So You Think You Can Think: Puzzle 14, “Gate Keeping”

There was a time when Scandals were sexy. But let’s face it: now they’re dull, disruptive, and disheartening. That’s not going to change any time soon either; Shonda Rhimes is only one woman after all.

Myself, I blame our language, and the way we as a society decided to plaster the suffix “-gate” on the end of anything with a whiff of conspiracy or wrongdoing to it. It’s such a…dull word. Solid. Flat. Foreboding. Usually locked. Nothing about it beckons us toward it with a come-hither look. Couldn’t we have had a sexier suffix for this category of thing? Like “-pecs”? Maybe “-steamy”? Or something really suggestive, like “-gasm”?

Well, whatever, we’re stuck with “-gate” now. At least it does its job and stands up to overuse and adaptability. In fact, there are already lots of words that come with “-gate” pre-installed and are just waiting for the right scandal to come along. I have some examples on offer below. Each clue has two parts. One part suggests a word that would be added to the front of “-gate” to result in an instant scandal name. The other part defines just what that scandal itself would be about. For example:

Scandal of a celestial body on Richard Dean Anderson’s show.

a STAR is a celestial body, and of course Richard Dean Anderson’s show was STARGATE. Simple enough, right? Be sure to watch out for suggestive spellings and pronunciations to tease out the answers. It’s what I tend to do, after all. Enjoy!

  1. Baseball cap-wearing frat dude scandalously avoided his duty!
  2. William Tell’s tool stakes a claim. Scandalous!
  3. Scandal regarding the representative of a sandwich place!
  4. Oral hygiene corporation’s fossil fuel scandal!
  5. Tesla figurehead’s scandals just keep growing!
  6. Last workday cut in half: Scandal on a warship!
  7. Weed out audition-goers for one scandal, then berate viciously!
  8. Enjoyment of a scandal where you start to look like a mushroom!
  9. Spooky scandal regarding hydration!
  10. Clunky digital music format scandal: make less severe!
  11. Immersive warcraft’s Semitic captain was the victim of conquest…and scandal!

Last week’s solutions:


1. Palme D’or (Pom Door)
2. Café Au Lait (Cafe Olé)
3. Petit Fours (Petty Fores)
4. À-la Mode (Allah Mowed)
5. Belle Époch (Belly Poke)
6. Entre Nous (Andre Knew)
7. Fleur-De-Lis (Floor Deli)
8. Haute Couture (Oat Co-chore)
9. Laissez-Faire (Lazy Fair)
10. Touché (To Shea)
11. Zut Alors! (Zoot Allure)
12. Roman À Clef (Roam On A Clay)
13. Prix Fixe (Prefix)
14. Coup D’état (Cootie Ta)
15. Petite Mort (Pet It More)

We apologize for the difficulty of last week’s puzzle and place the blame squarely on the French.