Yep, I understand.
The whole thing just seems a little fishy to me as to why the NYT would question the serps to begin with when Google didn't. It's not like the writer was typing in "dresses" and getting back casin0s and #*$! sites.
Had it been someone at WebmasterWorld or some other experienced SEO who questioned the serps, well that I could see. But, a NYT writer initially identifying a bogus pattern without outside assistance, that part I question.