If, like NPR blogger Marc Silver, you were doing The New York Times Sunday Crossword July 6, you might have strayed across an unsavory clue over your cornflakes: 102 down, “menace named after an African river.”
The answer? Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever currently ravaging West Africa. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
After solving the clue, Silver became curious about how often clues pointing to disease appear in The Times’ crossword puzzle. So he reached out to professional puzzler Will Shortz, The New York Times crossword editor.
In fact, Shortz told Silver, crosswords generally try to avoid unsavory topics like illness, but “occasionally the names do slip in unavoidably.”
Readers have demonstrated sensitivity to controversial answers within the the grid of newspaper crossword puzzles in the past. … Read more