Monday, April 03, 2006

Monday 4/3 NYT (spoiler if you haven't done it yet)

The most salient feature in the Monday Times puzzle is the use of the word SCUMBAG as one of the longer Down entries. There's been a lot of talk about it on several blogs, including a posting to the NYT forum by puzzle editor Will Shortz that reads in part:
...When I accepted [Lynn Lempel's] puzzle, the thought never crossed my mind this word could be controversial.

Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate and the American Heritage Dictionary both define "scumbag" only in the "scoundrel" sense. Random House does give both meanings, labeling the [used condom] one "vulgar" but the second one merely "slang."

In light of the above dictionary citations, I still think the word is acceptable for crossword purposes. Given the reaction to it, tho, I doubt I'll use it again.

Lynn Lempel also authored today's USA Today puzzle; the word SCUMBAG is nowhere to be found there.

1 comment:

barrywep said...

It is vulgar. Will must have led a sheltered life in the sixties and seventies.