'This is appalling': Twitter explodes over swastika-shaped New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle

'This is appalling': Twitter explodes over swastika-shaped New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle
Image via Shutterstock.

The New York Times over the weekend published its complex Sunday Crossword Puzzle like it always does. But the reliably tough clues were not what caught people's attention. Instead, it was the pattern within the blackened squares that stirred up a frenzy on social media.

The grid appears to form a swastika, and it was published right before the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah began at Sunday sundown.

As can be expected, Twitter exploded with questions about how the word maze – entitled Some Theme's Missing – made it through final editorial approval.

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On Saturday evening, jazz bassist Ron Carter tweeted that he was the answer to 39 Across.

Designer Ryan McCarty replied to Carter that "I’m the constructor of this puzzle! Hope you enjoyed!"

That was the moment when the blowback started:

Fine, I'll bite: why is it a swastika?

How did you ever look at THIS pattern and went: 'totally innocent, off to the press with my puzzle'?! This is appalling. And it's yelling [sic] that so many people immediately had the swastika association turned by a few degrees

It will seem incredible to most that you wouldn't have noticed creating a Swastika-shaped crossword puzzle for publication on the first day of Hanukkah. I guess that was your last crossword puzzle for the NYT or any other serious publication.

How did you Nazi that symbol?

Hi, New York TimesTimes? I would like to offer my services as 'somebody who can clearly see a swastika', I would be happy to pre-examine your Crosswords for a very reasonable rate. You’ve seriously got to stop doing this.

The backlash spread rapidly and transcended the partisan continuum.

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Donald Trump Junior:

Disgusting! Only the New York Times would get Chanukah going with this is the crossword puzzle. Imagine what they would do to someone who did this and was not ideologically aligned with them? I’ll give them the same benefit of the doubt they would give those people… EXACTLY ZERO

Democratic strategist Keith Edwards:

This is the NYTimes crossword puzzle today on the first day of Hanukka. What the hell, @nytimes?

Liberal Producer Eric Ortner:

Intentional swastika or not, the fact that the @nytimes@NYTGames would have a staff so insensitive to not catch it, is worthy of discussion & action. This is not getting the attention it deserves. #NeverAgain

Historian Louie Dean Valencia:

Why does the @nytimes crossword look like that???

Columnist Blake Flayton of Jewish Journal:

Today’s New York Times crossword is um…making me nervous.

Philanthropist Adam Milstein:

What were they thinking?! The NewYorkTimes creates a crossword puzzle whose silhouette bears an uncanny resemblance to a Nazi swastika.

Right-wing commentator Mark Levin:

Meanwhile, on the first night of Hanukkah the anti-Israel New York Slimes issues a crossword puzzle that looks like a swastika. Of course, when pointed out, they claimed it was a coincidence. What a sick and sad history.

Meanwhile, the paper denied the allegations – in 2017, the first of three times that it has been accused of doing this:

Yes, hi. It's NOT a swastika. Honest to God. No one sits down to make a crossword puzzle and says, 'Hey! You know what would look cool?'

That tidbit was not lost in the commotion:

A few years ago, the New York Times upset people by publishing a crossword that looked vaguely like a swastika. To rectify this, they published a new crossword today that looks *exactly* like a swastika

Oh my God this tweet is from 2017?! How many times have you guys put swastikas in your crossword!?

Hey, annoyed Jew here. 'We made a swastika on accident, so we are not sorry' is not the tact you want rn. I want to own up to the fact that I didn’t realize this tweet was from 2017, but it’s funny that they’ve managed to do this twice

If you have to say 'it's not a swastika', it's a swastika

If I had a nickel every time the new York times crossword accidentally generated a Nazi symbol I would have two nickels. I admit that is not a lot but it is weird it happened twice.

Three. You would have three nickels. They did it in 2014 too.

Re: NYT swastika crossword I would love to pick someone’s brain like this and be like please tell me in detail what you believe is happening at the New York Times. Please lay it all out

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