Elsa's younger sister in Frozen / TUE 4-11-17 / Motto for modern risk taker for short / Gradually slowing in music / Bill who popularizes science

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Constructor: Zachary Spitz and Diane Roseman

Relative difficulty: Medium (I was slow, but my mistakes were dumb and likely atypical)


THEME: UNITED NATIONS (49A: Organization founded in 1945 ... or a literal description of 20-, 24- and 44-Across) — two country names, fused into one, three times:

Theme answers:
  • PAKISTANZANIA (20A: Indian Ocean bloc?)
  • NICARAGUATEMALA (24A: Central American bloc?)
  • SWITZERLANDORRA (44A: Western European bloc?)
Word of the Day: LENTANDO (38D: Gradually slowing, in music) —
becoming slower —used as a direction in music (m-w)
• • •

Like yesterday's theme, today's is rudimentary. Seems decades old and not terribly clever. These are the combinations you can get into symmetrical positions, fine. But there are tons of -LAND countries and tons of -STAN countries, so getting ones to work out can't have been that hard. I only wish we could've gotten some of the more outlandish combinations in there, like NEPALAU, JAPANAMA, SWEDENMARK, NIGERMANY, VIETNAMIBIA, and, my favorite, UNITEDKINGDOMINICANREPUBLIC. I see that there is an attempt to give the theme an extra coherence by way of "blocs," but ... that seems pretty forced, especially when it comes to linking Pakistan and Tanzania. Anyway, I'm already being told the theme has been done before, multiple times, and at least once with very similar theme clues (with the revealer used as the puzzle's title). Fill isn't terrible, but longer answers never really get up to the level of genuinely interesting.


I was ridiculously slow today, for reasons I don't quite understand. Slowed first at SICK (3D: "Awesome!"). I use the term myself, but couldn't imagine the puzzle doing so, and thus at SI- I just ... stared for a few seconds, I think. Also HOLIDAY didn't compute At All, even with many crosses in place (4D: Office-closing time). I kept wanting a time of day. Answer was way more generic that I imagined. I then badly misread 15A: ___ vera and wrote in VICE (...). Still never seen "Frozen" so ANNA = ??? (so many great ANNAs in the world, and we get this one, blargh). I also wrote in SPAM instead of SENT at 64A: Email folder. None of this was hard; I just didn't slice through it the way I usually slice through Tuesdays. Now I'm amusing myself by doing country/state mash-ups, like GUATEMALABAMA and DENMARKANSAS ... so I should probably go now.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld\

P.S. here's a somewhat more spectacular version of this theme:



[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

69 comments:

DF 12:11 AM  

Super slow for me as well. Probably 50% slower than my average Tuesday time. There was something oddly tricky and sloggish about the whole thing, but I'm not entirely sure why. Some of the "blocs" were odd, and not really blocish. Pakistan and Tanzania (PAKISTANZANIA), for example, are nearly 3,500 miles apart and just happen to be on the same ocean but otherwise have nothing in common.

Moly Shu 12:19 AM  

UNITEDKINGDOMINICANREPUBLIC. That's so SICK!! @Roo, please try to work this into one of your submissions. Like OFL, I got oddly stuck on HOLIDAY. Needed every cross. LENTANDO was a WOE and we get GENTILE on Passover. Any YOLO STONERS out there?

Robin 12:41 AM  

Slowed just a smidgin by writing AKIA rather AKIO, and DEAN rather than DEEN. Nevertheless, finished a minute or so faster than my average Tuesday time.

Charles Flaster 12:48 AM  

Medium due to a major writeover--ISOLATION for secLusION.
Liked cluing for STONERS, LAYER, and TAB.
Thanks ZS and DR

oldflappyfrommississappy 1:01 AM  

Does anyone remember pederasty?

Ellen S 1:06 AM  

Well, the puzzle made me smile, maybe had more to do with my brain chemistry than the quality of the puzzle, but I don't care. And I don't have any objection to PAKISTANZANIA. The clue specified that they had the Indian Ocean in common, so I think it was fair.

Mr. Fitch 1:09 AM  

The theme is far tighter than Rex implies. It requires two 15s as well as one 13 to match the length of United Nations. None of the examples he cites fit those criteria. Good luck finding a few.

I also disagree with the idea that the puzzle is unworthy because the concept of combining countries has been done before. So what? That has no impact on the solve for me, and it's not as if this is rehashed every month, every year, or even every few years.

I thought the fill and cluing overall were pretty solid here.

John Child 1:16 AM  

I didn't catch on to this until the very end. There I was with the last few letters of each themer empty, just filling in crosses until the penny dropped. That made it more amusing for me than most early-week puzzles. The clues for SECLUSION (log cabin didn't fit) and HOLIDAY made an excellent amusing start. Lots of PPP I think, but I knew all the names.

Spot-on Tuesday time here. Congratulations to Ms. Roseman for the debut.

Godzilla 1:30 AM  



Too many Japanese guys. I hate Japanese guys.

Larry Gilstrap 2:04 AM  

After yesterday, well you remember yesterday, I was feeling a bit wary. You remember wary.

Perfectly good Tuesday in my book. Not much crap, well maybe, PHS. I see NYE on top of DEEN and would love to be a fly on the wall when they hook-up. Perhaps the topic would be Darwinism vs. Social Darwinism. My money is on Bill, unless Paula is cooking, then that trumps truth. Weird clue for BEAN ANGEL, did you notice?

I have no problem when a constructor throws me a bone: the time zone abbreviation or the compass orientation thing or the Scottish hat. It's Tuesday, for crying out loud, and throngs of people are wanting to jump on the crossword puzzle bandwagon. Forget Stamford! Next year Madison Square Garden. Come on folks, YOLO!

Does a SWAMI GAZE INTO a crystal ball?

jae 3:01 AM  

Tough for a Tues, more like a medium Wed. Cute theme, a couple of nice long downs, liked it.

pita>feta>LAMB

Hmm - the Sony guy is an anagram of one of our favorite golfers. No wonder I get confused on the spellings.

chefwen 3:40 AM  

Pretty slow out of the gate but picked up the pace once I caught the theme at 20A. I don't recall this particular theme, must have called in sick that day, so it was fresh in my eyes and I liked it. Two minor goofs, Erin before EIRE and SAE before ENC. like I said, minor and easily fixed.

@Larry G. BEAN ANGEL made me laugh. NYE on top of PAULA DEEN made me slightly nauseous.

Loren Muse Smith 4:25 AM  

I’ve never seen this done. When I got PAKISTANZANIA, I stopped. Whispered it. Whispered it again. Said it out loud a few times. I loved it. The reveal is perfect.

As evidenced by Rex, it’s fun to immediately try to think of more possibilities. UNITED KINGDOMINCAN REPUBLIC is terrific. After countries I went to states, too. And then was imagining stuff like Delaware house, Wisconsin tax, Connecticut glass, Rhode Island slide, Tennessee red.

@Larry G – loved your BEAN ANGEL.

Fun puzzle, fun theme. PAKISTANZANIA. It just rolls off your tongue. I can’t stop saying it.

Anonymous 5:42 AM  

Anyone count the self references in this write up? Aye aye captain.

Lewis 6:40 AM  

BEANANGEL is a DOOK is a Gridiom.

Well, no controversy here. Read the constructor comments today, as you did yesterday, and you'll find an entire family pooling together to create this. Very feel-good, and the perfect antidote to yesterday's disturbing turn.

And I respectfully disagree with Rex -- I loved this. I said "Wow!" when I finished (Jeff Chen felt the same, giving this POW), and that doesn't happen often on Tuesday. I had never seen this done before, and the constructors had me at PAKISTANZANIA. The reveal tied it up in a beautiful bow, and I broke into a big smile. This, to me, unlike to Rex, was very clever.

I'm wondering if anyone has done this with U.S. states, with the reveal UNITED STATES, or airlines (UNITED AIRLINES). It might be accepted in a few years.

It felt Tuesday easy, but the theme/reveal totally charmed me. There were even some clever clues, which don't happen often enough on Tuesday (SECLUSION, STONERS) and some answers that appealed (WOEISME, BEANANGEL, SIGNHERE).

Bravo, Z&D!

Shawn Vondran 6:41 AM  

I am a professional, classical musician. I can't tell you one instance when I've seen LENTANDO. Gradually slowing is typically "ritardando" or abbreviated as "ritard."

rorosen 6:49 AM  

Never seen Frozen? Grow down,..

Anonymous 7:23 AM  

I've been involved with music my entire adult life and played the piano for 73 years and have never seen LENTANDO in a score - more likely "ritardando" - but, OK.

HumanBean 7:48 AM  

Like Rex, I didn't particularly like this one. I just didn't connect intuitively with the constructor. For the Walden's Pond clue, I kept trying for a structure like a cabin or whatever. I also missed on Holiday and Sick (for awesome); the Sony clue, and many more. Ugh! Guess I'm just slow today!

Hungry Mother 7:50 AM  

Don't know ANNA? Get a grandkid. Often on Tuesdays, I go with the down clues primarily, making the solve easier. Easy Tuesday for me.

chefbea 8:06 AM  

fairly easy puzzle...but I don't understand stoners and yolo. Hand up for pita and feta before lamb...which I love. Also love lasagna pizza and Paula Deen.

barry milliken 8:12 AM  

Rebar does NOT "support" concrete. Concrete by itself resists compression forces. By adding rebar (reinforcing steel bars) it can resist also tension and bending forces.

Birchbark 8:14 AM  

Thoreau lived in solitude at Walden Pond, but not seclusion as in shut off from the rest of the world. He had an active railroad more or less running through his back yard, and as he says in his chapter on Visitors, "I had more visitors while I lived in the woods than at any other period of my life." ... "One inconvenience I sometimes experienced in so small a house, the difficulty of getting to a sufficient distance from my guest when we began to utter the big thoughts in big words."

I wonder if one of those big words was "Nicaraguatemala." This was a fun solve with plenty of chuckles along the way.

kitshef 8:16 AM  

BEAN ANGEL, can you hear me?
BEAN ANGEL, can you see me?
Are you somewhere up above?
Are you what my chili needs more of?

I really enjoyed this. Another theme feature is that all the overlaps are three letters.

I have always said 'tan-zuh-NEE-uh'. When we went to Namibia, everyone said 'tan-ZAY-nee-uh'.

UNITEDKINGDOMINICA would be a 3-fer (United Kingdom, Dominica, Dominica Republic).

SEYCHELLESOTHO, COTEDIVOIRELAND

Nate 8:29 AM  

REALLY slow for me as well, for dumb reasons. It took me a while to understand what was going on with the theme answers, which probably didn't help. I kept wanting something like PAKISTAN ZONES... which was dumb.

And then I had LOTTA for LOTSA and was totally lost. "What's a T-TONER?!" I stared at BEA_ANGEL for a good two minutes, going through the alphabet letter by letter to figure out what could possibly end the BEA_ word. "Beat Angel? Bead Angel? WHAT IS THIS?!" Felt suuuuper dumb when it clicked.

Other than the music clue (I can never remember any of those terms, no matter how frequently they're clued), the fill was perfectly cromulent, and the theme was fun. I found myself wishing there were MORE theme clues.

Wm. C. 8:50 AM  


@chefbea --

A "Stoner" is someone who is habitually "stoned" on drugs or alcohol, or " high." Therefore, a " high achiever."

"YOLO" is an acronym: "You Only Live Once." Often used in the context of doing something dumbly dangerous.



QuasiMojo 8:52 AM  

I was bored and mystified by this puzzle. It would have made a lot more sense and been much tougher (to construct) if the "blocs" were actually tangential. "Andorra" for instance is nowhere near "Switzerland." It's landlocked between Spain and France, although one could say it is similar to Switzerland in that regard, being landlocked. Other than that there would be little reason for the two countries to form a partnership of any sort. The word "bloc" seriously undermined the concept. UNITED NATIONS could have so many more interesting interpretations.

Chuckled when I saw Paula Deen's name in this puzzle.

And I was delighted to see "Basso" clued properly this time.





Roo Monster 8:54 AM  

Hey All !
Man, if only NATIONS could mesh together this nicely in reality.

@chefwen, @LarryG, not only NYE on top of DEEN, but LAYER through them! Har. Blech...

LENT (AND O) is almost over, Easter on Sunday. Like when words/phrases can be un-DOOKed like @Larry G's BEAN ANGEL. That was the basis for my now largely defunct Random Nonsense.

As for puz, nicely mashed up Countries. Simple, easy, TuesPuz-ish. Non-controversial Constructors. LOTSA OKAY OLIO.

@Nancy, YOLO= You Only Live Once.
Carpe diem, and all that.

MOON BENZ :-P (Up to your imagination on that one!
RooMonster
DarrinV

Nancy 8:54 AM  

Loved it! When a Tuesday is "crunchy", I feel like I've been given an unexpected present. The theme answers were cleverly and obliquely clued -- not at all obvious at first glance. The revealer was perfect. And, as a bonus, there were some nifty clues in the non-theme answers as well for SECLUSION; HOLIDAY; and STONERS. Some gimmes -- it's Tuesday, after all -- but nothing that insulted the intelligence. Would that all Tuesdays were so enjoyable.

chefbea 8:58 AM  

@Wm.C. thanx

Nancy 9:09 AM  

@Larry Gilstrap got there first (2:04 am) with the wonderful BEAN ANGEL, but then @kitshef (8:16 am) hit it out of the ballpark.

Mohair Sam 9:11 AM  

This was as good as it gets on a Tuesday. Period.

Then along comes our @Rex, curmudgeon in waiting, to point out that the idea had been done before somewhere in the universe. I'm reminded of the theme song for a '60s program called "BBC3" that aired for a season in England. Dug out the words on Google, it's not on YouTube so I can't give you the tune:

"It’s all been done before
But so have spring and summer
We welcome them the more
That each is not a callow newcomer.
It's all been said before
By Swift, who said it better.
Or if not Swift, then someone else
Has played with every letter of the alphabet,
It's still worth saying it yet...",

Lighten up Rexford. We can't reinvent the wheel every day.

While I'm at it: We've never seen "Frozen" either, but we see no need for constructors to run through our approved ANNA list. Talk about picking nits.

@Godzilla - Why can't I stop laughing at your stupid joke?

@Kitshef - Nice. Has it ever occurred to you how flat out dumb Teen Angel had to be?

Very nice Spitz and Roseman - keep 'em coming.

Angelsmom 9:15 AM  

Haven't looked at Rex's snarky comments for a while -- he's still at it,annoyingly critical and pompous, showing off with his cleverer country combinations. Now live in Maryland, enjoy doing Washington Post puzzles more than NYT -- not as exasperating as NYT after Wednesdays, but clever enough for me. As I've said before, "Lighten up, Rex!"

GILL I. 9:25 AM  

I'm with @Lewis....I found this delightful.
The back of my brain cells were tickling me because I thought I might have seen something similar. I didn't care because I was enjoying this LOTSA.
I like WISH SENT and ANNA hugging ICE ARENA. DOMINOS pizza will always be a WOE IS ME if I try and eat that garbage.
I like @Loren's idea of doing this theme with some US of A States.
Good job - fun...ZacharyDiane.

Z 9:33 AM  

Also slower than normal on a Tuesday, so apparently Rex's slowness isn't all that atypical. And like everyone else who has commented, nothing I can point to other than just not really grokking the clues. It's nice to have a little Tuesday Tussle.

I wrote in AK twice and waited for the crosses. These dudes have muddied my crossword before, so now I just wait.

As for the recycled theme, when is it a recycled theme and when is it a GENRE? I lean more toward this type of theme (mashing like words together with overlapping letters) being a theme GENRE. It's a fun exercise and don't mind having others taking stabs at it.

@jae - re:spellings - It seeems like we haven't seen Nori Aoki in weeks. I'm guessing he appears this week.

@barry milliken - in what way is helping concrete "resist ... bending forces" not support? I see how a materials scientist would want to distinguish between forces, but for most of us "support" is apt enough.

Brian 9:37 AM  

Easiest Tuesday evah. Record low.

ArtO 10:02 AM  

If it's slower than normal with all the hangups noted, why not rate it at least Medium or Medium Challenging for a Tuesday? Many of us had the same hangups with the cluing on Awesome (SICK) and Office closing time (HOLIDAY). And totally agree with Angelsmom.

@WmC thanks for the YOLO definition. Despite my age, I did know STONER!

Craig Percy 10:04 AM  

Very enjoyable puzzle. Holiday took awhile.

DJG 10:10 AM  

I thought this one was pretty good -- even if it took me forever to correctly parse PAKISTANZANIA (Is there a STANZANIA?).

Rex's criticism that the theme has been done before -- four years ago, in a different publication -- might be valid for people like himself who do tons and tons of puzzles, but I doubt it resonates with the typical solver.

Personally, I don't mind seeing repeat themes from years ago once in a while, as I've usually forgotten them even if I have solved them, and if the original weren't in NYT chances are the new ones are indeed new to me.

Constructors are consistently independently coming up with similar themes to those done in the past. As long as people aren't going Timothy Parker on everyone and plagiarizing others' work, I think it's fine. And I don't think it automatically means the resulting puzzle is stale.

Hartley70 10:15 AM  

I started with 1a and involuntarily groaned, "Don't let it be WISH." I was sure this puzzle would be more of the same, using the 1a rule that as it begins, so it continues. Tuesdays can be especially dicey that way.

Surprise! PAKISTANZANIA just bowled me over. No ennui here! I haven't been doing daily puzzles long enough to get tired of themes and at my rate of one-a-day I'm not likely to to ever get jaded. This was terrific!
In fact, I look forward to more of this theme, states, capital cities, three component themers. Bring it on!

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

Professional musician here. Never heard of LENTANDO. Think they meant rallentando, a.k.a., Rall.

Joseph Michael 11:13 AM  

Haven't encountered this theme before, so it worked fine for me. A nice story behind the making of the puzzle, too (see Jeff Chen's site).

Puzzle seemed unusually talkative, with entries like BE AN ANGEL, I KNOW, GAZE INTO, WOE IS ME, and SIGN HERE.

Liked the clue for STONERS and learned a new expression: YOLO.

Congrats to Zachary and his mom.

David Schinnerer 11:17 AM  

Once again...theme answers not good enough because not the ones Rex would have used. Jeesh...

I liked this one. Haven't seen it before, so no
righteous indignation about there being others like it out there. Of course, I like most puzzles I do. Call me a simpleton. Just really love the process. Not doing them so I can criticize someone. I thank the constructors for giving me a pleasurable diversion each day.

pmdm 11:19 AM  

Can you remember, Shawn Vondran, which composer it was. I've never seen it easier. Some composers have their quirks. Chopin often used Lento or Grave in place of Adagio, and I find which term a composer uses can influence my choice of tempi. I would not be that surprised if it were Mahler, although a lot of his marking are in German.

What a great word, Z (GENRE). The "add some letters to a common phrase" which we saw recently on a Sunday [OON] is a GENRE and not merely a puzzle theme. You hit the nail on the head.

old timer 11:22 AM  

Agree with those who liked the theme. All of the combos could indeed form a political bloc in some regional association of countries. SWITZERLAND could join ANDORRA and Luxembourg and San Marino as advocates for smaller countries with no seacoast. PAKISTAN and TANZANIA might have a joint interest in protecting their shipping from Somali pirates. GUATEMALA and NICARAGUA have a common interest in dealing with political or economic refugees passing through their countries. So I rate the execution of the concept Clever.

I had 12 minutes today, 11 yesterday, so it was Tuesday-Easy.

Hands up for taking a bit longer than I should have to see HOLIDAY.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 11:54 AM  

I was told that Henry David Thoreau's mother walked over to Walden Pond every day while young Henry was living there and brought him his lunch. It takes some of the punch out of his discussions of domestic economy.

oldactor 11:59 AM  

Toured Japan for six months in a production of "The Fantasticks" and had a terrible time trying to learn the names of our Japanese crew. One young lady's name was Takako. I decided to try a mnemonic. I imagined a taco with a penis or c*ck inside it, a truly indelible image. Next time I saw her I confidently said: Hello Taco c*ck. Fortunately she spoke no English.

Roo Monster 12:14 PM  

@oldactor

Literally LOLed on that story! Good stuff.
You're gonna have to tell us some of the movies you've been in.

Oh, and @Nancy, sorrt for mixing you up with @chefbea in answering her question about YOLO. You know, with your names being so similar! :-)

RooMonster

chefbea 12:28 PM  

@RooMonster...I can see how you get Nacy and I mixed up...we are twins!!!!!

nick 12:33 PM  

Yeah, not much fun. Not enough good fill to compensate those who didn't it enjoyable (raises hand) to slog through the themers.

Beadola 12:40 PM  

@chefbea Stoners get high. You Only Live Once.

Anonymous 12:55 PM  

"I have always said 'tan-zuh-NEE-uh'. When we went to Namibia, everyone said 'tan-ZAY-nee-uh' "

That's curious. I wait at the bus stop every morning with a man from Tanzania, and he says it 'tawn zah NEE uh'

Mr. Fitch 1:07 PM  

Another interesting constraint here is the three-letter overlap on each one.

kitshef 1:08 PM  

NAURUGUAY
GUINEABISSAUDIARABIA
BELARUSSIA
NICARGUAM
MYANMARSHALLISLANDS
NEPALESTINE(disputed)

Teedmn 1:15 PM  

I was PAKISTAN Zoned for a while - didn't write it in because having written in PAn-aSiAN Z___ first made me wary of splatzing things down willy-nilly.

Like @Rex, my brain took a brief HOLIDAY when sussing out 4D. And then it was more like a steel block than a trap when I went for i-beAm instead of REBAR at 35A.

@Larry Gilstrap's BEAN ANGEL got me singing the same song as all y'all - thanks, @kitshef, for putting it into words!

LOTSA stuff to like in this mother-son collaboration - congrats to the Spitz-Roseman household!

tea73 2:00 PM  

Slightly faster than my usual time. I got slowed down by having Thoreau live in a WOOD CABIN as I knew he didn't live in SECLUSION. I thought the themers were cute - and having done a fair amount of traveling/living overseas didn't have to much trouble sussing them out.

Joe Bleaux 2:14 PM  

Verb o' the day: SPLATZING. I love it.

Teedmn 2:28 PM  

@Joe Bleaux, I have to credit (who else?) Masked & Anonymous for the coinage of "splatzing".

Howie Myers 2:29 PM  

Loved this puzzle. Never saw it coming but when I got it, had to say the 3 out loud for fun.

BarbieBarbie 3:13 PM  

Monday-fast for me. I have no idea why. This theme was fun, and its extrapolations by the commentariat are even better, so a Pow in my book too. But I have to say the "Bean Angel" patron saint of chili wins visual of the day. Not counting that taco (thanks for that).

Warren Howie Hughes 3:27 PM  

"SWAMI, SWAMI, How I love ya, How I love ya, My Dear Old SWAMI!"

RMK 3:31 PM  

Same here...

Lewis 4:32 PM  

To anyone who wishes to revisit yesterday's controversy, here's a piece by NYT Public Editor about it: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/11/public-editor/a-crossword-as-a-second-chance-troubles-many-readers.html .

Anonymous 6:34 PM  

Lentando is not a musical term. Period.

Tom Gilson 7:37 PM  

After seeing Rex's link to "Around the World," I looked up Lisa Steinfield to remind myself who she was. Turns out today is her birthday. Happy birthday, Lisa!

Punctuated equilibrium 8:13 PM  

Fun, fast puzzle, without the ick factor of yesterday's.

jessica cohn 10:58 PM  

Hated this one. Couldn't get the theme and some of the clues and answers Didn't gel with me.
Awesome/ sick
Office closing time - a holiday is not a time
Mush/mash - olio?
Yolo?
Looking forward to tommorrow

Anonymous 11:45 PM  

Christmas time.

Dolgo 2:25 AM  

I agree. I've been playing classical music in one kind of group or another for over 60 years by and I've never seen it. Another marking is "rallentando." On the other hand, it IS in the dictionary. I suspect a non-musician did this puzzle!

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