I hope it’s the former.
The Wall Street Journal has 6 crossword puzzles a week and I clip them and fill them out when I have spare time or at night when I’m trying to get to sleep.
The one I did last night was “Short Stories” by Alex Eaton-Salners. It was very clever and enjoyable.
Which made the one discordant note all the more disturbing. The clue was “October Revolution target.” The answer: tsar. Do you see a problem? Alexander Kerensky would have. That’s his picture above.
In a section in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead Rand explains Ellsworth Toohey’s strategy. It’s to undercut people’s beliefs in freedom and individualism with the “softer” parts of a newspaper. When reading those parts, readers don’t engage their critical faculties as much, so someone trying to communicate a subversive message can get further. The crossword puzzle would be such an instrument.
It’s quite possible that Eaton-Salners is uninformed. I hope he is. I don’t like the alternative.