For some people, the New York Times crossword puzzle is the greatest rush. It’s almost like a weekly ritual. They can’t start the day without finishing it. However, the puzzle featured on New Year’s Day had one word that had some people, mostly Latinos, doing a double take.
On Jan. 1, the crossword puzzle in The New York Times featured the word “beaner.”
The hint for the word “Beaner” was another way of saying “Pitch to the head, informally.” The correct word would have been “beanball,” unless they are calling a player who throws a “beanball” a beaner, though referring to a player as a beaner is rare. So how could the writers of this crossword puzzle not understand that?
If you Google “what is a beaner?” there is no other result than it is an offensive word to describe a Mexican or a person of Mexican descent.
CREDIT: Screengrab: Araceli Cruz
After much uproar, the New York Times did issue somewhat of an apology via Twitter. Editor Will Shortz said that “Neither Joel [Fagliano] nor I had ever heard the slur before – and I don’t know anyone who would use it. Maybe we live in rarefied circles.” In other words, they live in exclusive worlds where Latinos do not frequent. “Meanwhile, for any solver who was offended by 2-Down in today’s puzzle, I apologize,” he added.
The apology went on to say that the New York Times crossword puzzle has used words in the past that some may regard as offensive but are actual words.
— NYTimes Wordplay (@NYTimesWordplay) January 1, 2019
Shortz said that they have used slang words like “GO OK” which means to proceed all right, but also is a horrible slur to describe a person of Philippine, Korean, or Vietnamese descent. He also references the word “Chink” which actually means something like a “chink in one’s armor” but is mostly known as a derogatory way to describe an Asian person.
A spokesperson for The New York Times went further and acknowledged that the word “beaner” is an offensive term.
Not a good apology. How rarified do your circles have to BE not to know of an ethnic slur so common it comes up in the dictionary when you type the word into your browser? https://t.co/3CtzDFEg9S
— Sorry Watch (@SorryWatch) January 3, 2019
“Tuesday’s Crossword puzzle included an entry that was offensive and hurtful,” a spokesperson for The New York Times told TheWrap. “It is simply not acceptable in The New York Times Crossword and we apologize for including it.”
Here’s what people on social media had to say about the appalling way the NY Times used this offensive word.
CREDIT: @BruceMirken / Twitter
It is a very well-recognized word in the U.S.
People expected a lot more from The New York Times.
CREDIT: @pistoleraprod / Twitter
It is truly perplexing readers and non-readers alike. It is a situation so many people never expected.
People are clearly pissed.
CREDIT: @DiegoATLaw / Twitter
If Latinos felt underrepresented in the New York Times before, this certainly isn’t helping matters.
CREDIT: @sawofthetable / Twitter
Can’t wait to see the words they use for tomorrow’s crossword puzzle.