NYT Mini for Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative Difficulty: Medium

Theme: None

Word of the Day: CODA

Coda [ˈkoːda] (Italian for "tail", plural code) is a term used in music primarily to designate a passage that brings a piece (or a movement) to an end. Technically, it is an expanded cadence. It may be as simple as a few measures, or as complex as an entire section.[2]

The presence of a coda as a structural element in a movement is especially clear in works written in particular musical forms. Codas were commonly used in both sonata form and variation movements during the Classical era. In a sonata form movement, the recapitulation section will, in general, follow the exposition in its thematic content, while adhering to the home key. The recapitulation often ends with a passage that sounds like a termination, paralleling the music that ended the exposition; thus, any music coming after this termination will be perceived as extra material, i.e., as a coda. In works in variation form, the coda occurs following the last variation and will be very noticeable as the first music not based on the theme. (Wikipedia)

This is fine. I take some small issue with CODA, which I've always thought of as more of a post-script than a finale [1A: Musical finale]. I see that the whole of music history backs me up on this to some extent, but certainly CODAs are one of those things that have evolved (broadened) both in definition and practice over the years, and quite often now they are basically finales. For that matter, 'finale' itself can also mean different things, so I guess there is no problem with this clue whatsoever. Move along, nothing to see here.

If I had an oreo for every time I encountered the word OREOS in a crossword, I would be very slightly less irritated by the number of times I have encountered the word OREOS in crosswords [7A: Creme-filled cookies]. That is to say my enjoyment of them as a food item is inversely proportional to my enjoyment of them as an answer. Enough already; let's retire this particular creme-based snack cookie from the toolbox, ok? I mean, maybe it's time to show Hydrox some love. They're not only WAY more lexicographically interesting, they were also here first.

I like crossing OTTER [2D: Furry river animal] with WATER [5A: Handout to marathon runners]. Glad they are not cross-referenced; that would have been too on-the-nose and it's nice and subtle as-is. Wow, lot of hyphens in that sentence! I also like the incongruity of mingling a deity of one ancient civilization, that is, ARES [4: Greek god of war] with the power center of a different ancient civilization, namely CAIRO [1D: Egypt's capital].

Not a fan of WHOM, which I'm sure is a huge surprise to everyone [5D: "To ____ it may concern"]. And MORN feels like a bit of a cop out [8A: Poetic time of day]. Why not EVE? Or EEN? It feels arbitrary. Maybe I'm crazy, I don't know. Just one of those things that HIT ME weird [6A: "I'll take a card," in blackjack].

And now, off to the casino for some reason.

Signed, Jonathan Gibson, Newman-O of CrossWorld