update deskMiddle East

‘USA Today’ crossword calls Palestine a Jordan neighbor

“It appeared to be another disturbing, disrespectful attempt at delegitimizing Israel,” reader Bob Berman told JNS.

Bob Berman, who is retired and lives in Cheshire, Ore., near Eugene, does the USA Today crossword puzzle in The Register-Guard, a daily paper published in Eugene. He said what he saw in the clue and answer for 35 down in the June 7 puzzle stood out as unusual.

“If there is any consistency in the clues, it’s that if a country is mentioned and they want a neighbor to that country, then they are looking for another country. Pretty simple,” he told JNS. 

The clue for 35 down in the June 7 crossword was “neighbor of Jordan.” The nine-letter answer could not be Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia or Israel. When JNS clicked “reveal word” in the online puzzle, the provided answer was “Palestine.”

USA Today crossword
The June 7, 2023 USA Today crossword puzzle, which identifies “Palestine” as a neighbor of Jordan. Credit: Screenshot.

“Palestine is not a country. The nearest country west of Jordan is Israel. It appeared to be another disturbing, disrespectful attempt at delegitimizing Israel,” Berman told JNS.

The puzzle, which is titled “Left Brain,” is credited to Sara Cantor and edited by Anna Gundlach. Gannett, which owns USA Today, did not respond to a query from JNS.

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