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.