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No. 408: Cryptic Crossword

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Cryptic Crossword

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Strip by: Sloublues

{A crossword grid.}

3. *Stag takes Carson's name to become fink creator (6, 4)
5. *Burn falsehood, then caramelize big brother (7, 5)
6. Freckle and queue blend is dream adventurer (6, 4)
7. In Gallagher's city, last letter loses first outside Asian capital (9)
9. Friend combines with damaged capital oboe to complete basketball play (5, 3)
11. *Both nephew and uncle, the sound of a female deer and a waterfowl on opposite sides of topsy-turvy land (6, 4)
12. 'Ville reporter is bad Ford Model (6)
14. *Struggle between misspelled auk and confused biz demo makes for ungainly shambler (7, 6)
15. *Mickey, shout painful syllable with child (6, 3)
16. *Energetically grinning emoticon surrounds Missouri city home to nerdy stick figures (4)
18. Doctor king stands next to an American horse breed (3, 6)
21. *Simon and Garfunkel initially bracket computer emulation program for feline expression (5)
22. *Canine orange spread contains noble rank instead of cargo activity (9)
23. *Approx. your perpetually insecure woman (5)
26. *Intern: Indefinite singular double-hairpin curve fine (4)
27. *Say "bubble" incoherently in post-partum depression (4, 5)
28. Confused, pointless, parentless girl (5)
29. *Biblical brother heads right between red vegetable, myself, and soap mixture in insect prison (6, 6)
30. Playstation parody features warmth in beer (3, 7)
32. *Mad scientist fled backward from single-eyed Lindsay Wagner description (8)
33. *Husband: ramble in reverse next to forest (7)
35. *I, dandy cane, frothily join events around conifers to form fatal chemical paired with pleasure (7, 3, 9)

1. *Tumble to the right of broken reef skydiving without a parachute (8)
2. *Amorphous goop occurs in Okefenokee swamp (4)
4. *Jeez, dark mint mask muddled German twins (12, 4)
8. *Repulsive prefix, toilet paper thickness, and war crimes tribunal suffix, multiplied by fifty, produces the worst newspaper comic ever created (5, 3)
10. *Holier berth is turned inside out to make title of comic Viking (3, 8)
13. Grimy heathens row in confusion, creating impossible poetic status (6, 4, 6)
17. Garden pest jumbles freely change without start of high school in Kiki's comic (6, 9)
19. *Bend page and send civil suit back in early twentieth century dance (7)
20. *This nasal secretion returned to mingle with Jovian moon (6)
24. *Confused, bored, began Go game parody (3, 3, 6)
25. *One hundred words about a family and a pet duck (7)
31. Tale of haunted tenant inside of golfer Michelle is filled haphazardly (5, 4)
34. Penguin stirred soup (4)
36. *Shameless inflicter of bad wordplay exists in present after mixing funereal tune (6)

This crossword puzzle was created with EclipseCrossword. Try it today--it's free!

The author writes:

STANDARD MODE: Each clue points toward part or all of the name of a past or present comic strip, comic strip character, or comic strip creator, following cryptic crossword rules as best as I can manage.

Unlike regular crosswords, which often use a direct description or definition of the answer as a clue, cryptic crosswords rely on anagrams, descriptions, or definitions of parts of the answer, sometimes combined with instructions on how to assemble those parts into the answer, generally phrased in an obtuse manner. It's kinda like Charades in print form. Less briefly:

Success in solving a cryptic clue often relies on figuring out what purpose each part of a clue serves. Words referring to disorder often point to an anagram, whether of part of the clue or of what that part defines. Words referring to backwards motion often mean to reverse the order of letters. Spatial phrases often tell you how to place answers to parts of clues in relation to each other. Synonyms are also common. There will also be a direct description or definition of the final answer, either of the literal phrase or of the person or comic it names. Punctuation in a clue is often misleading. Numbers in parentheses denote the length of each word in an answer. If the answer is HI AND LOIS (written as HIANDLOIS), there would be a (2, 3, 4) after the clue.

Newspaper comics and webcomics appear in this puzzle. Numerals, spaces, and punctuation do not.

If you prefer not to print anything out or write on your screen, here is an interactive web version using Java.

HINT MODE (click to reveal): Comics that originated on the Web: 7-Across, 14-Across, 16-Across, 21-Across, 30-Across, 35-Across, 1-Down, 17-Down, 20-Down, 24-Down, 31-Down.

HINTIER MODE (why all the asterisks?): The * answers relate to strips that had appeared in iToons at the time of this submission (through #395). Remember that #100 exists. If you get really stuck, remember #200 exists.