The first Post Magazine metapuzzle of 2022 was hopefully an easier-than-normal hunt. The instructions say we are looking for a famous cartoon character. Nine wacky theme answers will get you started:
It’s been a little while in crossword years (really just six weeks), but this meta was inspired by the drawing I did of the pope in the Nov. 28 puzzle “What’s Wrong With This Picture?” I showed it to a couple of friends of mine and one of them described him as a PAPAL SMURF. Thus, a theme was born.
What was much trickier than I expected was to find viable cartoon characters where you would add a letter that wasn’t E. I found several where I could add E, but the pool was much smaller for every other letter. For R, some alternatives were PORKY PRIG, PEPPA PRIG, BURGS BUNNY, and SAILOR MORON. For U, there was SLINKY DOUG and PHILIP J. FURY. For D, there was YOGI BEARD, BOO BOO BEARD and MR. MAD GOO. I was tempted by the latter, but I thought the resulting phrase was a little too strange; “mad goo” isn’t a thing, whereas the additions to the other characters created real, single words.
Also, I’m aware that PRINCESS BELLED is maybe a tinge inapt since, even though she is part of the Disney princess canon, most of the time she’s just called Belle. But, like I said, it was tougher than I thought to find animated characters where you can add a letter and get a phrase that can be clued decently. Either way, I hope you cracked the meta and got a laugh out of characters like PAPAL SMURF and SCOOBY-DOOM.
What did you think?