You may recall when Dick Tracy and Jumble referenced each other in their respective strips (Dick Tracy and the Jumble Crossover). This Sunday's sequence of Pearls Before Swine references Jumble, although this time it's one-sided. (Click on image to enlarge)
Steven Pastis' treatment is genius, because it work on so many levels. First, all you have to do is skim the second panel, the Jumble, and you get the joke. Rat's using his new job to heap insults on Pastis. But there's more: Pastis went to the trouble of actually creating a Jumble, and in some ways actually did one better than the regular creative team.
If you unscramble all the words, the circled letters do indeed form an anagram. And it's an anagram of a word that provides a punchline to the Jumble cartoon.
But here's the thing; when you unscramble the words, the words themselves reveal a hidden message That's why the two-letter word doesn't contribute any letters to the Jumble -- it's just part of the message.
And that's what makes this a great sequence. There are three levels of insults built into the Jumble puzzle. So the deeper you dig, the more you're rewarded. Brilliant!
Solutions below for the curious (and lazy)
„snɹǝɯnɥ„ :ǝuoq sıɥʇ ƃuıssıɯ sı sıʇsɐd sʎɐs ɹoʇɔop ǝɥʇ :ɹǝʍsuɐ
˙ʎuunɟun puɐ qɯnp ɥʇoq sı sןɹɐǝd :spɹoʍ