Sacre Bleu

SACRE BLEU!….I’ve been doing crossword puzzles lately, so Marian got me a copy of the companion book to Wordplay for Christmas. Here, from p. 74, is an excerpt from NYT crossword editor Will Shortz’s guidelines for contributors:

Do not use….uncommon abbreviations or foreign words.

Do not use foreign words?!? Allow me to translate: “Do not use foreign words except for those from Latin (“Pater,” 63 Across, Dec. 21), Spanish (“Vaca,” 11 Across, Dec. 23), German (“Nie,” 10 Down, Dec. 24), or French (“Sacre,” 45 Across, Dec. 26). Occasional use of Portuguese, Greek, Italian, Hebrew, and peculiar Gaelic dialects is also acceptable.” Not that I’m keeping track or anything. Believe me, I would pay money to support a hardy band of true Americans to picket Shortz’s office until he starts enforcing this “rule.” Where are the activists from U.S. English when you need them?

That is all. I now return you to Steve Benen’s more consequential musings.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works —and how to make it work better. More than fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.