The crossword puzzle on Monday provided an erroneous clue for 5-Across, seeking the answer “O’Hara.” Scarlett O’Hara’s final words in “Gone With the Wind” are “After all, tomorrow is another day” — not “I’ll never be hungry again.” (That is the last comment she makes before the film’s intermission.)
So reads the humiliating correction in today's NYT, revealing Monday puzzler Lynn Lempel as unfamiliar with the one of the most famous last lines in movie history.
But today's amusing fix leaves out a bit of historical context. Before today's mistake, Lempel was best remembered among crossword aficionados as the author of its greatest linguistic stretch -- on the dark April morning in 2006 when Lempel's clue for 43-Down called for a seven-letter word for "scoundrel."
The correct answer: "SCUMBAG."
That answer earned Lempel considerable notoriety, and the first clue to Lempel's lack of knowledge. "I was totally ignorant of its vulgar side," Lempel said at the time. A Slate article on the topic reminded readers that until recently, the word's primary usage was as a slang term for a used condom.
But Lempel didn't quite learn her lesson. On September 28, 2009, Lempel introduced the word "crap" into the NYT crossword puzzle -- okay, it was the answer to "losing roll in a casino," but still.
Yesterday's gaffe prompted some genteel criticism among NYT commenters. Wrote Carla S., of Providence:
If I were on Jeopardy and I had to come up with Scarlett's last words in GWTW, I would have been quite confident in saying "What is 'Tomorrow is another day'?" I don't know whether to doubt myself or our wonderful editor. She utters the never-be-hungry line as the first half of the film ends, but I really don't think she ends the movie with that line.
We understand how you feel. But frankly, Carla, Lynn Lempel doesn't give a damn.