The New York Times crossword puzzle is a hallowed institution of yesteryear, one that is useful in distinguishing normal people from people good at one very specific, generally useless skill. Apparently, it’s worldview (or it’s editor Will Shortz’s worldview) has not been updated for the modern puzzle aficionado.
Wednesday’s edition constructed by Zachary Spitz featured a clue that has set the crossword puzzle community off on a bit of an outrage tornado. The clue for 71 across read, “Exasperated comment from a masculist.” The three-letter answer? “Women!”
Shortz and Spitzer, do you think that all masculists are Cathy of the cartoon “Cathy?”
“You are confusing masculists with decidedly NOT-masculist sitcom gentlemen who grouse about their shlubby wives,” crossword puzzle blogger Michael Sharp wrote on her blog Rex Parker Does the NY Times Crossword Puzzle. “This is another (another!) tin-eared clumsy clue that highlights how puzzle makers are a monoculture of (mostly) white (mostly) women.”
(Sharp also called out the October 31 puzzle for a racially-insensitive clue and answer referring to “gangsta rap characters” as “thugs.”)
So, Times public editor Margaret Sullivan, what do you have to say for your white, female crossword puzzle society?
The New York Times Crossword Puzzle had not responded to request for comment by the time of publication.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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