The New York Times‘ crossword puzzle editor Will Shortz apologized after a recent crossword puzzle had a Hispanic slur as the answer.
The puzzle had the clue “Pitch to the head, informally” and the answer was “beaner.”
In a tweet posted by the New York Times‘ Wordplay Twitter account, Shortz apologized and said he hadn’t “heard the slur before — and I don’t know anyone who would use it,” but acknowledged “Maybe we live in rarefied circles.”
“My feeling, rightly or wrongly, is that any benign meaning of a word is fair game for a crossword,” he wrote. “This is an issue that comes up occasionally with entries like GO O.K. (which we clued last April as ‘Proceed all right, but’ which as a solid word is a slur), CHINK (benign in the sense as a chink in one’s armor), etc. These are legitimate words.”
“Perhaps I need to rethink this opinion, if enough solvers are bothered. 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,” Shortz wrote.
A Times spokesperson told iMediaEthics by e-mail, “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.”
Hat Tip: The Hill