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Why This Week’s ‘New York Times’ Crossword Is Causing Controversy

Pedestrians walk in front of the New York Times office building.

Usually the only controversy over a crossword is the answer, but on the eve of the first day of Hanukkah, some New York Times readers found something a lot more upsetting. According to The Jerusalem Post, on Sunday, Democratic strategist Keith Edwards pointed out that the Times‘ crossword puzzle resembled a swastika:

What made it even worse is that this isn’t the first time this has happened. Edwards pointed to a 2017 comment from the Times in response to the same problem, where they said it wasn’t a swastika.

I am not Jewish, and in looking at the image, it took a few blinks for me to see the swastika resemblance—mostly because I’m used to people not attempting to be subtle about antisemitism. Since this was a fumble made by the Times, a left-leaning publication, people on the Right have been using the incident as an excuse to gleefully dunk on the magazine, which—of course—doesn’t actually address the problem of this happening in the first place.

Even if it was unintentional (and I think it was), I can’t imagine going through several edits and not having at least one person say, “maybe make it look little less swastika-y?” Yes, the symbol had a bunch of meanings before the Nazis claimed it, especially in the Eastern part of the world where it was appropriated from—and still exists as—a religious symbol, but that doesn’t apply here. And it certainly cannot be “reclaimed.”

The Times has yet to comment on the incident.

(via The Jerusalem Post, featured image: Spencer Platt, Getty Images)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.