Puppeteer Bil / WED 11-4-15 / One of Seuss's Star-Bellies / Singing sister of Aretha Franklin / nut with cupule / Egypt Sudan border region
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Constructor: Ruth Bloomfield Margolin
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: GAME — note accompanying the puzzle: "The answers to this puzzle's four starred clues can each precede a hidden word in 16-, 27-, 43- and 59-Across"; the hidden word is GAME
- GILGAMESH (16A: Sumerian king in an ancient epic)
- MAKING AMENDS (27A: Saying sorry, say)
- TORN LIGAMENT (43A: Reason to get Tommy John surgery)
- AGAMEMNON (59A: Trojan War hero of myth)
Word of the Day: Bil BAIRD (38D: Puppeteer Bil) —
William Britton Baird (August 15, 1904 – March 18, 1987), professional name Bil Baird, but often referred to as Bill Baird, was an American puppeteer of the mid- and late 20th century. // One of his better known creations was Charlemane the lion. He and his wife Cora Eisenberg Baird (1912–1967) produced and performed the famous puppetry sequence for "The Lonely Goatherd" in the film version of The Sound of Music. // He wrote The Art of the Puppet (1965) and also provided the puppets for Dark Shadows. Baird also created the expandable nose Peter Noone wore as Pinocchio in the 1968 musical adaptation of the Carlo Collodi story that aired on NBC as a Hallmark Hall of Fame special. (wikipedia)
• • •
MAKING AMENDS). Otherwise, it's just a letter string inside a word ... and the TORN part of TORN LIGAMENT is just superfluous, themewise. Not involved in the GAME at all. That's B-grade word hiding. The longer Downs give the puzzle some sparkle (I'm particularly fond of "THE SHINING" and DOWN UNDER), but the (abundant) shorter stuff is pretty GRAVE. Not jarringly bad—just creaky. ERMA/ONEL/ADUE-esque. Also, Tommy John surgery involves a *specific* ligament, not just any old TORN LIGAMENT. Crossword folks will appreciate that it's the ULNAR collateral ligament that's repaired in said surgery. I hope I never see ULNAR in a puzzle again, but if I do ... now you know the clue I want.
I tore through this one, with only Aretha's sister (whose name I am doomed never to remember) and the puppeteer BAIRD giving me any trouble. I never read "The Sneetches" but enjoyed seeing SNEETCH in the grid. While most of the cluing was pretty staid, I laughed at the absurdity of 53A: Like a doornail, only more so (DEADER). Don't have much else to say about this one.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]