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.
• • •

Hi, everyone. PuzzleGirl here with you for the last day of your long weekend. Rex's internet went out earlier this afternoon and he texted me to ask if I could fill in for him if necessary. I checked in with him again later and he said he had his internet back, but I noticed from his Facebook status that he had been working on perfecting the whisky sour, so I offered to give him the night off. You know what I always say: Don't Drink and Blog! (Actually, I never say that, but whatever.)

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.

Theme answers:
  • 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)
Okay, here's the thing. Some of you might know that I'm a huge University of Iowa wrestling fan. (Go Hawks!) In fact, I think it's fair to say that my two passions are crossword puzzles and college wrestling. I was pretty sure I was the only one in the world with that particular combination of interests. And then I find out that today's constructor, Randy Hartman, is an NCAA wrestling referee! The NYT blog posted a picture of him and I totally recognize him! I'm blown away. I guess I'm going to have to make a little room for him in the middle of my Venn diagram.

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!
Love, PuzzleGirl

[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter]


Rube 12:34 AM  

Enjoyed this puzzle. Didn't have too much of the usual worn out fill. Thought that the "martial arts champion" and the "Project Runway" clues were a bit esoteric for Monday. However, as usual for Monday, they were easily gettable from the crosses. (I should add INGE to this list, but it went in so fast I didn't eve notice.)

The Futbol clue and "Ole" answer has come up several times recently. I remember reading that "ole" was misunderstood at the 2006(?) world cup in Germany and that it actually was something else that was chanted by the crowd. Googling didn't help. Does anyone remember this issue?

@PG, We were not on the same wave length tonight.

ArtLvr 1:22 AM  

Thanks, Puzzle Girl, for filling in -- very amusing, your Venn diagram suddenly including today's constructor Randy Hartman! And I agree: a MOTH is less of a Pest than some other bugs that might be attracted to light...

I was zipping along so fast I never read the rest of the 47A clue, so that was fun to see after the fact. Didn't know CORA or JET LI but they came along easily with crosses.

Mystery fans may have noticed that it was SAD to have Randy use AIRS at 55A, rather than author Catherine AIRD (the pseudonym of novelist Kinn Hamilton McIntosh). She is the author of more than twenty crime fiction novels. Why? Because that would have given us a palindrome down at each of the four corners! PAP, LOL, HAH, DAD...


Nhart 1954 2:48 AM  

I loved the baseball references.

No problem with the "pest" clue. Am I the only one old enough to remember the saying, "Like a moth to a flame?"

Falconer 3:55 AM  

Nice little Monday puzzle. However it would be nice if there were some brothers besides the Alous who got some face time in crossworld. I realize that Jesus, Felipe and Matty get the love because of their unique vowel-consonant-vowel-vowel combo. But in case the constructors out there were wondering, here are some other MLB brother acts:

Cal and Billy Ripken; Marcel and Rene Lachemann; Barry and Steve Larkin; Adam and Andy LaRoche; Al and Mark Leiter; Dave and Steve Sax; Ken and Mike Macha; Greg and Mike Maddux; Larry & Norm Sherry; Christy and Henry Mathewson; BJ and Rich Surhoff; Benjie, Jose and Yadier Molina -- all catchers; Eddie and Rich Murray; BJ and Justin Upton; Phil and Joe Niekro; Lloyd and Paul Waner; John, Tom and Jim Paciorek; Todd & Tim Worrell; Larry and Robin Yount; Gaylord and Jim Perry; Hank and Tommie Aaron; Roberto and Sandy Alomar; George & Ken Brett; Dizzy and Paul Dean; JD and Tim Drew.

The Alous have the distinction of being one of the few 3-brother sets to play on the same team at the same time (the '63 Giants) and hold the record for most games between them at 5,129.

shrub5 4:27 AM  

Perfectly polished Monday puzzle! Only stumbles were BORNEO before BRUNEI and SCARSE instead of SPARSE. These were quickly fixed and I ran through the remainder without any problems. Favorite clue: Jobs in Silicon Valley. STEVE emerged but my first thoughts ran along the likes of ITECH...

@PG: Nice write-up! Who'da thunk it? ... another college wrestliphile / crossword enthusiast out there to be found.

acme acme acme 5:07 AM  

Hi Puzzle Girl!
Hilarious perfect writeup!!!!!!!!
I LOVED this puzzle and not just bec of the ACME shout out!
The theme was outstanding...

Loved that the names were first and last with both MIKEMYERS and JETLI.

Loved the feel of the definitions so you could "hear" HUSH, HAH, NONOS, COMEAGAIN?
VERY alive and noisy puzzle!

One malapop: PITCH for SPIEL for 9A "Sales talk", only to have it appear in 33A "Frenzied state.

Perfect Monday...great theme, noisy bubbly fun puzzle, fantastic writeup AND a malapop!

Yay, Randall Hartman, you PINKO ANGEL!

Rex Parker 7:47 AM  

Whoa, I could not have told you who sang "Boogie Fever." Before today. The Sylvers—a name that invokes soul legend Sly Stone *and* disco legend Sylvester. Brilliant. Their moves are tight, their color scheme, uh, nightmarish. Well, the girls look good. But mauve pants!? Come on, guys.


chefbea 8:12 AM  

Easy, fun Monday puzzle. I had the DAY at 47 across and put Labor in front before I even read the clue. That fouled up things for a bit but then it all came together.

Have a great day everyone - enjoy your cookouts

daisy 8:12 AM  

love the wrestling coincidence and the resulting venn diagram. love the pink pants. love your guest list. the only clue i didn't like was pap. why start the kids off with pap? thanks for the sly stone

dk 8:44 AM  

We are back on track. Excellent Monday with an homage to our Monday queen 29D as icing on the cake.

Smiling as I fill in the blanks knowing that CORA Dithers, Etta James and Apu will live on forever in x-word land.

Side note: Cathy the comic strip we love to hate sleeps with the fishes. (sorry watched the Godfather trilogy last week).

Mr. Hartman, Mr. Hartman. Nice tight puzzle.

PG thanks for being the designated blogger.

*** (3 Stars)

ArtLvr 8:46 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
ArtLvr 8:51 AM  

p.s. re 60A HEIDI Klum --I don't know who Austin Powers is: I had him mixed up with Austin Scarlett, a campy designer on Project Runway's first season in 2004! (In one episode, he created a gown entirely from cornhusks, which Tim Gunn cites as one of the two most impressive designs he has seen in the entire series.) Lately he's teamed up with another recent flamboyant cast member, Santino Rice, for a spinoff called "On the Road with Austin and Santino" airing immediately after the parent show. Cute, but it may not last, IMHO. Too much Road, not enough of designers' art.


CoffeeLvr 9:38 AM  

Found the GYROS many were looking to find in their bike helmets last week at 46D. @Rex, REM is another three letter band.

Solid Monday, very little crap fill or crosswordese, IMO. Gotta remember EBRO, it keeps running through puzzles.

Thanks for the writeup, Puzzle Girl.

joho 9:38 AM  

Great writeup, PG! Great Monday puzzle, Randall Hartman!I could not ask for more on this much needed and appreciated day off.

Am about to go for a long bike ride by the river. I wish everybody a wonderful day.

Loved ACME next to STEVE ... because wasn't STEVE in the crossword puzzle movie with Sandra Bullock that ACME hated?

PanamaRed 9:39 AM  

Liked this, tho I finished with one error - BAH instead of HAH. HUNAN should have been obvious, but I missed it.

@Falconer - you left Joe, Dom and Vince Dimaggio off your list, as well as Joe and Frank Torre. I know, there have to be many more.

JC66 9:45 AM  

@ Falconer

You forgot Joe & Dom DiMaggio. Here are some more names to add to the list.

But, as you said, the Alou brothers are ubiquitous because of the three vowels and a consonant.

Also, in my dotage I remembered Mrs. Dithers as dORA and couldn't figure out how to parse dOMEAGAIN until coming here.

Zeke 9:53 AM  

Have the street thugs gotten so well armed that "Saturday Night Special" doesn't raise eyebrows anymore? They used to be the bane of urban existance, at least according to the nightly terror newcasts.
Nice WelshFro on Tom Jones.

Ulrich 10:00 AM  

@PG: I would def. invite Heidi Klum with her singer husband Seal. I may ask her, tho, to leave her Victoria Secret xmas angel outfit at home--those wings would be in everybody's face.

Ah, yes, quite enjoyable Monday puzzle.

edith b 10:01 AM  

Hi, gang, it's good to be back. First, I'd like to thank all the people I heard from off-line who sent along their best wishes for my recovery. This ia truly a community of warm souls.

This puzzle had alot of snap for a Monday and, from one old timer to another, it was good to see Cora Dithers from Blondie in the puzzle.

Van55 10:09 AM  

Very solid Monday puzzle. Loved RAINOUT, BRUNEI, PIINKO and MIKEMYERS. Loved the JONES/JETLI cross.

Theme was better than decent.

Take points off for ALOU, SSE, EBRO and EKES.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

Um, Urlich - Just let her check the wings at the door, lest she opt for a pant suit instead.

archaeoprof 10:49 AM  

When I got the theme, at first I asked myself, "Saturday Night LIVER?"

I wish 38A had been clued, "Country singer George."

Fun write-up, PG. Thanks!

Tobias Duncan 11:00 AM  

Quick pre-read scan let know it was a Puzzle Girl review, always a pleasant surprise as her mild self deprecation makes me feel better about my pathetically slow times. A little further scanning and I saw the Venn diagram and thought "Oh for Pete's sake, here we go with the wrestling again, how is she gonna work it in this week ?" I still cant decide if she is simply mistaken or is making the connection up entirely.
So then I settle into read the review and BAM she states her time as under four minutes!Geez how the hell do you people do this?The fastest time I ever had was 7:15. It felt like I was flying at mach 5. I wanted to know how much faster I could have possibly gone so I did the puzzle again immediately. I was a little faster the second time through but I can tell you I was no where near the 4:00 min mark.
Is there a primer out there on speed solving ? Are my typing fingers too fat ? Is there a special diet?

Oh and thanks for another great write up PG.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:17 AM  

Pure ignorance led me to one write-over: MIKEMEYER before MIKEMYERS.

Happy Day to all, easy on the Labor.

Masked and Anonymous laboringly 11:37 AM  

Have a good day off, 44, you winocerous! Sounds good -- might just take some time off, myself. Not that I deserve it as much. Bet one could develop some bizarro puzs, while on a toot.

Thumbs up on the MonPuz. Coulda used a few more U's, tho.

chefbea 12:01 PM  

@edith b glad you are back. We missed you. Hope all is well

joho 12:12 PM  

So glad to see you again, @edith b!

syndy 12:23 PM  

Pinko! Pinko? Who you callin a pinko? On labor day? Man! had pitch for spiel-only write over! And yes, rex etc have mad typing skills my two finger method won't ever break 8

Noam D. Elkies 12:40 PM  

Nice that a 13-letter phrase can be used to clue three other theme entries with the "first word intro" technique, and in a Monday puzzle at that. It was almost easy enough for me to solve with just the Down clues: my one mistake "scarce" for 9D:SPARSE turned 24A:ASH into "ach", which is plausible, but also the nice 16:PINKO into "cinko", which I didn't recognize but didn't see how to fix. Then again I didn't recognize 4D:MIKE_WHATSHISNAME either; is that really Monday fare? The second M was a guess because 23A could also be DOTH, and Dyers is as plausible a name as Myers (though not alliterative with Mike). fortunately the rest of 4D was more-or-less forced by the crosses even without seeing the clues.

Also nice beyond what one usually sees on a Monday: the lively clue and entry for 5A:HUSH/5D:HAM_IT_UP, plus 35D:COME_AGAIN, which was last seen on a Friday in 1997.

Given the Venn diagram, I expected PG to remark on the absence of a theme entry such as RIDE_SHOTGUN. But on further investigation I gather that the wrestling usage of 47A+RIDE is deprecated in college contests — perhaps PG can explain why — so perhaps it doesn't belong in this puzzle even notwithstanding the breakfast test.


andrea I've come again michaels 1:31 PM  

parse parse parse!
I also was more than amused that my initial mistake of dORA left
dO ME AGAIN!!! Funny that, SO close to Come...isn't that the way it always is? ;)

And I too read it as Saturday Night Liver!!! That's an add an R puzzle waiting to happen!

good call on the mauve pants...
(and on texting Puzzle Girl, our own Sunday Night Special! She really is the rock!)
that video find was awesome combining AFRO/Midnight SPECIAL which could be it's OWN sort of venn thing with Saturday Night Special!

the redanman 1:32 PM  

I love Venn Diagrams

Clark 1:35 PM  

Mike Myers must work hard to police his copyrights. But I did manage to find one short clip of him as Dieter. Would you like to touch my monkey?

fikink 1:43 PM  

‪A lovely Monday puzzle with the "whose-side-are-you-on-this-season" BRETT Favre‬ crossing the ever loyal patriot John Paul JONES, then FEVER PITCH foreshadowing Puzzle Girl's enthusiasm for the Hawks. (Btw, season opener Saturday at Kinnick - we moitelized them!)

Good to see you back @EddeeBee. Looking forward to the return of your Maleska perspective.

Loved "chew the scenery" clueing HAM IT UP. Time for lunch! I thought the clue for SATE was off the mark, tho'.

Happy Labor Day, PG (pun intended)

p.s. @Clark, my cat, Dieter, is named after my favorite MM character!

ArtLvr 3:00 PM  

Hi to Edith B -- glad you're back, and hope all is going better!


Doc John 3:04 PM  

Nice write up, PuzzleGirl!
I guess PINKO does remind me of Archie Bunker but it first reminds me of George Carlin because I remember a routine he did on intolerant jerks using the phrase "commie pinko fags". He wondered what one would sound like and that's stuck with me ever since!
Happy Labor Day, everyone!

JC66 3:28 PM  

@ ACME (andrea comeagain michaels eisenberg)

Thanks for the clarification. I thought I was on to something, just couldn't figure out what. Having you respond to my post made my day,

sanfranman59 4:07 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. 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 6:48, 6:58, 0.98, 44%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:34, 3:43, 0.96, 33%, Easy-Medium

retired_chemist 4:49 PM  

My fastest Monday ever. Which per se is not very fast.....

@ PG - nice writeup, thanks!

@ JC66 - lol re parsing domeagain.

FIL's funeral went very well. Thanks to all who sent condolences, either on here or privately.

By the time I got to Michigan, my wife and her sister had it all taken care of. FIL had, sixteen years ago, bought his funeral and paid for it lock stock and barrel. He had thought of everything, including a "do not resuscitate and provide pain meds only" order when he reaches the end stage. It was all there in black and white. I cannot tell you how comforting it was to have these decisions taken beforehand by the decedent and not being made on the fly by people whose opinions might (would) differ. There was another woman in the same facility who was in terrible mental/physical shape, and the family and facility could do nothing because she had not acted when she had her faculties and was able to. Heartbreaking. I take this sidetrack just to remind those of us who have not thought about these matters, or whose parents etc. have not, to do so. Please minimize the pain for your loved ones, so they will be as fortunate as we were.

Bree update - still off her feed, but walking a lot better. she is on the mend.

Nighthawk 4:56 PM  

@JC66 and @Falconer
Here is another baseball brothers list Baseball Brothers
One of my favorite pairs were "local" boys, Faye and "Marvelous" Marv Throneberry.

"Marvelous Marv" later became one of the original spokespeople for Miller Lite beer in the early 1980s. Throneberry's most famous line: "If I do for Lite what I did for baseball, I'm afraid their sales will go down." Columnist Jimmy Breslin would quip, "Having Marv Throneberry play for your team is like having Willie Sutton work for your bank."

Sfingi 7:39 PM  

@Fikink - Remember Dieter can be pronounced 2 ways, for what that's worth.

@Nhart - of course, I remember. And the sound of their dying can be such a nuisance!

@Falconer - Joe, Dom, had another brother - Vince. I can't believe I'm saying something about sports - but it's really about Sicilians.

Had PAb before PAP, I guess for PAblum, another old thing. It was an actual brand, one of the first store-bought baby foods. It was invented to save kids from rickets, another old thing (thank God). Some people mispronounced it PAbulum.

Anybody remember bedbugs and what we used to do about them?

@Ret.Chem - so true.

"Come again, Sweet Love doth now invite
Thy graces that refrain
To do me due delight.
To see, to hear, to touch, to kiss, to die,
With thee again in sweetest sympathy.

John Dowland, Elizabethan Song, 1597.

B. Bug 9:59 PM  


We used to worry about DDT but now consider it a breakfast treat --- yum.

sanfranman59 10:19 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 7/30/2009 post for an explanation. 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 6:43, 6:58, 0.97, 41%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:31, 3:42, 0.95, 29%, Easy-Medium

Nhart1954 12:53 AM  

@jc66 and falconer,

Glad one list included Jayson (CWS) and Laynce (CIN) who are playing now. They're from my hometown and their name is short enough to be crossword-worthy.

andrea pinko michaels 2:20 AM  

And how perfect that there was a pic of Archie Bunker the day Edith B returns to the fold!

CJameson 12:04 PM  

I enjoyed the puzzle. But 43A seems to suggest that in baseball "home" is a "base" rather than a "plate". Of course home is a base in tag and perhaps tag-team wrestling.

Martin 4:43 PM  

Officially, it's "home base." The rulebook describes a "pitcher's plate," and four bases.

CJameson 11:32 PM  

Thanks for the correction, Martin.

Dirigonzo 3:21 PM  

The syndicated puzzle appeared at the end of another (Columbus Day) 3-day weekend; I wonder if that happens every year?

I had fun solving, learned something (about Chairman Mao, a sultanate, and maybe more about @ACME than I wanted to know!) and - bonus! - my first name appeared smack-dab down the center of the puzzle (it's possibly the only think in this world that I share with Jobs.)

All this and a spectacularly beautiful day in this corner of the world makes for a very happy Columbus Day, indeed - I wish everyone the same.

tim 4:36 PM  

I thought it was interesting that CORA is a character in INGE's play. Coincidence?

CathyM 12:28 AM  

When I worked in the hotel industry, I recall that the Sultan of Brunei owned the Hotel Bel Air, and possibly some other properties.

I also had "Bunan" but caught it before finishing. And I was trying to parse "Liver Emote" ...

Speaking of baseball brothers, my captcha = torre

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