The New York Times building is seen in Manhattan, New York


  • The New York Times published a crossword puzzle that looked like a swastika
  • The puzzle was published Sunday, the first day of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah
  • The paper responded to the criticism by claiming the layout for Sunday's puzzle was a "common" crossword design

The New York Times (NYT) is facing criticism over the layout of one of its recent crossword puzzles.

The puzzle, "Some Theme's Missing," appeared to resemble a Nazi swastika. It was published Sunday, which is when the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, also known as Chanukah, began.

"I'm not saying the New York Times is antisemitic... I'm just saying they kicked off Hanukkah with a swastika-shaped crossword puzzle," comedian Tim Young said in a tweet.

New York City Councilman Kalman Yeger, who represents the Orthodox Jewish community of Borough Park, shared a photo of the puzzle on his Twitter account with the caption, "A hidden Happy Chanukah message in today's [NYT] crossword?"

His fellow council member, Inna Vernikov, also of a Jewish background, wrote, "Seriously [NYT]!?" in a reply.

Other personalities also commented on the Times' puzzle, including a son of former President Donald Trump.

"Disgusting! Only the New York Times would get Chanukah going with this is the crossword puzzle," 44-year-old Donald Trump Jr., who once accused Jewish billionaire George Soros of being a Nazi, said in a tweet.

donald trump jr
Donald Trump Jr., poses during a signing event for his new Book "Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us" at Barnes & Noble on 5th Avenue on November 5, 2019 in New York. ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

In response to the criticism, the New York Times said the layout of Sunday's crossword puzzle was a "common" crossword design.

"Many open grids in crosswords have a similar spiral pattern because of the rules around rotational symmetry and black squares," a spokesperson for the paper told the Daily Mail Monday.

This is not the first time that NYT's crossword puzzle generated what appeared to be a swastika.

"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 newspaper's games department said in October 2017.

Prior to its association with Nazis and German dictator Adolf Hitler's regime, the swastika was more known as a symbol of good luck and auspiciousness, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

It is still a sacred symbol in religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism to this day.

The NYT's crossword puzzle that featured what seemed like the Nazi version of the swastika appeared on the same day the outlet published an opinion piece that warned against Israel's new government, which was dominated by far-right and religious parties.

Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to the article by accusing the newspaper of "undermining Israel's elected incoming government."

"I will continue to ignore [the NYT's] ill-founded advice," Netanyahu, who is expected to return as Israel's head of state, said in a series of tweets.

Israel's longest serving prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is expected to return to power, is seen in the Knesset on November 15, 2022