Pacific sultanate / MON 9-6-10 / Jesus of 1960s Giants / Chinese province where Mao was born / Out-of-studio TV broadcast / Portrayer Austin Powers
Monday, September 6, 2010
Constructor: Randall J. Hartman
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: S-A , T-U-R, D-A-Y … NIGHT! — First words of theme answers can come after "Saturday Night" in familiar phrases.
Word of the Day: BRUNEI (43D: Pacific sultanate) —
Brunei …, officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace …, is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, it is completely surrounded by the state of Sarawak, Malaysia, and in fact it is separated into two parts by Limbang, which is part of Sarawak. It is the only sovereign state completely on the island of Borneo, with the remainder of the island belonging to Malaysia and Indonesia. …
Under Brunei's 1959 constitution, His Majesty Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah is the head of state with full executive authority, including emergency powers, since 1962. ...
The official language of the nation is Malay …, although an important minority speak Chinese. The local variety of Malay (Kedayan or Bukit Malay), spoken natively by two thirds of the population, is quite divergent from and unintelligible to Standard Malay. The most important aboriginal languages are Iban, and two languages called Tutong, each with about 20,000 speakers.
English is also widely spoken and there is a relatively large expatriate community with significant numbers of British and Australian citizens.
Cute little theme today. I finished the puzzle in a little under four minutes, which is right about average for me, so I rated it a medium. Let me run down the theme answers for you real quick and then I'll get to the part I'm dying to tell you.
- 20A: Green Berets (SPECIAL FORCES)
- 33A: Frenzied state (FEVER PITCH)
- 40A: Out-of-studio TV broadcast (LIVE REMOTE)
- 47A: Popular date time … or a phrase that can precede the starts of 20-, 33- and 40-Across (SATURDAY NIGHT)
So how about this puzzle? SPECIAL FORCES and FEVER PITCH have a little zip to them. On the other hand, LIVE REMOTE just kinda sits there. I would describe the rest of the puzzle as solid and non-flashy as well. I did think PINKO (16A: Commie) was an awesome/interesting/unexpected entry. Raise your hand if it brought Archie Bunker to mind for you. I'm one of those solvers who likes people in her puzzles and today I enjoyed the thought of MIKE MYERS, JET LI, and CORA Dithers hanging out together (4D: Portrayer of Austin Powers, "international man of mystery" / 38D: Martial arts champion-turned-film star / 35A: Mrs. Dithers in "Blondie"). Yes, I know there are other people in the grid, but those are the ones I thought would make an interesting get-together. I just don't see 60A: "Project Runway" host HEIDI Klum and 58A: Jesus ALOU of the 1960s Giants adding much to the general atmosphere. If you want to invite them, you can go ahead and have your own little party. Remember: This is all make-believe anyway!
I did have some trouble down in the southwest corner. I entered BAH for HAH goes (53D: "When pigs fly!") and didn't even question that B. So when it looked like the 53A: Chinese province where Mao was born was BUNA* crossing 43D: Pacific sultanate BRU*EI, I guessed N and called it good. If I had thought for a moment about BUNAN, I probably would have realized it should be HUNAN and then I wouldn't have been stressing about that N, which was a total guess as I don't recall ever hearing of BRUNEI. I think the reason I didn't question that B, though, was because I was so busy stressing about the N. It was a Catch-22 is what I'm saying. On to the …
- 23A: Pest attracted to light (MOTH). — Is there a bug that's not attracted to light? I'm sitting at a big picture window with no blinds right now and the constant thunking of the bugs on the glass is amusing to me. Is that wrong?
- 25A: Words before serious, ready or listening (ARE YOU) — I see the makings of another theme here ….
- 38A: Revolutionary War hero John Paul ____ (JONES) — I actually think Quincy JONES would make a better addition to my fictional party.
- 46A: ____ monster (GILA) — If you have kids and you're moving to a different part of the country, I highly recommend the book Gila Monsters Meet You at the Airport. Good stuff.
- 25D: Hairstyles of Sly and the Family Stone (AFROS) — When people are mentioned in the clues for AFROS it's almost always Jimi Hendrix, Jesse Jackson, or the Jackson Five. I like that this clue mixed it up a little. You know who else has awesome afros? The Sylvers.
- 29D: Pinnacle (ACME) — Hi, Andrea!
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