Muller Monthly Music Meta, April

puzzle untimed meta 3 minutes (Matt)


Title: “Capital Records”
Prompt: The meta for this puzzle is a song from 2017.
Answer: Havana by Camila Cabello

This puzzle’s four theme entries were crystal-clear from length and placement:

1-D/16-A: [1986 hit by the Bangles] = WALK/LIKE AN EGYPTIAN. Only now realizing this is a 14×15 grid!
23-A: [Czarface and Ghostface Killah single that shares its name with a meat dish] = MONGOLIAN BEEF
43-A: [Grammy-nominated 1969 live jazz album by Les McCann and Eddie Harris] = SWISS MOVEMENT
57-A: [1982 Musical Youth hit] = PASS THE DUTCHIE

Only familiar with the first and last of these, but no matter: we can see that each contains a nationality (Egyptian, Mongolian, Swiss, Dutch). With a hint from the title, let’s take a look at each country’s capital:

Egypt = Cairo
Mongolia = Ulaanbataar
Switzerland = Bern
The Netherlands = Amsterdam

The first letters of these spell CUBA, leading to the contest answer HAVANA.

I love a good geography theme, and this was a fun one. Tight theme, finding four nationalities in songs that spell out a country whose capital is also a hit song.

Have to deduct a few style points for inconsistency, however. First we’ve got EGYPTIAN, MONGOLIAN, and SWISS as their own words, but then DUTCH concealed in DUTCHIE. Second, we’ve got demonyms in these first four, but then switch to the country’s actual name (CUBA) for the meta itself, rather then sticking with the demonym (CUBAN). I get that this is an extremely tight theme that couldn’t exist without those little blots, and I’ve made the same decision to move forward on such an idea after deciding the blots are too minor to keep the puzzle from existing. But this is the life we chose, so we must take our medicine from Fiend bloggers at the appropriate times.

4.25 stars. I’m glad this puzzle saw the light of day. The perfect must not be the enemy of the good!

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11 Responses to Muller Monthly Music Meta, April

  1. Pete+Muller says:

    Thanks Matt!

    433 correct this month…

    Was straightforward for most, but a tough one for people who didn’t pay attention to the puzzle title.

  2. Eric H says:

    It would have been hard not to see the countries referenced in the songs and album. (I knew only “Walk Likean Egyptian,” but a few crosses got me the other easily.) After listing the capitals, I looked for a song called “Cuba,” but when that didn’t pan out, I tried “Havana.” Bingo!

    And then twice in the NYT puzzles, there were clues that referred to Camila Cabello, including one where the answer was “Havana.” Never heard of Ms. Cabello before this week, and now she’s everywhere!

    • Me says:

      That was such a weird coincidence having Havana and Camila Cabello show up in the NYT while the contest was open. I wonder if that helped anyone in either direction.

      Not really sure why Cabello was then in the NYT again the following day. I would think the editors would watch for something like that.

      • Eric H says:

        And in both instances, the NYT answers — “Havana”and “señorita” — could have been clued in many other ways. (I don’t know about you, but I would have appreciated one or two easier clues in Saturday’s puzzle.)

        One person in the Wordplay comments said that they had looked Camila Cabello up after Friday’s puzzle and noticed her duet with Shawn Mendes, and that’s how they got “señorita.”

        • Eric H says:

          I should have added that I submitted my answer to the MMMM before I saw the Friday NYT puzzle, so in the NYT puzzle, HAVANA was a gimme where it otherwise would have been an unknown.

  3. Amanda says:

    Wait, is it Cuba or Havana? I found the song Havana that was released in 2017.

  4. Silverskiesdean says:

    I was going to go with “Cuba” as well, until I realized the song was not released in 2017. Simultaneously, I also realized the title pointed me to Havana, which when I looked it up, did fulfill the 2017 parameter. I only write this because it seems that the internet has become so chock full of information, that whatever you put in, you will get a response of some sort so one has to be extra careful, I think

  5. Allison Burn says:

    The answer as listed above is incorrect. It’s “Havana by Camila Cabello” not “Havana by Camilo Cabella.”

    Will we be seeing this meta mechanism in a future MMMM? 😜

Comments are closed.