The particular application then was the “problem” of scam murder-for-hire websites. The Kaufman is reserved for “alleged ethics violations so inconsequential as to be unworthy of attention or indignation.”
Here’s another one. In The Atlantic, which has become so mindlessly and relentlessly progressive that it is painful to observe, there really and truly is an article titled, “The Hidden Bigotry of Crosswords:The popular puzzles are largely written and edited by older white men, who dictate what makes it into the grid—and what is kept out.”
Will Shortz, the Puzzles editor at the Times, has cited low submission rates from underrepresented groups as one reason for lack of constructor parity, but tone deafness and opacity can put constructors off the newspaper. (I was once Shortz’s editorial assistant, and I contribute crosswords to the Times.) In a Facebook thread with Shortz and other commenters, Rebecca Falcon, a 30-year-old constructor, posted: “I can’t feel good about putting my work into an outlet that I feel has very different values than my own.” She continued: “Is there anything being done to address these issues?” Shortz gave a thoughtful answer citing recent increases in women bylines, saying parity was “an important issue for us.” But when prodded about insensitive edits, he denied them, adding: “If a puzzlemaker is unhappy with our style of editing, then they should send their work elsewhere (or publish it themselves to keep complete control).”
The Horror! Inadequate crossword puzzle diversity and demographic equity! The article also reveals the scandal of clue and answer insensitivity:
And while some corners of culture are kept out of crosswords, some troubling aspects of language creep in. The New York Times puzzle has weathered deep sensitivity issues of late, including allowing a racial slur in the grid in January 2019, despite unequivocal protestations from those who saw the puzzle prepublication. Other transgressions include clues for ILLEGAL (“One caught by border patrol”); MEN (“Exasperated comment from a feminist”); and HOOD (“Place with homies”).
Can you guess what the supposed “racial slur” was? This!
The clue for 2 down in the New York Times’ first crossword puzzle of the new year was nothing unusual: “Pitch to the head, informally.” But the answer stopped many puzzlers in their tracks: BEANER, which, as critics quickly pointed out, is also a slur used against Mexicans. “I’m very sorry for the distraction,” longtime puzzle editor Will Shortz wrote in a response posted that afternoon. “For any solver who was offended by 2-Down in today’s puzzle, I apologize.”
Of course, Shortz should not have apologized. He should have said, “Since it was obvious that the context of “beaner’ was far removed from its ethnic implications, there was nothing wrong with the clue or the answer, and those who were upset, or who are feigning upset, by the short-hand word for a “beanball” are invited to seek psychiatric help.”
Similarly, a lack of gender equity in crossword puzzle “constructors” is a “problem” on par in urgency and seriousness with the absence of female monsters in Godzilla movies. It literally doesn’t matter except to social justice fanatics whose mission in life is to make people think it matters, and to bully spineless lackeys like poor Mr. Shortz into groveling before them. I don’t care. Nothing could make me care. Nobody should care. Or to quote Mr. Kaufman yet again,
“On Mount Wilson there is a telescope that can magnify the most distant stars to twenty-four times the magnification of any previous telescope. This remarkable instrument was unsurpassed in the world of astronomy until the development and construction of the Mount Palomar telescope. The Mount Palomar telescope is an even more remarkable instrument of magnification. Owing to advances and improvements in optical technology, it is capable of magnifying the stars to four times the magnification and resolution of the Mount Wilson telescope….if you could somehow put the Mount Wilson telescope inside the Mount Palomar telescope, you still wouldn’t be able to see my interest in this problem.”