that mermaids don’t walk.

In spite of the Game of Thrones clue, the Lord of the Rings clue, and the HARIBO/REN cross, I really liked this puzzle. Didn’t figure out the theme until I got to BEATS A DEAD and then it all fell into place.

Glad Rex isn’t here to go postal over the DRINKS LIKE A or to do a rant about personHOLE COVERS.

When an investigation stops producing new leads, do the detectives say BRR?

GILL I. 10:49 AM  

Holy Swiss cheese, Bat Woman. This blew me away. Not in a bad cyclone way...but more like that little breeze that wipes the sweat of your face, kind.
But did you like it, you ask? Oh, I did. It grew and grew on me. I did a few lice-scratching head dances with clues like tenminibi bank notes, a tribal leader on GoT, remembering Bertolt, and thinking who the hell eats gummy candy....I had to cheat on that one. HARIBO? Would you really eat anything that sticks to your teeth with a name like that?
Well I sussed out MERMAID. Oh, wait....now there's DRINK LIKE A....Yep....it's a fish. CENTAUR took me a while to get....get up...do the laundry. Oh looky. BEATS A DEAD (horse)...Fandango tango time.
I see [man] HOLE COVERS and I think whitey tidies. Or a plug.
Hey @Whatsername....We get SKEET and TRAP....Que fun.
@Loren.....When my HI MOM got to the point she couldn't drive anymore, she moved in with us. It was the best thing to happen to me in a long while. She was always fiercely independent and didn't want to leave her home but there was no way on God's Green Earth, I would move her into a care facility. I then took early retirement and spent the best years of "times together" with her. It turned out to be a wonderful decision on both our parts. I hope it happens to you as well. As to your new job.....Those peeps of yours are very lucky they will have you....Best of luck to you, amiga....
@mmorgan 8:29.....From last night....I didn't want to come off sounding pedantic, but I guess I did. I download the puzzle on my trusty musty HP printer because I hate doing the puzzles on my iPad. I have used .puz format when travelling and would rather have my teeth fall out from chewing gummy bears
...so that's where my mind wandered. But...I guess I feel your pain. I remember when Ben & Jerry's discontinued their Dublin Mudslide and I went into ice cream re-hab for months. Si, amigo...una copita de vino...yo invito.

JD 10:50 AM  

@Ray Yuen The mother bears do raise the cubs, and they fight off threatening male bears.

@Z, Quetzalcoatl would be interesting just to see if this group would storm the NYT building or rejoice in the extreme.

@Nancy et al on Yar, I didn't remember that moment in The Philadelphia Story. Sigh, romance.

@Frantic, Quelling Sloth rage? I can't imagine. Did I ever tell you that my daughter went through a sloth phase in high school? Had a clock where the sloth arms went around.

Anders 10:51 AM  

HA-IBO x -EN was the first time I’ve been Naticked in a while without even a plausible guess. Good thing the app lets you run the alphabet till you hit it without penalty, but that always feels like a cheat to me.

david kulko 11:05 AM  

"TAUR" is the Greek root for BULL, not horse. Minotaur, Taurus. "HIPPO" is the Greek root for horse. Hippopotamus= water ("potamoi," "potable") horse. WT actual F.

Masked and Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Paint M&A totally impressed with them overlaps of all the themers. Almost seems like mission impossible, but Adam Wagner dude somehow pulled it off. Clever theme mcguffin, too boot.

Kinda slightly on the easy side, for a ThursPuz theme -- but KHALS, BRADSHAW, and HARIBO helped make up for it, in the eventual solvequest nanosecond carnage.

Also, some juicy-nice, sneaky clues here and there. ISLAND and TREBEK clues immediately come back to favorably haunt m&e, clue-wise.

staff weeject pick-a-pair: BAA & BRR.

Lotsa fun fillins, such as: GETAROOM. OLDDOG. MAMABEAR. TVGUEST.

Thanx for the half-and-halfs, Mr. Wagner dude. Great feat of constructioneerin.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Sumo Itano 11:29 AM  

Just an aside to Malaika: all race horses in this country (Thoroughbreds at least) have Jan 01 of the year of their birth as an official birthday. That’s why most are bred to arrive very early in the year. You’re right about Aug 01, but I think that’s a Southern Hemisphere thing. Enjoyed your comments,

Mary McCarty 11:32 AM  

@LMS: good to see you back wishing you luck, patience and success in your 2 new endeavors! For the school kids, you might find some inspiration in the work of Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J. of Homeboy Industries, author of “Tattoos on the Heart” and “Barking to the Choir”.

And yes, there are female centaurae: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/84/GiorcesBardo55.jpg/1920px-GiorcesBardo55.jpg

Frantic Sloth 11:37 AM  

I understand all the complaints about HARIBO. If I didn't watch waaaay too much television, I'd have not a prayer of getting that cross. Classic natick.

@JD 958am No one knows what to call that offspring, but the diaper cleanups are mertaur. Sorry. 1050am Thank your lucky stars you can't imagine. It ain't pretty. Your daughter sounds highly intelligent and of impeccable taste. Is she adopted? 😘

Not that anyone asked, but I use AcrossLite on the occasional Sunday when I need the title. The website doesn't display it. It used to show up when you clicked on the i above the grid, but now that option is gone, presumably blazing the trail for .puz's impending departure. PuzzAzz is an option, but I prefer the layout on AL, where you can see all the clues. Just my druthers. Where I'll miss the .puz format is the archives. It provides more display and printing options once downloaded than just printing directly. I've been doing this for many years because I also like to solve on paper, as Gof intended, and this particular OLDDOG just doesn't like the look of other choices. Definitely headline-worthy news for the First World Picayune, but I knows what I likes and now progress necessitates a wean. Oh, well. Not happy, but so what?

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

ASHCAN is American
ASHBIN is Brit

JennyO 11:47 AM  

Watch The Philadelphia Story for Katherine Hepburn saying "my she was hard" and you won't forget it

mathgent 12:08 PM  

I got that line from Rex. I’ve found a lot of uses for it.

JD 12:19 PM  

@Frantic, Mertaur! Oh snap as the daughter used to say. Not adopted but tells people she was.

Argy 12:19 PM  

Funk to me is more of a mood or rut. Definitely not an odor.

kitshef 12:21 PM  

@M&A - clue problem in today's runt at 10A. Should be 200 instead of 500.

Malsdemare 12:26 PM  

Although I had to totally guess the R in HARIBO/REN, i really liked this puzzle. I don't want a puzzle that I fill in correctly first time around. I like that I had LINK up before LINK TO, Kale before KIWI, ASH can before ASHBIN. I sort of like needing to go back, find my error. Fixing the mistake and then having it work is more satisfying than getting it right and moving on. I like the "ahas."

There's a sculpture in a woods near us called "The Last CENTAUR." It’s being killed by a man and it always makes me indescribably sad. Whatever did it do to deserve this dreadful killing? Yup, I'm a sentimental old fool.

@LMS, I do pet therapy at an alternative school and it’s the most satisfying 'job' I have. Breakthroughs are rare, but when they happen, they are world-changing for the youth. There've been some hairy moments, but everyone knows what to do when things go south (ours is to find a corner and get very, very small), thus far the eruption has been contained. Your tennis person is a fear-monger. You've got this. We've been on hiatus since the COVID outbreak; We can't wait to get back. This alternate universe has to have been hell for staff and youth alike.

I'm embarrassed to admit that the ELF clue took me down a highly inappropriate oath as well.

Unknown 12:32 PM  

I had the b, filled in jujubes, and had a lot of trouble with that corner from that point on.

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

Malaika, I enjoyed your write up a lot more than the puzzle. We avoided the elevators at 10 accross for a jazz standard I do not know. I'm also not crazy about the theme cluing that does not rely on the actual words that fill in the blanks, but rather a visualization of what they refer to. I had hard time getting started and the SW was last to go. APISH? REN? YAR? and ASHBIN in the NW? No one says that.

@ Anonymous 8:36. In re the American Haribo slogan, that's a very free 'translation'.

jb129 12:47 PM  

I saw what was happening here right away but it was frustrating me. So I took my dog for a walk, did some chores & when I looked at it again thought "not gonna happen."

camilof 12:48 PM  

@bocamp Just in to acknowledge I saw your last comment from yesterday :) And add that that I also frequently use P.S. in emails!

Shocked at the Haribo confusion! I don't eat them, but they seem to be ubiquitous both in real life and in pop culture, at least in the U.S. Then again I'm a design weirdo that likes to wander around the supermarket evaluating product packaging. Nothing more fun than strolling a foreign-made food store.

Chip Hilton 12:56 PM  

Thank you, C.K. Dexter-Haven for YAR.
@Nancy - My sentiments exactly concerning the HArIBO/rEN crossing. Why even guess if it’s 100% a guess?
Other than that, I enjoyed this a lot. Took a while for the grey vertical boxes to fall and for the womanfish, manhorse solutions to smack me in the forehead. Fun! Thanks, Adam Wagner.

Ω 1:04 PM  

@mmorgan - PuzzAzz uses the .ipuz format, I think. I do not know how that transformation occurs, only that they are better at replicating the print version better than anyone else including the NYT themselves. Not a peep about losing access at puzzazz.com

@Ray Yuen - Bears are not concerned about social constructs around gender. Male bears are bigger and scarier looking, but it is the MAMA BEAR with cubs that you don’t mess with. Aggressive behavior in defense of off-spring is a MAMA BEAR thing. For us human types, only using the metaphor for women would be sexist, not the metaphor itself that is sexist. Personally, I really want to tell some over-zealous football dad that they are being a MAMA BEAR now.

@pmdm - Hmmmm, there’s disagreeing with Rex and there’s complaining about Rex. The latter is the one I just don’t get. If someone doesn’t like his tone why are they reading him? It often amuses me that people think I’m defending Rex when most of the time I’m trying to figure out if Rex actually wrote what someone is accusing him of writing (amazing to me how often he didn’t say what people claim he wrote) or I am just disagreeing with them about their point. But also, I am often amazed at the lack of self-awareness of people writing about Rex in the very way they claim to disdain. Here’s a Pro Tip those people don’t seem to get - Calling somebody “whiny” is whiny and therefore rarely is a good thing to say unless you’re correcting your own children.

@Unknown8:39 - Why? What, exactly, makes Greek and Roman myths any more crossword worthy than Maori mythology? If anything, it’s overfamiliarity would suggest that it isn’t late week fodder.
@Anon10:13 - Seriously? Edith Hamilton? And they gave us roads? This borders on metamythology, the mythology of mythology.

@JD 10:50 - I assume both storm the building and rejoice in the extreme.

Teedmn 1:04 PM  

The only gummy candy I've ever liked was a box of Jelly Babies a friend brought home for me from England. They weren't hard and they tasted like they had real fruit flavoring. My fave was pineapple. So HARIBO, yes I've seen them in stores but like @Nancy, could not come up with it in the SW. I ran the alphabet, certain that the rapper's name would seem familiar but I gave up well before hitting R, which would not have helped in the least. So a DNF at that cross.

Given that the theme was a tad tricky to keep straight, I think the clue for 45A was far too clever especially since HARIBO was blank and clues for 46D and 47D were vague. I had BETA and ODOR in place and finally out of nowhere, MANHOLE COVERS popped into place. Yay.

Adam Wagner, nice idea for a theme.

@Loren, thanks for the life update. I wish you well especially with living with your Mom. I had my Dad living with me for his last 2 1/2 years and it was a challenge but well worth it.

GILL I. 1:11 PM  

@Frantic....My little knit about HARIBO is thinking about all the ad people sitting in a little conference room and being told they have to come up with a name for a little gummy candy. Everyone sipping their Perrier, everyone in neatly pressed suits holding some paper and thinking. Then smarty pants yells "I've got it!" "Let's call it HARI BO!" And everyone claps and then goes out for lunch and orders sushi.

Cristi 1:30 PM  

Yes, Anonymous! The southwest was challenging with uninferable proper nouns plus obscurely clued INKY and APISH.

old timer 1:39 PM  

Not Hard in my book, for a Thursday. My only hangup was the HARIBO/REN cross, but I ran the alphabet and concluded that the lesser known NWA guy was REN. I do remember when NWA was, like a glimpse of stocking in the Cole Porter song, something shocking. Nowadays, the N in NWA is too shocking to print.

ASH BIN strikes me as British, but the real Britishism involving BIN is dustBIN, the Brit word for a garbage can. I think, in America, an ASH can is round, and an ASH BIN would be rectangular. Decades ago, I lived in an apartment heated by a coal stove, though I can't remember what receptacle was used to move the ashes to the outside garbage can, which indeed my (British) flatmates would have called a dustbin. In any case, you would want a handle on the coal receptacle to carry the stuff out.

I can't quite see the sexism here. CENTAURs are male, MERMAIDs are female. Just like hogs and sows, rams and EWEs, stallions and mares -- distinctions that are made when children learn to talk. The top half of a CENTAUR is male because the MAN part of the beast has a head in front that is higher than the rest of the body. Yes, you can divide a CENTAUR front and back, while a MERMAID is almost always a woman at the top and a FISH at the bottom, being more vertical in its depiction in art. But a MERMAID swimming in the sea would actually be more horizontal than vertical. In the MERMAID song an old Child ballad, it is the sailors who go skipping to the top, while the landlubbers lie down below, below, below.

Jill 1:43 PM  

SATC is so dated now, I cringed and made it 1.5 episodes in. But there is a reboot coming because of course there is.

Tom Q. 1:52 PM  

Was astonished to read the recap and not see the REN/HARIBO cross noted, therefore glad to see so many echo my "Natick!" call.

I even saw Straight Outta Compton, and could give you EAZY E/ICE CUBE no problem, but hadn't a clue about MC REN. HARIBO was a complete unknown to me.

And may I add, I don't think "Silly" is exactly a gold star definition for APISH, so the whole section was a nightmare for me. The rest of the puzzle I was fine with; liked the symmetry of each themer having an "at the start" clue first, an "at the end" clue second.

bocamp 1:58 PM  

@camilof (12:48 PM) 😊

pg -3

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Jean 2:02 PM  

ONLY Thoroughbred RACEHORSES are given the same birthday: January 1 in the Northern Hemisphere and August 1 in the Southern.

Whatsername 2:05 PM  

Well I know I should admire this for the effort it took to construct and I do respect that totally. However for me that did not make it a fun puzzle to solve. I got er done but it mostly gave me a headache.

@Malaika: Nice to know someone else shares my distaste for the Sunday slogs. Thanks so much for serving as a GUEST reviewer. Very nicely done.

@Loren: Good luck to you at the new teaching assignment. If you are ever in Salisbury, stop by the Chick-fil-A and say hello to my nephew.

@Barbara S: If you’re lurking and reading comments, you and your daily quotes are missed.

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

Haribo TV commercials are much more common than White Claw commercials, where I am.

Ms. Hepburn spelled her first name Katharine.

@RayYuen - male Grizzly bears, at least, have the unfortunate tendency of eating cubs. The mothers have to protect their young by fighting the ferocious males off.

Anonymous 2:10 PM  

Gah. The point was that roads the Romans built are still in use today. As are aqueducts and other feats of construction. The Greeks and Romans are an order of magnitude more important than any other civilization. You know this to be true. And one of the reasons they developed the way they did can be discerned through their mythology. You've missed that critical part entirely.

And instead of deriding Hamilton ( why is that by the way?) you should read her. I suspect it'll wipe some the smug off your face--even if you don't admit it.

Pete 2:33 PM  

Actually, this "all horses have the same birthday" stuff is wrong. For purposes of establishing age for the track in Thoroughbreds, any horse is assigned the age of 1 on the first January 1 after they were born incremented yearly. This establishes their eligibility for races which are based on age. That's it - an artifice for the small portion of one particular breed who makes it to the track; not all horses, and not even most Thoroughbreds.

Masked and Anonymous 2:35 PM  

@kitshef: Good khal. Corrected version is below.

M&A Repairs Desk


Masked and Anonymous 2:39 PM  


Good blogjob, Malaika. Approve of yer "Handa" title. Kinda almost like a "M and A", except more "H and A".
Cool that U have a 7x7 crossword site, also. Irrepressible wave of the xword future. Just sayin.


Anonymous 2:42 PM  

I enjoyed this, but agree it should have appeared on another day: Satyrday ! Actually, I like it just as it is.

fiddleneck 2:50 PM  

I echo the wishes for Loren Muse. Your peeps are lucky to have you in their lives. I live a few steps from a daughter and husband and granddaughter. In the garage. Actually a very nice tiny house. I appreciate all they do for me and most of all seeing, talking, with them.
Lurene is my real name.

Lyn 2:50 PM  

You go! From the proud mom of a successful once expelled son.

Ω 2:55 PM  

@Anon2:10 - Wow. Just wow. FYI - 1975 or so. Back in Junior High Latin. I’ve read a book or two since then. Also, you might want to check out a few other civilizations. Egypt and China might like a word, if for no other reason than existing for considerably longer than Rome or Greece managed. Check out Zheng He (for example) and then explain again how Rome was superior.

Unknown 3:12 PM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle. I was dreading it as I do all Thursday puzzles when a streak is at had but I found the theme clever, if a little hard to grasp before one of the downs was completed. Also enjoyed the fill though also not crazy about the double clues. Whizzed right through comparatively speaking for me and now on to Friday!

Anonymous 3:14 PM  

You're kidding right? You're explaining the importance of Egypt to me? Dude, you're way out of your depth. Only one of us has been awarded a grant by ASOR to work in the Levant. I'm guessing that you have never been to Egypt, let alone worked or studied there. And by the way, it's Mesopotamia that rivals the Greeks in importance not the Egyptians. And if you had any understanding of what you've purported to have read, you would know precisely why Egyptian mythology has no bearing on western culture or thought. You sir are simply talking out of your hat.

Douglas 3:45 PM  

At first I didn’t want to enter MADD for 8D as the D in the clue and the D the in the answer both stand for driving. Isn’t that a crossword no no?

Fran Walheim 4:06 PM  

Immediately thought the same thing. “My she was yar.”

Anonymous 6:31 PM  

David 11:05am: The word "centaur" is not quite the compound word mermaid (sea maid) is - each word just refers to a mythical creature that is part human and part nonhuman. You are right that "taur" means bull. The word "centaur" comes from the Ancient Greek . You are right that means bull. has an obscure origin, but "bull slayer" (ken means pierce) is probably close.

On a completely different note, since movies have been discussed a lot in this chain, there's "Zoolander" and the mermaid/merman angry exchange between father and son.

wrollinson 6:35 PM  

I’m baffled that people are upset about Haribo… their name is in giant letters on gummy candies in every candy aisle in America. While Ren could have been clued more easily, the Haribo/Ren intersection is no Natick.

Geoff H 6:36 PM  

Was stuck for a bit because with the initial C in hand I was sure 42D had to be CHIMERA and then was struggling to think what specific animals are traditionally involved in that hybrid beast.

Anonymous 7:20 PM  

Hey what! A little bit of showing off by the substitute blogger? We all can come up with a lot of answers other than the correct one for that puzzle. It was a brilliantly constructed puzzle and was fun and challenging.
Good job constructor!

Steve Hall 7:42 PM  

Agreed. I was on pace to challenge my best Thursday time, and then the SW destroyed me.

Anoa Bob 7:43 PM  

Now hear this, never put a KIWI (28D) in your smoothie (as clued), a KIWI fruit maybe but a flightless bird or a resident of New Zealland, no.

I always notice, and not in a good way, when a themer is a letter or two short of its slot, as happens today with (man) HOLE COVER and BEAT A DEAD (horse). There's a convenient way to fix that and make it easier to find themer candidates with matching letter counts, and it's the ultra convenient plural of convenience (POC) but that lowers the degree of difficulty in constructing the puzzle and therefore the overall rating of the puzzle, it seems to me.

Also putting a negative vibe on the puzzle was the image of someone BEATing A DEAD (horse). The phrase originated during a time when drivers would mercilessly BEAT a horse pulling or carrying a load to get the very last steps out of it until the horse would literally fall down in the street or road and die. Hence its contemporary meaning of any senseless, futile action. I always cringe when I see or hear it or other animal cruelty type phrases. I think it's time they be permanently retired.

When I finish here, I'm going down to the nearest GNC to see if they have any HARIBO or KHALS and I'm taking MAO, TZE, IPO and the other threes with me. Maybe WENT COLD is a bit strong for what happened to my enthusiasm for this puzzle but the aforementioned did have a cooling effect on it.

I'm thinking that a CENTAUR would wear his jeans so that they would act as a man HOLE COVER. Don't get up, I'll find my way out.

CDilly52 8:33 PM  

@anonymous 10:30 am and @Cristi 1:30 pm AMEN folks! I loathed my “week” to take the ASH BIN to the alleyway for pickup. I could never do it without getting filthy and usually getting some of said filth on my clothes.

CDilly52 8:45 PM  

I wish I were more like @Frantoc Sloth for whom a mere “blip” was all it took to grok the theme’s gimmick. Whew, this took me forever! Once Figured it out, I was able to finish all the theme related spots. The rest if the puzzle was easy but holy freaking cow this one absolutely flummoxed me! My only excuse is that I am obsessed with perfecting a couple ice cream recipes right now and testing various food grade stabilizers to keep non-custard (eggless) ice cream bases from crystallizing in the freezer after churning. So far agar agar is winning, but I have to perfect the correct amount. The bad news though seems to be that how much agar agar to add varies by the recipe and size if the batch capable of neon green processed by the ice cream machine being used. Back to the drawing board. It’s a tough job eating all that product before it crystallizes. My neighbors are all happy to help!

Gio 9:57 PM  

@anon 10:13 I knew which anon you are because so many of your posts have White European supremacy theme. No matter what the topic, you manage to go on a diatribe about western cultural superiority. Too bad they enslaved most of the world, stole land from native people all over the planet, and outlawed native language and customs all over the world. Other than that, yeah White Europeans are the greatest.

JennyO 10:11 PM  

Yikes, this autocorrected -- hope it was obvious I meant "my she was YAR!"

albatross shell 11:07 PM  

APISH M-W definition 2: Silly, foolish.

BAA BRR ESO KAHLS RUN HAIRBO REN. Awkward solve with theme clues crossing theme clues with double-referrals plus a slew of repeat clues. But fits together at the end and is Thursday appropriate, original, unusual, sparkly and fun. A fun and lovely puzzle. I couldn't help but love it. Wordplay for sure. The pluses are irresistible. And the YAR stuff in the comments. I have been meaning to rewatch the Hepburn the last couple times it was on TCM. Definitely will now. Loved the Mom story in Wordplay. Moms can drive you crazy, but it is always too easy to underestimate them.

Bubbabythebay 8:42 AM  

There's also DAM Mothers Against Dyslexia

sixtyni yogini 11:10 AM  

Brilliant puzz. Loved it.

jazzmanchgo 12:03 PM  

RE: The [presumably] white politico-moralists who see "minstrelsy" in "LAWDY" -- Here's one very hip, very proud, non-irony-impaired Black man who used that phrase in a memorable (and 100% "minstrelsy"-free), way:


Harbor compounding pharmacy 10:38 AM  

Reacted Iron is an integral component of the proteins involved in oxygen transport and storage: hemoglobin, myoglobin, and ferritin. Iron, as part of the protein hemoglobin, carries oxygen from the lungs to various parts of the body. Hemoglobin accounts for nearly two-thirds of the iron found in the body and carries essential oxygen to tissues and organs. Approximately one-sixth of the body’s iron is stored as ferritin for use when dietary intake is not sufficient. Reacted Iron provides 29 mg of elemental iron per serving, ideally formulated using the amino acid chelate form of iron (ferrous bisglycinate) for enhanced absorption, optimal utilization, and gastrointestinal (GI) comfort. Some individuals, who take other forms of iron supplements.

thefogman 10:11 AM  

The theme is too convoluted. I get it. But you don’t feel rewarded after all that effort just trying to figure out the gimmick. Of note, this is Adam Wagner’s fourth NYT crossword. His debut puzzle was on April 20th of this year which means he’s been published four times in just over three months. That’s quite a clip for a new constructor.


spacecraft 11:09 AM  

At the Space station this puppy was hard labor, all the way through. Surely all I want for a Thursday--or later! Almost every clue came at me sideways, yet none was truly unfair, IMO. That, my friends, takes talent.

I started, strangely enough. in the NW, plunking down GETAROOM and going from there. It took a while to understand exactly how the theme trick was going to play out; when I got it things eased up--but only a little.

An unusually meaty sub-theme with motherhood: HIMOM MADD MAMABEAR and EWES. I do not understand why YAR is clued as a sailing term--a variant of YARE--when Tasha YAR of STTNG is there. Accordingly, I hereby make Denise Crosby my DOD.

No problem with HARIBO here; those ridiculous ads where grown people talk and act like little kids are everywhere. And that singsong jingle: Yuck to the whole mess. If that candy stood between me and starvation, I'd say "I'm thinking!"

Triumph points galore, good theme well executed (though shading 7 & 42 down wasn't really necessary), and pithy fill with virtually no ASHBIN material: eagle.

Burma Shave 12:22 PM  


“If we’re ABEL under THE COVERS,
we’ll GETAROOM and LET’S GET laid.”
“BAA, you ANIMAL, we’re DUDs as lovers.


thefogman 1:24 PM  

Bravo to Burma. Nicely done.

rondo 1:52 PM  

Interesting concept and placement of the theme 'answers'. Seems original even. Points for that. Points off for using BRADSHAW as a fictional character instead of the very real Terry BRADSHAW. Probably an editorial decision there.

Interesting Thurs-puz. Certainly better than a rebus.

Anonymous 1:57 PM  

Arak? Oh, you mean pastis.

Anonymous 1:59 PM  

Or ouzo?

Diana, LIW 3:16 PM  

I agree with @Spacey - triumph points galore. As I sing "Thursday, Thursday - Can't trust that day." Especially with a trivia-laden puzzle like this was! I still say I enjoy crossWORDS - remember Words? Wordplay?

But the final sussing did bring some wordplay into practice. So I stopped saying EWE at the end.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoaster 4:28 PM  

Didn’t see the invisible FISH, HORSE, MAN, or WOMAN, but learned they had to be in there somewhere.

Of course I saw the MERMAID and the CENTAUR, but was confused about their “top" and “bottom” halves (half’s”?) .

In the SE corner, adding to the stickiness of it all, was the “gummy” and unknown HARIBO.

Thanks for the lesson, Adam; sorry about ABEL.

leftcoaster 5:29 PM  

Parting note on my futility with the puzzle’s theme:


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