Comics hero with magic ring / TUE 7-17-18 / Annual internet awards / Part of mosque from which call to prayer is made / Smartphone predecessor for short / Cartoon boy who makes many prank calls / Product label looked for by lactose intolerant

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Constructor: Amanda Chung and Karl Ni

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (3:18)

THEME: FLYING / COLORS (37A: With 40-Across, what a straight-A student passes with ... or a hint to 17-, 27-, 46- and 62-Across) — things that can fly and also start with a color:

Theme answers:
  • RED BARON (17A: W.W. I enemy ace)
  • GOLDEN SNITCH (27A: Quidditch ball that ends the game when it's caught) [phrasing?]
  • GREEN LANTERN (46A: Comics hero with a magic ring)
  • BLUEBIRD (62A: Symbol of happiness)
Word of the Day: WEBBYS (67A: Annual internet awards) —
Webby Award is an award for excellence on the Internet presented annually by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a judging body composed of over two thousands industry experts and technology innovators. Categories include websites; advertising and media; online film and video; mobile sites and apps; and social. (wikipedia)
• • •

Quick write-up this morning—miserable heat made me fall asleep early last night, and now miserable heat + grogginess is making want to get to (more) coffee and cool, cool yogurt/berry shake as soon as possible. Themewise, this one works well. I had to think for a few seconds, after I'd finished, what the "flying" had to do with any of it, because only themers 1 and 2 seem inherently about flying to me, but yes, they all fly, and they all start with colors, ta da. The one outlier in the group is GOLDEN SNITCH, mainly because the GOLDEN part, while accurate, is not a crucial part of its name. It's the Snitch. You catch the Snitch. In accounts of Quidditch, players chase the Snitch, not the GOLDEN SNITCH. "Way up above them, Harry was gliding over the game, squinting about for some sign of the Snitch" (from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's (or Philosopher's) Stone) See. It's like that throughout. The blue red and green colors are essential to the identity of their respective answers today; golden, not so much. Could've gone with YELLOWJACKET in that same space, but I guess the allure of HP was too strong. The clue on GOLDEN SNITCH is also kind of messed up (27A: Quidditch ball that ends the game when it's caught). The "ball" does not "end the game"—catching it does. The ball doesn't "end the game when it's caught." I'm just imagining the ball going, "OK, everyone, I'm caught, that's it, game over." Grammar! Still, though, I think the theme holds up reasonably well.

Fill-wise, there are problems, but it's Tuesday, so what's a Tuesday without fill trouble. Was put off the grid right away with the horrible ASDOI / ASAMI dilemma at 3D: "Likewise." "Here, guess which terrible answer it is. You have no way of knowing and have to get it from crosses. Fun, right!?" (see also the ALII / ALIA dilemma at 66A: Et ___ (and others), ugh). Also, DETOO, gah. It's bad enough I have to see D2 spelled out, seeing it as a name *part* and not the full name is unpleasant. I'd sooner accept ARTOO, because at least that's what people occasionally call it (him?). But then there is some nice stuff here. Love PREFAB and CYBORG. Mostly the grid is bland, as opposed to downright obnoxious. As Tuesdays go, this is decent work.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


kitshef 7:21 AM  

Rex is wrong about GOLDEN SNITCH. You can call it a SNITCH for short, but the name is GOLDEN SNITCH. Just as if you are reading about baseball, you will frequently see the word ‘ball’ used. But it's still a baseball.

Jessica BIEL has been around a long time, and I’ve known the name seemingly forever. You’d think by this time I’d have some idea who she is, but no. Just one of those names that float around the ether that never connect with a face. Like Channing Tatum, or Blake Lively.

Easiest back-to-back puzzles I can recall, and possibly the easiest Tuesday ever.

QuasiMojo 7:21 AM  

Yellow Submarine?

Harryp 7:28 AM  

Easy Peasy. I ended up in the Midwest with only the Y to finish at 37Across. I never read or watched Harry Potter(not me), but the crosses were fair. Good Tuesday fare.

Rainbow 7:33 AM  

My word of the day-LOUPES, a small magnifying glass used by jewelers and watchmakers, also special lenses used by dentists and doctors/surgeons.

Anonymous 7:34 AM  

You should get an air conditioner.

GHarris 7:35 AM  

Flew through this one and now I’m golden.

FLAC 7:36 AM  

Any puzzle that references the great Althea Gibson is ok by me.

Birchbark 7:44 AM  


NONDAIRY: In the late 1980s, bumming around for a year in Ann Arbor, I lived in a house with drinkers of soy milk. In full disclosure, I'm partial to half-and-half, rum raisin ice cream, etc. That soy milk seemed smug -- what a bunch of posers. In protest I posted this poem on the refrigerator door:

The green meadow
Across the kitchen table spilled
Milk that comes from a cow!

Now the world overflows with soy milk, almond milk, and other NONDAIRY variations -- my own refrigerator no exception. A cautionary tale for those who believe that poetry can change the world.

Hungry Mother 8:06 AM  

My diet has been NONDAIRY for several years. Also, I’ve seen all of the Harry Potter movies and visited the shrine outside London, but I’ve never read a word of the books, so the “I” in SNITCH was going to be an “A” until Jessica saved the day. I was thinking “golden shower” yesterday and so was Putin when he smirked. Thank god for Pussy Riot.

CDilly52 8:12 AM  

I agree with @kitshef. When Oliver Wood is showing the Quidditch balls to Harry, he says “you’ll like that ball. It’s the GOLDEN SNITCH.” Yes, when Lavender Brown is calling the matches, she frequently just calls it the games she frequently just says ‘snitch,’ but it’s full name nonetheless includes the color. This from my niece who has been a Potterphile since the first book was published when she was eight. She plays recreational Quidditch now and it is a hoot. Easy Tuesday. Enjoyed it.

Z 8:12 AM  

GOLDEN SNITCH is fine. It’s not just any old SNITCH. Using a different SNITCH would be like playing baseball with a football.

@Moly Shu - Do you really win if Putin is the effective President the whole time? Asking for a friend.

Jamie C 8:23 AM  

I had GOLDENSNATCH, who is a star in the porno version of the Harry Potter films. Oops.

Jamie C 8:26 AM  

PS: As an aside, there is an error in this week's New Yorker puzzle (barely a spoiler) in the answer to the clue featuring plasma.

Lewis 8:39 AM  

GOLDEN SNITCH is an outlier because the first word of the other three theme answers is simply a color (RED, GREEN, BLUE). But it didn't bother me. I'm just surprised Rex, who is usually a stickler for these things, didn't mention it.

My favorite real estate in the puzzle was the eighth column with my two favorite words of the bunch: MINARET and ENNOBLE.

I know it is too long, but it would have been sweet to see PURPLE PEOPLE EATER spanning the grid!

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

I was really peeved that you didn't know who Channing Tatum is. I thought, "How could you forget Rizzo"! I realized I need to finish my coffee. I don't know who anyone is. Who am I?

Bob Mills 9:06 AM  

Finished it 100%, but still don't understand "GREENLANTERN." Green is a color, but does a lantern fly?

Sir Hillary 9:08 AM  


Good Tuesday theme, but weighed down by a raft of junky fill. ITSY, EPI, SOIRS, DETOO, SSN, ALII, EDT, AFOG, ASDOI, IPO, PDA and most all the priceless ATS, which is so unclueable that the constructors and editor seemingly just threw up their hands. I actually laughed out loud at that one.

Still, I learned what LOUPES are, which is good. And there's such a thing as WEBBYS? OKSURE.

RooMonster 9:09 AM  

Hey All !
Dang, @Lewis best me to it. I was gonna say, Where's the One-eyed, One-horned FLYING PURPLE PEOPLE Eater?

Nice puz. Not sure how GREEN LANTERN fits. Does he fly? Have to bone up on my comics heroes.

Any complaints about ENNOBLE? What a word. Also, WEBBYS... OK SURE. They aren't bad answers, just odd.

3 F's, not too shabby.


Nancy 9:12 AM  

WiBBYS, I was thinking? WIBBYS???? OK, SURE, if you say so. But I misspelled SAKi. Ah, so they're WEBBYS. Now that makes more sense! Giving me yet again another 1-letter DNF. Sigh. But it's my own fault. I really should know how to spell SAKE. When I go to Japanese restaurants, I'll sometimes order a vodka SAKE martini. Delicious! It comes with a cucumber instead of an olive or a twist.

This puzzle began for me with a yawn in the NW, but got more interesting as it went along. I ended up liking it. The theme is cute and the fill was very clean. And what an usual way to clue AERIE (53D) And what a funny, imaginative name for an "American Eagle" clothing line. I wonder what they sell?

RooMonster 9:15 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzie Q 9:18 AM  

Aerie is a clothing line at American Eagle? News to me. I wonder how many people outside of CW solvers get the cleverness. I am a birder and a solver so my vote doesn't count.
@ Jamie C Funny!
That Snitch clue is too complicated. Just Quidditch ball would have been enough.

GILL I. 9:26 AM  

A nice Tuesday to remember. Except I had a DNF. That Quidditch ball was a GOLDEN SNATCH. I wasn't sure what to think. Do I get my head out of the gutter or do I think of SNATCH as something you yank away. Jessica of 7th heaven is a BAEL - sobeit.
I've never watched the WEBBYS - I hardly watch any of the awards ceremony because I hate listening to Hollywood politics. Didn't all of them swear they were leaving California if Trump won? Still here. Lucky for Canada. Anyway, I Googled some of the winners just to see if I approved. M favorite is the Hay Day 360 Hug. I tried embedding it but I failed. If you absolutely nothing better to do, Google it. It's cute and when the cow kisses you, you can't help but smile.
I like that this puzzle was a HIM and HERS effort. NOT BAD at all.

RooMonster 9:33 AM  

Let's try again. In tribute to the constructor Karl Ni -
The Knights Who Say "Ni!"


RooMonster 9:40 AM  

Aw heck, just Google Knights of Ni. :-)


'merican in Paris 9:42 AM  

OK, SURE. I'll agree that today's puzzle was NOT BAD. But I Naticked at the crossing of ALTHEA and AERIE. ALSO missed that I had written in ITtY instead of ITSY at 14A. I guess my brain was on AUTO-pilot; or maybe it was because I was going COMMANDO WHILE filling in the GIRD, ... I mean GriD.

Too bad that the constructors couldn't fit snOOpy rather than DROOLS at 20A, which would have made a nice pairing with the RED BARON. Cute, though, that HIM and HERS work off of the same "H".

Mention of the Green Lantern reminds me of Donovan's groovy "Sunshine Superman", which apparently included Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones (of Led Zeppelin) on guitar and bass.

Superman or GREEN LANTERN ain't got a-nothin' on me
I can make like a turtle and dive for your pearls in the sea, yeah
A you-you-you can just sit there a-thinking on your velvet throne
'Bout all the rainbows a-you can a-have for your own

Moly Shu 10:09 AM  

Yea, I really win. I also win if thousands of illegal immigrant children are separated from their Iillegal immigrant parents or if the NRA prevents gun control and millions of people’s lives are endangered or if Kavanaugh is confirmed and millions more lives are endangered or what ever “the sky is falling” scenario you want to throw at me. Yes damnit, I win. I survived 8 years of that Obama abomination, I’m sure you can survive 4 (or maybe 8) years of MAGA.
Anything can happen in 4 days though, so you still have a shot to win.

Not a HP fan but I liked GOLDENSNITCH. Also NADIR is a good word. WEBBYS? Never heard of em.

Joseph Michael 10:22 AM  

Nice puzzle but in my ignorance of all things Harry Potter, I went with GOLDEN SNATCH.

Liked the theme concept and choices. The fill suffers from the theme density but overall is NOT BAD. Liked CYBORG and COMMANDO the best.

Purple Rain?

emily 10:23 AM  

Being lactose intolerant is a real condition, not a fad.

Kendall 10:27 AM  

Overall thought it was fine but stared at the W in WEBBYS for ages. I don’t know what a SCOW is and I have never heard of a Webby in my life, it was just the only letter that made any sense. Also naticked on ALIi as I had ALIA. NADaR sounds like just a reasonable of a name to me not knowing who the person is. Oh well.

mathgent 10:29 AM  

A little sparkle on a Tuesday. CYBORG. CYTE. GOLDEN SNITCH. Nice.

Here in San Francisco, most of us pronounce "aunt" like we pronounce the tiny insect. The other pronunciation, which sort of rhymes with "taunt," is used by some African Americans here. Is that pronunciation the common one in the southern states?

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

Gonna be one of these weeks, as I bested Rex's time again! And within 6 seconds of my Tuesday record, which surprises me because I felt like I fumbled a few.

I'll take it!

jberg 10:43 AM  

I actually read the first Harry Potter book, years ago. But I couldn't remember the SNITCH -- if you'd asked me, I'd have guessed that that was the quidditch -- why else is the game called that? And I didn't know Ms. BIEL, so it came down to plausibility, and really SNITCH was the only plausible choice, so I was OK.

Big problem of the puzzle is that ENNOBLE means "elevate to nobility," not to royalty. They are different things, folks!

Maybe it's a regional thing, but if I say something is NOT BAD, I mean that it's really good, not that it's so-so.

With all that, I enjoyed the puzzle.

G. Weissman 10:52 AM  

“Way up above them, Harry was gliding over the game, squinting about for some sign of the Snitch"? Is “squinting” a Britishism, or is this just careless writing? “Way up above them”? Why not “Way above them” or “Far above them”? Trying to avoid confusion that Harry wasn’t “way down” above them?

Moly Shu 11:13 AM  

I so wish I had never heard of Jessica BIEL so that I could have ended up with GOLDENSNATCH. Thx @JamieC et al.

Birchbark 11:18 AM  

@emily (10:23) -- My ode to cow's milk is lighthearted and tolerant -- our own refrigerator represents the current diversity on this point. And be sure that in castigating the posers of the late '80's, I stood firmly in a house made of the finest glass.

Lindsay 11:32 AM  

@mathgent, 'aunt' ('taunt') is what my New England born and raised mother-in-law brought to the family. My Southern Californian mother taught me 'aunt' ('ant').

p.s I was eating a Clifbar while solving Sunday's puzzle, and my maternal grandmother was born in Tarbes.

Lindsay 11:37 AM  

NB: Kameron Austin Collins (Saturday's constructor) was also the author of 'The New Yorker's' puzzle yesterday. DNF, but it was nice to see him published twice in one week.

Masked and Anonymous 11:53 AM  

OK by m&e. I'll have to take y'all's word on it, that GOLDENSNITCH and GREENLANTERN fly, tho. Never read a Potter book; did stay awake thru about half of a few of the Potter flicks. Watched a couple of Green Lantern serials, but he mostly just drove around in a car … maybe that was the Green Hornet, tho … ?

Only other prob is with GOLD vs. GOLDEN. GOLD is a "deep lustrous yellow or yellow-brown color". GOLDEN is "colored or shining like gold". GOLD : RED :: GOLDEN : REDDISH? Close enough? Yeah, though so.

Fillins were pretty solid, what with all those colors and revealers flyin around in there. Always easy to jump all over a coupla slightly desperate DETOO-ASDOI-DO-SI-DO's, but I was able to cruise thru the whole thing without flyin off the rails. Nice job.

staff weeject pick: ATS. Plural PC sign meat. Better clue: {Partly eaten OATS??}. 16 weejects to choose from today; somehow that count seems about right, in general. 10-16 range -- seems pretty comfy-reasonable, for a grid-count of these lil darlins.

Thanx for gangin up on us, A.C. & K.N. Enjoyed that U were able to go both COMMANDO & NONDAIRY.

Masked & Anonym007Us


Joanne R 11:58 AM  

@G Weissman - I can't tell you how much your editorial input into my work means to me. Truly, I cherish it.

PS I'm sure Dickens would appreciate your comments re ...far, far better thing... Do you approve of two fars, one far or no fars?

Matthew G. 12:00 PM  

Yes, you are correct and Rex is incorrect. The books make it unambiguous that the formal name is GOLDEN SNITCH. Only later do they shorten it to just “Snitch” for short.

Teedmn 1:01 PM  

Har, all of you who answered GOLDEN SNaTCH. I was coming up to that answer and was thinking SNeeCH (a misspelling of Dr. Seuss's creations, which do appear to be GOLDEN in the YouTube I found though whether they fly or not remains a mystery.) I guess it's time to re-read the Harry Potter oeuvre if I can slip on such a elementary part of the saga. Not to worry though, I caught the SNITCH with Artoo's help.

I have a friend whose husband went nuts over making smoothies, throwing in whole apples, including the CORE. He was not deterred by being reminded of the cyanide in the seeds. I realize it is a small amount, but if you're doing smoothies multiple times a day and pulverizing the seeds, which process releases the cyanide compound, why take the chance?

Nice sophomore puzzle, Amanda and Karl.

Nancy 1:27 PM  

@Joanne R. (11:58) -- So wonderful! When the wit on this blog is good, it's great! I really wish I knew which one of y'all was responsible for this post. (If it's someone who has my email address, please let me know off-blog. I won't squeal, I promise.)

Would you believe I combed through the comments, looking for a previous post from the seemingly brand-new Rexite, @Joanne R. There wasn't one. Then I said "Aha, I bet that's it!" I went to Google and looked up the full name of J.K. And the rest (as they say) is history.

Not Chicken Little 1:31 PM  

Hang in there @Moly Shu. You're not alone.
Only on this blog, not in the real world.

Anoa Bob 1:53 PM  

Yep, FLYING is easy for the BLUEBIRD, it's a bird after all, and it is named for its predominant COLOR. The others don't fit the bill quite so nicely for me. RED BARON has got the COLOR for sure but needs some assistance to go FLYING. Never heard of the GOLDEN SNATCH and have no idea of how or if it can go FLYING, and like M&A sez, GOLDEN is COLOR related but not a stand alone COLOR. And the GREEN LANTERN (I tried HORNET at first) nails the COLOR part but how does it FLY? Arm flapping? Vigorous leg kicking? Inhaling enormous volumes of helium? Sheesh.

Some other naturally FLYING, stand alone COLORed candidates that come to mind include the Yellow Jacket (pictured in the blog), Purple Martin, Pink Flamingo, Blackbird, White-winged dove, Red Robin, Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Scarlet Tanager and Puce Peewit. Okay, I made that last one up.

sanfranman59 1:59 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week. Your results may vary.

(Day, Solve time, 26-wk Median, Ratio, %, Rating)

Mon 4:54 4:30 1.09 71.5% Medium-Challenging
Tue 3:40 5:14 0.70 1.8% Very Easy

I was just four seconds off my all-time fastest NYT Tuesday solve time and just 22 seconds (!!!) slower than Rex. I don't know much Harry Potter, so GOLDEN SNITCH (27A) was not familiar, but I didn't need to know it. AERIE (53D) was another unknown for me that needed all of the crosses. Though this probably should have been a Monday, I thought it was an excellent early-week puzzle without much junk and a wide cultural range (GREEN LANTERN, RED BARON, ALTHEA Gibson and ENID Bagnold to Star Wars, CYBORG and PDA to Harry Potter, Jeremy LIN and WEBBYS). Well done.

Joanne R 2:10 PM  

@Nancy - No on you would recognize, just a long ago commenter popping up now and then to puncture pomposity, gently I hope. Of course, how gentle that is depends upon whether or not you're the target. Yesterday I was A Millennial.

sanfranman59 2:46 PM  

I don't understand the objections to GREEN LANTERN. He's a long-time comics superhero whose magic ring gives him the ability to fly.

I was born and raised in NE Ohio and have also lived in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Northern Virginia and San Francisco. I'm rather inconsistent in my pronunciation of 'aunt' who never really encountered the rhymes-with-taunt version until I moved to Connecticut. Based on the spelling, that pronunciation makes the most sense to me and am surprised that the 'ant' pronunciation is apparently so much more common.

Pdxrains 3:11 PM  

it’s pretty simple, cow’s milk is for baby cows, not for people. Take 5 minutes and check out this video:

Clueless 3:42 PM  

@Kendall (10:25-ish)

Nadar was a 19c French Photographer

(I too had aliA crossed with nadAr)

Bob Mills 3:47 PM  

For sanfranman59: It's pronounced "AHNT" in high society, "ANT" everywhere else. "AUNT" as in "TAUNT" is wrong everywhere.

Jim Lemire 4:08 PM  

@Bob Mills
Not sure AHNT is just for high society. Seems to me I know many a “low society” folk who say it this way, myself included. I always assumed it was a British/New England thing. Also, true to my New England roots, I fully believe that everyone else says it wrong!

CaliMarie 4:20 PM  

Nancy is a doll. If some of you can't understand the appeal of good old-fashioned conversation, rather than endless googling, go find someone else to pick on.

GILL I. 4:56 PM  

@Joanne R. You were charming until you no longer were.
You remind me of a clown hired for a children's party who offers a scrumptious looking lollipop laced with pepper.
Does that make you happy?

Banana Diaquiri 5:22 PM  

@Jim Lemire
Also, true to my New England roots, I fully believe that everyone else says it wrong!

of course that's true. the real dictionary, Merriam-Webster is made in Spfld. and always has been. which is also to say, Boston isn't standard American, Western MA is. take that Brahmins.

Yargh 5:39 PM  

Trump - n:
1) A buffoonish contradictory rich person
2) Fake hair, fake policy, fake President

chefwen 5:45 PM  

In Hawaii ANTS are those pesky little things invading your pantry and kitchen. Moms sister and an older woman are referred to as AUNT or AUNTIE, more often than not a younger clerk in a store will say “thank you, AUNTIE”, it’s a term of respect.

I used to work for a company called BLUEBIRD Systems, their motto was “We make software fly”. They had what they called the High Flyers Club. Every year all the sales people who made their quota got to go on a all expense paid trip and they could choose another employee to go with. The year I got selected we went to Ireland for a week and stayed in a gorgeous castle hotel. Great times!

I keep trying to get my kitty hooked on CATNIP, but she’ll have to part of it. She gets her kicks as the Great Gecko Stalker, we have a lot of tailless geckos running around here,.

Nancy 5:54 PM  

You could have knocked me over with a feather, as the expression goes. It's like reading a whodunit in which the least likely person does it. Your first reaction is exactly the surprise you want from a whodunit. But when you look a little more closely you say: "Nah. Too
improbable. Not really credible. The psychological profile is off."

Thanks to @CaliMarie and @GILL for their staunch defense and lovely comments. And, @GILL, I owe you additional thanks for another lovely comment you made yesterday or the day before. If I've been remiss in acknowledging it, it's because I was caught up with having the "bubbles" stretched out of two wall-to-wall carpets. The workmen were very professional, but it's still a major procedure. There were a lot of bubbles. Don't ask :)

OISK 8:07 PM  


newspaperguy 8:36 PM  

Most references, even official ones, refer to Artoo-Detoo (R2-D2) so there is no reason to complain unless complaining is your thing.

Rita 8:46 PM  

From my grandfather “not bad” was high praise for a meal. A really supreme effort was “not bad at all.”

TomAz 1:06 AM  

I, too, confuse the GREEN LANTERN with the Green Hornet. The latter had a TV show in the mid 60s, when I was very very young, and I remember something about a car. As for the former there's this:

But really, I came here to post about the Wednesday puzzle, for which I have more than a few critiques.

Unknown 7:08 AM  

In the Star Wars books, the names are spelled out (Artoo Detoo and See Threepio)

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

I didn't know ALTHEA ALII or NADIR so that section screwed me up, and the crosses weren't the kind of letters you can just guess. Ugh.

thefogman 7:57 AM  

Nice one. OKSURE, it's not as nice as the June 21st offering* by Milo Beckman and David Steinberg, but NOTBAD at all. Bravo Amanda Chung and Karl Ni!

*Rainbow flag puzzle:

Burma Shave 10:19 AM  


for a COMMANDO with IDEAs to switch
his COLORS, and SCHEME WHILE the enemy pays.


spacecraft 11:25 AM  

I bet you see BLUE BIRD every day but can't remember where.* My own precious memory is of Jan Peerce's wonderful performance of that song ("BLUEBIRD of Happiness," of course), which my second Mom--can't bring myself to call her "stepmom"--adored. One year for Christmas I actually took a trip to NYC (from central PA) to search for that rare recording, and found it. Seeing her tears of joy made the trip easily worth it.

This puzzle played easy and smooth, despite requiring a decent vocabulary. It would've played even easier if I'd been a Potter fan. No matter; the snitch/snatch deal was no problem at all for me, thanks to DOD Jessica BIEL. Weirdly, there's also a Jessica BeaL--also a fitting sash-wearer. But DETOO sealed the deal, though I agree seeing that without Artoo is a minus.

OKSURE, there's stuff like TTOP and ALII, but considering the fairly hefty theme density, definitely NOTBAD. It wouldn't matter anyway:

The beggar man and the mighty king
Are only different in name:
For they are treated just the same by fate!

--"BLUEBIRD of Happiness" opening lyric

This was never going to be worse than a par, and in fact is a {BLUE) birdie.

*BLUE BIRD is a leading manufacturer of: school buses.

leftcoastTAM 2:01 PM  

Smooth, easy, and better than NOTBAD.

Good theme entries, though BLUEBIRD doesn't have the zip of the others.

Hadn't heard of the WEBBYS, a COINED internet awards title that reveals itself. Another vaguely known, but obviously apt, name is AERIE of the American Eagle brand.

A fine Tuesday.

rainforest 2:49 PM  

No wonder I have never read a Harry Potter book. GOLDEN SNITCH indeed.

Not up on my GREEN superheroes, but I do know that the GREEN Hornet didn't fly. How does one get the name GREEN LANTERN, especially since it seems it is a ring that enables him to fly?

I don't know how AUTO is the opposite of manual. I guess it is a reference to vehicle transmissions, where if manual, used to be three on the tree, or four on the floor. If not manual, then it is an automatic transmission which is just another way of shifting gears, but hardly the "opposite" of manual. Hey, I picked a nit. I'll just shut up about aunt(taunt) vs aunt(ant), never mind aunt(ahnt). Now, uncle...

This was an easy if curiously endearing puzzle. Well done.

rondo 4:00 PM  

Compared to most Tuesdays this was pretty good. In fact it passes with FLYING COLORS. Yeah baby Jessica BIEL was filled in long before it was a GOLDEN anything; the old eyeballs seem to gravitate to clues with words like Jessica or Jennifer.

I’ve seen REDBARON Pizza in the markets, but can’t recall ever buying one.

@spacey – I knew where your BLUEBIRD was headed. They made school buses back when we were kids, too.

Gotta say this puz was NOTBAD.

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