Mir Bist Du Schon 1938 hit / MON 11-4-13 / Eponym of city now known as Istanbul / Camp classic by Weather Girls / Alpo alternative /

Monday, November 4, 2013

Constructor: John Lieb

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: "IT'S RAINING MEN" (15D: Camp classic by the Weather Girls … or a homophonic hint to 3-, 8-, 26- and 31-Down) — the Down theme answers are "reigning men," i.e. kings and emperors:

Theme answers:
  • 3D: "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" protagonist (KING ARTHUR)
  • 26D: So-called "Father of Europe" (CHARLEMAGNE)
  • 8D: Eponym of the city now known as Istanbul (CONSTANTINE)
  • 31D: Shakespeare play that begins "Now is the winter of our discontent"  ("RICHARD III")
Word of the Day: BEI (13A: "___ Mir Bist Du Schön (1938 hit)) —
bei (+ dative)
  1. (with something that has a location) by (some place or someone); nearwithon
    Ich habe es nicht bei mir. — “I do not have it on me.”

  2. (with something that has a definite time) by (some time); by the beginning of (some event); atonupon
    bei Abfahrt des Zuges — “upon departure of the train”

  3. (with something that has a duration) duringwhileover
    bei der Arbeit — “during work”
    bei einem Glase Wein — “over a glass of wine”

  4. (with a person, business name, or job title) at the home, business, or station usually occupied by (someone)

  5. (with an organization) infor
    bei der Firma arbeiten — “to work for the firm”

  6. (with something that may or may not occur) if there is (something)
    bei Schnee — “if there is snow”

  7. (in a postal address) care of (wiktionary)


• • •

Groaner pun is the only thing between this puzzle and a theme so basic and banal ("These Four Things Belong To Same Category") the NYT and most major outlets would never ever publish it. That said, if you are a fan of groaner puns, then why not? I'm not, but you knew that. The puzzle has the added … let's say, "virtue" … of having all the theme answers running (or "falling") down (like "rain" — Get It!?). So two things. Two things between this theme and remedial nonsense. But that might be enough. Pun + downness combo makes the puzzle both silly and visually interesting, which is Better Than Boring (and on Monday, Better Than Boring is pretty much the Bar).


Two things I learned / noticed because of this theme—first, Paul Shaffer co-wrote this song!? That is news to me. I know him almost exclusively as Letterman's musical director. Could not name any song he wrote—til now. Cool. Second, "homophonic" is one letter away from "homophobic," which is something close to ironic in the context of today's puzzle, as the song at the center of it all is clued as a "camp classic," by which I think the puzzle means "Big Gay Anthem" (which is what the song is now, despite the "each and every woman could find the perfect guy" line). If "homophonic" meant "sounding gay," that would work here. It doesn't mean that, of course. I'm basically just turning words around in my head at this point, so feel free to disregard the majority of this paragraph.


This puzzle has far too much crosswordese and junk. BEI is practically criminal, esp. on a Monday. Know how often it's been in the NYT since I started blogging seven years ago? No times. Precisely no times. The last time was in April 2006, and that puzzle was a Thursday. BEI, man, that is a bad and likely Entirely Unnecessary choice up there. I mean, AROO is terrrrrible, but it's terrible in that way you can just blow past. BEI sticks with you. Ugh. Choice to go with NUANCE is probably not a good one. Leaves you with a terminal-U situation—really limits your options as a constructor. So you get the horrid AEIOU and horrider BEI. TRANCE, STANCE, even FRANCE would probably have been easier to pull off. Even if you had to pull fill out all the way down to PARMESAN, what would you be losing, really?

Lastly, "Now is the winter of our discontent" is not a complete thought and should really have an ellipsis after it in the clue. It makes about as much sense on its own as "Now is the dog of my neighbor" without the subsequent "peeing on my lawn."


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

80 comments:

John Child 12:12 AM  
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retired_chemist 12:16 AM  

Enjoyed it. Medium Monday.

Don't see a problem with "Now is the winter of our discontent" as clued. That is indeed how the play starts, and the line led to a Steinbeck novel title as well as being used to good effect in The Goodbye Girl.

Don;t see the trouble with bei as clued either. The song isn't obscure IMO. Granted it is a tough word to translate into English, but so what?

The theme answers and the fill are both fresh and interesting. SneerS => SCOFFS was my only writeover.

Thanks, Mr. Lieb.

John Child 12:16 AM  

I liked this just fine. Vertical theme, nice long answers, minimal crud. Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen is the Andrews Sisters for heaven's sake. That's Cultural Literacy 101. Snappy, fun Monday.

Steve J 12:17 AM  

Tore through this very quickly. I'm not sure if it was because of that that the puzzle felt very rote and mechanical, or if it was the puzzle itself.

The theme was a one-trick pony. I'm not a big fan of puns, but I've seen plenty that are far more groan-worthy than this one. Still, ultimately "list of kings/emperors" isn't a terribly enthralling theme.

I do like that the theme is in the downs - for variety's sake, if nothing else - but the challenge with that can be grid geometry that can lead to an excess of less-than-thrilling fill. That definitely happened here, where the three-letter blocks in the NW and SE corners was pretty grim.

Liked the couple long acrosses, but other than that, it wa just another mechanical Monday for me.

Steve J 12:29 AM  
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jae 12:33 AM  

I really liked this one except it seemed on the tough side for a Mon.   Thought the pun was clever and, as I think Rex may have meant, you gotta love a gay anthem clued with homophonic.  

Only erasures were Saar for RUHR and oN for IN, but I needed the crosses to get a bunch of stuff spelled correctly...e.g. CHARLEMAGNE...

It's a rare Mon. that is genuinely funny, nice job John Lieb.

Steve J 12:40 AM  

@John Child: "Cultural Literacy 101" is probably pushing it regarding the Andrews Sisters and this song. It's probably a generational thing. I do know of the Andrews Sisters, but the song's completely unfamiliar to me, as I suspect it is to the vast majority of my Gen X (and younger) peers. They haven't seemed to be an enduring part of the cultural canon even compared to many of their contemporaries.

The song title - and Rex's word of the day - remind me that bei is the German preposition I hate the most. It has a nasty habit of replacing perfectly good, already-existing prepositions in only very specific circumstances. I can never get it right. That said, I at least was able to pick it up quickly here. People who don't speak/curse at German (and who don't know the Andrews Sisters) probably struggled a bit wig that one.

Anonymous 12:45 AM  

The Gernan BEI could always be replaced with a partial, such as:

"Could BE I think too much"

Or something similar.


-MAS

Davis 12:51 AM  

My first sub-4 minute Monday in far too long. Piece of cake, didn't even see BEI until Rex pointed it out.

I thought this was a fine Monday on all fronts, with a perfectly cromulent theme. Nothing amazing about it, but amazing Mondays seem to come only once in a blue moon (i.e., about once every two or three years). Maybe I'd have felt differently if I'd gotten caught up on BEI.

Anoa Bob 1:29 AM  

The Andrew Sisters were by no means the only ones. Here's a three-for-one youtube with Teresa Brewer, followed by the Frank Slay Orchestra, and ending with Steve Lawrence and Edyie Gormé doing

Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen

Never heard of the Weather Girls or their homowhatever revealer. Kinda took the edge off this one for me. Nos ossa oso.

Kevynne 1:34 AM  

Mini Cooper I believe is made by bmc British Motor Corp NOT BMW Bavarian Motors works.

Alcatraz Collie Mazdas 2:06 AM  

Nice! And lots of Zs and Xs floating around!

chefwen 2:32 AM  

Agree with @Rex with the medium rating. Did not zip through this one with my usual comment "O.K. this one is done, I guess I'll go make dinner."

Tried to feed KALKAN to avatar once, AKA Skippy, he would have naught to do with it. I thought it would ease up on his home made dog food preparations. Found a brand of canned food named Skippy which he seems to like, so now he gets half and half. Both parties satisfied.

One write-over @7A SniFFS before SCOFFS. Good Monday puzzle that wasn't over before I was ready for it to be over. Thanks John Lieb.

Carola 3:30 AM  

Cute. I liked the array of reigning men, with the two English kings bracketing the two emperors in those very nice long downs. Having no idea about the song, the reveal was the last thing I filled in, so it functioned as a nice punchline - made me smile.

DEAR ME, the IMP, ASS, and IDIOTS could really MADDEN one and elicit IRE and RANTS.

@Steve J - Agree with you about BEI. I used to teach a German translation course, and getting across its myriad uses was always a challenge for me. Very appropriate that it shares a grid quadrant with NUANCE. And maybe GIN, too, since it can drive you to drink.

[captcha: topenet - Internet site for sots?]

jae 3:41 AM  
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Wiki says 3:42 AM  

The Mini was originally a product of the British Motor Corporation, which in 1966 became part of British Motor Holdings. British Motor Holdings merged with Leyland Motors in 1968 to form British Leyland.[4] Mini became a marque in its own right in 1969.[5][6] In the 1980s, British Leyland was broken-up and in 1988 Rover Group, including Mini, was acquired by British Aerospace.[4] In 1994, Rover Group was acquired by BMW. In 2000, Rover Group was broken up by BMW, with BMW retaining the Mini brand.[7]

Questinia 3:55 AM  

Of all the puzzles to solve entirely in crosses! My only erasure was Sneers ere SCOFFS.

I think Mr. Lieb knew exactly what he was doing all around including cluing with homophonic. I've had the absolute pleasure of dancing with gay men to the anthemic song and let me tell you not only is it phonic, honey, but it also SEXES with FLEX.

Kalkan is also a tourist town on the Turkish Mediterranean.

Questinia 4:03 AM  

That would be *a*crosses.

The Bard 5:59 AM  

King Richard III , Act I, scene I


[Enter GLOUCESTER, solus]

GLOUCESTER: Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence and the king
In deadly hate the one against the other:
And if King Edward be as true and just
As I am subtle, false and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mew'd up,
About a prophecy, which says that 'G'
Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: here
Clarence comes.

[Enter CLARENCE, guarded, and BRAKENBURY]

Brother, good day; what means this armed guard
That waits upon your grace?

LNL 6:20 AM  

Can you really clue ETS as Many "Star Trek" extras, for short? Doesn't that violate some sort of rule by essentially including part of the answer in the clue?

MetaRex 6:37 AM  

V. cute...wanted KNIGHTS [of] NEE at first for KING ARTHUR...

Agree w/ Steve J. on the NW and SE 3 x 3 boxes and w/ OFL on the BEI/AEIOU business...the overall load of ESE today though is a good bit lower than it was last Monday per the Eseometer ...74 last week, 58 1/2 today.

jberg 6:52 AM  

Phenomenally easy for me - I did the whole puzzle while waiting for the coffee brewer to run its cycle, something that has never happened for me before. I guess if you've heard of the German song it helps -- even if, like me, you've never heard of the other one.

I'm pretty sure the expression "fine by me" is from the German, fwiw.

But -- TACOS are not a 'fare with shells,' they are the shells.

Anonymous 7:11 AM  

Why Rex and (in a rival blog) John Lieb attribute this 1930's song to Paul Shaffer (born 1949) is a mystery to me.

Gerry

Anonymous 7:17 AM  

Whoops! They were talking about "It's Raining Men". I was referencing "Bei Mir Bist Du Shein"

Mohair Sam 7:23 AM  

Somebody please clue in @Anon 7:11, I haven't got the heart.

Very nice Monday puzzle with clever theme. Fun.

BEI is a perfectly good answer and clue, I second @retiredchemist.

Nice job with your choice of reciter of Shakespeare @Rex, must have been a hundred options - but none so fun.

Scarab 7:46 AM  

I'd already gotten a sneak peek of this one (and the next couple of days) at the Arlington Puzzle Festival this weekend. My first tournament! I was happy to solve them all clean. I'm waiting for the full rankings to go up on the web -- all I know for sure is I wasn't in the top six, but I don't know how close I came. I'm actually glad not to have made the top three, though, since I wasn't even close to finishing the finalists' puzzle, and that would have been embarrassing...

Was anyone else in Arlington?

Susan McConnell 7:58 AM  

This was a pretty typical Monday. Rex's disdain seems a *bit* harsh. BEI is icky, but I don't see what's wrong with AEIOU. MY only pause came at KALKAN, which, once I got from crosses I convinced myself I had heard of before.

AliasZ 8:00 AM  

Things are not quite as grim as Rex would like you to believe. I do think however that the theme is a bit confused. As puns go it's not a great one, and as reigning men go, any list that does not include Julius Caesar or Peter the Great is rather thin. But we do have John MADDEN, Attila the RAIDER, MANDM (short for male Decision Maker) and IDIOTS, all of which could be part of the theme.

There are more than 30 BEI acronyms, of which my favorite was Backscattered Electron Imaging, but it could BE I drank too much.

Some of the fill was less than enthralling as already pointed out. I am not a fan of ISHOT LOTSA OSO OSSA NOS PDAS, or PRUNES abutting ASS at the bottom, but I liked ALCATRAZ, NAGANO and love PARMESAN cheese. I also liked the mention of WILT Chamberlain who calculated that he had encounters with 20,000 different women. He could've been the father of Europe.

As Mondays go, this was a Monday.

Pete 8:24 AM  

Will someone please construct a puzzle with Dickens titles running down and a revealer of RAINS LIKE THE DICKENS so we can be through with this theme?

joho 8:25 AM  

@MAS, nice thought about incorporating BEI into a phrase. "Can it BEI am the only one?" However, I think the song is familiar enough for "BEI Mir Bist Du Schon) to fly.

@Kevynne, the only place you can buy a Mini Cooper in Cincinnati is at the BMW dealership.

My favorite cross was at "I don't give an IDIOT'S ASS!"

Definitely an original theme!

Z 8:37 AM  

@LNL - "extras" in the clue references the show's non-stars, not extraterrestrials.

Liked it more than OFL, mostly because of the verticality. I also liked RAIDER/MADDEN, MAXI/BRA, PRUNES/ASS, and I SHOT of GIN (best use of a RRN ever). Nevertheless, starting with OAKs have acorns says a whole lot about Mondays.

r.alphbunker 8:40 AM  

I liked it. I can see no downside to this puzzle. RP seems to be parodying himself in the write up.

Anonymous 8:50 AM  

Medium? This one gave up without a fight, other than a brief holding action at SCOFF (I too went for SNEER). BEI was blindingly obvious to me - but only because I speak a bit of German. Otherwise I'd probably be irritated too.

Lewis 9:14 AM  

@stevej -- I don't see how having theme answers down lends more toward bad fill (grid gruel) than having them across. If the answers were horizontal, you'd still have to make the same choices. Or so it seems to me.

I found it a fun solve with the longer answers than usual for Monday, but still Monday easy.

I like DEAR ME crossing RICHARD III, considering that he was found under a parking lot.

mac 9:26 AM  

Easy -medium for me, only because of sneers, sniffs, scoffs. It was fun with the long reigning men's names coming down.

Tacos are a dish made of tortillas with filling, I think.

Nice write-up, Rex!

chefbea 9:30 AM  

Easy fun puzzle. Thought for a minute there was a shot out to me at 13 across…never heard of Bei.

Loved prunes next to ass.!!!

Greg Charles 9:40 AM  

I'm OK with "Now is the winter of our discontent" too. It actually is Richard's true thought that at that point,. By afterthought, he adds "Made glorious summer by this sun of York", smoothly altering his treasonous griping into an obsequious tribute, He does this even though no one is apparently there to hear it. What a perfect weasel he is!

quilter1 9:42 AM  

I didn't mind it. I thought it was interesting for a Monday. I liked PARMESAN, and all the long downs. It was different. On to BEQ.

Captcha is eshoves. Electronic bullying?

MaharajaMack 9:53 AM  

I actually chuckled when I realized the theme, which doesn't happen often. I give it two thumbs up. Rex is being a poophead.

Mohair Sam 10:00 AM  

@Greg Charles - Well said on the Richard soliliquy, I've learned something today.

Mohair Sam 10:03 AM  

soliloquy - Oops

Bob Kerfuffle 10:22 AM  

Bei mir OK ist es.

Two Ponies 10:43 AM  

I liked this just fine. The pun was cute despite never hearing that song. Rex seems a bit harsh on this one.

gifcan 11:03 AM  

@Davis - cromulent?

Does anybody read @TheBard's posts? I do. Every time. Sometimes more than once. Thank you.

Fine puzzle. Very like a Monday.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

BEI? RUHR? NIKON? OBGYN? KALKAN? OSSA? OSO? MSRP?????

And then some partials and very odd entries (AMER needs to die right now, along with MANDM)

dk 11:32 AM  

I side with Ret. Chemist and Acme.

������ (3 Stars) All my German I learned from Sargent Schultz: I see nothing!

Jon88 11:40 AM  

Weird that the theme is four people, but the theme clues are three people and a play title (which invokes a person, but is not a person).

Richard IV 11:52 AM  

RICHARD III isn't a person? What the hell does that make me?

baja 11:54 AM  

iiiiiii raining ok not high brow but still cute

August West 11:55 AM  

Meh.

It's just the same as all the rest.
It's not the worst.
It's not the best.

Brett Chappell 12:00 PM  

For what it's worth with the Teutonic griping! it is worth noting that BMW bought Rover nearly twenty years ago, I think, so Mini is indeed part of BMW.

Masked and Anonymo6Us 12:20 PM  

Had SneerS. Then FINE made me go with SniFFS. Thought I was never gonna get outa that corner.

Too bad SE edges didn't go with ESSEN and IAN. Woulda had my fifteen seconds of shoutout fame (@51-D).

Column of hope: FINE-AROO, M AND A. (see last paragraph)
Column of nope: AEIOU OSSA AMER.

Fave moo-cow MonPuz clue: "Lead-in to Bear or Berra".

Great MonPuz theme. Fave themer: RICHARD on a stick.

Fave blog writeup segment: that walkabout in the middle, talkin about Paul Shaffer, etc. Nice digressin.

M&A

old lady Sheila 12:21 PM  

very olde ladie

old lady Sheila 12:23 PM  

Bei mir bist du shoen was not German, altho it came out later as such, but Yiddish.

Acme 12:35 PM  

Yes, Yiddish and known to prob all Jews and anyone over fifty!
Once again shamefully focusing on one three letter word when you have a marvelously fun song/ reveal reigning over the puzzle!
Everyone needs to play both songs and take a little dance break! Great way to start the week!

M and Also 12:39 PM  

p.s.
That apple cider vinegar + soft soap tip for catchin fruit flies ain't workin, at our house. Do U have to use a special shape of container, mayhaps?

p.p.s.s.
BEI seemed ok bei m&e, beitw. Cute weeject, but needs a flashier clue. Already have been some good suggestions from U smarties out there in commentland. Only other thought...
"Terse way of sayin 'walk a mile in my shoes'?"

Man, BEI sure didn't twerk 4-Oh's twinkie, tho. Way to torch a weeject, dude.

M&A

ahimsa 12:55 PM  

I loved this one! It was fun not so much for the bad pun (which was cute) but due to memories of dancing to the "camp classic" theme entry. And I second M&As comment that @Rex's digression in the middle was the best part of the write-up.

It's nice to have a change where theme entries are vertical and reflect the theme. Plus all the "reigning men" were well known and interesting in their own right. Not one was a WOE (Who on earth?) for me. Since I know very little history then that's an admirable feat for the puzzle constructor.

Anyway, kudos to John Lieb! "Ich liebe" your puzzle.

Bird 1:22 PM  

Not a bad puzzle and good to see themers go down once in a while. The fill could have been much better and fresher.

Didn't mind BEI as it was very gettable from the crosses

With RAIDERS at 5D I would have liked it if 47D was clued “Former head coach of 5D”

“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” is a very funny movie

I'm just saying... 2:34 PM  

I thought this was an imaginative, funny puzzle, especially for a Monday....not particularly difficult, but then it was a Monday.

I don't understand the nitpicking about two or three marginal words. It was a lot more fun than most.

Jim Sutton

retired_chemist 3:07 PM  

My German professor in college was Austrian, and he spent most of one lecture teaching us bei and warning us that it was going to be a challenge for us to use correctly. he was right.

Milford 3:30 PM  

Thought the theme was cute, liked that the theme entries were RAINING down the puzzle.

If a song from the Andrews Sisters is Cultural Literacy 101 then I am definitely failing that course. Got BEI entirely from crosses, hardly noticed it.

Loved PARMESAN and ALCATRAZ. Dad was a big NIKON fan. Funny that an Anon finds it objectionable fill.

Nameless 3:34 PM  

Only know the Andrew Sisters from Abbot & Costello movies. BE I smart enough to pass Cult Lit 101?

Probably not.

David from CA 3:48 PM  

@Z @LNL re. "extra"
As I understand it the commandment is "Thou shalt not use any word in thy answers in thy clues.", so it would be irrelevant that the "extra" in the clue references a different "extra" than the answer's "E" does.
But it does seem that that commandment is loosened up a bit for acronyms sometimes maybe?

Last Silver Bei-let 3:52 PM  

There was a 1957 hit by Gene Vincent called:
"Bi Bickey Bi Bo Bo Go".

Constructors: This could be mined for some nifty BEI cousins, such as:
* BICKEY
* BIBO
* BOBO
* BOGO
* ALULA
* LETSROCKAGINNOW

As always, 4-Oh, there is no need to thank me. Consider it just another in a long series of public service announcements.

M&A

sanfranman59 4:03 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:18, 6:07, 1.03, 69%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:12, 3:46, 1.12, 88%, Challenging

Sfingi 4:13 PM  

Just seeing any German words on a crossword puzzle is a gift. Bei mir es ist shon. Ich liebe John auch.

That being said, now let me explain that there is a difference among imbecile, idiot (and moron). An idiot has a 0-25 I.Q, an imbecile has a 25-50 I.Q., and a moron has a 51-70 I.Q. Any dope knows that.

Back to BEI. Prepositions are always tricky and often idiomatic. A friend of mine returned to Utica after 20 years in Central Amerca. He was working on a Master's degree and the one thing we had to correct were his prepositions.

Finally, when I saw the words, "Camp Song," I thought that I didn't remember that from Girl Scouts.

ludyjynn@aol.com 4:19 PM  

Medium difficulty? Really? This was a classically easy Monday solve for me, a newbie commentator.

Great way to start the daily grind.

Helpful guy 5:00 PM  

@ludjynn -Welcome. Medium for a Monday which is, yes, classically ease.

More to the point, use any name other than your email lest you get tons of spam.

Davis 7:28 PM  

@gifcan -- "Cromulent."

Anonymous 9:47 PM  

I have to admit I'm a little sick of the complaints that show up here every time a German word that isn't "eine" shows up. Crosswords constantly have far, far, far more obscure French and Spanish words, and nobody bats an eyebrow. I don't speak French, and I don't speak Spanish, but I live with it. It's part of the game. If you don't know the German, it's not unfair, it's what people who don't speak Spanish go through every day (and probably people who don't follow baseball I assume). BEI is a basic German word, no more obscure than "ESSO" or "ICI." /rant over

sanfranman59 10:04 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:18, 6:07, 1.03, 69%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:58, 3:46, 1.05, 74%, Medium-Challenging

gifcan 3:14 PM  

@Davis - Thank you for that explanation, I need to watch more of the Simpson's, surely it would embiggen my vocabulary.

spacecraft 11:01 AM  

*sigh* We've been through the imbecile/idiot explanation before, and not that long ago. Yes, we get it, it's technically not correct. But the general population uses all three terms to call out stupidity, so let's just take it in that spirit. One lesson is all we need. Nor do I need to be told for the 150th time that Rick never actually said "Play it again, Sam."

"Camp classic??" I never heard of it. More than that--I've never even heard of the group! Forgot the name already. Hold on a sec till I get the paper.

...Back. Oh yeah, The Weather Girls. Who?? Anyhow, it was all easily inferrable, so no probs there. Nice use of Z's, X's and U's, though geographically I think of ZULU as more East African than South. TACOS' position over ISHOT makes me parse the latter differently.

And while we're parsing, let's try "Now the winter of our discontent is [has been] made summer..." This famous line gave me a chuckle as I recalled Norm McDonald's malapropism: "Now is the winter of our discotheque."

As to BEI, I don't get OFL's rant. It's not like we've never used foreign words before! And it CERTAINLY isn't as bad as MANDM, let alone the cheap constructor's escape of AEIOU.


rain forest 12:45 PM  

Rex has to find *something* to complain about, even if, as Mondays go, this was fresh and inventive with those long down-running themers. Groaner puns are almost de rigueur, no?

I gather that "grated cheese" means "cheese that (usually) is grated". But you can grate pretty well all cheeses (Brie and Camembert excepted), even Venezuelan Beaver Cheese.

Much more enjoyable than the usual Monday.

Solving in Seattle 1:30 PM  

I'm with @Spacy - never heard of the song or the group, but got it on crosses. Actually like the puz and the theme John Lieb.

My first two plunck downs were OAK BRA. That can't be comfortable. And in the BRA section were MAXI WILT and RAIDER. Ok, enough with the juvenile humor, Bevis.

Liked RAIDER and MADDEN in the puz. Speaking of humor, if you've never heard Frank Caliendo do MADDEN, youtube it. He also does a better George W. than George W does.

Off to comment on yesterday's puz that I did while watching the 'Niners squeak by the Hawks in S.F.

Waxy in Montreal 2:36 PM  

Not old enough to remember the Andrews Sisters' version of Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen but recall the hit Louis Prima/Keely Smith cover of the early '60's (which I thought was "My dear Mr. Shane" for the longest time). On the other hand, count me in the @Spacy camp (so to speak) as well on the Weather Girl's classic.

Liked the theme which made for a breezy, enjoyable start-of-the-week puzzle compensating somewhat for today's onset of the WINTER OF (OUR) DISCONTENT up in this neck of the woods.

DMG 3:35 PM  

Never heard of the Weather Girls, never saw that there was a theme, yet still solved with only one write over SCOFF where I had SCOrn. So a good start for me after my Fri/Sat disasters. I used to be able to do most of those, but lately... Don't know if they're getting harder or I'm getting dumber!

Only 15 more shopping days 'til Christmas!

Dirigonzo 5:12 PM  

I liked it - it had LOTSA ZEST!

strayling 6:59 PM  

Wanted LADDIE for Lassie, because it's technically correct and I'm a Terry Pratchett fan.

That aside, and with a minor bafflement because I don't watch Leno and have never heard of KALKAN, this was a playful, breezy start to the week.

Cary in Boulder 10:13 PM  

Amazing how worked up people can get over a Monday.

I had the SCOrn/SCOFF writeover, and started in with CHARLEsdeGaulle, before catching it. Pretty sure I recently heard IT'S RAINING MEN in a movie -- was it "Dallas Buyer's Club"? Never heard of the Water Girls and, music snob that I am, would never listen to it unless tied to a chair while being waterboarded. But I thought it made for a fun, if super easy, theme.

Knew Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen from my childhood. That was one of the songs that inspired little me to climb up on a chair high enough to switch the radio station from the crap my mother liked to one that played proto-rock'n'roll.

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