Old Renault / MON 11-18-19 / Jerry's gal pal on Seinfeld / Comment made when itching to leave a dull party / Nearest target for bowler / Clucked in disapproval / Santa Monica landmark

Monday, November 18, 2019

Constructor: Alan Arbesfeld

Relative difficulty: Medium (2:55)

THEME: animal-y phrases — themers are familiar phrases that have a first word that starts with an animal and ends in "Y":

Theme answers:
  • DOGGY BAGS (17A: Containers for leftovers)
  • BULLY PULPIT (25A: Prominent position from which to pontificate)
  • CATTY CORNER (44A: In a diagonal position (to))
  • PIGGY BANK (58A: Savings repository for a kid)
Word of the Day: LUANDA (40A: Capital of Angola) —
Luanda, formerly named São Paulo da Assunção de Loanda, is the capital and largest city in Angola, It is Angola's primary port, and its major industrialcultural and urban centre. Located on Angola's northern coast with the Atlantic Ocean, Luanda is both Angola's chief seaport and its administrative centre. It is also the capital city of Luanda Province. Luanda and its metropolitan area is the most populous Portuguese-speaking capital city in the world, with over 8 million inhabitants in 2019 (a third of Angola's population). Among the oldest colonial cities of Africa, it was founded in January 1576 by Portuguese explorer Paulo Dias de Novais, under the name of São Paulo da Assunção de Loanda. The city served as the centre of the slave trade to Brazil before its prohibition. At the start of the Angolan Civil War in 1975, most of the white Portuguese left as refugees, principally for Portugal. Luanda's population increased greatly from refugees fleeing the war, but its infrastructure was inadequate to handle the increase. This also caused the exacerbation of slums, or musseques, around Luanda. The city is currently undergoing a major reconstruction, with many large developments taking place that will alter its cityscape significantly. (wikipedia)
• • •

I'm gonna try to keep this simple, which will not be easy, as there are so many issues with this puzzle I want to scream. Or at least speak quite sternly. First, it's a Monday and we are subjected to a 72-worder ... why? To be clear, 72 is a word count you'd expect to see on Friday or Saturday. It's *low*. Themed puzzles are almost never that low ... For Reasons. Namely that the theme already exerts a pretty strong pressure on the grid, and keeping your word count up around 76 or 78 (the max) keeps that pressure from overwhelming the grid and forcing you to use junky fill. 72 words on a Monday is a completely unnecessary stunt, one which we all pay for in the form of, let's see ABBR ORONO ERG ERNO GIAN (!) INRE ASPERSE YORBA LECAR (dear lord) TSKED ALBEE *and* AGEE (somehow) YAPAT and INE. And that's only the obviously regrettable stuff. Yes, it's true, I *am* having fun shouting "YORBA LE CAR" to myself as I pretend to be a character in a crime film who speaks some kind of imaginary pidgin English, but that kind of whimsy only takes you so far. It's bonkers to not go for a higher word count and cleaner fill, esp. considering the longer fill here isn't any great shakes—unless "MY, IT'S LATE" pushes your "Fresh!" button. Does it!?!?! Does it, you monster?!

I don't know how I feel about the theme itself. It's a Monday, there are animals whatever. What I *do* know about this theme is that, with the exception of a single letter, it is *identical* to one Liz Gorski did ... last century. Seriously, 1999. A long time ago, but still in the Shortz era, though, and ... look, if you're making a puzzle, and especially if you are, you know, *editing* a puzzle, you can run your themers through a database real quick to see if they've been used before, and if so, if they've been used in *exactly* the way that you were planning on using them. The idea that Will did this to Liz ... a constructor whose name you don't see in the NYT any more (maybe you should wonder about that...) ... and that this guy, with this dated, warmed-over, last-century junk heap, is getting paid many many times over as much as Liz ever got paid for a daily (remember, he's getting the *veteran* pay rate, and getting it for essentially copying a woman's (grrr) work from two decades ago. It's insulting on top of insulting. If you're gonna do something that someone else has already done, at least improve it, modernize it, Something! I mean, YORBA LE CAR, for GIAN's sake! Sigh. Fire everyone. Burn it down. Rip it up and start again. The NYTXW needs new leadership, and even people inside that org. know it.

Ok, that's all. Liz Gorski rules. Gorski now, Gorski forever (check out her themeless puzzles at the New Yorker puzzle website every fifth week or so!) (or get her easy themed Crossword Nation puzzles by subscription, sent to your Inbox every Tuesday). Byeee.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. It's "kitty-corner" and it will never not be "kitty-corner" #TeamKitty
P.P.S. here's the Gorski grid—there's some shaky fill in here, too, but this is *20 years ago*

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:10 AM  

Seeing “CATTYCORNER”, itself a variant, brought back memories of 50+ years ago when I was stationed at Ft. Polk, Louisiana, prior to being sent to Vietnam. There the local pawn shop in the town of Leesville used a couple of slangy southern variants in their radio advertising: “Tex’s Hock Shop - ‘catty-wampus’ from the courthouse, ‘anagoglin’ from the jail.”

km3t 12:11 AM  

That is astonishing when you say not only that the theme has been done before, but that the Gorski puzzle had.... the EXACT same 4 theme answers. What? How is this not a form of outright plagiarism?

Also, kitty corner = 41 million google hits. Catty corner = 1.2 million.

jau 12:26 AM  

Appalling - thanks for screenshotting the old one. Is there any chance of getting a new editor before we expire?

Richardf8 12:28 AM  

Filled in LeCar. Thought Hmm, what if it were a spy novelist’s french hatchback? LeCarre’s LeCar. Could one come up with enough of the like fir a theme? Would it make Rex puke if one did?

Colin Bos 12:29 AM  

Hi, long time reader, first time commenters and I...how did a puzzle with a nearly identical set of theme answers to an earlier puzzle get published?

Anonymous 12:54 AM  

Has anyone ever asked the NYT crew directly about repeat themes--if it is done unknowingly or if they wanted to bring it back, etc. If done in a good natured fashion, I bet they'd be happy to expound on the decision making process and the use of databases to check for repeats. Even a tweet at wordplay may get a response, but talking to the crew at a tournament or other event would probably deliver answers, since this is an ongoing issue.

chefwen 1:53 AM  

Liked it until I read Rex’s write up and found out it was pretty much a copy of my favorite constructor’s (Liz Gorski) puzzle of years ago. Too much in common to be a coincidence.

Never heard of BULLY PULPIT, learning point for me.

Totally agree with Rex on KiTTY vs. CATTY CORNER.

Love playing CHARADES, used to play it all the time at parties, ages ago. I should try to bring it back into popularity.

Hank 2:00 AM  

CATTYCORNER was the usage for me growing up as a kid.

It's mostly a regional thing - one of some twenty word usages, pronunciations, and expressions which, taken in total, can pin-point where someone is from with surprising accuracy.


origin of the term (apparently) -

" Catty-corner, kitty-corner, and cater-cornered all derive from the Middle English catre-corner, literally meaning four-cornered. All three forms are used throughout the English-speaking world. They usually mean positioned diagonally across a four-way intersection, but they can work in other contexts relating to one thing being diagonal from another. "

I am not outraged to see the DOGGY, KITTY, BULLY and PIGGY "themers" re-used again within 20 years. Crosswords recycle the same fill and the same clues so often that it's just part of the "experience". If a mistake or oversight or just a plain old indulgence, it doesn't really matter to me. All the off-with-some-heads talk is kind of over the top. IMHO.

That being said, it would have been nice to have a reveler. Not because the answers were hard - they weren't - but just to highlight the theme as I sort of ignored it.

Puzzle started easy and got tougher. LAUANDA, ASPERSE and AGUE did not come easily. AEGIS and GIAN upped the challenge too, but not in a bad way. Seeing ORONO and ERNO both dropping down from the top row was fun.

Coniuratos 2:25 AM  

Got a little stuck on 47A/49D - YAK AT seems just as valid as YAP AT, and turns out I'm not too knowledgeable on early 1900s Arctic explorers' names.

albatross shell 2:49 AM  

Easy or easy medium I'd say
There was a Renault that Renault called LECAR, so I do not quite see the problem there. I have memories of the ads. It is a commercial name that many might not know, so there is that. And kittycorner, cattycorner and the wampi are regionalisms that linguists use to track your geographic history.

AGEE 2 DAYS IN A ROW. New solvers training?


Sneaky constructor? Editor playing pingpong?

I did not study the old grid carefully, but it did not seem to me that it was better than today's. Does that mean the puzzles haven't gone downhill? Or software makes things at least as good? Or is the old puzzle better?

Coincidence or distant memories being mistaken for original ideas could be a non-plagerizing answer for the constructor. Should Will be checking such stuff? I think yes to the last, if it's as easy as Rex says.

tbd88 3:30 AM  

I thought that Rex was being a little harsh on the puzzle until he showed that the theme was only one letter off from a theme TWENTY YEARS OLD. How does something this blatant happen? I can see using the same theme with a different execution (SMELLS FISHY, RATTY'S BIJOU, etc.) but literally word for word? That smacks of plagiarism, even if it wasn't intentional, it certainly raises the question, and it should have been caught before it was published.

jae 3:42 AM  

What @chefwen said except for the parts about BULLY PULPIT and CHARADES.

jae 3:44 AM  

...and medium.

martin 4:09 AM  

I've been super reluctant to even think it, but maybe it is time for Mr. Shortz to pass the baton onto the next guy or gal. This is a glaring editorial oversight at best, and it seems to be indicative of a larger trend of not demanding more out of himself or the product he decides to put into print.

Anonymous 4:17 AM  

Wouldn't Liz be a veteran too?

Alex M 5:05 AM  

I say kitty, though I've heard CATTY CORNER used IRL. The whole "this theme idea's been done before!" doesn't bother me too much, but I'm SHOCKED at the identical themers. That does NOT read as innocuous parallel thinking to me, it looks like clear-cut plagiarism from where I'm sitting. Usually a puzzle being from 20+ years ago makes me more likely to shrug if Rex says it's been done before (there are no new ideas under the sun), but here it looks like Arbesfeld went rummaging around in the archives and crossed his fingers that no one would notice. I've never heard BULLY PULPIT in my life but both
constructors just *happened* to think of it? Shame on him and shame on Shortz. I was really pleased today too, this is Day 200 in my solving streak... :S

Karl Grouch 5:37 AM  

Well I'll be..!

I'm shocked people are not shocked with this.

Rex said it all, so no need to repeat why this puzzle should have never been published.

Note that it's Mr Arbesfeld's 126th (!) puzzle, what freshness can you expect?
But copying a past puzzle is inexcusable by all counts.

Even if what Jeff says in xwordinfo is true ( that Mr Shortz gives more chances to young constructing blood than his predecessor), today's puzzle proves that nyt solvers and constructors deserve -and demand- better.

I rest my case and raise my placard high.

Hungry Mother 5:41 AM  

Tried for “amulets” until I started reading more of the clues. Still very fast and a confidence builder.

JFC 6:22 AM  

Knock it off, Rex, there’s absolutely nothing “plagiaristic” about this puzzle.

There’s four goofy little theme answers that are probably the only four of their type that exist (animal + “y” + something). The two puzzles have nothing else in common. The fill was fine also; those are actual words, Rex, whether you like them or not.

Mickey Bell 6:25 AM  

When did kitty corner become catty corner? I lost many seconds on that one. Punching in to work is not clocking in. Calling in sit is now calling out. I’m becoming one of those old people.

Lewis 6:25 AM  

I liked the tightness of the theme -- the only other possible theme answer I could think of is PUPPY LOVE. And I liked the final-A mini-theme (OMEGA, TASMANIA, LUANDA, AGUA, DOGMA, and YORBA).

Is it kosher to practically replicate a theme from twenty years ago? I say no -- I would never do it -- but I can hear arguments the other way: It's a lovely Monday theme and very few will remember it, and many will never have done it because they weren't solving that long ago, so why not? But, as I said, I wouldn't dupe a theme once I knew it was done before. That would feel like plagiarism, even if the rest of the puzzle was fully original.

QuasiMojo 6:27 AM  

We always said "catty-cornered" where I come from.

I'm surprised anyone would want to repeat this theme. Or if he or she did, it would have improved the theme to change out Bully for something else. It is the outlier since it is not derived from an animal. Cocky would work.

Does anyone else feel that just filling in crosswordese half the time is getting old? So much here today (a lot less in the earlier version.) I would think any editor worth his salt would strive to make each puzzle more original and compelling rather than some tired exercise in cliches and stale fill.

Lewis 6:43 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:44 AM  

In my above comment, I'm not accusing Alan of plagiarism. He may have independently come up with this theme and made the mistake of not researching if it had been done before. If that's what happened, I'm quite certain that after Rex's review today, Alan will never make that mistake again!

OffTheGrid 6:44 AM  

Another problem:

A DOGGY is an animal.
A PIGGY is an animal.
Neither BULLY nor CATTY is an animal.

There is a stray DOG in 4D.

Old joke. A beachfront resident is sick of the shore birds and their mess on his beach. So he takes to killing them with rocks, vowing to leave no TERN unstoned.

amyyanni 6:50 AM  

Ditto @chefwen's 1st paragraph. Yuk. Bad way to start the week. I did like "My it's late" crossing "last one."
Good thing I had lots of (cold) fun at "America's Friendliest Marathon" Saturday in Richmond, VA.

Beaglelover 7:06 AM  

President Theodore Roosevelt used a "bully pulpit to communicate his ideas to Americans. Being in the White House gave him the authority to expound his ideas!

kitshef 7:18 AM  

My first thought after filling in 44A was “I wonder if we’ll get into the cattycorner/kittycorner/caterconer debate today?” It’s ‘catercorner’, by the way, although I’ll accept ‘cattycorner’ as a variant.

62A looks naked without the terminal PA.

Odd fill today. The center of the grid, where you would expect the most pressure from the them, is great: LUANDA, TASMANIA, LE CAR, ELAINE, TERN. But the NE, with seemingly no grid pressure, is stuck with ERNO and GIAN.

GILL I. 7:45 AM  

This sure had a boatload of proper names. I stopped counting after 10.
So a DOG a BULL a CAT and a PIG walk into a bar. After a few they got the AGUE and ACHE, became GAUNT but HEAL they did. I was going to count all the Y's here but I wasn't really interested. For some reason, I'm glad IGGY POP didn't pop up.
I miss Peter SELLERS. I'm betting that if I go back and watch the "Pink Panther" series, I'd still laugh.
I'm sad, though, that this puzzle was so identical to the "master" constructor, Liz. I'll never forget her Guggenheim Sunday.
@Rex is right in that with today's use of a crossword database, one can easily check. Boy, I sure would. Who doesn't want to be original?

Simone 8:03 AM  

I agree with everything you say BUT: I have found kitty corner vs catty corner is a regional battle.

Nampa Bob 8:05 AM  

I do these for fun.
Couldn’t care less how many words there are on any particular day.
“Garbage” fill doesn’t ruin the experience for me.
But, hey, if you have a certain level of expectation, I get it. I prefer a challenge every day from this puzzle, but I don’t fret if it isn’t. Just means I have to get to my list of stuff to do earlier.

Suzie Q 8:05 AM  

I thought this was a fun Monday a little on the tough side. The SW corner was not typical Monday stuff.
More bags again. Loot bag, swag bag, and now doggy bag.
I was a 911 dispatcher at one time and we had a hard time understanding the accident info we were given on the phone. The man described the car in question as a Lee Car with emphasis on Lee.

As for the repeat theme I guess I really don't care or at least not enough to make me step up to the bully pulpit.

I knew catty v kitty would be a big issue today. I don't care about that either.

pabloinnh 8:08 AM  

I am always amazed that OFL can remember not only a puzzle from twenty years ago, but also who constructed it. Could you do that? I couldn't do that. How does he do that? Who IS this guy? (Nod to Butch and Sundance). Also, doing a word count is something I've never done to judge a puzzle's worth. Maybe this is a constructor thing.

Thought this was OK for a Monday and didn't recognize it as a repeat. If those in the know say that it is the editor's job to check a data base for plagiarism, then so be it. I suspect that duplicate answers can occur by accident so tend to be forgiving (hi Lewis).

Also, this puzzle contained the answer OREO, which I'm pretty sure I've seen before. Wish I could remember the date and constructor.

GILL I. 8:11 AM  

Plagiarize is such a strong and ugly word. Every time I see it, I will always think of Joe Biden.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with agreeing with an idea and maybe wanting to emulate its author, but I strongly believe you have to bring in your own personality. Taking anything "word-for word" from somebody else and making it yours is just creepy.
Many years ago there was a similar discussion on a puzzle that had the exact clues and answers. I can't remember who it was or what the puzzle was but I remember the constructor piping in here and explained that it was a complete coincidence. I believed him. Maybe the same has happened here with Alan. I hope he chimes in.

Dawn Urban 8:37 AM  

@OffTheGrid: enjoyed the pun


Anonymous 8:38 AM  

It's not only four almost-identical themers, but one of them (BULLYPULPIT) is clued almost identically as well, using "pontificate." Is it possible that today's constructor arrived at all of that independently, or at least unconscious of plagiarizing (because he'd solved the earlier puzzle twenty years ago, was impressed by the theme, the themer set, and that unique clue, and wound up accessing them and "recreating" the puzzle)? Sure, anything's *possible.* But with this degree of correspondence between the two puzzles, it's hard to swallow.

SouthsideJohnny 8:39 AM  

Is it really necessary to have AGUA cross LUANDA ? It seems like a Monday puzzle should pretty much be solvable for everyone. Foreign words crossing foreign capitals should be a no-no everyday in my book, however if you are going to allow this type of slog, at least wait until later in the week and feed it to the more experienced solvers. Granted, this may be a nit in the broader scheme of things, but heck - the NYT alleges that it is the Gold Standard - why not pay attention to this type of detail and enforce some standards ?

Anonymous 8:41 AM  

My least favorite Monday this year and the first I've struggled to finish. So many names I was unsure of and lots of terrible fill meant the solve was far from enjoyable, more of a chore, and not suitable for new solvers as a Monday should be, IMO.

Re the theme repeat from 20 years ago: almost certainly a coincidence, I'd think: different people do periodically have the same idea after all.

Nancy 8:43 AM  

I see the blog is being hijacked by an assertion of plagiarism, so, speaking as a newbie co-constructing person, let me chime in:

HOW THE HELL IS A CONSTRUCTOR SUPPOSED TO BE FAMILIAR WITH EVERY CROSSWORD PUZZLE THAT'S EVER BEEN PUBLISHED SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME???? Why it's enough to make any potential puzzle constructor take up underwater basket weaving instead.

In fact, when I saw the theme -- but before I came to the blog -- I was thinking: this is such a "natural" for a crossword theme that it's amazing that no one's thought of it before. Now I find out that someone had.

I thought the puzzle was smooth and pleasant -- with one unMonday-ish word: ASPERSE. I was glad it was there.

I have never said "kitty-corner". I have always said CATTY-CORNER as in: "This puzzle square is CATTY-CORNER to that puzzle square. But I've always pronounced it CAT-uh-corner. FWIW.

I'm sure your duplication was unintentional, Alan, and that you don't deserve to be pilloried for it.

Mo Riggsy 8:45 AM  

@Lewis: there is no acceptable "argument" for duplicating someone's work even if it was done so long ago that people don't remember it. Should I just copy down an obscure Mozart symphony (maybe like Symphony number 7 that I'm sure people don't "remember" hearing)...and justify it by saying it had themes worth repeating? I'm very surprised (yet not surprised) with you as a constructor. You work hard to come up with your themes, and then lo and behold, someone else not only copped them as their own work, but are getting paid for it on top of it.

I appreciate your endless and eternal optimism, but seriously, this is unacceptable at every level and there are no excuses for it.

richarder 8:46 AM  

The fact that this one used the same CattyCorner, when KittyCorner is far more typical, makes it even more fishy

Dorothy Biggs 8:52 AM  

I didn't like the puzzle's theme (never mind the plagiarism) because it felt inconsistent to me. You can call a pig a "piggy," and you can call a dog a "doggy," but you don't call a cat a "catty," or a bull a "bully." Changing themers (still setting aside the plagiarism) to "kitty corner" and Lewis' "puppy love" solves the problem and unifies the them, IMO.

I also had YAkAT/kEARY because I could not remember the explorer's name and "yak" seems more accurate than "yap." I think dogs yap, people yak.

As for the kitty/catty debate, I think I used to say those interchangeably. Both seem very familiar to me. I grew up in the midwest and I truly can't remember what the abiding phrase was.

Also, FWIW, the LECAR was a terrible automobile. I think it was one of the only Renaults to be sold in the US. It kind of reminds me of the Fiat. I think Fiat and Renault make all kinds of cars sold in Europe...but in America, you get the lemons. I've seen a lot of Fiats around these days, so maybe they fixed those from their earlier attempts.

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

Mr. Arbesfeld.
Rex libeled you. I hope you seek redress.

Lewis 8:57 AM  

My five favorite clues from last week
(In order of appearance):

1. Island to which one is able to return? (4)
2. Provider of a lifeline (4)
3. It makes stealing pay off (4)(3)
4. Number of people in an office? (7)
5. Sticks together? (4)


Shortz iz Slippingz 9:05 AM  

Wasn't there a puzzle editor who recently was exposed for plagiarizing numerous previously published puzzles? Wasn't he fired for doing that?

WS is credited on BOTH puzzles for as editor...which tells me A) he knew that the other puzzle existed, and B) he's taking credit for both puzzles that use pretty much the exact same themers. Maybe not illegal, but most certainly unethical.

mmorgan 9:14 AM  

I’m rarely on this constructor’s wavelength and was surprised to find that I was today. But that makes sense, since I love Liz Gorski’s work.

Z 9:20 AM  

Rex did not say the puzzle was “plagiarized.”

@Mo Riggsy - First, there is no reason to believe that Arbesfeld’s sin is anything other than failing to check to see if this theme had been done before. Second, @Lewis said, “ but I can hear arguments the other way.” He then lists the arguments (I’d call them “excuses”) we’ve seen before from Shortz for when this sort of thing happens. Acknowledging that there is a different perspective is not endorsing that perspective.

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

I’m on my seventies and thought with charade, LeCar etc how is anyone under 50 possible familiar with these words.

Bon Jour 9:24 AM  

The Renault Dauphine was one of the early European compact imports. They sold the Alliance in the US in the 80's. The Caravelle, a sporty model, was also around.

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

Z .
Rex accused Arbesfeld of copying Gorski's work. Here are the very words he wrote: "this guy..... is getting paid ... for essentially copying a woman's (grrr) work.."

That's strong stuff. He accusing Mr. Arbesfeld of theft. Mr. Arbesfeld should do something about it. I would. And I'd be happy to help Mr. Arbesfeld seek redress.

Dorothy Biggs,

Like Rex you're casting aspersions. I fact LeCar is the R 5. Not only a nifty little thing with a lot of success and huge sales number, but an important design that ushered in a new ear of minis.

pmdm 9:35 AM  

The purpose of a Monday puzzle is to encourage new solvers to come back for more. NEW. I emphasize that word. Not for solvers who have been around for decades. That would mean mew solvers never solved the older puzzle, and for them the troubling aspect of this puzzle is a moot point. For them, the fill is more important than a recurrence of a theme they never heard of. Based on that reasoning, is was appropriate (if odd) to publish this puzzle.

Since I have been solving these puzzles for over two decades, I must have solved the older puzzle. But damned if I remember the entries. And I think that would go for most puzzles. And, by the nature of the comments, I think a lot of those here who are bitterly complaining would never have known of the duplication without being told of it. The fact that the entries were duplicates did not at all affect my solving experience, which is what really matters to me.

I am aware of the tools that are available to constructors and editors today. Yes, it should have been easy for the constructor and the editor to research and be aware of the duplication. But the duplication should not have by itself resulted in the rejection of the puzzle. I do believe a note should have been included acknowledging the existence of the earlier puzzle. Failure to include such a note was a mistake. Perhaps a big mistake.

Being a pianist, I think of the world of classical music, where it is quite common for composers to use or refer to other composers melodies. Whether the new piece is a straight forward orchestration of a keyboard work or a set of variations on a theme, there are a ton of such works. Think Tchaikovsky and Mozart (at least five times), or de Falla and Beethoven, or Charles Ives. The world would be a sadder place without such theme lifting. So, if the puzzle passed muster for you before you realized the theme entires were repeats, the puzzle was successful. And I think in this matter the puzzle probably succeeded more often than it failed.

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

Catty corner forever!

Kathy 9:36 AM  

Seemed too easy even for a Monday. I didn’t grok the “animaly” theme until I read the blog, although it didn’t matter.

Over a lifetime of living in various regions of the US, I have heard, kittycorner, cattycorner, cattercorner and cattacorner. Not sure of the spelling of those last two.

Appreciated the longer words, but it lacked the cleverness of the later week puzzles. E.g. today’s clue for ERIE certainly offset the obtuseness of yesterday! I’ll take clever clueing over themes every time, even on Mondays, go ahead and sprinkle in a few...please!

Mr. Cheese 9:41 AM  

@pabloinnh - “Oreo” appears at least twice a week.... or so it seems (sigh)

Nancy 9:48 AM  

Of course, @kitshef!!! The actual word is "catercorner"!!! Which explains why I've always pronounced it "CAT-uh-corner." Close enough. Not the kind of elision it would be if the word were really CATTY-CORNER.

Another thought on the "plagiarism" accusation. And again, I'm speaking as a newbie constructor. People are exercised that not only is the theme the same, but so are all the theme answers. Surely, there could have been different ones, they say. Well, no, not necessarily. There is, you see, the unyielding demand for grid symmetry. While I don't construct the grid myself, I know better than to give my grid-making collaborator 4 theme answers of 10-letters, 11-letters, 12-letters and 13-letters respectively. Because they won't work and can't be incorporated in a symmetrical grid. He would just say: "Can you give me four 11s? Or two 10s and two 12s?" And the need for symmetry will sharply reduce the number of theme answers available to you. So will there be duplication of themers when you pick the same theme? More than likely.

Aaron Riccio 9:48 AM  

Someone said that perhaps DOGGY, CATTY, BULLY, and PIGGY were the only animal + Y words possible.

Sounds FISHY to me, and if you insist on the double letter before the Y, how about FROGGY VOICE? RATTY OUTFIT? BATTY PERSON? Granted, none of these are exactly "in the language" phrases, but they wouldn't be all that hard to clue, and to be clear--these are a few examples I came up within about thirty seconds of thought.

RooMonster 9:52 AM  

Hey All !
This puz by itself is a good Monday. Animalisms. Neat. The problem doesn't lie (lay?) with the constructor, at least not if he thought of these themers on his own, (but does lie with him if he did indeed copy these). I agree with Rex on this one, it's the editor that needs to run a search and say, "Hey, wait a tic, this theme is identical to that other one!" and then send a "Sorry, theme's been done before" e-mail. Trust me, I've gotten many "sorry" e-mails. Then Alan can make another one.

I've got a few "Sorry, this theme is too similar to this other puz" e-mails. Also a bunch of "Sorry, theme doesn't excite me enough" e-mails. Plus, some where the answers were not acceptable (fill). I try to not get discouraged/upset about the many rejections, but it's tough. And I know y'all are probably sick and tired of me bringing up my puz woes all the time, but I have no where else to complain. 😋

I did manage this puz with no writeovers! WooHoo! But, Always a But, one-letter DNF with YAkAT/kEARY. Argh! Still enjoyed this nice MonPuz.


Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Is he not allowed to repeat themes that have been in any crosswords in the last twenty years or is it just in the Times ?

pabloinnh 9:59 AM  

@Mr. Cheese-


RooMonster 10:18 AM  

No disrespect, but there is always left/right symmetry where the different length answers can be put in the Acrosses. I did get a chuckle out of your "underwater basket weaving"!

LeCar was one of the first micro-cars. At least in the USA. We did have small cars (think AMC), but not quite as small as LeCars.

Middle Right of puz has a bunch of Wheel of Fortune gimmies, E, N, T, R. Strange the things you notice.

ONE PIN -alt. clue- What you always seem to leave when you throw what seems to be a perfect ball. :-)

RooMonster Back For More Guy

Donovan 10:20 AM  

I believe Jeff said Will welcomes new *solvers* not constructors

Donovan 10:23 AM  

The fill sucks, especially for a Monday, and while I'm inclined to give the constructor the benefit of the doubt vis a vis outright plagiary, it's still a word for word duplicate of a previous puzzle and should never have been published. Come on.

David 10:33 AM  

Interesting how many people who use regionalisms insist other who use others are "wrong."
FWIW, I grew up pronouncing it "caddy corner". So sue me. It's also interesting that people have never heard of the "bully pulpit," which has been used for over a century through many presidencies.

I had a Renault Carevelle back in the day, I also had a Fiat 850 Sedan; both were fine cars, as was our Yugo. I had a friend with a Le Car (the because?). They did have a problem with vapor lock, but all you had to do when it stalled out was remove the gas cap, put it back on, and drive away; it only happened on really hot days. They were made in the USA, so it was particularly fun when some quack driving around in a Chrysler product would shout, "Be American Buy American" at us. Yes, they really did that.

I quite liked this puzzle. Ague and Agua, two great playwrights, Peter Sellers, and more. I'm surprised Rex didn't include the thrice or more weekly "oreo" in his complaints. In any case, I was not bored by this one, though I found it easy. Yak before Yap, but we learned about Robert Peary in grade school back in the dark ages, so that was a simple fix.

Seeing Gian Carlo in here was nice too; he was a lovely man.

Masked and Anonymous 10:47 AM  

Well, shoot -- I always thought it was CADDYCORNER. So, I don't know much. Only that the Official M&A Help Desk Dictionary accepts catty-, kitty-, and cater-. The whole day-um litter of em. All derived from cater, which evidently meant "diagonal" to someone at sometime.

I got no big problemo with the NYTPuz copyin itself a bit, every 20 years or so.

Agree with @RP, that a 72-worder puzgrid on a Monday is kinda pushy. Lotsa names (see NE corner or semi-caddy-SE corner, e.g.) and Ow de Speration (TSKED … har) ensue. M&A doesn't especially mind a funky/feisty MonPuz, tho.

fave moo-cow eazy-E MonPuz clue: {King Cole was a "merry" one} = OLDSOUL. Cedes a lotta territory in a NY minute.

Thanx for the nostalgic theme, Mr. Arbesfeld & Shortzmeister. M&A will now discard his recently-constructed CADDYCORNER golf-themed puz which he was almost ready to submit. [doh]
And thanx to Liz Gorski, just on general masked principles.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

note the quaint var. spellin of accordions:

ccredux 10:47 AM  

Could have used BATTY and RATTY. In a SW state where I grew up, people say KITTYcorner. Isn’t the term DOGGIEBag? Aren’ t clues and their answers repeated all the time? I liked the puzzle—- no rap stars.

Rachael 10:53 AM  

As irritating as I also find it that this is a repeat of a previous puzzle's themes, I leave this for everyone's perusal: Matt Gaffney breaks down how he inadvertently reproduced a Mike Shenk puzzle's themers. Gaffney also asked Merl Reagle to try his hand at producing a puzzle along a similar theme, and he came up with virtually the same thing. It does happen. (Similar to how comedians can come up with the same jokes independently of each other, which also results in yells of plagiarism.)


So yeah. The fault is not the constructor's, but the editor's. Even so... I hate this puzzle, I agree with most of Rex's complaints about WS, and I love Liz Gorski, but I'm not entirely sure I can get on board with outrage about repeat themers from 20 years ago. It sucks, and it should have been caught, but after a point I think we need to ask how long our collective memory has to be.

xyz 11:04 AM  

LYRIC is not a snippet, it's an integral part of a song.

Yes, there are problems

Pete 11:06 AM  


What they can do is take a total of 3 seconds by going to Jeff Chen's site, and look up where they're been used in the past. Say you want to check out DOGGYBAGS - you go to https://www.xwordinfo.com/finder and enter DOGGYBAGS. In < 1 second it pops up with all the times it's ever been used in the NYTimes (and all the different clueings). You see it's been used once previously, click on that one, and you see that Liz Gorski used it as part of the theme of the puzzle, which also includes CATTYCORNER, PIGGYBA[C]K, and BULLYPULPIT.

I'm pretty sure 99% of constructors know this, and use this or databases based the NYTimes history, to do the same. It's basic due-diligence, and how people know how to clue, or how to not-clue, their puzzles.

QuasiMojo 11:10 AM  

P.S. While I never had a chance to drive Le Car, I did rent a Renault Twingo during a trip to the South of France. It was the ideal mini car for driving along the narrow ancient alleyways and backstreets of Aix, Nimes and Arles. I wish I could have taken it home with me. But it was not quite small enough to fit in the overhead compartment on the plane.

Joaquin 11:13 AM  

I've been doing the NYT Xword for well over 20 years and I don't remember this theme having been done before. Full disclosure: I don't remember what I had for breakfast today.

Jyqm 11:34 AM  

@SouthsideJohnny I agree with you that crossing obscure-ish foreign capitals with foreign words should be verboten on a Monday. But AGUA ain’t a foreign word. Any American adult intelligent enough to even think about doing a crossword puzzle should know it and know how to spell it. Ditto hombre, señor/a, and any other word common enough that a person living in a country with a large Hispanic population can be be expected to have encountered them frequently.

jberg 11:43 AM  

@pabloinnh -- it's not that Rex remembers so well; apparently there is a database somewhere that lets you search through the universe of NYT puzzles -- maybe others, I don't know -- which Rex did, and which he thought the editor should have done. As someone mentioned earlier, Timothy Parker was widely condemned, and suspended from his job, for multiple instances of copying themes from other puzzles. I liked the theme, but I think the duplication point is a valid one.

On a completely different topic, TERNs are not shorebirds, properly speaking -- those are birds wade into the water along the shore. See this set of definitions. Terns are seabirds -- but the distinction may not be important for crosswords, which are often clued a little off.

I grew up saying kitty-CORNER, but I always thought it was just sloppy pronunciation.

Joe Dipinto 11:56 AM  

Hey, we get side-by-side movies with Henry Mancini scores! "The Pink Panther" and the one with this cool title sequence*.

@pablo – Thanks for wryly cracking me up – twice – this morning. ;-)

It's mildly surprising to find out about the earlier Liz Gorski puzzle, but it's not really surprising that more than one constructor would separately get the idea for a simple and obvious theme like this, or even that the theme answers would match. It's happened to varying degrees before. I don't think the existence of the earlier one need necessarily prevent the publication of the second one, especially with such a long gap in between. I do think the editor should check themes for redundancy – how can that be the constructor's responsibility, as @Nancy pointed out?

I also think Rex's speculation and nasty digs regarding the amounts specific constructors are paid is slimy and inappropriate.

And it's "catty-corner" to me. That seems to be the NYC default.

*Film trivia, if you're interested:
The above-linked title sequence contains a notorious mistake: the absence of the word "Copyright" or the © symbol before the year MCMLXIII (at the 2:05 point) caused the film to fall into the public domain immediately upon release. There were stringent requirements for copyright registration and protection at the time, one of which was the inclusion of a proper copyright notice. Somebody wasn't paying attention.

Anoa Bob 11:58 AM  

Hello AGEE my old friend
You've come to join ALBEE again
Along with AGUE, AGUA and ERNO
There's not a single ACHE
INRE my solve today

Was Richard Nixon known as YORBA the Geek?

I would recommend that any constructor, wannabe or seasoned, subscribe to xwordinfo.com. It's a wonderful resource and it only takes a few seconds (!) to research a word or phrase to see if it has been used before and how it was clued. I just typed in BULLYPULPIT in the clue finder window and two results showed up:

Mon Nov 18, 2019 25A "Prominent position from which to pontificate" Alan Arbesfeld

Tue Nov 30, 1999 44A "Where to pontificate" Elizabeth C. Gorski

Make of it what you will.

Never thought of a TERN (39A) as a "Shore bird". I've seen Royal TERNs far out to sea. The Least TERN (yep, it's the smallest of the TERNs) dives in waters near the shore. I've whiled away many a pleasant moment watching them dive tirelessly, catch a tiny fish and then take it to a nearby waiting chick, with everyone cheeping excitedly in the process. A real treat.

So ARNIE, PEARY, LESLEY and ELAINE throw a big LUANDA at the beach for their friends...

Drew Hardy 12:03 PM  

Ugh. @ Nancy in New York. Don't shout, it is quite unneccessary. Please refrain in future. Thank you. I don't like to be yapped at.

Jyqm 12:08 PM  

Rex is of course a bit theatrical in his complaints, as is his wont, but I'm honestly surprised to see so many people defending this puzzle.

(1) Rex, at least, most certainly did NOT accuse the constructor of "plagiarism." He in fact very explicitly lays the blame at the feet of the editor, who should have sent this puzzle back to the constructor with a note of, "Sorry, I've already published a puzzle with this exact same theme by another constructor."

(2) To the people wondering, "How on earth is anyone supposed to know that someone else had this same idea twenty years ago?" I have to wonder myself, what century are you living in? Have y'all never heard of a database? Are there commenters here who aren't familiar with XWord Info? Every single NYT puzzle ever published under Shortz's watch is available there, along with nearly twice that number from before his tenure. Both clues and answers are very easily searchable. And this, frankly, is a sin (of omission) on the constructor's part.

As Rex noted, it takes all of thirty seconds to check your proposed marquee/theme answers in the database. (Seriously, anyone can do this. There's no access fee or anything. Go to XWord Info, scroll down to "Tools for Constructors," and search up crossword puzzle answers and clues to your heart's content, simply by typing in a word and clicking "search.") It's incumbent upon any constructor to do a bare minimum of research before submitting a puzzle like this. We're not talking about Leibnitz and Newton independently inventing calculus here.

Drew Hardy 12:09 PM  

@anon 09:3 . Spot on. I loved the R5 sport. Also Ms Biggs, you might see more Fiats as they are also Chrysler since 5 years. Solid autos.

Drew Hardy 12:15 PM  

"I'm speaking as a newbie constructor"

"While I don't construct the grid myself"


Let’s talk 12:23 PM  

@Nancy it may be that your pronunciation (same as mine) is due to the variant “catacornered”. I actually kind of thought saying “catty-cornered” and “kitty-cornered” sounded suspiciously like baby talk so never said either but have heard both.

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

Please explain won’t work. I’m looking at puzzle no. 310 in a Shortz’s 365 calendar series and I see four 10’s (plus a 15 which can easily convert to a 5, 3, and 5). And it’s symmetrical.

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

Aside from plagiarism issue, aside from this is a Monday, aside from its being embarrassingly easy, how is four animals a theme?

JC66 1:00 PM  

@Drew Hardy

FYI, @Nancy co-constructs with a veteran whose name escapes me. My understanding is she provides theme ideas, entries, some other entries and some clues. She's made it clear in previous posts that she has no idea how to construct a grid.

Tom R 1:01 PM  

Cater is an English dialect word meaning “to set or move diagonally.” It is derived from the French quatre, which means “four” or “four-cornered.”

Enough said on that subject - well covered by other comments. Like a lot of things that show up in puzzles, there are regional differences not only in word usage but how common a word seems. Lets stop harping on it.

JC66 1:03 PM  

@Anon 12:57

Not just 4 animals, but 4 animals containing double letters and ending in Y.

Leslie 1:04 PM  

JeFF Chen says "I do like that Alan came up with a novel set of themers." So I guess he didn't recognize a pre-owned theme?
@Anoa Bob thank you for the great song today.

Drew Hardy 1:07 PM  

Thanks JC66 for clarifying. So presumably the real constructor checks the database for any outlandish repetition in this partnership.

Nancy 1:09 PM  

@Drew Hardy (12:03) -- In the absence of being able to express myself on the blog via either facial expression or vocal tone, I often use typeface as a substitute -- to express everything from humor to outrage to bafflement. Sometimes I use italics, sometimes boldface and sometimes [gasp!] FULL CAPS!! I am not doing the latter to offend the highly delicate sensibilities of easily bruised people. You can trust me on that. But if ever turns out that I am SHOUTING AT YOU IN PARTICULAR, DREW, I'LL MAKE DARN SURE IT'S REALLY OBVIOUS TO EVERYONE ON THE BLOG.

@Drew Hardy (12:15) -- You might want to check out the bylines on the NYT crosswords of March 14th and June 12th of this year.

Teedmn 1:17 PM  

Yup, CATTY-CORNER was never heard in my southern MN neighborhood. But I figured it would be CATTY rather than kiTTY based on how the theme was going.

I subscribe to Liz Gorski's Tuesday puzzles and they're an easy, early-week treat that I can recommend. Plus her short introductory note in the email is always pleasant and upbeat.

The SE corner was sure chockfull of PPP, with another instance of ERIE (cue eerie music.)

Cast aspersions - that's the only way I've seen the root word used, never as a verb in either spoken or written context.

I like the cross of AGUE and GAUNT and then AGUE'S pal, ACHE catty-corner in the grid.

Masked and Anonymous 1:50 PM  

yep, on echoin those wily commenters like @AnoaBob, who look up their proposed puztheme answers on xwordinfo.chen, to see if they've been used in a NYTPuz before. Been there, done did that.

M&A just figures it ain't probably worth the trouble to build a puz to submit, if the idea's already been used. Likely it'll just get rejected; has happened to m&e before, even when the themers were slightly different (and thereby stealthily avoided look-up detection). That'd drive yer overall acceptance rate down to around an unprecious 5 cents/hour pay scale, in M&A's case.

Maybe Mr. Arbesfeld fatefully just tried lookin up PIGGYBANK, and didn't get no (theme-related) hits -- thereby assumin it was safe to proceed? And/or maybe The Shortzmeister just liked the theme mcguffin enough, to repeat it after a 20-year hiatus? And/or maybe Ukraine or one of them Biden dudes was involved?


Carola 1:53 PM  

ORONO! Instantly, I was transported back 20+ years to a cafe table, pencil in hand, folded newspaper before me, coffee cup at the ready, surrounded by crumbs from an almond croissant: my weekly post-farmers-market treat in the earliest days of daring to try a Saturday puzzle, learning what you had to know to complete a grid.

That was a lovely moment of nostalgia (those croissants! the once-in-a-while success!), but ORONO also made me think, "Really? On a Monday?". Like others, I didn't think this was a novice-friendly puzzle. I know we also like the occasional Monday that puts up some resistance, but the overload of non-Monday (IMO) proper nouns moved this one over the line. Plus MY, IT"S LATE? And AEGIS and ASPERSE?

In other news: I grew up with kitty-CORNER and was astonished to learn later in life that there were variants. For those wanting a deeper dive, here from the Dictionary of American Regional English:
Qu: "If a drugstore is on one corner of a square and a gas station is on the far corner . . “'The drugstore is _____the gas station.'”
142 Infs, chiefly Nth, N Midl, West, Kitty-corner from; 56 Infs, chiefly Nth, N Midl, CA, Kitty-corner to; 44 Infs, chiefly Nth, N Midl, West, Kitty-corner; FL31, 38, IA27, MN26, 33, MS42, SC5, UT4, Kitty-cornered from; CA80, MA73, NY68, 217, VA11, Kitty-cornered to; CO17, ME19, MO37, OH78, Kitty-cornered,; [MA5, 6, Kitty-cornering; MI2, Kitty-cornered across the block; MI54, Kitty-corner of; NY30, Kitter-corner; NY123, Kitter-corner from; OH18,Kitra-corner from.

Drew Hardy 1:57 PM  

No bruising @ Nancy in New York, just an aversion to rudeness and shouty people. Thank you though for sharing your puzzles that I must have done earlier this year, hopefully there are more to come.

MJT 2:52 PM  

Since YAKAT and YAPAT both fit the clue equally welland I didn't know whether Robert was Mr. PEARY or KEARY, I DNFed on this one until I googled him.

RooMonster 3:22 PM  

Um, what?
That was way confusing.


Miss Manners 3:26 PM  

Classy response, Drew.

Lewis 5:05 PM  

@mo -- What @Z said. I wasn't endorsing those counter-arguments; I very plainly was saying it was something I'd never do.

GILL I. 5:06 PM  

@Rachel 10:53. YES...it was a Matt Gaffney/Mike Shenk kerfuffle ...I now remember even though it was several years ago. I don't think the database available now was even in existence then - but I could be wrong. What I do remember was the word "plagiarism" was bandied about. (By the way, @Rex never used the word today, it was first used by @km3t at 12:11 and took off on its own - @Rex's complaint was the identical use of the cluing and answers that could've been avoided by a quick check from WS and the constructor as well). Anyway, I remember Matt came back and explained how incredibly coincidental the two puzzles were. He was very gracious. In many ways, I felt really bad for him. Yes, we ALL can mistakenly recreate something that's been done in the past because it was good and it stuck in our minds. I think what @Rex and others are saying here, is that it's easy to check and it should've been checked....My dos centavos.
@Nancy...While we've yet to meet, I somehow can't visualize you yelling.... I think I probably have about 7 inches over you and the thought of you yelling at me actually makes me giggle...... (In a good way). ;-)

Anonymous 5:35 PM  

I don't blame authors for this kind of copying. The author probably long ago totally forgot that he had already seen these answers in another puzzle. This happens all the time without being deliberate copying. If the author were deliberately copying, he probably would have reused the basic concept but picked new phrases - those aren't the only 4 animal-based phrases in existence.

There is more reason to feel that maybe the editorial staff should have checked out how many of the theme answers had been used before, and where.

Nancy 6:07 PM  

You're right, @GILL (5:06). You shouldn't imagine me yelling because I don't yell. Well. maybe at kamikaze bikers bearing down on me on the sidewalk. Or bikers going the wrong way on a one-way-street. Or bikers running red lights. Bikers make me yell in real life, but no one else. (My preferred shout btw is "Jail's too good for you!")

I came to the internet very late -- December 2008, when I bought my first computer. I'm not on any social media. So I think I missed the memo linking the use of FULL CAPS with shouting. With rudeness. I just don't think of punctuation -- any punctuation that way. It seems absolutely bizarre to me that, with the world going to hell in a handbasket, anyone would be triggered by the use of FULL CAPS in an idle comment on a blog. There have to be much, MUCH more important things to be exercised about.

But in any event, @GILL, rest assured that I would never yell at you in real life. I would respect those extra 7 inches you bring to the table like crazy :)

But rest assured, @GILL, that I won't be shouting at you any time soon.

Anonymous 6:09 PM  

PuppyLove BunnyEars BillyLiar FroggyWentACourtin

kitshef 6:17 PM  

@Jyqm 12:08pm - "Are there commenters here who aren't familiar with XWord Info?". Yer darn tootin' there are. Not sure why you'd expect anything different. Have now had a look and it's dueucedly interesting.

gilly 7:01 PM  

Not a pleasant start to the week: tough for a Monday (felt more like a Weds to me).

Without getting into the NITTYGRITTY (as Rex already sufficiently enumerated how much schlock is packed in), I wouldn't want to suggest this to newbies looking to break into solving. Like asking a middle-school physics students to explain a BUCKYBALL.

And kudos to Rex for showing how much was PIGGYBACKed, to put it mildly. As I solved, it did feel fishy that no one had come up with this theme before.

Bonkers that this was published--enough to send me to the LOONYBIN.

Carola 8:25 PM  

@Roo, sorry! I think it was clearer in the source I copied from. I just thought it was interesting that the original "cater" got transformed into a "kitty" as it moved west. Growing up, I never questioned what a kitty might have to do with a diagonal - nothing, it turns out!

Z 8:52 PM  

@anon9:34a.m. - Good luck with that.

@Joe Dipinto - What constructors are paid is not a matter of speculation. The current rates can be found here. Rates have increased during Shortz tenure, and the tiered system is relatively new. Constructors still get nothing for reprints. So that Arbesfeld got paid more for his puzzle than Gorski got for hers is simply a fact. You are relatively new here, so I’m guessing you have missed previous RexRants™️ about constructor pay. Some of his finer Rant Work IMHO. If I’m remembering correctly, it’s the NYT’s keeping all the residual profits that bugs Rex the most. The suggestion that the tiered pay system reinforces the systemic sexism at NYTX is a new plaint.

@jberg and @anoabob - I assumed the clue just meant that the most likely place for me to see a TERN was at a shore. Technically the answer would have to be plover or sandpiper, but I wouldn’t have given a side-eye to seagull as an answer.

BTW - KITTYCORNER. Everyone else is a heretic doomed to burn for all eternity in the deepest pits of hell.*

*Said in the same voice as John Cleese saying “no one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition.”

RooMonster 9:16 PM  

Michael Palin was the Cardinal who bursts in and says, "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!"

I was going to find and post a link, but I got lazy. 😀

Rebel Roo

Denise Puget 10:23 PM  

@Nancy 6.07pm. If your comments are idle why make them?

John 10:58 PM  

What on earth is wrong with Le Car? I even had the Matchbox toy model of it as a kid. Le Car is LeGit.

Unknown 9:34 AM  

Can someone tell me how to check if your themers have been used before? I checked the links that Rex included today but I can't find anything to check themers. Thanks for your help.

Anonymous 4:41 PM  

Fun fact: Many intersections near the Santa Monica Pier have recently added cattycorner crosswalks in an effort to ease pedestrian-vehicle congestion. As a west coast kid, no one ever used any phrase for cattycorner or kittycorner or whatnot. The only person i knew who had a word for diagonal crosses was my New York grandmother, who said cattycorner. Interesting how so many other regions have their own variation on the word. If SoCal had one, i was unaware.

Anonymous 12:15 AM  

cATER-CORNER has an etymology deriv8ng from the French QUATRE

Burma Shave 12:03 PM  


and LESLEY-ANN is fun,
but in TERN she ANSWERED,


Diana, LIW 12:30 PM  

Kitty, kitty, kitty, Did you know why "j" walking is illegal? Did you know it was originally a putdown? (put that j walk down! bad kitty)

I can see my mind is drifting...

Well, I almost got my name in the grid, and definitely got my middle name! So an ok Monday by me.

Diana (Elaine), Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoaster 2:23 PM  

The BULLY might not get along well with the other cutesy animals. And a stray DOGma, some BOAS and an ASPerse, an ERNo and TERN, and a lone alBEE could be problems. But, hey, no big deal.

rainforest 3:15 PM  

I liked the puzzle and I thought it was easy. Impressive, though, in that only 4 3-letter words were used.

If Mr. Arbesfeld was aware of the Gorski puzzle, that is definitely a no-no even if probably no solver would have noticed. If he wasn't aware, well, stuff happens.

Around here we say KITTY CORNER, but I have heard the "catty-" version.

Without the plagiarism controversy, the puzzle was a good Monday effort in my opinion. I had no problem with the fill, and it was tightly constructed with a cutish theme.

rondo 5:36 PM  

Try to finish quickly without reading the clues and you'll get a PIGGYBAcK. And a kiTTYCORNER if you don't check crosses. Either of the DINAHs will do. Don't recall the puz from 20 years ago, OK by me if on the up and up.

spacecraft 5:49 PM  

What, no PUPPYLOVE?? Aw, c'mon! I've heard all three versions of "diagonally across the street:" CATTY, kitty and cater CORNER. This was a nice little Monday piece of fluff, or...fur. DOD is ELAINE, played fetchingly by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Super-easy, but just cute enough for a birdie.

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