America’s Most Elitist Crossword Puzzle Uses ‘Fo’ Shizzle’

fo shizzle ny times

Yes, my nizzles. That’s the New York Times, fo’ rizzle!

In case you have absolutely no clue what that cutline says, no worries. I speak “Snoop Dogg.” According to the Urban Dictionary, “-izzle” is “a suffix, often used by gangsters, used to cut off a word when one’s brain cannot process words with greater than three syllables.”

“Izzle” was basically a cutsy lingo developed by the Snoop D-O-double-G. It was such a popular way to speak, screwing up anyone advocate of AP-style, that the New York Times covered it in 2004. I suppose since that day in almost a decade ago, editors at the “Old Grey (White) Lady” thought they accrued street swagger … so they included “Fo’ Shizzle” in their nationally respected crossword puzzle.

What the fizzle?!

Although it’s so “last decade,” as the adroit and remarkably hip Jim Romensko pointed out when he broke this story, there it was — gangsta rap lyrics in that crossword puzzle. What’s next? Pig Latin?

Today, Romenesko heard from Will Shortz, the Times’ crossword editor, who doesn’t see what all the fuss is about. He told Romensko the following:

“It’s true that it’s dated language. But then so are HEP, RAD, EGAD, and other old-fashioned terms, which appear in crosswords all the time. The key is to clue things like these in similarly dated ways. For example, FO’ SHIZZLE was clued as ‘Definitely, dawg!,’ which is a contemporaneous way of saying approximately the same thing.”

Looks like to me someone is having a mid-life crisis. Only who? Shortz or the New York Times Company publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.? Eh, who am I kidding? Someone has a grandson who is rocking “Doggystyle” when the old curmudgeon isn’t looking. Fo’ Rizzle!

Publish date: April 23, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT