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Some months ago I answered a question over on the Literature SE. The question was about a Krazy Kat strip from 1936.

In the cartoon, Offisa Pupp takes a nap; he dreams that he meets Krazy and then catches Ignatz Mouse. Offisa Pupp and Ignatz start wrestling each other, with Krazy looking on and commenting on the action. The language in Krazy Kat is idiosyncratic and the question seeks elucidation on some of the strip’s text. Unfortunately there was no link to the actual strip and I’ve been unable to find a copy.

I was able to answer almost all of the question after working out that Krazy’s commentary is 'crying' names of classical poses being struck by exhibition bodybuilders. (My answer on LitSE explains in more detail). https://literature.stackexchange.com/q/11353/333 Offisa Pupp's comments seem related to the poses, although we were not able to connect all the dots there.

There were references to Hercules, Horatius at the Bridge, Ajax defying the thunderbolts etc. However, there was one which completely stumped us all:

Krazy: Cyklops destroyin' the tutty-nine dumb dimmins

Pupp: Skol

It seems as though it should be straightforward, ‘Cyclops destroying the 39 dumb demons’, but I can’t find a myth that it maps to.

I initially assumed it related to Polyphemus; Odysseus fools him with the aid of strong wine, hence Pupp's response 'Skol', a toast. However that still doesn't get us to 39 demons being destroyed.

I have begun to wonder if ‘tutty-nine’ isn’t ‘39’ but some adjective that I can’t place, along the lines of eg saturine or something.

Someone suggested the Telkhines, but I still couldn’t match it convincingly, or persuade myself that ‘Tutty-nine’ might be cognate with ‘Telkhines’.

Can anyone here suggest any instances of Cyclops involvement in mass demon destruction? I would love to fill that gap in the answer.

  • Hi and welcome, that is a nice question but sadly I didn't find anything relating to cyclops and demons in the Greek mythology websites I know. Maybe it refers to some of the daemones instead, but if it's the case, you could literally chose any 36 of them, as they all could suit your question. Tell me if you would like a proper answer on this, as I don't really have the time at this moment. – Calaom Sep 18 at 13:26
  • Not sure if this is useful, but Porphyry, when discussing the cave of the Nymphs, refers to semi-divine beings (with nymphs and the Cyclops and a servant of Pan lumped in here) as Daemons. brill.com/view/book/edcoll/9789004374980/BP000005.xml unhistoryofreligion.blogspot.com/2019/03/… No link to destroying 39, though. – DWKraus Sep 24 at 23:22
  • Are you asking about demon destruction or daemon destruction? – Tom Sol Oct 19 at 7:49
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The best thought I can come up with is that this may be some reference to the Olympians vs. the Titans. Partway through the war, the aid of the Cyclopes and the Hekatonkeries was enlisted by Zeus since they also had a bone to pick with the Titans. They had been locked away in Tartarus for years because Ouranos, their father, thought they were too ugly. The Titans continued this policy, so the Cyclopes where all too happy to join up with Zeus. Maybe while they were in Tartarus they fought some demons? I'm not sure, but this is what seems to make the most sense to me.

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