Readers and social media users reacted with anger and disgust after seeing the design of the Times' puzzle, even to a casual observer, strongly resembled a swastika.
Interestingly, the paper's "Games" account responded to a similar design complaint in 2017, meaning that this has happened before.
This is the NYTimes crossword puzzle today on the first day of Hanukka.
— Keith Edwards (@keithedwards) December 18, 2022
"Yes, hi. It's NOT a swastika. Honest to God. No one sits down to make a crossword puzzle and says, 'Hey! You know what would look cool?'" the account noted.
Yes, hi. It's NOT a swastika. Honest to God. No one sits down to make a crossword puzzle and says, "Hey! You know what would look cool?"
— New York Times Games (@NYTGames) October 28, 2017
But is that believable? Twice in a the span of a few years -- especially with the paper's history of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial?
Donald Trump Jr. slammed the puzzle as "disgusting," writing Sunday on Twitter that "only the New York Times would get Hanukkah going with this as the crossword puzzle."
His sister, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, are both Jewish.
The son of the former president, like many others, cited the publication's track record of siding against the predominantly Jewish nation of Israel in its long running conflict with neighboring Palestine.
Some pointed to an example seen in its issue just the day before - an OP-ED piece by the paper's editorial board that was critical against the new Israeli government.
Trump Jr. went on to question the paper's actions, asking how it would report on a similar instance if the tables had been turned.
"Imagine what they would do to someone who did this and was not ideologically aligned with them?" Trump Jr. wrote. "I’ll give them the same benefit of the doubt they would give those people… exactly zero."
Disgusting! Only the New York Times would get Chanukah going with this is the crossword puzzle. 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 pic.twitter.com/eZHr0SQbT4
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) December 18, 2022
In May, conservative author and talk host Mark Levin, who has talked and written about this subject a lot, noted on his Fox News program that Americans during World War II were not responsive to the Holocaust involving European Jews because they were not told much about Hitler's extermination efforts until at least 1944, after the allies invaded the continent. He then read from his most recent book, "Unfreedom of the Press," during which he claimed that the New York Times "almost always" buried Holocaust-related news inside its pages.
"Surely the New York Times, with its wide reach, resources, access to foreign sources of information, reputation as the foremost newspaper in the country, large Jewish readership and its Jewish ownership would do everything possible to investigate and disclose the horror of Jewish genocide," Levin said. "But the opposite was true."
"The mass media treated the systematic murder of millions of Jews as though it were minor," Levin charged, noting that even then-President Franklin Roosevelt (D) did not talk about what was taking place for nearly a year after news of the extermination became public in November 1942.
"It's worse than fake news. It tried to take down an elected president, Donald Trump. It tried to push him out of office, supported both impeachments, supported the criminal investigation, still supports these various prosecutors who are investigating the former president. And on and on and on," Levin added. "[It has also pushed] [t]he 1619 project, which seeks to undermine our nation's history."