It didn’t take long after the start of 2019 for the people who produce the daily crossword puzzle for the New York Times to be accused of including a slur that led the editor to apologize for an edition he stated was “simply not acceptable.”
This isn’t the first time the liberal newspaper has been accused of “not having a clue” when it comes to political correctness in their puzzles.
The clue for the word at 2-Down in the puzzle on New Year’s Day was “Pitch to the head, informally,” and the correct response was “BEANER,” a term used as an insult while referring to people of Hispanic descent. (It's eerily appropriate for that word to be right next to "AGHAST.")
A spokesman for the Times quickly stated:
Tuesday’s Crossword puzzle included an entry that was offensive and hurtful.
It is simply not acceptable in the New York Times Crossword and we apologize for including it.
Also on the holiday, Will Shortz -- crossword puzzle editor for the newspaper -- apologized on Twitter by noting: “I am very sorry for the distraction about ‘beaner’ (2D) in today’s fine puzzle by Gary Cee.”
Shortz stated that he had never heard the slur, “and I don’t know anyone who would use it.” He then commented that perhaps he and the people on his staff “live in rarefied circles.”
“My feeling, rightly or wrongly, is that any benign meaning of a word is fair game for a crossword,” he continued before using “CHINK” in a crossword is an example of a term innocently used. as in the phrase “a chink in one’s armor.”
“Perhaps I need to rethink this opinion, if enough solvers are bothered,” Shortz added. “I want your focus to be on the puzzle rather than being distracted by side issues. But I assure you this viewpoint is expressed with a pure heart.”
According to an article written by Fox News media reporter Brian Flood, that tweet didn’t satisfy posters on Twitter who took the people behind the puzzles to task for appearing insincere.
One caustic response came from James McEvoy, who tweeted:
It's not a good look for the NYTimes when someone points out an obviously offensive puzzle answer prior to publication and the editor's reaction is, “Meh. I've never been offended by that word, so I'll let the answer stand.”
I think you guys can do better.
“I didn't know what this was,” poster Ren Jender noted, “but when I googled it, the slur was the very first entry, a dictionary definition. The vast majority of results were the slur. No idea what the legitimate use of the word is.”
Armando Navarro, an ethnic studies professor at the University of California, Riverside bluntly described “beaner” as “a derogatory word. No, let me amend that. It's a racist word.”
As NewsBusters previously reported, this isn’t the first time the writers at the Times have received “cross words” from offended puzzle solvers.
In June of 2016, one of the clues was a “decidedly non-feminist women’s group” and the answer was the word “harem.”
At the time, Sarah Fisher on the Truth Revolt website responded by declaring that “even the Times' puzzle isn't safe from charges of sexism.”
In addition, Blake Neff of the Daily Caller website defined the word as “a group of females who all share a single male as a sexual or romantic partner.”
Of course, the liberal newspaper isn’t the only place where lapses in political correctness have drawn criticism.
In 2012, the answer “illegal” was clued with: “One caught by the border patrol.” The offensive use of illegal as a noun set off a brouhaha that made its way to Univision.
During the following year, a national puzzle syndicate apologized for using the clue “Shylock” for the answer “jew.” And that November, Shortz had to issue a mea culpa for the clue “exasperated comment from a feminist.” Answer: “men.”
While many people dismiss crossword puzzles as unimportant, they can reveal just how easily liberals are offended even during simple word games.