Super Monkey Ball company / THU 5-27-21 / Minnie's promise / Madama Butterfly has four / Movement associated with crystal healing / Peppery salad ingredient / 17-time host of the Academy of Country Music Awards

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Constructor: Barbara Lin

Relative difficulty: Easy to Easy-Medium


THEME: "... as SYLVESTER would say" — familiar phrases clued as is they were wacky phrases being lisped by the Looney Tunes cartoon character SYLVESTER the Cat (58A: Animated character who's the subject of this puzzle's theme):

Theme answers:
  • URBAN MYTH (17A: Young woman living in a city, as 58-Across would say) (wacky answer to the clue is "urban miss," which gets lisped into ... URBAN MYTH)
  • WORD OF MOUTH (24A: Minnie's promise, as 58-Across would say) (wacky prelisp version: "word of mouse")
  • MOMENT OF TRUTH (35A: When an armistice is signed, as 58-Across would say) (wacky prelisp version: "moment of truce")
  • IN GOOD FAITH (50A: Looking pretty, as 58-Across would say) (wacky prelisp version: "in good face")
Word of the Day: SYLVESTER (58-Across) —
Sylvester James Pussycat, Sr. is a fictional character, an anthropomorphic tuxedo cat in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. Most of his appearances have him often chasing TweetySpeedy Gonzales, or Hippety Hopper. He appeared in 103 cartoons in the golden age of American animation, lagging only behind superstars Bugs BunnyPorky Pig, and Daffy Duck. Three of his cartoons won Academy Awards, the most for any starring Looney Tunes character: they are Tweetie PieSpeedy Gonzales, and Birds Anonymous. [...] In many cartoons, Sylvester is shown intentionally sticking out his tongue while speaking, putting on emphasis that the lisp is intentional. He is also known for spraying people he is talking to with the saliva from his lisping, which is a trait rarely shared by Daffy. A common gag used for both Sylvester and Daffy is a tendency to go on a long rant, complaining about a subject and then ending it by saying "Sakes". (wikipedia)
• • •

Well, first of all, DAFFY DUCK fits at 58-Across, which was either a dumb coincidence or part of the "gotcha" Thursdayness of the puzzle or both. Since DAFFY DUCK is the much more iconic / popular lisping toon, in my toon-watching experience, he's the only name I considered at first. So I wrote him early, leaping down to write his name in as soon as the lisping thing became clear, well before I had actually worked my way down to that bottom portion of the grid. Lucky for me, once I did work my way down there, RESHOE was undeniable (39D: Do some farrier's work on), and it annihilated Daffy, so that screw-up didn't cost me badly. Even with -ESTER in the grid I couldn't think of SYLVESTER. He just disappears into a cartoon Uncanny Valley in my head somewhere between Daffy Duck and Foghorn Leghorn. Tweety Bird flies around freely in my head, but SYLVESTER ... he's sleeping somewhere, I guess. That is, I know he's there, somewhere, but I can't find him when I need him, apparently. The theme itself is very clever, though it's a bit weird to serve the bland part and hide the joke. The grid gets the plain phrase and the wacky phrase exists only in your mind. So the grid looks ordinary, but your brain does have to go through the lisping hoops in order to get you to ordinary, so you wackiness is still involved. It's just invisible. Invisible wackiness. Before my brain had fully grokked the way the theme worked, I wrote in WORD OF MOUSE at 24A: Minnie's promise [etc.] and thought it was cuteish. Then when crosses forced me back to WORD OF MOUTH, I thought, "huh, well that's too bad. Wait, what's going on?" Then I got it. All the lisped parts are at the ends of the answers, which made this one of those rare puzzles where solving from the back ends of the long answers was actually helpful, even if my brain was still misfiring on the theme and offering up potential answers like FAIR OF FAITH for 50A: Looking pretty, as 58-Across would say. In the end, I felt something like mild appreciation for this theme. It did some weird, original things reasonably well.


Outside the theme, it was verrrrrrrry easy. Writing in ACTAS instead of ARIAS created by far my greatest struggle (61A: "Madama Butterfly" has four), but eventually Reba MCENTIRE bailed me out there, so no big deal (35D: 17-time host of the Academy of Country Music Awards). My logic on the ACTAS screw-up was that in the clue, the title was written "Madama [instead of "Madame"] Butterfly," so I figured the answer was supposed to be an Italian word, and then I just guessed that ACTAS was Italian for "acts" (it's not; it's ATTI, if Google Translate can be trusted) (also, FYI, there are only two ATTI in "Madama Butterfly"). I don't know what else there is that could cause trouble in the grid. Proper nouns are few, and the vocabulary is pretty basic. I had that weird hesitation moment you get when you think "ugh, they don't want OCTAD, do they?" (7D: Eightsome). And WIRES took me a few beats because the clue looked like it was asking for a kind of poem (41A: Lines of power). But that's it. Extrathematic material was Tuesday-easy. I wasn't timing myself, so it's possible that this puzzle was very Very easy, especially when you put this Thursday gimmick alongside more typical, much-more-difficult-to-discern Thursday gimmicks. But I'm not complaining. This one came out smooth and I'll take it.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

102 comments:

Roberto 6:18 AM  

So we make fun of someone's lisp.what s next. Donald duck didn't fit but I also tried Elmer fudd

Unknown 6:40 AM  

Another Tues/Weds level puzzle masquerading as Thursday fodder.
Would have been fun yesterday but is a letdown today.

Lewis 6:47 AM  

Drawing attention to a speech impediment made me feel a little squeamish as I solved an utterly delightful puzzle otherwise, marked by terrific wordplay in the theme, and words I love – SKITTISH, TENUOUS, GNARLS.

The speech impediment issue has already been well addressed in the comments on WordPlay. The arguments okaying it made me feel better, but I couldn’t embrace any of them enough to erase that qualm whispering in my ear. I don’t feel strongly enough about it to get all huffy, but I want to think about it more, to get a read on why I reacted this way.

Hopefully through this self-examination I’ll get to know myself a bit better, and for that, and for the delight that the actual solving of this puzzle gave me, I’m very grateful to you, Barbara!

Anonymous 6:48 AM  

this puzzle made me really uncomfortable. i don't have a lisp, but this doesn't sit right with me. would've been better to make it based on a sound change rather than a speech issue. there's a reason you don't see cartoon characters talk like this anymore.

Frantic Sloth 6:50 AM  

Cartoons! Lisp play! What's not to like about this theme?

I'll even give the lookie-loo nature a pass because it was just the one place to keep in mind and once you got that....well, the rest was gravy.

Good fill, too - not the usual beating of the ho-hum drum.


***Other Idiotic Observations Alert***

Wasn't it the TAMP TACT that begat "no taxation without representation" and eventually the American Revolution?

AGENT GASX. Because some cold wars never end.

This grid CITES SYLVESTER, no?

🧠🧠
πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰.5

Anonymous 6:52 AM  

So wanted MIKETYSON.

Coniuratos 7:22 AM  

If I may nerd out on Harry Potter for a moment (despite JK Rowling being just the worst), point of order regarding 27D. Crucio and Imperio are not hexes, they are curses. Hexes and curses are both dark magic, but curses are much worse, with Crucio causing unspeakable pain and Imperio giving the caster mind control over the target. They are two out of three of The Unforgivable Curses.

kitshef 7:24 AM  

OCTet/OCTAD is another of those aver/avow things where you just have to wait on crosses. Also anything involving a major/minor key.

My solve started with a big whoosh from the NW corner down that main diagonal to the SE corner before heading back up north to continue, so by the time I got my first themer in, I already had ____ESTER in place and therefore never had to consider Daffy.

MFA was probably the hardest thing in the grid (and the worst bit of fill in a mostly clean effort).

Z 7:34 AM  

Lisps

That wikipedia entry struck me as some serious white-washing. “…intentionally sticking out his tongue…” Oh, so it’s not a real lisp so it’s okay for us to laugh at him. Merrie Melodies has some laugh out loud funny stuff, but they also reflect American humor of the era and some of it doesn’t hold up well. I don’t think I’ve ever known an adult with an uncorrected lisp, so I can see why the theme and SYLVESTER don’t strike people as particularly problematic, but I wouldn’t have gone there.

Son Volt 7:35 AM  

Disliked the theme and the remaining fill was early week tough - not my kind of Thursday. Let’s try to limit Reba to four letter fill. GAS X x GUSH can go as can IN A TIE for Drawn.

I’ll pass on this one.

pabloinnh 7:51 AM  

Caught on to this one at URBANMYTH and everything else just more or less fell into place, with a slight glitch on how to spell MCENTIRE, which still looks wrong to me. And wrote in SYLEVESTER without considering any other possibilities. Go figure.

SYLVESTER'S speech impediment has never sounded exactly like a lisp to me, more of a cross between a lisp and the sound you make when sticking out your tongue and razzing someone. Such things are no longer acceptable in cartoons, and that's a good thing, but I hope Yosemite Sam does not disappear because of his anger management issues.

I'm with @Unknown in wanting considerably more crunch on a Thursday. Wish I were still trying to figure something out.

So fun enough, BL. but a Bit Lacking.

KRMunson 7:57 AM  

Fun theme, but a bit too easy for a Thursday.

kitshef 7:58 AM  

@Coniuratos - I had the same thought, and weirdly we also have CHARMS in the grid. Because curses (and hexes) are dark Charms, that could have been clued using Crucio and Imperio and been accurate.

Roberta 8:01 AM  

And not just curses, unforgivable curses! How does everyone not know this?! πŸ˜‚

bocamp 8:04 AM  

Thx Barbara for this crunchy, challenging Thurs. puz. It was a battle, but I came out on top! :)

Med++ solve.

Got off to a great start in the NW, but the rest was a slog, albeit, an enjoyable one.

I'm a Survivor ~ Reba MC ENTIRE
___



yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

SouthsideJohnny 8:08 AM  

A bit of an unusual solving experience today. Coming out of the NW and cruising down toward the SE, it seemed like a hard Tuesday or a Wednesday, then I hit some items that were a real challenge for me - Harry Potter crossing an antacid (or whatever the hell a GASX is) is a cardinal sin in my opinion. The clue for CRESS seems off - I’m guessing it’s short for Watercress ? No abbreviation in the clue. The clue for HONKS (Toots one’s horn) also threw me a bit because it seemed Monday-easy. Even the Oreos clue which got us to ADD IN seems a touch of a stretch (who says “add in” when talking about ice cream cones or banana splits, lol). More Thursdays like this would be welcome, even if some will find them on the easy side.

Nomcebo Manzini 8:12 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
hlinak 8:25 AM  

Was is just me or was the URBAN MYTH clue a little less than woke?

mathgent 8:29 AM  

The theme doesn't quite work. The phrases in the grid are legit, but the unlisped phrases they come from (with one exception) are not. I'll buy "urban miss" as the origin of URBANMYTH. But not "word of mouse," "moment of truce," or "in good face." Not only are they not common expressions, they don't really mean anything.

Very little sparkle, very little crunch, the only thing I learned was names of two Harry Potter HEXes. (Do hexes have names in HP or or these the words that bring them on?) Didn't like it at all.

Richard Stanford 8:47 AM  

I’ve always known CRESS as simply cress, didn’t even know it was short for watercress. For Oreos, I really wanted mixIN since that’s the terminology I’m used to seeing. Combined with bragS I was confused up in the NW for a few minutes myself.

ow a paper cut 8:53 AM  

Sufferin succotash!

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

I expected you to criticize the fact that this puzzle makes fun of having a lisp. Shocked that you didn’t. Making fun of another for a puzzle is just creepy. Very disappointed.

Barbara S. 9:05 AM  

I find it hard to take SYLVESTER seriously enough to see him as hurtful to people with certain kinds of speech impediments, but I suspect it’s much too easy for me to say that, because I’m unaffected by such an impediment. I can imagine a parent watching SYLVESTER or Daffy Duck with a child who lisps and pointing out the camaraderie between the child and the character on the screen. If handled well, it seems to me it could help the child to see a reflection of her- or himself. In my imagined scenario, the child is getting speech therapy to correct the lisp, but until it is corrected, here’s a funny, lively soul who shares something with you.

As an inveterate quoter, I was interested in 14A TACT (It’s been called “the art of making a point without making an enemy”). Who said that, I wondered, and found to my surprise that a number of websites glibly say it was Isaac Newton. My spidey senses immediately went on high alert. Right, I thought, what documentation is there? None, as you might expect. Turns out the quotation can only be traced with any certainty to the August 1946 issue of “Redbook Magazine,” in which advertising executive Howard N. Newton says something about TACT being “the *knack* of making a point without making an enemy.” Mistaken identity much?

Some minuscule nits: I have my doubts about MFA as clued. I think you’ll find that most curators in major collecting institutions have Ph.Ds. I also wondered about PIE as the epitome of simplicity in that we don’t say “simple as PIE” (do we? “easy as PIE”). The expression that sprang to my mind was “it’s as simple as that.” Are ARMRESTs really the subjects of squabbles between airplane passengers? Honestly, people, get a grip! (Sorry.)

Today’s excerpt is from the work of RACHEL CARSON, born May 27, 1907.

“I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil. Once the emotions have been aroused - a sense of the beautiful, the excitement of the new and unknown, a feeling of sympathy, pity, admiration or love - then we wish for knowledge about the object of our emotional response. Once found, it has lasting meaning. It is more important to pave the way for the child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts he is not ready to assimilate.”
(From The Sense of Wonder)

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

There is no way on God's green earth that Z hasn't heard an adult with an uncorrrected lisp. How do I know? Because he's an NPR listener ( or at least once was), and one of their long-tenured and frequent on-air voices, Rob Stein, has one of the most pronounced lisps I've ever heard. It's made all the more remarkable by the fact that his work is on an audio platform.

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

Since this is Thursday, WS or Lin could have gone Full Thursday on the theme core by cluing something like, "Computer language pioneer". Ans: John McCarthy in whole or in part. Who the hell is he? Devised the language LISP. Of course.

Joe Dipinto 9:16 AM  

@Rex – tip for the future: the opera title is never rendered as "Madame" Butterfly, even if people frequently say it that way. It's always "Madama", whether in English or in Italian. (The short story and the play on which it is based, however, were titled "Madame...")

Chocolate mouse

Nancy 9:17 AM  

I started off the puzzle deeply annoyed by the slam-dunk cluing in the NW and wondering how on earth this was a Thursday puzzle when it really seemed Monday-level. I was happier when I left the NW and it got harder -- though not happy that the difficulty was tied to some "animated character" whose identity was a big "?" to me.

I finally got to SYLVESTER -- at which point the whole lisp thing became clear. Then I thought: I bet half of today's comments will be devoted to tut-tutting about making fun of a speech impediment (poor SYLVESTER!) and then I thought well, you don't have to read any of them, Nancy, unless you really want to. Which I don't. I expect it will be much worse on Wordplay, but I don't plan to go over there at all. (For one thing, they'd pillory me for what I'm about to say about Harry Potter. On Wordplay, there are some things you're not allowed to not read/watch and Harry Potter is one of them.)

Anyway, my big problem was the HE?/GAS? cross. I have no idea what Beano is, much less its competitor. And, as you know, I don't read/watch Harry Potter. So I ran the alphabet and then had to decide if "Imperio" and "Crucio" sounded more like a HEN or a HEX. It didn't sound like either, but I took a wild stab at HEX, which gave me GAS X, which sounded like...something. What exactly I don't know, but...something.

Better than I thought it would be when I started, but pretty weak for a Thursday offering, I'd say. The theme answers seem fairly forced.

Hungry Mother 9:21 AM  

Never did an easier Thursday. Very simple theme, not too many names. Seemed like a Tuesday. Missed the rebus.

burtonkd 9:24 AM  

41A Where Rex thought poetry lines, I had _IRES and was thinking bloodlines with sIRES.

My college age kids had no interest in watching Looney Tunes as kids. Although a staple of my own childhood, they were dated even then.

Colette 9:28 AM  

I'm a daily solver, though comment here infrequently, because I usually solve late in the day. This took me about 25 minutes, a bit longer than average for my Thursdays. I had no idea what the theme was, even after completing. Vaguely remembered the lisp, but didn't apply it to the phrases for some reason. Anyone else in my clueless camp?

Now that I know, it was clever. I think we are all too PC in this stuff. It's a cartoon character! If it were Aunt Jemima, it would have implications, but Sylvester? I do agree that the phrases, as clued, don't exist in the vernacular -- urban miss, moment of truce, in good face -- in particular.

Just for the record, I love reading all you regular commenters: Lewis, Frantic, Z, Pablo, Southside Johnny, Bocamp, Mathgent, Nancy - and especially Barbara's quotes - and, of course, LMS, when she is here.

Thank you, Barbara, for a clever Thursday.

jberg 9:30 AM  

Yeah, it did bother me that the theme was a speech impediment, but there it is. That aside, I had Rex's experience of wondering why the answers weren't what the wacky clues pointed to -- and then I got it and, unlike Rex, immediately thought of SYLVESTER.

I knew of Reba MCENTIRE only from the vast number of clues for her first name, e.g. "Country singer McEntire," in previous puzzles, so it was nice to see it the other way around, even if I did put in MCENTyRE at first. Anyway, thanks to @Bocamp for the link. I noticed the is standing on a circular oriental rug, surrounded by a bunch of other rugs. Is that another Harry Potter thing? Is she really an evil spirit confined in a pentagram-like rug? (More seriously, I really wanted the lines of power to be LEY, which is more from Susan Cooper's books than from Harry Potter, but I couldn't make it fit.)

@Southside and others -- Melon is not another word for watermelon, and CRESS is not another word for watercress. There are many varieties of cress, which is indeed a way to add some bite to your salads.

Did anyone else get misdirected by Minnie in the clue for 24A and waste time trying to figure out a Disney theme?

Hungry Mother 9:31 AM  

@Anonomous 9:11am: Thanks for reminding me of one of my favorite languages. The first time I learned it (at Duke in 1977), I had to submit my programs on punch cards. The accumulated right parens were a nightmare in that scenario. Luckily I found CRT terminals and Harvard Lisp in a unix lab. My favorite McCarthy experience was at a conference at MIT. He arrived for his talk with only one overhead transparency and licked it off between slides.

Mr. Cheese 9:32 AM  

Why are Southern drawls, NY accents, etc. acceptable in cartoons and not lisps? Just another way that characters speak, no?
I doubt that the cartoon creators were looking to disparage those who lisp.

JD 9:38 AM  

Make this a themeless. You have Urban Myth, Word of Mouth, Moment of Truth, In Good Faith. Sylvester is clued as the cat. Some harmless 3-letter answers and the daily Spa(s).

The lisp judgments aside, it would be quite a tidy puzzle.

Wild Cress (watercress). My grandmother would pick it and put it in a broth with very small meatballs and orzo. Such good food we had.

@Gill, I posted this response to you late last night re your question, how do you get MeeMaw out of grandmother. I'd mentioned earlier yesterday that it was more Appalachians than southern.

The Scots-Irish settled the Appalachians (came to be known as hillbillies). So I looked into what Scots call their grandmothers and found this, "... Gaelic dialects common in Ireland and Scotland commonly use "MamΓ³" as an informal name for Grandmother as well."

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

That's not what Uncanny Valley means

CDilly52 9:47 AM  

Like so many here in this neighborhood, highlighting a speech impediment seemed a tad inappropriate these days even when it’s an iconic toon doing the lisping. Made me wonder whether SYLVESTER gets much Saturday morning airtime these days. When I got the theme, I stopped solving for a bit thinking about all of the different famous voices of cartoon characters with impediments: Donald Duck, Elmer Fudd, and Daffy come to mind. And then I started thinking of the voice actors like Mel Blanc who brought those Looney Toons and Disney characters to life. Would all of those characters be nixed today? Probably. I am still thinking about this conundrum.

I enjoyed the solve. Pretty easy all the way because I picked up the lisp early on. I had some trouble in the extreme SE not understanding the “starter” starter clue for the longest time. Also didn’t get the meaning of “Drawn” right a way. I_AT_E and my brain really wanted that to be a single word even after I got NON(starter). At that point I just finished everything else and came back and got RILL and NON and good old Bob’s my uncle (which Halle a to be true). Thanks Uncle Bob!

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

@Mr. Cheese:

Ah to not be Woke yet. Drawls, accents, affected speech (Mid-Atlantic, Etonian, high brow, etc.) are all by choice, one way or another. Lisp, stutter, and the like are, more or less, involuntary, and nearly always viewed as derogatory by the afflicted and the general public. What-about-ism?

RooMonster 10:02 AM  

Hey All !
Never heard of the non-lisped phrases, and as the "lisped" phrases are actual things, never caught what the theme was. It happens...

"Woke" people, listen, there are people in the world with lisps. There are people in the world with learning disabilities. Because lisping in a puz is a theme, it is not, Not making fun of them. It's not. It's a puz about SYLVESTER The Cat, a cartoon (not even a real person!) that was animated with a lisp. That's it. No offense. Can you see it? If puz was about Porky Pig stuttering, you'd be upset about that. Again, cartoon.

That chiding aside, thought puz kind of odd for a Thursday. Seemed Wednesday themeish. TENUOUS, I guess is what I'm saying. Sorry if my screed made some not like me, but the wokeness (to me) is getting out of hand. Just sayin'.

Dang, stay on subject, Roo. (Even though some have probably stopped reading this!)

Had AmeSS for AFUSS til the end, really making AmeSS! Came at MCENTIRE from the top, so had MCE____E, and couldn't get MC(emcee)somebody out of the ole brain. Almost wrote in MC Escher! Har.

mixIN another big hold up, in NE. ADDIN, ah. Technically, yes, you ADD it IN, but then you mix it in. ☺️

GAS X is the brand, with that space. Can see a problem with FuJI or FIJI, although WuRES aren't a thing. But FUJI is the water.

GNARLS is a cool word. OCTet-OCTAl-OCTAD. PALMa-PALME, atone-ONEAM,

Three F's (all in themers)
RooMonster
DarrinV

Newboy 10:06 AM  

“ Outside the theme, it was verrrrrrrry easy,” said Rex. Yep and that’s OK even on Thursday. Thanks Barbara—wishing it were a Sunday large grid to extend the fun.

misterarthur 10:07 AM  

DIdn't "grokked" fall out of usage in the '80s?

KnittyContessa 10:14 AM  

@Lewis I had the same reaction you did. It felt wrong to build a puzzle around a speech impediment. I honestly expected Rex to be all over this one.

I had Daffy before SYLVESTER, too. I didn't solve this in any order so I had MC at 35D and nothing else. All I could think of was MChammer which made no sense but did make me giggle a little.

pmdm 10:17 AM  

I guessed two of the three theme entries but not the third or the revealer and still didn't understand what was going on. And it took me forever to get SYLVESTER even though I recently watched all the Warner Brother cartoons. (The 1960s cartoons were kind of painful, but the later reboots - which I downloaded frm the web - were quite pleasant. I hear they are coming back.) Well, it is a Thursday so something about the puzzle should be on the harder side.

When announcing Domingo's first name, I have heard some radio announcers pronounce it "pla-see-do" and others "pla-thee-do." [Notice the punctuation.]

So how should a radio announcer pronounce the name "LutosΕ‚awski?" [The order of the punctuation looks wrong.] Most pronounce it wrongly and need a lesson from Mr. Fudd. At least it is so rare to hear his music over the radio.

MissScarlet 10:23 AM  

As a speech pathologist, I can attest that the characters with speech impediments in cartoons certainly do cause offense. And , since it was mentioned above, the wild gun slinging of Yosemite Sam feels very out of place in today’s world of frequent mass shootings.

I have my own pet peeve, however, which is rarely voiced. There are 9 universities of California. They all deserve to be called ‘Cal’. I find it very annoying to reserve the term for UC Berkeley.

What? 10:30 AM  

What a g_g_great p_p_p_puzzle. Thank y_y_you for bringing a_a_attention to speech d_d_defects. S_s_s_stuttering next?

Newboy 10:41 AM  

@CDilly52 thanks for letting me know that I alone wasn’t flummoxed by “drawn” since that was my only toe stubbed in today’s cutie.

Thinking about today’s “woke” angst that regularly appears seems to confirm Hans Rosling’s supposition that the world is indeed getting better. Viewed from the present moment of angst where every crisis is shoved into our face, the long slow progress is hard to envision—alas! We no longer attend bear baiting, but seriously examine concussions among all levels of sports....now that’s progress.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:41 AM  

Wow, this one was hard. I had no idea about Sylvester, never figured out about the lisp thing, it was all a mystery. I did see some cartoons in my youth, when I'd stop for a Saturday 25 cent matinee at the movie theater on my weekly walk down to the library. But I barely remember them, I couldn't understand a word Porky Pig said, I always hoped it wouldn't be him.

Barbara claims all curators have PhD's. Huh? As a clavichordist I deal with a lot of small museums of one sort or another, it was a surprise to me that curators are supposed to have fine arts degrees at all.

Ellen S 10:50 AM  

Count me in the “why are we expected to laugh at a speech impediment” camp. Well put together puzzle, but put together out of material we should have gotten past.

I did like “NON” as the “Starter starter.” Reminds me of an ancient cartoon of police breaking up a protest. One character they are hauling away protests that he has been swept up by mistake: “Officer!”, he complains, “But I’m an anti-communist!” And the cop replies, “I don’t care what kind of communist you are, you’re still under arrest.”

sixtyni yogini 10:51 AM  

This one made me smile!
Yes, it was easy, light, and fun.
Urban myth — haha πŸ˜‚ miss
Word of mouth πŸ˜‚ mouse
❤️🐭 b&w cat here 🐭❤️

Frantic Sloth 11:02 AM  

@Barbara S 905am Thank Gof for you! Just...thank Gof! You manage to describe my attitude perfectly and TACTfully. Plus, I had the same reaction on the TACT quote, but didn't follow through - and thanks for that, too!

@Colette 928am Don't be a stranger! You should comment more often - I like what you had to say (especially the compliment πŸ˜‰) and I'll add that not only is he a cartoon character, he's a cat. (Hi, @Roo!)

But, as Barbara and others have stated, I don't get to decide what people are offended by. Nor do I get to pooh-pooh their feelings about anything and would be grateful for the "favor" being returned.
That said, it's always interesting to see the different takes on...well, anything. As long as we don't get all Judgy McJudgyPants about it. πŸ˜‰

@pabloinnh 751am and @jberg 930am MCENTIRE looked strange to me, too. I also wanted MCENTyRE and wonder where that comes from?

jae 11:03 AM  

Mostly easy except for fixing the Amess to AFUSS part. According to the author, her original set of clues were tougher. Liked it but I’m pretty sure lisping isn’t funny anymore.

Whatsername 11:08 AM  

Didn’t get the theme until I was nearly finished and saw the revealer before the light bulb came on, so it WAS kind of a muted aha MOMENT at that point. Got all excited when I saw 7D thinking we were going to have a duo of consecutive octets but that ENDed UP to be NO HELP. Only place I had much trouble was the SW where I had MCENTIRE and a lot of blank space for far too long.

If you’ve ever been stuck in the middle seat of an airliner it’s easy to understand how an ARM REST could become a battleground. Just yesterday I read an article about the increase in physical assaults on flight attendants by unruly passengers. I suggest they set aside a section in the cargo area for those folks. Stop inconveniencing everyone else while the jerks are escorted off the plane. Just move their entitled butts to a special seat where they won’t have to be bothered by silly rules that don’t apply to them.

@GILL from 3:39 yesterday: We’re definitely gonna have to find that bar one of these days. And re terms for grandmothers, MEEMAW is not just southern; it’s also quite common in the Midwest. I suppose it evolved the same as any other endearment - some kid said it and it stuck. In our family we have a Granny, a Gigi (Great Granny), a Nana, a Nanny and a Nonny. Then there was my uncle whose first grandchild labeled him “Boomer” which was what he ENDed UP being called by just about everyone for the remainder of his life.

Carola 11:10 AM  

Not having noticed any lisp-related clues in more recent puzzles, I'd thought that speech impediments had ceased to the butt of crossword JOSHING. The inspired WORD OF MOUTH notwithstanding, I'd have consigned this theme to the "Nope" pile.

@Coniuratos 7:22 - Thanks for making that correction.
@kitshef 7:58 - Thanks for pointing out CHARMS. I like its cross with WORD OF MOUTH.

JOHN X 11:10 AM  

This was pretty lame for a Thursday puzzle.

Not because of the lisp thing, but because it was too easy.

Here’s Chuck Jones explaining Daffy Duck’s lisp.

GILL I. 11:13 AM  

Thufferin Thuccotash....Looney Tunes on a Thursday....Making fun of a cartoon lisper? You're despicable.
Hah...Heads are bound to explode and Yosemite Sam will make sure of it.
Well....this was different. Nothing really gave me any angst. Well, maybe the subject of a squabble between airplane passengers. Can you imagine losing your teeth because you told a passenger they had to wear a mask? "Ma'am, you have to keep your mask on...it's a Federal mandate." "POW...take that you rackin frackin varmint."
@Nancy....I've always wondered about the people who come up with product names. I think of them sitting around a conference table and spitting out cutesy tootsie phrases for something their company will sell. Hey...BEANO is clever...we all know what beans do, right? Well, in that case, you'll need to hold that GAS in abeyance. Let give it an X.... as in delete the offending matter and, voila....we have a product name everyone will remember on their way to the Loo.
@JD....From last night: Interesting fact about the hillbillies. Mamo is a name I never heard before - although I had heard MEEMAW. Thanks for sharing.
My GAS X AGENT runneth over.

Rev. Gary Johnson 11:15 AM  

@MissScarlet 10:23AM

If characters with speech impediments in cartoons didn’t cause offense, you’d be out of a job.

pabloinnh 11:16 AM  

Ran into a very interesting biographical video on Youtube all about Mel Blanc. In addition to the characters we've mentioned, (Porky, Sylvester, Yosemite Sam) he also voiced Bugs, Tweety, Pepe LePew, Foghorn Leghorn, Elmer Fudd, Woody Woodpecker, and Barney Rubble, and many, many more. He was known as "The Man of A Thousand Voices", but he said he probably had done about four hundred, which still strikes me as close to impossible.

albatross shell 11:16 AM  

Yeah. So terrible. This puzzle so denigrating to lispers everywhere. Better not even talk about it. Ban Sylvester cartoons. Making fun of speech impediments. Oops impediments sounds insulting too. What to do?
Some times I think the metric that America is over racism will be when a black politician can eat a big slice of watermelon in public with a smile on his face with no worry about how it will be viewed or used by anyone. Trivial as that sounds.
Or maybe that just means America has forgotten racism. Hmmm.

@Kitshef
I finally read the Sunday comments. About the Take Me out to the Ball Game comment you made. I got the answer instantly because on Saturday I was at the Nationals game and they substituted Washington in the singing and on the big screen bouncing ball lyrics. I'm pretty sure they do that at the Orioles games too. But its been too long since I've been to that stadium to remember if they even sing that song. But we all know what they do to the other Anthem. You are right that it doesn't scan, but as Tom Lehrer pointed out in folk music it doesn't matter if you put a couple of extra syllables into a line.

Canon Chasuble 11:34 AM  

There are many ways to look at Madama Buttefly. First of all, the opera was written in three acts, as it clearly states in my Ricordi score of around 1910, and reprinted on the title page of all Ricordi scores up to at least 1980. That said, most "modern" copies, and almost all opera companies, perform it in two acts, using the finale of the "Humming Chorus" (Ricordi # 90) as a break in the second act. As far as I know, only two opera companies (of one of which I was the Manager) have performed the opera in its original 3 Act form, with the "Humming Chorus" ending act II with Verdi's original Act III beginning with what is now usually considered the second part of Act II (get it?).

As to the counting the number of arias, that is also problematic, as is with most Puccini operas. The titling or numbering of individual arias in most operas is standard and well-known, but the distinctions of what is or what isn't an aria changed in the late 19th and early 20th century with composers such as Puccini (and others, of course). What traditionalists, including musicologists, considered to be "arias" (as defined by both the music and the text) were baffled by this transformation that began when composers, such as Puccini, crossed the imaginary lines that formatted (and formulated) traditional arias, duets, and even ensembles.

Sorry to be so pedantic about this, but opera evolves and continues to evolve, from
Monteverdi to the present day. Some like change, some hate change, some refuse to acknowledge change.

bocamp 11:43 AM  

@Lewis (6:47 AM)

Echoing your 'squeamishness' re: the theme, and appreciating your take on it. Also, an opportunity to be more thotful on the subject. I heartily agree re: the overall 'delightfulness' of the puz, tho.

@Colette (9:28 AM)

Good to hear from you. I'm in your camp re: the Thurs. + difficulty; my problem was not that I didn't grok the idea, but just had a tough time parsing the themers. I was also somewhat off Barbara's wavelength, in general.

Look forward to seeing you more often. 😊

@jberg (9:30 AM) yw πŸ‘

I love her unmistakably distinct sound, the down-to-earth lyrics and her sincere nature as a person.

@Barbara S. (9:05 AM)

Thx for the Carson quote; esp the 'to want to know' rather than 'diet of facts'.
___



td pg -1

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all ~ πŸ•Š

thfenn 11:44 AM  

Well, I went in a completely different direction with this one. Like others, the NW dropped right in. So now I've got URBANMYTH being what someone thinks of young women in cities. Wow, what's the myth? They can't be young? They can't be women? Did some character in a cartoon say that? Maybe Jessica Rabbit said something like that? When Sylvester finally clicked, I thought, jesus, we're going with lisps today? Little short on TACT.

I'm with JD, perfectly good themeless today. All the back and forth on is it OK, are people who think it isn't too woke, are people who think it is too something else is NOHELP. Thought it was a great themeless. Thought it was a stupid unentertaining theme.

thfenn 11:52 AM  

On yesterday, my grandmother was Mamaw, but nothing hillbilly, Appalachian, or Scottish about her at all. Main Line Philadelphia in fact. All us grandkids called her Mamaw, Meemaw, or Mommom. No idea why now.

Piano Phil 12:02 PM  

Lisping cartoon cats aren’t funny anymore? What’s next? I’m worried we’re going to run out of things to laugh at and god knows we all need a good laugh right now. Why so serious?

Easy, fun puzzle except I got stymied by the parallel names ALI and MCENTIRE. I just needed the L and the E and the Hawaiian holiday was no help.

Ann Howell 12:18 PM  

Also fell for the Daffy Duck ruse! But overall very enjoyable...

kitshef 12:19 PM  

I had a speech impediment - severe enough that for a year of elementary school I took speech therapy once a week (which meant I got to miss 'real' classes, which was nice). I never felt picked on any more than any other kid. There is always something to make fun of. The kid who's really tall. The one whose last name is Fink. The one whose first name rhymes with 'fart'. The redhead.

And I did not feel the puzzle was making fun of speech impediments. And I don't think cartoons did, either. If anything, didn't, say, Porky Pig show that someone with a stutter could lead a normal life, with a wife(?) in Petunia, friends, a job?

But I also acknowledge that the people expressing discomfort with the theme are expressing their own reactions based on their own backgrounds and experiences. And that their reactions are born of empathy and kindness. Why anyone else feels a need to criticize those people and their reactions is beyond me.

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

@Piano Phil:

would you be down with people on the street laughing at you and pointing at you and your cross eyes? Hmm?

Frantic Sloth 12:32 PM  

@GILL 1113am Okay, but now can you explain the medication naming system?? I think there was a law or some such that nixed using the ailment name (entirely or in part) as part of the drug name. Of course, I'm too lazy to research this, but that's what @Z is for! 😊

@pabloninnh 1116 Mel Blanc was a freak when it came to his voices; however, Woody Woodpecker was voiced by several people, most notably Grace Stafford, wife of his creator, Walter Lantz.
If anyone cares. Which I doubt. But, there it is. 🀷‍♀️

Z 12:34 PM  

@9:05 - It’s been something like two decades since I listened to any NPR station, and back then it was WDET and mostly for the local programming. I stopped listening when they axed the local talent and replaced them with cheaper syndicated/NPR shows. I have no idea who Rob Stein is. Right now the only NPR personality I know is Bob Boilen, and that’s from the Tiny Desktop Concert podcasts.

@Mr. Cheese - One’s intent is not the issue.

@misterarthur - Why would such a useful word fall out of usage, especially around discussing crossword themes?

I guess I’ll be that person and point out that laughing at lisping was never funny, it’s just that now we are more aware of the hurtfulness of that type of “humor.” Punching up is one thing (want to make fun of Obama’s ears? have at it), but punching down is never a good look.

Z 12:37 PM  

@Frantic Sloth - I believe the law you are referring to requires medication names to evoke separate bathtubs in meadows.

old timer 12:43 PM  

I got the general idea early, and was thinking 58 Across would be SYLVESTER, though I probably have not seen his toons since 1962. But I really thought I would have a DNF in the SW. Obviously face was required, hence FAITH. But "IN GOOD face" is not s very obvious choice for "looking pretty", umlike the other themers. I was saved by Miss Reba, and am grateful for my phase of being so keen on Country Music that I regularly watched the CMA awards.

Amyone else mistakenly put in "pine" for ACHE?

There is nothing wrong at all about making fun of people who lisp, provided they are (a) cartoon characters or (b) toddlers learning to talk. There must be a million Facebook posts that have featured the amusing way toddlers learn to talk. Many feature lisps. Others, including the ones I would have posted if Facebook existed circa 1980, feature the substitution of "h" for "s". My daughter Sarah was "Hawa" to her next younger sister, and we sometimes still joke about that. Of course I can do that as a Gwampa.

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

Z,
Rob Stein has been on NPR for 3 decades. So you heard him for 10 years.

JD 12:53 PM  

Seriously though, how do we know most cats don't speak that way? We'd know for sure if they weren't so damned snobby. Sylvester may be one of many.

jae 12:53 PM  

Fun Fact: Reba is currently playing the ex-wife of Sheldon's MEEMAW's (Annie Potts) boyfriend on "Young Sheldon."

Anonymous 12:59 PM  

I did put in 'pinE' for ACHE, but not before I tried 'long'.

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

Z,
What? It's National public radio. You can tell it isn't supposed to local by the name. You know, national. The opposite of local. Sure, there's local programming on all public radio stations, but NPR is, by definition, national in its scope. Why you would 86 something for being what it is, is bizarre. Don't like national radio personalities? Listen to the 100 watt college radio station.

Piano Phil 1:03 PM  

We’ve rightly ceded a lot of comedic ground as we painfully evolve, some of the material going back to Ancient Greece. OK, let’s not make any more lisping cats, but we don’t have to blacklist Friz Freleng. Once we start messing with Looney Tunes, erasing The Three Stooges can’t be far behind. It’s the domino theory of humor. Or is slapstick already verboten? You’ll have to pry it from my cold dead hands. It must be terrible trying to do standup right now. I guess we could go back to laughing at airplane food.

JOHN X 1:07 PM  

What’s so funny about Biggus Dickus?

Let’s release Roger

Joaquin 1:08 PM  

@ Miss Scarlett (10:23 a.m.) re: CAL

Cal (U.C. Berkeley) is the mother school and deserves to own the nickname. Imagine the confusion if all nine schools called themselves "Cal".

I lived in the midwest for many years and had this conversation more times than I care to remember:

"Where did you go to school?"
"Cal"
"Oh, USC?"
"No. That's a rival school. I went to Cal Berkeley."
"You mean UCLA?"
"Nope." Followed by lengthy explanation of California geography and the University system.

Teedmn 1:09 PM  

I didn't really pay attention to the theme clues while solving. I got URBAN MYTH, saw the cross-reference to 58A and thought, "hmmm". I left 24A at WORD OF, 35A at MOMENT, and 50A at IN GOOD until I started filling in the right side of the grid. Once I saw the themes were all going to be common phrases, I slapped in the obvious answers, got to SYLVESTER (who was NOT hiding in some place in my brain, I only needed the first E to guess it) and then went back to re-read the theme answers.

Thus, I had less time to feel skittish about the theme and was left with a favorable impression overall.

I appreciate Rex's homing in on the "invisible wackiness" which is what gives the puzzle that extra zing.

Thanks Barbara Lin.

Witnessing Greatness 1:16 PM  

It's enjoyable reading most of the witty and informative commentary posted here. However, lately it has been such good theatre just observing the ease with which @Z skewers all of the haters and Anon-a-trolls. Usually the standard blog post advice is don't feed the trolls - this is one instance where the trolls look so foolish that's it's actually worth it.

C'mon Anon-a-Holes, step up your game a bit - at least make @Z break a sweat instead of simply stepping up to just basically be hit in the face with a (figurative) shovel!

Frantic Sloth 1:19 PM  

Is there anything more subjective than what is "funny"?

@Z 1234pm Laughing at lisping in and of itself might have been funny to a child in the 50s or 60s - or might not - but that was also not the only thing Sylvester, et.al. were known for.
I enjoyed every single one of those cartoons. Might not have been laugh-out-loud funny, but the humor was inescapable - for me. I'd like to add that I have never, nor will I ever associate these cartoons with actual people and never have "pointed and laughed" at anyone for anything. Kids can be cruel and I am certain I was as boneheaded as the next kid, but all one would need to see is how someone can be affected by such insensitivity to learn one's lesson.
But, maybe that's just me.
@Z 1237pm Well, that was no help at all, but I find it interesting how you keep coming back to that particular ad. 🀣🀣🀣
For now, we can table any discussion for a time when you don't have your hands full dealing with that whole NPR thing.

@JD 1253pm 🀣🀣🀣 The smart money is on your theory.

Snopes 1:21 PM  

@Witnessing Greatness is actually @Z

johnk 2:11 PM  

45D: I first had DON'T MAKE A MESS, but I thould've been more futhy.

GILL I. 2:17 PM  

@Whatsername...I'm a Nonie but I can't help but wonder if Boomer got his name because he had a GAS X problem?
@kitshef 2:19....I didn't lisp as a child, but I had plenty for my friends to pick on (and I think I grew up as a normal human being). At about the age of 12, I was already 5'6 and still growing and my best buddies called me Attila the Amazon. I had red hair and a gazillion freckles and my family name is Echols and my buddies called me "Keckles Freckles." I think most of us grew up having been made fun of in some way or another.
@Frantic The ads that get me are the ones that tell you not to take their medication if you're allergic to it. WELL.... FRIGGIN DUH. Also, your post at 1:19...I'm with you all the way. I, too, enjoyed EVERY SINGLE LOONEY TUNES. The first time I saw them was when I was visiting my grandmother in California. She didn't have a TV but the neighbors down the street did and every Saturday I'd go watch. My only go-to yuck yuck was watching I Love Lucy, In Havana, so when I got to hear Porky Pig or Daffy Duck or any of them, I was in childhood heaven. Of course you'd never associate these cartoons with actual people, they were silly cartoons made to make innocent children laugh.
No one is making fun of lispers.

Frantic Sloth 3:02 PM  

@GILL 217pm 🀣 Poor Boomer! Those ads! What about the "blah blah blah or death can happen" bit? Next thing you know they'll be saying don't take if dead. And thanks for the cartoon backup! Being a goofball definitely helps the ability to find humor under every rock. I know whereof I speak. 😘

Nigel Pottle 3:15 PM  

Wading into the fray - no one has pointed out that the lisping characters in cartoons of the time never had other characters make fun of them for their lisps. They may have had challenges of other sorts (Sylvester is never going to catch Tweety Bird) but their lisps were not held against them.
In other news this puzzle was probably the easiest Thursday I’ve ever done - I kept waiting for the news that I was doing it all wrong. But I wasn’t and I flew through the puzzle. And even though I was an eager consumer of Looney Tunes in my misspent youth, I had to wait for quite a few crosses to get Sylvester.

albatross shell 3:36 PM  

Leaving lisp to one side, this is a remarkable puzzle. Rex nails this one. Even his wonderful observation about "fair of face" is quite good. An excellent phrase and he does not get all upset that it fails the theme test. He enjoys the wackiness. To those who criticize the clues about not being common phrases before their transformation I disagree that they should be. No reason for it at all. They only have to be accurate answers. And to have the final answers URBAN MYTH, MOMENT OF TRUTH, WORD OF MOUTH, OF GOOD FAITH have a double theme of stroies told and a sliding scale of reliability unifies the theme beyond lisping. In fact, the lisping disappears from the grid. Oops, I was leaving that aside.

And the fill is much above average too. We have CRESS PIE MIA (a nod to the Holiday Weekend) SKITTISH, Reba's surname, REDTAPE RODEO in OMAHA in college world series season, AGENT GASX, a TENUOUS RILL, HEX and CHARMS, ARIAS and ODEs, and a GUSH of JOSHING. Good clues for TAT and a deceptively honest clue foe HONKS.

The NW was easy and the NE fairly easy. The South definitely harder for me. I (did) GET IT with NO HELP.

And I keep how forgetting to mention how wonderful it was to be at a ball game with a crowd large enough to matter and to enjoy the cheering, and small enough not to be crowded or have lines or blocked views. The best of all worlds. Get it while you can.

Anonymous 3:55 PM  

@GILL I.:
they were silly cartoons made to make innocent children laugh.
No one is making fun of lispers.

Patti LuPone, playing a defence attorney in a L&O episode, is fed an opening by McCoy as she is about to question a witness. What McCoy fed her was the hint that the witness had lied about a critical matter. So, she says to the witness (from memory, mine that is): 'here we have a conundrum.'

And so do you. Why are the innocent children laughing at the lispers, if not making fun of them? Why else would they laugh at lisping? Sure it sounds funny, I suppose, but the point being that lisping isn't like stepping in a bucket, or stuffing chocolate bonbons down your blouse. It's funny because because...? Because 'normal' people don't lisp. If you lisp, you're, be definition, deficient. At least a bit. If lisping were the norm, it wouldn't be odd and wouldn't be funny. Which reminds of the 'Twilight Zone' episode, where the punch line is that the typically good looking blonde is considered sub-standard by the doctors, who we see on the way out of the episode. Of course, they all have pig faces.

Barbara S. 3:56 PM  

@Greater Fall (10:41)
Our comments mesh seamlessly. I said "major collecting institutions" you said "small museums." Big, big difference.

pabloinnh 4:17 PM  

@FraSlo re Woody Woodpecker--Thanks for that. Certainly looked like an outlier when I was copying a list I found, but since it was on the internet it had to be true. Man, the stuff I find out on this blog.

Also, Roadrunner cartoons make me laugh out loud and always will, and I'm no fan of gratuitous violence, but I know a cartoon when I see one. Maybe it's time to rekindle the "beep beep" "meep meep" argument (I vote for the former).

GILL I. 4:22 PM  

@Anonyouse 3:55: "Why are the innocent children laughing at lispers, if not making fun of them?" For the very reason that children will laugh at grandpa when he farts by mistake or when someone bends over and rips their pants. The noise an elephant would make made me laugh - don't get me started with chimpanzees. Noises that seem a little different to young children will inevitably elicit a giggle - child nature - no conundrum.
This puzzle was about Looney Toons and a silly cat named SYLVESTER. He never made fun of anybody; just silly sounds.
Sorry, but I don't find anything about this puzzle laughing at lisping. Call me the good looking blonde with a pig face.

Anonymous 6:29 PM  

If you feel frustrated about your own speech impediment, or that of a child--I wonder if figures such as Sylvester make things better or worse (I have no idea)--I know that the problem has been around a long time. There was a popular early Medieval poem about baldness, which began: Carmen convitii cerritus, capere calvos. That is line one. There were about 150 more lines, with each word beginning with a hard C. Supposedly if you stuttered, and recited this poem in its entirety, your stuttering would be completely cured.

The poem was so well known that Erasmus cited it as such. There’s a very fine short article on this by Daniel Sheerin, “A Carolingian Cure Recovered: Erasmus’ Citation of Hucbald of St. Amands’ Ecloga de calvis,” Bibliotheque d’Humanisme et Renaissance, vol. 42 (1980), pp. 167-171. If Hucbald is not a name that rolls off your tongue, join the chorus.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Anonymous 6:56 PM  

Witness,
Let’s not lose track of the argument. Z asserted he’s never known an adult with an uncorrected lisp.
Set aside my example of Rob Stein as such a person. I’ll ask you. Have you ever hear an adult with a lisp?
I’m guessing you have. Morgan Spector, the actor who does the tv ads for Audi has a fiery slight one. You’ve see those ads, right?
But even if you or z has never heard an adult with a lisp, a concession that beggars belief, how the heck would anyone know whether the speaker had a lisp at one time but corrected it? Think about that as a logical progression. And if the easel out is I don’t think... please. Why bother with the observation if the proviso is simply ones limited experience. Willfully ignorant or not.

Unknown 7:46 PM  

1. Being a little too young for SYLVESTER, the theme took quite a while for me.
2. Wow, a lot of folks here are highly upset over a lisping cartoon character . . . . . Either I'm not sensitive enough (quite possible!), or folks need to toughen up just a bit.
3. Am I the only one who finds the back-and-forth between ANONYMOUS and Z to be getting a little stale?
4. Since I didn't know Sylvester, wasn't sure he had a lisp, kept on looking for a rebus or two . . . . and finally, what you all call an ADDIN was, once upon a time, called a MIXIN. So that was an issue for me. (MIXINS were invented at Steve's in Somerville Mass. The good old days.)

Nancy 8:37 PM  

@GILL (11:13)-- As one of the most incurious people in the world about those things I'm not curious about, I didn't try to guess what sort of product Beano and GAS X are. But had I been forced to guess on pain of death, my first guess would have been Video Games. My second guess would have been a product used to light/heat an outdoor barbecue grill. At no point would I have guessed a medication preventing people who eat beans from getting intestinal gas. So thanks for enlightening me on this important, important product matter.

But one question. If beans give you enough gas to require meds, wouldn't it be a lot easier just not to eat beans?

Z 10:31 PM  

@Frantic Sloth 1:19.1 - Hmmm - So early this morning I mentioned that I can see why people might not realize that a lisp based theme might not be the best idea and that I wouldn't have gone there. Then some people made comments like "lisping is funny" and "if we can't make fun of people there will be no more laughter." It was those comments that my "I'll be that guy" comments were directed at. As I suggested in my first comments, I have laughed heartily at Merrie Melodies. But this puzzle feels like it uses SYLVESTER as an excuse for making fun of a lisp. I don't think it was intentional, I think it was probably thoughtless.

@Frantic Sloth 1:19.2 - After diligent research I have discovered that there has been a change in the law and new medicine names have to evoke matching bathtubs on a wooden roller coaster. All side effects are to be listed in Morse Code by the click clack of the roller coaster.

@Witnessing Greatness - I must confess I'm at a loss today. How can I possibly refute that I have heard of not one, but two people I have never heard of. I guess I could point out that the anonymouse has conveniently misquoted me, but their dismal critical reading ability is so well documented that I barely bother to point it out anymore. Or I could point out that the two NPR affiliates I listened to were WGVU and WDET, both associated with Universities. Or, I suppose, that being an NPR station doesn't mean that the station plays only NPR shows any more than my local ABC station only plays ABC shows (I guess Jeopardy! is an ABC show - who knew?) and it is not all uncommon for people to be interested in programming about their local communities. But no. Why would I point any of that out when I am totally flummoxed to learn that I know all about the lisps of two people I have never heard of before? Clearly, I am check-mated.

I am curious, though. How does @Anon know these two individuals I know, even though I have no idea who they are and don't listen or watch any of their shows, have lisps? I looked both people up and all I could find was some ugliness about Stein, but no actual information. I am also surprised this superfamous person I know even though I don't know who they are doesn't even rate a wikipedia page.

JC66 10:46 PM  

@Z

You really enjoy this?

derekm 10:47 PM  

Exactly what @Coniuratos said about the Harry Potter clue: not HEXes, but CURSES!

Cc’d 6:40 PM  

Consider the time period when those strips were created. We don’t but in that era things were different.

spacecraft 11:40 AM  

I half expected OFC to go on a rant about dissing lispers; thankfully I was wrong. It ith what it ith.

I liked it. Tweaking a familiar phrase (well, except for INGOOD...face???) with a -TH sound replacing the S- sound was fun. Theme works, and the fill is fine. I had two writeovers because I didn't know how to spell DOD Reba MCiNTyRE, but crosses soon straightened that out. Birdie.

Burma Shave 11:43 AM  

LETME PALME

Ms. MCENTIRE's RED dress,
years AGO when I WAS a youth,
ENDSUP ahead OF the REST,
it WAS a MOMENTOFTRUTH.

--- CAL SYLVESTER

Diana, LIW 3:17 PM  

Don't make AMESS when you ought to make AFUSS - that's what I always say. Then, get a "furrier' out of your head when you Know farrier has nothing to do with fur. An earworm of a sort for me.

So, after looking up 4 answers, I did get the rest.

As I always say, after the MESS/FUSS stuff, thank goodness it wasn't a rebus.

Ubda ubada ubada - that's all folks.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoaster 3:23 PM  

Almost easy as PIE. “TH” sounds from SYLVESTER instead of “S” sounds. Made for a neat and clever solve. Liked it a lot.

Fittingly, X was the last letter in for HEX/GASX cross. Another paws (the cat’s, get it? pause?) was CITES for “Tickets”.

Forgive the pun, please.

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