...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.