A lot of people on social media, including the son of former President Donald Trump, are raising their eyebrows at the New York Times after the paper published a crossword puzzle that included a pattern of black squares that form a fairly clear shape of a swastika.
"Disgusting! Only the New York Times would get Chanukah going with this is the crossword puzzle [sic]," Donald Trump Jr. wrote on Twitter. "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."
As the New York Post points out, the puzzle, posted on the day before the start of Hanukkah, was conceived by Washington, D.C.-based consulting manager Ryan McCarty, who has created 22 other puzzles for the paper. McCarty said that he’d “originally tried to make it work in a 15×15 grid but then decided to expand the grid out to a Sunday-size puzzle with a fun whirlpool shape.”
Social media users lashed out at the paper for allowing such an image to be published, regardless if it was intentional.
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"I find it very interesting that the vast majority of people coming to my TL or retweeting my other tweet to say that it's not a swastika all have posted very antisemitic and/or anti-Israel stuff. It's such a crazy leap to think this was done on purpose on a Jewish holiday right?" wrote Twitter user @shevereshtus.
Twitter user @NetanelWorthy pointed out that the image has "the extensions in the corner are literally exactly the same on all four sides."
"Maybe it’s pessimistic of me, but I really don’t think this was a mistake. There’s no way this was an accident. And if it was, that nobody caught it?"
“Folks are making hay over today’s @nytimes crossword layout,” wrote another Twitter user. “If the swastika is unintentional, you’d think an editor along the way would have caught it. And on the first day of Hanukkah, no less.”
The Times is defending the design. In a statement, the paper told The Jewish Chronicle: "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."