The New York Times loves adjectives, adverbs and any other modifier, whether they make sense or not. Jazzing up a text is what counts. Here’s an example from Nov. 27, 2018, in a story about Russia’s shooting at a Ukrainian navy ship:
“The confrontation Sunday, in the vicinity of the Kerch Strait, a narrow passage between the Black and Azov seas, was a serious escalation in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and a rare example of direct military engagement between the two countries. Though they have been locked in a vicious war for almost five years, much of the fighting has been between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists in the east of Ukraine.”
So you got a “serious escalation” by Russia and Ukraine which have been “locked” in a “vicious war for almost five years,” but it’s a “rare example” of a military engagement when the fighting is mostly by other guys, separatists. You can wonder how the NY Times will describe a real war.
Fine under: All the modifiers that fit or not.