New York Times defends controversial 'swastika' crossword design

The crossword appeared in Sunday's edition - the first night of Chanukah


The New York Times has defended the design of a crossword, after many Twitter users compared it to a swastika.

The crossword appeared in Sunday's edition of America's paper of record, and drew particular attention as it was published on the first night of Chanukah.

A host of prominent Jewish and non-Jewish figures have voiced their outrage, and it caused quite a stir on social media.

New York City Council member Kalman Yeger tweeted: "A hidden Happy Chanukah message in today’s @nytimes crossword?".

Another Councilwoman, Inna Vernikov, shared her colleague's post voicing outrage, tweeting: "Seriously @nytimes!?"

And Donald Trump Jr, son of the former president, wrote: "Disgusting! Only the New York Times would get Chanukah going with this is the crossword puzzle."

Meanwhile, a group representing Zionist students and academics at the City University of New York, called S.A.F.E. CUNY, wrote: "Today’s Crossword Puzzle from the New York Times for Hanukkah. Pretty much sums up the @nytimes for the past few years in regard to Jews and Israel."

The crossword appeared on the same day that the New York Times published an opinion piece warning against Israel's new government. Prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu hit out at the publication on Sunday, writing: "After burying the Holocaust for years on its back pages and demonizing Israel for decades on its front pages, the New York Times now shamefully calls for undermining Israel’s elected incoming government."

When a similar crossword was slammed in 2017 for its similarity to the Nazi symbol, the company tweeted: "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?'".

In response to this latest crossword controversy, a spokesperson for the New York Times told the JC: "This is a common crossword design: Many open grids in crosswords have a similar spiral pattern because of the rules around rotational symmetry and black squares."

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