Peter Gordon’s Fireball contest, “Follow the Bouncing Ball” — Laura’s review
This month, Peter asks, what eight-letter word is hinted at by this puzzle?
There are three notable theme-y entries:
- [16a: *Cartesian coordinates of a point in the xy-plane, e.g.]: ORDERED PAIR
- [36a: A French one has 37 pockets]: ROULETTE WHEEL
- [59a: *Loser to “A Beautiful Mind” for Best Picture]: MOULIN ROUGE
Here’s a ROULETTE WHEEL — turns out that the even red numbers are, in order, 12, 14, 16, 18, 30, 32, 34, and 36. It also turns out — not that I noticed this on the original solve — that PAIR is French for even, and ROUGE is of course French for red. So that’s what the two other themers are meant to point us to.
If you find the numbers 12, 14, 16, 18, 30, 32, 34, and 36 in the grid, you get the word CROUPIER, which is an eight-letter word and our answer.
A CROUPIER is a dealer in a casino. The word derives from croupe, which is a French term for the rump of a horse, and it originally denoted someone who would stand behind a gambler to pass them money. So I guess etymologically a dealer is kind of a horse’s ass? In my limited casino gambling experience, the dealers have been rather nice and friendly, probably because their jobs are to entice you to spend more money. Croupier is also a 1998 film starring Clive Owen and Alex Kingston, which I really enjoyed but did not successfully get me interested at all in spending more time and/or money casino gambling.