Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Wednesday, November 13, 2019, Ed Sessa


I'm going to go ahead and answer the question that is on the minds of all several trillion of our readers today. What, in fact, is the actual plural of "hippopotamus?" As you can imagine, this opens up a lovely rabbit hole that our friend NOAM Chomsky would (I assume) enjoy exploring. The word as we know it comes from Latin: thus the standard plural should be "hippopotami." However, the word actually is derived from Greek (hippos potamios - river horse). That plural would be "hippoi potamios". On the other hand, in English, we are much more comfortable with the ending -es, thus HIP[POP]OTAMUSES. Or, as anybody would prefer, "hippos."

All that is to say, we have found ourselves enjoying an unexpected Wednesday rebus puzzle. The revealer comes at 56A: Carnival projectiles that might be directed at parts of this puzzle? (BALLOONDARTS). There are five circles scattered in the grid, each with the rebus POP inside. I suppose I can put up with the circles in this instance as representations of the balloons, but I do so much enjoy finding rebus squares rather than being told where they are.

Still, all is worth it to have 38A: "Obviously! (Duh!)" (ISTHE[POP]ECATHOLIC) - that's a wonderful entry, and one we typically would not see in a weekday puzzle, because its 17 letters long. Also, IGGY[POP] is great, as is the word A[POP]LEXY, although the medical reality of it is not so hot.
Another belated nod to Veterans' Day?

Also, I've always been fond of a TOOTSIE[POP]. They have them at my barber's for the kiddos, but I eye them surreptitiously, wondering if anybody would shoot me steely glare for taking one for myself.

There's a bit of TORA SKAT SST stuff, but I'll always support a grid that has GLOMS in it.

- Colum


  1. 14:25
    Enjoyable, because of some great fill, but as Colum mentions, once I knew the rebus, I could enter all of the [POP]s, although I waited until I was actually at the clue to do so. (Lots of commas and "I"s in that sentence.) Certainly, ISTHE[POP]ECATHOLIC is the best of the lot. I tried an "o" at the HIP[POP]OTAMUSES/AIDA cross at first, but luckily took a look at the down. I also tried a "c" at the SPEX/A[POP]LEXY cross, but the down, again, saved an error. Definitely a nice surprise to have a rebus on a Wednesday, and even though there was some junk in the grid, we have nice stuff like SVELTE to make up for it. I think that Colum could take a TOOTSIE[POP] without much trouble; just tip well.

  2. 6:27

    I can't wait to go to the zoo again so I can say, in front of a lot of kids, "Gee, look at all those hippoi potamios!" Yup... can't wait...

    The revealer seems a tad off to me, as I think they're just darts that are aimed at balloons. And I think it would have been fun to have one circle (or more) filled with the word "balloon," as if the dart had missed... but then, that would be a very different puzzle.