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New York Times crossword editor apologizes for racial slur used in puzzle

Posted at 1:32 PM, Jan 09, 2019

Will Shortz, the crossword editor for The New York Times, issued an apology after readers brought it to his attention that a racial slur was used in the New Year's Day edition of the crossword puzzle.

In the Tuesday, Jan. 1 edition of the crossword, the answer to the clue in the 2-Down slot was "beaner." This is a racial slur used for Mexicans and people of Mexican descent. This definition is the first result to appear in Google when searching the term.

The clue to 2-Down in Tuesday’s puzzle was “Pitch to the head, informally.”

"Neither Joel (Fagliano) nor I had ever heard the slur before — and I don't know anyone who would use it," the response from Shortz reads. "Maybe we live in rarefied circles."

The apology continued: “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 (which is benign in the sense as a chink in one’s armor,” etc. These are legitimate words."

Responses to the apology on Twitter were mostly critical. One user called it a "non-apology apology" and another said it's more reason to have a diverse staff. Another user, however, said t hey think people are too easily offended .

The tweet with the responses can be seen below.