True, the s-word was used in a quotation, but it was still there. My understanding is that the Times makes a point of avoiding the s-word and the f-word; in fact, when they reported on the episode of South Park that used the s-word over 100 times in the space of one episode, they referred to the word with a variety of circumlocutions.
For those who are interested, the s-word appears in the article "Politics Seen in Nasty Call to Spitzer's Father" by Danny Hakim, which starts on page A1 and jumps to page A16 (at least in the New England Edition). On the website, the article has a slightly different title, G.O.P. Consultant Accused of Threatening Spitzer's Father, but it would appear to be the same article, with only slight alterations. And the s-word is present there as well.
The article quotes a caller as saying, "“There is not a goddamn thing your phony, psycho, piece-of-s*** son can do about it.”
Since the standards of Mabfan's Musings are different from those of the New York Times, I've edited the s-word accordingly, but in the Times, it is spelled out accurately and completely, a letter "s" followed by the three letters "hit" in that order.
Does anyone know if this is a change of policy or simply an error?